Ephesians 3:14:19: Filled With All The Fullness of God
Ephesians 3:14:19: Filled With All The Fullness of GodBy: Todd Hudnall
14-15 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
For this reason picks up after the parenthesis of 3:2-13, and begins by repeating the words of verse one. Because they are Christ’s body and God’s temple Paul prays for them.
In saying, I bow my knees, Paul is not prescribing a required posture for prayer. He did not always pray while kneeling, and Scripture tells of God’s people praying in many different positions. Abraham stood as interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 18:22). David sat before the Lord as he prayed about the building of the Temple (1 Chron. 17:16). In Gethsemane Jesus “fell on His face and prayed”(Matt. 26:39). Elisha was likely praying as he walked back and forth preparing to raise the Shunammite woman’s son from the dead (II Kings 4:35-36). But bowing the knees is a posture that signifies submission (Ps. 95:1-6), intensity (Ezra 9:5-6, Acts 20:36) and reverence (Dan. 6:10).
Paul’s prayer is to the Father. At the Last Supper Jesus told His disciples that after His resurrection, “You will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you” (John 16:24). Jesus is teaching us that in petition prayer we are not to address Him in prayer but the Father in His name. We have direct access to the Father in the name of Jesus.
Paul calls Him the Father from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. This is not teaching the universal fatherhood of God and the universal brotherhood of man. Instead the Bible teaches that there are two spiritual fathers, God and Satan. All those who have trusted in Christ become children of God. All who have not are children of Satan (John 8:39-44, 1 John 3:10).
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,
Our inner man can be strengthened with might through His Spirit. In 2 Corinthians 4:16 Paul says, “Our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” Smith Wigglesworth would say, “I’m twice as big on the inside as I am on the outside.” He could have said, “I’m twice as strong on the inside as I am on the outside.” There is an inner strength the Holy Spirit can give that will allow us to be all God has called us to be and do all He has called us to do.
The phrase to be strengthened is the Greek word KRATOS meaning “ruling power” or “God’s power to overcome every resistance.” The word might is DUNAMIS or inherent power. It is the empowerment the Holy Spirit gives (Acts 1:8). The world, the flesh and the devil resists every attempt we make to fulfill God’s purpose for our life. But God’s Spirit can give us the strength to do what we are called to do. God says we are kings in this life (Rev. 5:10). In old English the word “king” meant a “can’er.” A King is someone who can. There are times when we feel like we will be unable to fulfill our God given purpose, but we can. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13). Through Christ’s strengthening might we are enabled to overcome all resistance.
17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
In this context the word dwell refers not to the indwelling of the Spirit through salvation (Rom. 8:9, 11; 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19). Instead this speaks of Christ being comfortably at home in our hearts. In John 14:23 Jesus said, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” There are places where you go and you feel out of place the moment that you are there. You feel uncomfortable and you wish you hadn’t visited the place. You are not in harmony with what is going on. Then there are other places you go and you feel so comfortable, so at ease, so relaxed. Now that Christ might be at home in your hearts means that your heart might be so in tune with Him that as He dwells within your heart there is no strain, there is no embarrassment for Him.
There are often things in believer’s lives the Lord is not comfortable dwelling with. That is why we must allow Him to carry out a regular house cleaning (Psalm 139:3, 1 John 1:9). We must purge the temple of our hearts that the Lord will be totally at home in us. We can do this through Christ’s strengthening.
Then we can be rooted and grounded in love. As through the strength of Christ our lives become a comfortable dwelling place of God we begin to fully experience the always available, undeserved, unearned and unasked for love of God. We then can become rooted like a tree and grounded like a building in His love. At that pointing nothing can move us from fulfilling His Divine purpose.
18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height--
Comprehend means not simply to understand intellectually but to receive experientially. In whatever spiritual direction we look we can see God’s love. We can see love’s width reflected in God’s acceptance of Gentile and Jew equally in Christ (Eph. 2:11-18). We can see love’s length in God’s choosing us before the foundation of the world (1:4-5) for a salvation that is to last through all eternity. We can see love’s height in God’s having “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (1:3) and in His having “raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”(2:6). We can see love’s depth in God’s reaching down to the lowest levels of depravity to redeem those who are dead in trespasses and sins (2:1-3). God’s love can reach any person in any sin, and it stretches from eternity past to eternity future. It takes us into the very presence of God and sits us on His throne.
19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
The love of Christ is not something you can know through intellectual reason because it exists outside the parameters of reason. It passes knowledge. There is no logical reason God should love us the way He does.
In Greek the word filled means to make full, or fill to the full, and is used many times in the New Testament. It speaks of total dominance and control. A person filled with rage is totally dominated and controlled by hatred. To be filled with all the fullness of God therefore means to be totally under His domain and control.
The only way a human being can so give themselves to another in such a total way is if that other is unconditional love. Only through a revelation of God’s love can we be filled with the fullness of God.