Monday, February 28, 2011

The Fullness of Christ (Ephesians 1:15-23)

In this second lengthy sentence Paul writes in his letter to the churches around Ephesus, he gives his standard thanksgiving and tells of his constant prayer for them. Namely, it is a prayer for knowledge. It is quite telling that Paul would pray that the churches he had helped start would grow in knowledge, and he doesn’t just do that in this letter, but elsewhere in his New Testament writings. For believers and communities of believers, growing in knowledge of God and His word is very important. Knowledge is not necessarily a prerequisite for justification, but it is so important for our growth in holiness.

Specifically, he prays that they will grow in their understanding of the hope of God’s calling, the riches that God’s inheritance (read here God’s people) represent, and the power that God wields as seen in the resurrection. All three of these items speak to what God is doing in the world, and to specific aspects of each individual’s relationship with Him, but perhaps primarily they speak to who the church is in the world and what the church is capable of in the world. Better yet it speaks to who and what churches are and are doing in the world.

This thought is capped off at the end of this sentence in verse 23. Here we see that the church—not the heavenly concept of the Church universal, but church as seen locally in the world—is the fullness of Jesus Christ in the universe. That little gathering of individuals that God brings together in Christ but also in a specific place and time is Christ in the world.

Chew on that for a moment.

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