Do you have a life verse?
My life verse hasn’t changed over the years. A long time ago, I fell away from the Lord. I came back. I sat down to read Paul’s epistles for the first time in ages. And as soon as I came across this verse, I knew this would be my life verse. I love this verse beyond all words. I want this verse to be my life.
“And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Eph. 3:19)
That YE might be filled with ALL the fulness of God.
I wanted that years ago. I still want that now.
Yet, this verse still challenges me. Paul first says he wants you to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge. How does that work exactly? Commentaries would say, “How can you know something that’s unknowable?” They’d say, “This is a question theologians have wrestled with for centuries.”
Call me crazy, but I don’t think it’s that complicated. (Yet, I always find myself failing to find the words to adequately express the fulness of this verse.)
Paul speaks in this verse of the love which surpasses knowledge. I don’t think he’s talking about something unknowable. I think he’s talking about knowing something of greater value than any knowledge you could ever have – knowing the love of Christ Himself. There is nothing more valuable in life that you can know than the love of Christ. Knowing His love is greater than all knowledge because His love leads you to eternal life and His love leads you to a grace-filled life here on Earth.
And His love leads you into experiencing the fullness of God the Father.
I also suspect that Paul may mean surpassing knowledge in the sense that Christ’s love is beyond the intellectual, that he wants you to know His love by experiencing His love within you, which overflows within you, which overflows out of you, and then you give that love away to everyone you know. It’s more than just knowing something intellectually but experiencing it, living it, giving it away, because this is the greatest experience you could ever possibly know in your whole life.
What’s the result of experiencing Christ’s love? That ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. I’m not sure I fully comprehend the depths of that expression yet. When Paul says to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), he means to come under the full influence of the Spirit. Thus, Paul talking about being filled with the fulness of God, may also mean that he wants you to come under the full influence of God the Father.
Plus, he says, “That ye might be filled with ALL the fulness of God,” that your life is to be thoroughly guided by the will and wisdom of the Father to such a degree that ALL of His attributes become alive in you. Yet, in order for you to come under the full influence of the Father, you must first fully experience the love of the Son.
Why? What’s the connection?
Because the Father and the Son are one. To know Christ is to know the Father. Just as words reveal hidden thoughts, Christ came into this world to reveal the hidden God, and Christ Himself is the Living Word of the living God, the one who spoke the words of God the Father to all mankind, revealing to us all the hidden thoughts of the Father for the world. Christ said, “I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things” (Joh 8:28). He said, “I and my Father are one” (Joh 10:30). He said, “I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (Joh 14:10). He said, “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (Joh 14:9). The Son is the express image of His Father (2 Cor. 4:4, Col. 1:15). To know the love of the Son embodied in His sacrifice is to also know the love of the Father, and the grace of the Father, and the brilliance of the Father.
The will of the Father always operates on the basis of love, and the Father has given us no greater model of love than in the person of His Son. To know and experience the love of the Son is to know the love of the Father, which then helps to bring us into the fullness of His wisdom guided by love, which then brings us under the full influence of the will and wisdom of the Father, which is always motivated by love and grace.
Paul prays, “that ye MIGHT be filled with all the fulness of God.” Why does he say “might?” Because it’s on us to try to reach that mountaintop of His grace life through the study of His Word by fully knowing experientially the love of the Son which then brings us under the full influence of the will and wisdom of the Father, which is always motivated by love because He is love itself. The very fact that love exists in the world is because God is our creator. He is love, and it’s a reflection of His nature that love exists, which makes Him the source of all love, which makes Him love itself. God isn’t loving. He IS love itself. We may talk about how love is a choice for us, but God never chose to love you. He will always love you because He is love itself. That’s who He is. That’s part of His nature. Love is the eternal active energy of His essence.
To come under the influence of Christ’s love is to come under the influence of the very nature of love itself, which brings us under the full influence of the Father.
I also suspect that one of the riches of the Father’s grace is to know the fullness of His will by experiencing the love of the Son, which is taught to us by the Spirit through the study of His Word, and then we can also experience all of the Father’s other attributes. We can feel within ourselves His peace, His joy, His love, and His hope.
To be filled with all the fulness of God is to know the Father so intimately, His very nature becomes alive in you. His wisdom and love guides your feet. His attributes have become your attributes, and you become a reflection of Him in the world just as Christ Himself is also the express image of the Father.
I wanted that years ago. I still want that now.