Filled with God’s Fullness

“…that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)

Bible Reading: Ephesians 3:17-19

There is one more element of this great prayer for faith and love for us to consider – being “filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).

Paul has led us through a linked series of thoughts – from “Christ dwelling in the heart through faith” to being “rooted and grounded in love” to “comprehending” and “knowing the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (vs. 17-19). Here, that chain of ideas comes to its climax in the words, “that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (v. 19).

What a startling statement this is! “Filled with all the fullness of God,” you say. “How can that be?” What can it mean? It cannot mean that we can contain all that God is. That is just not possible. The heaven of heavens cannot contain him; how much less can we (1 Kings 8:27).

It is possible for us, however, to be “filled” with God in terms of our human capacity. Several times in the New Testament, as noted in an earlier devotional, believers are said to be “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 4:8 for example). Paul affirms that being “filled with the Spirit” is to be the norm of our human existence (Ephesians 5:18).

To be “filled with the Spirit” means for our total being to come under the influence of the Spirit. He penetrates and empowers us entirely, guiding our thoughts, words and actions. In the same way, we can think of being “filled with all the fullness of God.” In reality, the two things are the same. We are filled with the fullness of God by being filled with his Spirit.

This comes about, Paul is saying here, through knowing and experiencing the love of Christ. It is when we are enabled by grace through the Holy Spirit to have Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith, and when the roots of our faith are deeply embedded into his life and love, that we are “filled with all the fullness of God.”

Paul can say this because love belongs to the very essence of God’s being. The love of Christ is no less the love that belongs to the “fullness” of God’s own life. So it is that as we are filled with Christ’s love, we are filled with that which belongs to “the fullness of God.”

In this way, we become, as the apostle Peter puts it, “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). We share in the very character of God and become his true image bearers and children. This is the final goal of this great prayer – believers, dwelling in Christ and Christ in them, sharing in the divine nature as they are filled with God’s love.

How eagerly we should seek this. We should pray constantly that God’s fullness would fill us as we live in Christ each day through Spirit-enabled faith.

Closing Thoughts:

  • What do you think of the idea of having a life filled with the love of God?
  • Are you praying constantly for the grace of faith that Christ might reproduce his life in you?

– Andrew Young