Mr. Standfast

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

July 28, 2005

The Full Measure

Biblical fullness has often to do with completeness. It's all about the completion of God's will for his creation. That's fullness. When Paul describes the glorious fulfillment of God's work of redemption, not merely as it relates to you and I as believers, but as it relates to the whole universe, Paul is describing fullness in its highest and richest sense. That is the time when "every knee shall bow, in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." (Phil 2:10-11)

That's fullness. The complete realization of God's ultimate plan for His creation. And it's of course essential to realize that this fullness is through Christ. Paul reiterates this again and again. The creation was subject to rebellion and decay, ending in death. But through Christ our mediator redemption and peace is available to man, leading to life. "For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in [Jesus Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." (Col. 1:19-20)

These are expressions of God's "kingdom come." We yearn for that day, the day of completion, the day when the work of redemption will be fulfilled, every enemy of God will be cast down, every heart will be purified, and we will know the presence of the living God in fullness forever. But of course God's kingdom has in another sense already come. There is available to believers, through faith, a measure of fullness even now. We may think of this in terms of potential. If love is the foremost and characteristic fruit of the Spirit at work within us, we may well pray to God that we might realize the fullness of our potential as lovers: that is, as people who love one another. We shall not, in this life, love one another in the same fullness as we one day shall in the kingdom of God, but even in this life there is, as it were, a reserve of love through the Spirit that we have not even begun to tap into. Rightly we pray, more love, Father. More knowledge of your will. More peace. More joy. More patience. More kindness. More self-control. There is a measure of these things available to us now, by God's design, and to reach that measure is to enjoy fullness.

So you see there is a kingdom come sense of the word fullness, and there is a kingdom now sense. And so we come at last to the reason this matter of fullness concerns me at all. You see, the thing is, I want more. I am troubled by my own lack of these fruits of the Spirit. I am not satisfied with the measure I have reached thus far, and know that God desires me, even in this life, to reach a measure of these things that is far beyond what I have known. The point is, we do not love one another as we should. We do not serve one another in reverence for Christ. We are sometimes filled with bitterness and envy, and we struggle and claw one another, even those we love. And the question is, how do we get to fullness? How do we reach our potential as God's children. I don't ask this now because I have a ready answer. I ask it because I want to use this question as a guide as I walk through the Word, morning by morning. I'll keep you posted.


Blogger HeyJules said...

While I read the latest installment on fullness a thought crossed my mind. Have you ever had moments where you try to tell somebody about your life in Christ and there are no words? It is almost as if your heart is so full and so bogged down with the weight of it all that your mind can't let the words come up. This is the fullness I think of when I read your posts. If I feel like this now, what will it feel like when kingdom does come? It overwhelms me sometimes.

1:14 PM  

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