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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Byers


Updated: Oct 13, 2021

The phrase “from his fullness we have all received” (John 1:16) keeps stirring in my heart. Fullness is a bountifully rich word meaning the state of being filled to utmost capacity, saturation and completeness. The Apostle John was referring to the grace with which Christ himself was filled, using a term meaning the “plenitude of divine attributes” (Ellicott’s Commentary).

Paul wrote in Colossians that it was the Father’s pleasure, his wondrous plan, for “all the fullness to dwell in Christ” (1:19; 2:9). All the nature and attributes of God are in Christ. And his fullness is offered to us as Paul invites us to see in Eph. 3:18-19 (NLT): “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to fully understand. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” We need the empowering of his Spirit to even begin to understand the rich dimensions of his love, and to realize we have fullness of life in Christ. Then we need to step forward and receive this fullness, taking in this gift of grace. When we know he has “loved us with an everlasting love…and drawn us with lovingkindness” (Jer. 31:3) we are able to begin to receive from his fullness.

We aren’t made for emptiness and darkness and addictive substitutes; we are created for fullness and light! His image is stamped within us. We must cultivate our hearts to be full of expectancy, for once we learn to receive his life and presence, everything we need will follow.

In her bitterness, the widow Naomi, bereaved of her sons, said: “I went away full and the Lord has brought me back empty” (Ruth 1:21). But the story doesn’t end there because the Lord brought her back to fullness again. The women of Bethlehem said to her: “Blessed be the Lord who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age” (4:13). Neither does our story end in pain and emptiness and despair– as we wait and trust he brings us back to fullness.

As we mature, we reach for the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13), growing in it and receiving more. He hasn’t made us to be insignificant, diminished or languishing but rather to be established in the fullness of his life within us, satisfied with his goodness like well-watered gardens. He loves us generously, freely, fully, not meagerly, and rejoices over us to do us good all our days (Jer. 32:41). May we then receive from him and be continuously filled with the Spirit to the measure of his fullness (Eph. 5:18).

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