By Charles H. Welch
Fulness (Eph. 1:22,23). Two writers, one
Cunnington who made a translation of the New Testament, and Dr. J. Armitage
Robinson, have made such suggestive comments on Ephesians 1:22 and 23,
that we feel obliged to let the reader have the benefit of their helpful
words. The intervening comments are by A.T. in an article published in
"Cunnington furnishes an unusual thought, 'the fulness of Him who
all in all is receiving His fulness.' The last four words express the
Middle Voice force of 'getting or doing something for oneself.' Cunnington
has here a footnote, 'cf. Phil. 2:7; process of cancelling the Emptying.'
Here we have a most beautiful thought. When Christ Jesus (note the term)
emptied Himself, He must have
emptied Himself of His fulness. But after resurrection He got back His
fulness-'in Him delights the
entire fulness to dwell' (Col. 1:19); 'in
Him is dwelling the entire fulness of the Deity bodily' (Col.
"But the glorious thing for us is not alone that He got back the fulness
He formerly possessed. Even that pristine fulness would be incomplete
without His Body, the Church. We are, as it were, the fulness of His
"In his Exposition of Ephesians (1907) J. Armitage Robinson, D.D., states
that verse 23 is perhaps the most remarkable expression in the whole
epistle. He says the Church is described as 'the fulness of Him who
aU in all is being fulfilled.' Paul would appear to mean 'that in some
mysterious sense the Church is that without which the Christ is not
complete, but with which He is or will be complete. That is to say,
he looks upon the Christ as in a sense waiting for completeness, and
destined in the purpose of God to find completeness in the Church. This
is a somewhat startling thought.'
"Dr. Robinson gives a new thought from Col. 2:9, 'for in Him dwelleth
all the fulness of the Deity in a bodily way, and ye are filled (or,
fulfilled) in Him.' This is usually taken to refer to the Godhead residing
in the Lord's body in all its completeness. But Dr. Robinson says this
would be to neglect Paul's special use of the terms 'fulness' and 'body'
in his epistles. The empty deceit of the philosophical despoiler can
only give tradition and world-elements in place of the heavenly Christ.
For in Christ dwells all the fulness of the Deity, expressing itself
through a body: a body, in which you are incorporated, so that in Him
the fulness is yours. The next words in Col. 2:10 might be taken as
confirming this thought, literally, 'And you are, in Him, ones-having-been-filled-full.'
"Dr. Robinson continues, 'Thus St. Paul looks forward to the ultimate
issue of the Divine purpose for the universe. The present stage is a
stage of imperfection: the final stage will be perfection. All is now
incomplete: in the issue all will be complete. And this completeness,
this fulfilment, this attainment of purpose and realisation of ideal,
is found and is to be found (for to St. Paul the present contains implicitly
the future) in Christ-in Christ "by way of a body"; that is to say,
in Christ as a whole, in which the head and the body are inseparably
one. Even beyond this the Apostle dares to look. This fulfilled and
completed universe is in truth the return of all things to their creative
source, through Christ to God, "of Whom and through Whom and unto Whom
are all things,"-"that God may be all in all." ' "
See article on BODY.
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