AMP - 19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!
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This is at the end of the second prayer that Paul prays for the Ephesians in this epistle. In both prayers, Paul is concerned with practical, experiential knowledge, not just an academic grasp of doctrine. Scripture often speaks of the things of God as being "already but not yet." That is, there is one aspect of the truth that is completed right now and we participate in it now while there is another dimension that is future indicating that we only know it in part now. We know from other Scripture that Christ is the fullness of God. When we are baptized into the body of Christ, we are baptized into him. At that point, and from now on, we are in him and he is in us. Therefore, we have the fullness of God in us in the person of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. We may or may not be aware of this reality. Paul's prayer is that we will come to have experiential knowledge of this fullness of God which we have in Christ. There is a degree of mystery to what Paul says here. He prays to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. He wants us to know what is unknowable. It can be experienced, but not known academically, apparently. This requires his earlier request that we be strengthened in the inner man to be able to experience this love that surpasses knowledge. It is supernatural, but the key is that Christ is the fullness of God. We need nothing in addition to Christ to have that fullness.
As I read the passage in question, it seems to me that, by "the fullness of God", Paul is referring to a person being endowed with attributes arising from the distinct functions of each Person of the Trinity. God the Father (Ephesians 3:14-16), as the all-glorious Creator of life and being ("from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named"), is the grantor of these attributes. God the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16), who dwells within believers, is the source of faith, and of spiritual strength, both in perseverance and in displays of power. The faith arising from the Spirit, in turn, is directed toward the God the Son (Christ) (Ephesians 3:17), and manifests itself in the faithful through love toward others -- the same sacrificial love that Christ showed in becoming human and dying to make possible the salvation of all people in the world.
Being “filled with all the fullness of God” obviously involves a process. It begins with being “rooted and grounded in love” (Eph. 3:17). That begins with the Father’s gift of the Holy Spirit in order that our “inner being” might be “strengthened with power” through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 3:16). To be strengthened is “to wax strong” or “increase in vigor” – Strong’s, thus giving credence to a growth process. Paul, gives us the result of this process. After he prays that we know the breadth, length, height, and depth of Christ’s love (Eph. 3:18), he asks that we know (experience) “the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:19). Paul, in Eph. 4:1, then states, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called”. Paul urges us to walk circumspectly as Christians “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:“ (Eph. 4:13 – KJV). Being “filled with all the fullness of God” is being completed “unto a perfect man”. What does that mean? In Chapter 13, of 1 Corinthians, it defines agape love, and we know that God IS love (1 John 4:8). Then, in 1 Corinthians 13:9-10, after telling us that love never fails, it reads, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.” Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:12 that this happens when we are “face to face”. This happens at the resurrection when we will see Jesus as He is (1 John 3:2) and we will be like Him. We will be completed in the process of growing up to the fullness of God’s character, as defined by agape love. This is the goal that the Trinity had when they said, in Gen. 1:26, “Let us make man in our image”. The goal is to rid the cosmos of sin. How do you do that? You make the Creation blameless and Holy at the resurrection, possessing the very nature of God. That is to say that the Creation will not be susceptible to temptation (James 1:13), will not be capable of lying (Heb. 6:18), and will possess all the characteristics of agape love (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). And, no longer capable of sin (missing the mark of God’s glory – 1 John 3:9). These are the characteristics of Jesus when He was completed in the exact image of the Father (Heb. 1:3). These same characteristics are ours to have, “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.” (NKJV Eph. 1:18). God bless!
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