“…which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:23
“Which is HIS body…”
When is the last time you walked up to a toe nail and started talking to it as though it was an entity of itself? The only time a member of a body takes on an identity completely individual from the body is when it is separated from the body and is no longer a member of it. It is dead!! An eye not in a body has no life of its own. An eye in a body has no individual identity. Nor is it’s identity derived from those members around it. The identity and use of the eye is a direct consequence of the person. It is not the physical eye that makes a person kind and yet a kind person will reveal kindness through the eyes. The eye in proper relationship to the person is totally, absolutely subject to the will and whim of the person. If any member of the body is not subject to the person, there is a problem. Also, it is not the responsibility of the eye to make sure the rest of the members are submitting to the person. The eye’s only jurisdiction is to submit itself to the will of the person (or “head” as pictured in the context of this verse). This does involve communication (edification) with the other members of the body. There is both a receiving and giving with other members but all within a total subjection to the head.
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to be a finger on someone’s body? First, you are totally dependent. You cannot supply your need. Second, you lay down any individual soul identity. Our soul has been described as our mind (what you want to think), our will (what you want to do), and our emotions (what you want to feel). In the case of you being a finger, it isn’t about what you want to think, nor what you want to do, nor what you want to feel. You are only a “particapating channel” for what the person (head) wants to think, do, and feel. How is this picture witnessed other places in scripture? Jesus said that you cannot be His disciple without hating your soul and that the greatest Love is laying down your soul! WOW! Let us apply this to you being a member of the body of Christ. Your identity must not be found in yourself, what you can do, what you look like, or those around you. In order for you to function correctly in the body you must simply be focused on Christ (the Head/Person)! He will direct you perfectly and fulfill His pleasure and purpose through you. Christ’s body is not an organization any more than your physical body is an organization. Your body is simply members, each under the direction of the head. There is order. But the order is a result of the head not the genius of the members.
“…the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.”
When someone walks into the room, how do you recognize who it is? Some answers may include: voice, face, clothing, body form, foot steps, and more… All these answers, while being an expression of the person to one degree or another, are primarily communicated in some way, shape, or form by means of their body. You may easily be able to see that someone is having a hard day but most likely it was their “body language” such as a facial expression and/or shoulder position that was the means of their inward thoughts being revealed. The body of Christ is no different. When you see the body of Christ you recognize Him by His expression of Himself through it. Another way of putting it is that someone’s body is what fills full their expression. Sounds like… “which is the fullness of Him.” Your body is the filling up and out of the expression of who you are in your inner man! Christ’s body is likewise.
The phrase “all in all” registers with most of us as a catch phrase that means almost nothing. Think about what it means to fill all! Christ fills all! But He does not simply walk past dumping in whatever it is that is needed at the moment to fill something, as we can easily think of it! Christ is the all! He gives HIMSELF continually to fill all void IN all people, things, animals, dominions, etcetera…. Christ fills full (fulfills) the whole (all) in everything (all). Who defines or decides what the “whole (all)” is that needs to be filled? Here is where our problem comes in regard to believing that Christ fills all. We don’t see “all” as being filled by Him; because we have received our definition of “what needs to be filled” from another source other than the One Who made “the need to be filled.” He made a need for Himself in all of His creation so He can give Himself! And His body is definitely not separated from Him in this purpose of His but is an integral part of its expression and fulfillment.
Just as a person may do something like exercising or work that causes one or more members of his body to hurt, Christ’s body members will experience pain in order for His purpose to be accomplished. Colossians 1:24 “[I] now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:”
Colossians 1:15-20 “[Christ] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
“By Him all things consist”….”Him that filleth all in all”. What is your table made of? “Well,” you might say, “plastic, wood, metal, or some other material.” But by Whom does it consist? Biblically, the answer is “Christ”! What manner of people we should be, realizing our utter dependence on Christ for ALL!!! Science has tried to explain what holds everything together apart from Christ, but they find not the answer because HE IS!!! HALLELUJAH! What a depth of giving our God has planned and purposed to give of HIMSELF!!! We can rightly say that He is GOOD! But this is not the end of the story! He has provided that you and I may be an intimate part of Him and His Goodness. He integrates us into Himself so completely that we become part of His fullness! He fills all in all and we are a member of His body which is the fullness of Him! We walk not simply as created beings but indwelt members. We are partakers of Him!!! What a calling!!! What a oneness!!! What an inheritance!!!
Ephesians 5:30 “For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Ephesians 4:4 “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;”