Ephesians 1:23


Monday, 18 July 2016

…which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1:23

The meaning of this verse is one which is highly debated, and the wording is somewhat obscure. It should be taken together with the previous verse for context –

“And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”

Paul says that it is “the church which is His body.” John Chrysostom says that, “…the complement of the Head is the Body, and the complement of the Body is the Head.” Christ Jesus is fully God and fully Man. In His deity, there is no lack. He is a member of the Godhead and they are in eternal fellowship and harmony with one another. In His humanity, there needs to be something to complement who He is. It would make no sense to come as a human if there were no humans who would be affected by His coming.

But humanity is fallen and needs a Redeemer. In coming as their Redeemer, He would be incomplete without a group of redeemed. He is also the Savior, King, High Priest, etc. A savior without saved would be no savior. A king without a kingdom and subjects is not truly a king. It is the church which fills these roles and which complete who Christ is. This does not mean that He is lacking in anything in His being, but that His roles are complete in those whom He heads.

In order to show that this is the case, and that it is not Christ who is lacking in His being, Paul immediately follows up with the thought that the church is “the fullness of Him  who fills all in all.” It is the church which “fills up” or “makes compete” the roles of Christ. His glory and His power are seen in the fact that He is our Head. Without such a body, these would only be known to Himself. But as His body, we are able to acknowledge them. And yet it is Christ “who fills all in all.” He is transcendent over all things and it is He who does the filling of the church. Charles Ellicott states that “we are infinitely more incomplete without Him than He without us.”

He is the Vine, we are the branches. Together we form a whole, but the branches are dependent on the Vine. He was the crucified One; we were crucified with Him. He is the glorious One; we too now share in His glory. Christ is the Head; we are the body.

Life application: God did not need to create, but He did. He became the Creator when He created. Likewise, Christ did not need to redeem us, but He did. When He redeemed us, He became the Redeemer. In all things, Christ is the preeminent One through the things He has accomplished. Let us never forget that Christ truly is our All in all.

Heavenly Father, the fact that You created shows that You care about Your creation. And the fact that You sent Jesus shows that You care about Your redeemed. What kind of love! It is beyond comprehension that You have done so much for us. We deny You, we mock You, and we shake our fists in Your face in defiance. And yet, You continue to hold out those beautiful nailed-scarred hands to us in love. Thank You for patiently waiting for our often tardy response. Thank You for Jesus our Lord. Amen.



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