The Fullness of Love
John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Probably most Christians can quote this verse, and many learned it as youngsters. But how many can quote the next verse? John 3:17: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
The cross proves that not only does God love the people of the world, neither is He condemning them. The idea of condemnation primarily comes from the Old Testament and because of so much confusion about God in the minds of the people. Adam and Eve were not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or they would die. Then why did they eat from the tree? Because they did not trust God. And had they known that God is love, they would not have hidden because they were afraid. All humanity has inherited that nature. God is not holding a grudge. He sent His Son to demonstrate that He is love and that He desires us to be like Himself.
There is a prophecy discussed in Romans, chapters 9-11. This is not a study concerning the prophecy, but the focus is on only one word of that prophecy: Romans 11:25: For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. Men, in other translations, have added a word to suit their own understanding - full number. I do not see anywhere in scripture that God is interested in certain numbers of people being saved. Only men are interested in numbers that they may build their organizations. If fulness does not indicate a certain number (cf 2 Samuel 24:1-17; Luke 12:32; Revelation 7:9) of Gentiles to be reached, then what does it indicate? The blindness, or hardness of Israel will remain until this fulness is reached.
Ephesians 4:8, 11-15: 8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.... 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: The fulness of the Gentiles that will come to be, has to do with growing up into the measure and stature of Christ.
Colossians 2:6-10: 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: The original word, rendered Godhead has a primary meaning of divinity, or a quality of being divine, divine nature. Some translations put deity, a noun whose primary meaning is a god, goddess.
It is the fullness of the divine nature dwelling in Christ, the same divine nature of which mankind has been promised he can partake. 2Peter 1:3-4: 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption (that is) in [a] world [in] lust. (Supplied) [actual] The “divine nature” is simply the character of God that was in Christ, of which we can partake.
Scripture says that God is love (1John 4:8), and the character of love is described in 1Corinthians 13:4-8. Paul speaks of the love that was in Christ in a prayer for the saints: Ephesians 3:14-19: 14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Not only are believers able to partake of the Divine nature and come into the fullness of Jesus Christ, they can be filled with all the fullness of God, a God whose Divine character is LOVE. Not only do we have proof of this in Jesus, by giving his life for all mankind on the cross, but we have another human example recorded in the Bible as well. Stephen, who went about preaching the gospel and doing great wonders, was taken by some of the Jews, and because they could not resist his wisdom, false witnesses were set up to accuse him (Acts 6:8-15). When the high priest asked Stephen if these things were so, Stephen began to recount the history of Israel (Acts 7:1-60).
When Stephen finally brought the history to date, laying at their feet, responsibility for the slaying of prophets and betrayers and murderers of the “Just One,” they grabbed him, and in their anger dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. With all that they did to Stephen, he held no animosity toward them: And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep (Acts 7:59-60). His statement is similar to Christ’s as he was dying on the cross (Lk23:34).
Stephen is a type of the spiritual Jews, referred to by Paul in Romans 11:25 as Gentiles, who will come into the fullness of God’s love before the end and before the blindness is removed from the literal Jews. LOVE covers all sins (Proverbs 10:12); LOVE never fails (1Corinthians 13:8); and the fullness of God IS LOVE! Amen!
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