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EPHESIANS - Chapter 3 - Verse 19

Verse 19. And to know the love of Christ. The love of Christ towards us; the immensity of redeeming love. It is not merely the love which he showed for the Gentiles in calling them into his kingdom, which is here referred to; it is the love which is shown for the lost world in giving himself to die. This love is often referred to in the New Testament, and is declared to surpass all other which has ever been evinced. See Barnes "Ro 5:7, See Barnes "Ro 5:8"; See Barnes "Joh 15:13".

To know this; to feel this; to have a lively sense of it, is one of the highest privileges of the Christian. Nothing will so much excite gratitude in our hearts; nothing will prompt us so much to a life of self-denial; nothing will make us so benevolent and so dead to the world. See Barnes "2 Co 5:14".

 

Which passeth knowledge. There seems to be a slight contradiction here in expressing a wish to know what cannot be known, or in a desire that they should understand that which cannot be understood. But it is the language of a man whose heart was full to overflowing. He had a deep sense of the love of Christ, and he expressed a wish that they should understand it. Suddenly he has such an apprehension of it, that he says it is indeed infinite. No one can attain to a full view of it. It had no limit. It was unlike anything which had ever been evinced before. It was love which led the Son of God to become incarnate; to leave the heavens; to be a man of sorrows; to be reviled and persecuted; to be put to death in the most shameful manner—ON A CROSS. Who could understand that Where else had there been anything like that? What was there with which to compare it? What was there by which it could be illustrated? And how could it be fully understood? Yet something of it might be seen, known, felt; and the apostle desired that, as far as possible, they should understand that great love which the Lord Jesus had manifested for a dying world.

That ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. What an expression! How rich and glorious! Who can comprehend all that it implies? Let us inquire into its meaning. There may be here in these verses an allusion to the temple. The apostle had spoken of their being founded in love, and of surveying the length, and breadth, and depth, and height of that love, as of a vast and splendid edifice; and he now desires that those whom he addressed might be pervaded or filled with the indwelling of God. The language here is cumulative, and is full of meaning and richness.

(1.) They were to be full of God. That is, he would dwell in them.

(2.) They were to be filled with the fulness of God—to plhrwma tou yeou. On the word rendered fulness, See Barnes "Eph 1:10, See Barnes "Eph 1:23".

It is a favourite word with Paul. Thus he speaks of the fulness of the Gentiles, Ro 11:25; the fulness of time, Ga 4:4; the fulness of him that filleth all in all, Eph 1:23; the fulness of Christ, Eph 4:13; the fulness of the Godhead in Christ, Col 1:19; 2:9. It means here, "that you may have the richest measures of Divine consolation and of the Divine Presence; that you may partake of the entire enjoyment of God in the most ample measure in which he bestows his favours on his people."

(3.) It was to be with all the fulness of God; not with partial and stinted measures of his gracious presence, but with all which he ever bestows. Religion is not a name. It is not a matter of form. It is not a trifle. It is the richest, best gift of God to man. It ennobles our nature. It more clearly teaches us our true dignity than all the profound discoveries which men can make in science; for none of them will ever fill us with the ruiness of God. Religion is spiritual, elevating, pure, Godlike. We dwell with God; walk with God; live with God; commune with God; are like God. We become partakers of the Divine nature, (2 Pe 1:4;) in rank we are associated with angels; in happiness and purity we are associated with God.

{a} "fulness of God" Joh 1:16

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