Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"All in All"

This article is an attempt to understand what is meant by the phrase, "All in all". This phrase is used only two times in the Bible. It is found in Ephesians and 1 Corinthians. In both places the meaning is unclear. By comparing the two passages and looking at the broader context I hope to come to an understanding of this phrase.

Ephesians 1:18-23

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might
20 which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,
23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

In the first chapter of Ephesians Paul prays that the Ephesians will understand what God has done for them. Paul describes what God has done by telling us about Christ's victory over death. Notice the repetition of the word all throughout this prayer; all rule, all things, and all in all. Christ has subjugated all things. He rules over all things. He fills all things.

But what does He fill all things with? We must look at the next passage in Ephesians to find out.

Ephesians 3:14-19

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

This passage elaborates on the filling of all things from chapter one. We are filled up with the love of God as demonstrated by Christ. The love of God described in chapter three has replaced the fear which filled the world under the previous rulers described in chapter one.

Hebrews 12:14,15

Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.

Galatians 2:12

For prior to the coming of certain men from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to withdraw and hold himself aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision.

Romans 8:15

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, " Abba! Father!"

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

1 Corinthians 15:24-28

24 then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.
25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death.
27 For HE HAS PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.
28 When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.

Now that the previous rulers have been defeated there is nothing left of fear. Now the love of God fills all in all. God's love is now filling everything!

Any thoughts?


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