Sunday, 28 August 2016
…to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19
The verse here forms a play on the words “know” and “knowledge” which form a paradox, and yet which reveal certain truths. Paul, filled with a desire to express the infinite nature of what God has done for us, had just given one paradox. It is that we –
“…may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height…” (3:18)
It is impossible to comprehend that which is infinite. And so he stopped as if gasping and then moved on to this verse. He desires that we are “to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge.” The “to know” indicates learning through experience. This is in the aorist tense. The “knowledge” indicates having grasped what should be known. However, if what should be known is infinite, then we cannot ever fully learn through experience what we are being asked to know. What he is saying then is that we are to learn through continued experience, at any given time, what God is revealing of Himself in the love of Christ. As Charles Ellicott states it –
“…so that they may always go on from faith to faith, from knowledge to knowledge, and yet find new depths still to be fathomed.
Like the air that fills the bellows, so the love of Christ should fill the mind and soul, and yet there is an inexpressible amount of air on the outside, still untapped. And so we should again fill our mind and soul in order to obtain more knowledge. And then we should repeat this process again and again, for all eternity – ever striving to grasp what can never be truly understood. No matter how long we live in the ages of ages to come, we will still be finite. We will never entirely attain the full knowledge of the love of God in Christ.
However, we should forever continue to pursue it so that we “may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Again, it is another paradoxical statement. How can one who is finite be filled with the infinite? Though it is impossible, it is what we are being asked to do. Again, an aorist verb is used for “filled.” We should be like the open vessel into which is poured the stream of flowing water. Though the water spills out the top, new water comes in to replace it, filling and filling until the eternal ages have come and gone and yet the flow keeps coming.
This is the splendor of what God offers to reveal to us as we contemplate His infinite goodness towards us in Christ Jesus. And this is what Paul asks us to know and to be filled with.
Life application: Let the goodness of God in all its fullness come and fill you, even to overflowing, and then… let Him continue to fill you some more. Never cease being filled with the glorious love of God in Christ Jesus.
Lord God, we are like clay pitchers, empty and dry. And You are the source of the eternally flowing Water of life. Fill us so that we might be filled, and never cease filling us with the infinite knowledge of Your love for us which is found in Jesus Christ our Lord. Though the ages will come and go, we will never have received all of the filling that we can obtain. Give us wisdom to pursue You now and always, drawing near to You to be filled with this precious Water of life; this infinite outpouring of Your love. Amen.