so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
(Ephesians 3:17-19 ESV)
Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians, which we have been studying for the past few days, reaches its pinnacle with today’s verse. The prayer started off with Paul asking that believers be spiritually strengthened so that Christ can dwell within their hearts. The result of Christ’s indwelling is that their lives are built on a foundation of love such that they can comprehend the infinite vastness of God’s love for them.
Which brings us to Paul’s final desire for believers: they reach spiritual maturity by being filled with the fullness of God.
The Greek word for “fullness” here is πλερομα (pronounced: play’-ro-mah). The idea of being filled is to be controlled by. It is used elsewhere in the Bible to describe someone who is being controlled by an emotion (e.g filled with anger, jealousy). The ultimate state of a Christian is to have his mind controlled by God.
This is not meant to imply that God wants us to become robots. The concept here is that we are so fixated on God and His grace and love for us, that we forsake our own sense of right and wrong for His righteousness.
When a cup is filled with water there is no room left in it for anything else. We are to be filled with God such that there is not room in our minds and lives for anything else. This is exactly how Jesus lived [Colossians 2:9]. And the goal God has for all His children is to be like Christ [Romans 8:29].
But lest we think that we can achieve this on this earth we need to remember that even the great apostle Paul did not attain this. He continued to do things his natural flesh wanted to do even though he knew these were not the things he should be doing [Romans 7:15]. It is not until we see Jesus that we will actually be like Him [1 John 3:2].
But we can certainly experience some taste of this on this earth. And it all starts with letting Christ, who is God, indwell our hearts as Paul prayed. I think when we experience a bit of heaven on earth we are more inclined to live like the citizens of heaven we already are. We are also more likely to reach out to those who don’t yet believe.
We will not be the people God has in mind in this life. But we will be those people when we die. This is the great reward awaiting those who believe and go to heaven [John 1:12, 3:3, 3:16 et. al]. We will experience life as it was meant to be. And that experience will last forever.
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