From His Fullness We Have All Received
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. (John 1:14–16)
It was a drenching moment for me that Advent. A man in our church had just prayed the words of John 1:14–16 in a pre-service prayer meeting. God granted me in that moment that the word “fullness” fill me. It was an extraordinary experience. There was a kind of Holy Spirit soaking. I felt some measure of what the word really carries—the fullness of Christ. I felt some of the wonder that I had indeed received grace upon grace from this fullness. And I was at that moment receiving grace upon grace.
I felt right then that nothing would have been sweeter than to simply sit at his feet—or read my Bible—all afternoon and feel his fullness overflow.
The fullness of God is the spiritual comprehension (experience) of the fullness of the love of Christ. It fills the Son of God and pours out on us.
Why did this fullness have such an impact on me—and why is it still to this moment affecting me unusually? In part because:
- the one from whose fullness I am being drenched with grace is the Word that was with God and was God (John 1:1–2), so that his fullness is the fullness of God—a divine fullness, an infinite fullness;
- this Word became flesh and so was one of us and was pursuing us with his fullness—so it is an accessible fullness;
- when this Word appeared in human form, his glory was seen—his is a glorious fullness;
- this Word was “the only Son from the Father” so that the divine fullness was being mediated to me not just from God but through God—God did not send an angel but his only Son to deliver his fullness; the fullness of the Son is a fullness of grace—I will not drown in this fullness but be blessed in every way by this fullness;
- this fullness is not only a fullness of grace but also of truth—I am not being graced with truth-ignoring flattery; this grace is rooted in rock-solid reality.
The Love of Christ and the Advent Season
As I savor this illumination of Christ’s fullness, I hear Paul say, “In him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col. 2:9). I hear him say, “In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Col. 1:19). And again, “In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3).
Paul prays that we would experience Christ’s fullness—not just know about it, but be filled with it. Here is the way I hear him praying for me: he prays that I “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that [I] may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:18–19). The “fullness of God” is experienced, he says, as we are given the “strength to comprehend” the love of Christ in its height and depth and length and breadth. That is, in its fullness. This is remarkable: the fullness of God is the spiritual comprehension (experience) of the fullness of the love of Christ. It fills the Son of God and pours out on us.
So when I hear Paul speak to the Romans of “the fullness of the blessing of Christ” (Rom. 15:29), I hear him describing my experience. How I long for you all to know this. Give yourself time and quietness in this Advent season and seek this experience. Pray for yourself the prayer of Paul in Ephesians 3:14–19—“that you may be filled with all the fullness of God”—that you may have power “to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.”
This article is adapted from The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent by John Piper.