“Of His Fullness”
Someone said that bad religion explains everything. Good religion cherishes the mystery. Now that doesn’t mean that we are to condone ignorance of that which God has revealed. But it does mean that there is so much about God and His ways that we cannot fathom. And though this is true, we find that we are always blessed in our quest for God. And we do grow in our understanding and in our relationship with Him and our usefulness to others.
Here, for instance, is a marvelous mystery…the Eternal Word became flesh and, for a little while, lived among us. He was full of glory, grace and truth. John tells us that from this “fullness of grace we have all received one blessing after another.” (John 1:16) Jesus possessed this particular fullness because of an emptying. Philippians 2:7 says that He “emptied Himself.” Bear in mind that when the text says Jesus emptied Himself, there had never been anything bad in Him. He readily relinquished rights that were His own. He surrendered His position in Heaven and the privileges of Godhood, in order to redeem us. As a result, there lived in Him all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (CoIossians 2:9)…the fullness of the Father, the fullness of the Spirit and His own fullness. He is the fountain of every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3). His is the fullness of…goodness, faith, joy, hope, compassion, humility, patience, truth, grace, glory, gentleness, self-control, forbearance, forgiveness, and, most of all, love.
Humans…all humans…are invited to come to this Fount of every blessing and realize the fulfillment of their deepest needs—forgiveness, love, acceptance, worth, purpose, motivation and a wonderful destiny. John says, “we have all received.” We are all in the same needy condition. We have nothing to brag about, except Jesus. Whatever good is in us came from Him. And, the good news is…it keeps coming from Him…”one blessing after another.” He never tires of giving. Though we are beggars, He never treats us as such. He never discourages our coming. So make sure that you never tire of coming to Him.
How do we come? We come to Him, first of all, by being immersed, by faith, in water (baptism), a response of obedience, not an attempt to earn anything, in order to enter resurrection life with and because of Him without Whom we would be left hopeless (See Mark 16:15f; Acts 2:38, and Romans 6:1-7). Then we keep coming to Him in meditation, in prayer, in the reading, study and practice of His Word, in worship, in fellowship with the saints, and in service done in and to the glory of His Name. We get to live life in the context of His Great Story which includes the truth about His Presence being always with us to the extent that not even our sin, or weakness, or failures can cause Him to leave us. It’s only settled rebellion in us that drives us out of relationship with Him. Barring that, we keep on receiving one blessing after another from the fullness of Jesus Christ?
For Christians every day is replete with reasons to offer Father God our thanks. This is not to say that it is always easy to be thankful. When sorrows like sea billows roll in upon us… when storms of trial and pain burst above us…even then…maybe, particularly then…be thankful for such a Father Who has His way even in the whirlwind and Who sustains us with the fullness of Jesus Christ!