The Fullness of Christ

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace” – John 1:14, 16

When Christ took on flesh, He did not come in a diminished state, He came in His fullness. The incarnate Christ is a full, complete, holistic representation of God the Son. I think it would do us well to dwell on the fact that the fullness of Christ is not realized apart from His humanity. When God desired to create something in His image, He created man. When God desired to reveal Himself in His fullness, He revealed Himself as a man. Humanity is essential in displaying who God is and that fact also says a lot about who we are.

The implications are many, and we will look at three:

We can know God. We do not have a God Who is so transcendent that we cannot truly know Him. If we know Jesus, then we know the Father (John 8:19; 14:7). We can actually be in relationship with God. The remarkable thing about this relationship is that it is a purely grace-driven initiative of God, not us. It was God’s desire to know His creation so intimately, that He condescended to our level and became one of us (Philippians 2:6-7). And even more remarkable is that God limiting Himself does not limit our ability to know Him. We don’t know Him in a limited way, we know Him in “His fullness” (John 1:16; Colossians 2:9).

We will be completely restored one day. Christ became everything that we are (Hebrews 2:17), and accomplished everything that we could not (Romans 8:3-4), so He could make us everything that He is (Philippians 3:20-21). There is not a single part of you that will not be restored, renewed, and redeemed. The fullness of Christ, clothed in the the fullness of humanity, took on the fullness of your sin, drank the fullness of God’s wrath, and tasted the fullness of death so that the fullness of salvation might mend the fullness of your being. In the words of John of Damascus: “the whole Christ assumed the whole me that He might grant salvation to the whole me.”

There are no ordinary people. C.S. Lewis reminds us of this in The Weight of Glory. Being made in the image of God gives us the unique ability to put His glory on display. The heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1), but we reflect it (2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Peter 1:4). If the fullness of the Godhead includes a perfect representation of man, then even the imperfect reflections of that glory are precious. Each person you see and interact with bears a unique, albeit incomplete resemblance to the One who made them. The fullness of God is woven throughout mankind, each individual serving as a single thread in the tapestry of His glory. This is why the apostle Paul says that the church is “the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23). This is why racism, prejudice, and discrimination are so tragic and destructive. God has created each of us to bear a distinct portion of His glory and for any iteration of that glory to be reviled is to profane the holiness of our Creator.

The more we dwell upon this, the deeper I believe the implications will be. Of course, we must avoid the temptation to think too highly of ourselves. Christ taking on the fullness of humanity was meant to put His glory on display, not our own. We are only servants in God’s plan to make much of Himself. This is an honorable and privileged position we hold, but that does not make us the center of everything. We also should not make much of Christ’s humanity at the expense of His deity. If Christ would have compromised any portion of His divinity, He would have ceased to be a sufficient Lord, King, sacrifice, and Redeemer. His Godhood is just as essential as His manhood. If in our worship and reverence of Him we tip the scales in favor of one nature over the other, then we have ceased to worship a sufficient Lord, King, sacrifice, and Redeemer.

But still, let us dwell upon this. To know Him more intimately in any aspect will only produce good. Let us press on to know Him “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

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