THE FULLNESS OF CHRIST

“And of his fullness have we all received”

John 1:16

            The metaphorical background for this great theological phrase is portrayed by a container which is literally completely filled with its desired contents. This statement refers to the completeness of Christ’s excellencies and divine qualities, to the totality of His spiritual magnitudes and virtues. As this writer scanned the N.T., he discovered that Christ possessed a fullness of all the spiritual assets with which God the Father could and did endow him.

(I)

Christ: A Fullness of ATTRIBUTES

                The term “attributes” refers to the divine characteristics of God, to His divine perfections and traits. ALL the attributes and abilities that God the Father possesses, without any deletion, Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son likewise possesses. Since Christ is total deity just as the Father, He thus also possesses all the same attributes as His Heavenly Father.

                Eternality, glory, grace, truth, holiness, infinity, omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, you name it—Jesus Christ possesses it. Whatever is true of God the Father is equally true of God the Son. If you want to know what God is like, just look into the Biblical mirror where His Son is revealed and you will view the perfect reflection of the spiritual image of God.

The glorious truth is that the eternally begotten Son of God also became the Son of Man. John 1:1 & 1:14 state: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. Col. 2:19 succinctly states: “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”

(II)

Christ: A Fullness of ANNOINTING

            When He was temporarily veiled for 33½ years in the robe of a sinless human body, Christ never acted on His own. When Christ was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, the “Spirit like a dove” descended upon him” (Mark 1:10), along with the voice of God the Father from Heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”

                While on this earth, Christ had a fullness of anointing by the Spirit of God. In John 3:34, John the Baptist exclaimed about Christ that “God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him,” expressly meaning that during Christ’s entire earthly ministry, He possessed the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s power. While Christ was the second person in the triune Godhead, while on earth Jesus himself would entirely depend on the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit.

Jesus would expressly say in John 5:30: “I can of mine own self do nothing,” meaning that he voluntarily declined to use the independent exercise of His Heavenly attributes by Himself, choosing to completely depend on the Holy Spirit’s person and power to speak and perform His mighty miracles.

(III)

Christ: A Fullness of AFFECTION

In Eph. 5:1-2, the Apostle Paul exhorts believers to manifest the same kind of love that Christ exhibited while He was here on this earth: “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also loved us and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.”

God’s love in Christ extended both to sinners and saints: In Mark 10:21, despite the fact that the rich young ruler valued his riches more than his eternal destiny, we learn that Christ still loved that affluent young man. Hanging on that accursed cross, Christ demonstrated the depth of his love for ungodly sinners when he cried out in Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” 

The Apostle John, writing about Christ’s love for his own disciples whom he personally led and mentored for 3½ years, stated: “Having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.”  In one of his seven statements on the cross, in John 19:27, Jesus compassionately committed the care of His own human mother to the Apostle John. John 3:16 and I John 4:9-10 not only refer to the demonstration of God the Father’s love to us, but also obviously to Christ’s love as well. No human being ever demonstrated such fullness of compassion and love as Jesus Christ!

(IV)

Christ: A Fullness of ATONEMENT

The English word for atonement can literally be broken down into at-one-ment! And that is exactly what accomplished in the shedding of his precious blood in His sacrificial substitutionary death on the Cross. Guilty sinners, alienated [separated] from God by their sin (Eph. 4:15) were potentially reconciled and restored to God’s favor (Eph. 2:11-19) by Christ’s work on the Cross. 

On the Cross, Christ completely satisfied the demands of a holy righteous God by paying the price in totality for our sins! Since Christ was the only individual who ever lived and never sinned—not even once—(John 8:29), He was the only one who could satisfy God’s righteous demands.

On that Cross, Christ provided the complete fullness of atonement, in one ransom payment price—the offering of his precious blood (I Pet 1:18-19) in his death on the Cross. Heb. 10:11-12 contrasts the continual daily offerings of the O. T. Aaronic priesthood with the once-for-all completed sacrifice of Christ: “And every priest standeth daily, ministering and offering oftentimes that same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God.”

Now, all genuine believers are both genuine priests and saints, since we have trusted the one living mediator between God and man—the man Christ Jesus (I Tim. 2:5). The ritualistic so-called Eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass is a completely worthless offering since complete redemption of our souls has already occurred.

We don’t have to worry about spending hundreds/thousands of years in a mythical purgatory since Eph. 1:7 clearly states: “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” While believers can enjoy the blessings of this full atonement, with our earthly limitations, it is impossible to totally comprehend the complete fullness of that substitutionary sacrifice.

(V)

Christ: A Fullness of ATTAINMENT

Having completed, in totality, the payment price for our sins, Christ’s body was temporarily placed in a human grave for three days and three nights, and then Christ arose from the dead, as Jesus Himself clearly prophetically stated in Matt. 12:40: “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

The words of Christ concerning His glorious victorious resurrection are prophetically recorded in Ps. 16:8 and historically fulfilled in His victorious resurrection as accurately reported in Acts 2:25-31. Luke amplifies this in Acts 2:33 when he states that of Christ that He is “by [at] the right hand of God exalted…”  The right hand of God where Christ is seated in the heavenlies is a place where His earthly attainments are manifest before the angelic hosts.

This complete and full attainment of His Heavenly Father’s will is prophetically stated shortly in advance of its full attainment by Christ in John 17 as He prays to His Heavenly Father in John 17:4-5 and says to Him: “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. “

In John 17:24, Christ further amplifies His complete attainment and full glorification based on His atoning work as nears the completion of His prayer to His Heavenly Father: “Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me…”

The Apostle Paul summarizes the fullness of this divine attainment in Eph. 1:22-23 when he declares that God has “…put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”

(VI)

Christ: A Fullness of ACCEPTANCE

The fullness here relates to the believer’s complete, boundless, eternal acceptance which he/she possesses via faith in Christ—Gal. 3:26.  In Eph. 1:6, Paul notes this acceptance when he states: “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he had made us accepted in the beloved.” 

When repentant sinners exercise genuine faith in Christ, they quickly discover that there is an instant acceptance by both the Father and the Son. The phrase, “the beloved” is one of more than 300 titles that are ascribed to Christ in the inerrant Scriptures.

John Phillips in his commentary on the book of Ephesians says that this phrase means that “God now sees us in the beloved. He looks at us and sees Christ. No angel among the heavenly hosts has more acceptance than we.”  Phillips further states that Christ “gave His life for us at Calvary, and then gave us His life to us.”

This acceptance comes via both spiritual birth and spiritual adoption. The spiritual birth is expressed in John 1:12 when the inspired Word states that “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”  The spiritual adoption is disclosed in Eph.1:5 when Paul declares: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”

One Bible commentator says that “adoption” is “the act of God by which He gives His ‘born ones’ an adult standing” into His family, and thus also makes us the future heirs of a heavenly inheritance. The Apostle Peter notes that this inheritance is “incorruptible [It can’t be tampered with!] and undefiled,” that it NEVER fades away and that it is “reserved in heaven” for us (I Peter 1:4). And from the Scriptures, we could go on—and on—and on concerning the fullness of the numerous blessings which Christ has provided us via our acceptance in Him

(VII)

Christ: A Fullness of ADVOCACY

The Apostle John wrote about this full advocacy of Christ when he both warned and wooed genuine believers in I John 2:1: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” This advocacy is complete, full, potent and powerful, lacking nothing!

In his notes, C. I. Schofield says that “Advocacy is the work of Jesus Christ for sinning saints which He carries on with the Father whereby, because of the eternal efficacy of His own sacrifice, He restores them to fellowship.”  

The word “advocate” that John uses there is the same Greek word (paraklesis) that he also uses for the Holy Spirit in John 14:16, 14:26, 15:26, and 16:7. The Son of God serves as our advocate at the throne of God in heaven, while the Holy Spirit acts as our advocate on earth. Rom. 8:26 says that the Holy Spirit makes “intercession for with groanings which cannot be uttered", while Rom. 8:34 declares that Christ “who is even at the right hand of God” also “maketh intercession for us.”

Believers desperately need this full advocacy in heaven  because they have an insidious evil wicked enemy, Satan, who roams the heavenlies, making accusations against God’s children before that heavenly throne—Job 1:6-12, Zech. 3:1-5, Rev. 12:10. Praise God, when Satan raises that accusing finger against specific believers, Jesus Christ, our advocate, with the complete and full powers granted to Him by His Heavenly Father, silences this accuser with his pierced hands and the trophy case of His shed blood on the mercy seat at God’s right hand! Without question, when we need it, there is a fullness of advocacy in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

CONCLUSION

The Apostle Paul succinctly summarized it all up in Col. 2:9, where he states about Christ: “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”  God the Father has placed His entire spiritual riches and eternal stock in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Believers need to permit His divine fullness to captivate and pervade their entire lives, nothing excepted, and allow Christ to be their “all and in all—Col. 3:11. [DJ: my Christmas message]

                Jesus Christ. Believers need to permit His divine fullness to captivate and pervade their entire lives, nothing excepted, and allow Christ to be their “all and in all—Col. 3:11. [DJ: my Christmas message]

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Editorial – DECEMBER 2015 - JANUARY 2016  The Fundamentalist Digest; Permission granted for reprint, so long as proper credit is given.

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