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 passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Paul prays that we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit, in the man inside, not the person of flesh we still have to deal with but the saved man who is at odds with the man of flesh. Paul already told us that it was his calling to teach the unsearchable riches of Christ back in verse eight.
In Romans Paul speaks of how God’s longsuffering attitude is supposed to reveal, “the riches of his glory,” to us.
Romans 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: 23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
It is the Spirit of God which strengthens us so that Christ can live in our hearts by faith. It is an act of God, not of your good wishes or feigned spirituality.
The prayer continues that we be rooted in love. This love is clearly meant to be the love we have for God and the love we have for our brothers and sisters in Christ and the love we have for the lost. A Christian who has read the Bible at any length would see the dozens and dozens of verses referring to this. There is Jesus’ conversation with the lawyer in Matthew 22:35-40.
Matthew 22:35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
There is the chapter on charity, the active love that Christians are to have for each other*, in 1Corinthians 13.
1 ¶ Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
4 ¶ Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
8 ¶ Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
There is also Jesus’ command to His disciples.
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
God Himself doesn’t wish that any person should spend eternity in agony without Him.
1Timothy 2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
You can separate religions into two groups, with one whose belief that the Creator of all loves mankind dearly enough to live as one of them and to die for them paying for all of their actions against Him and each other with His own blood, and then every other religion. But don’t get haughty. You didn’t do anything. You had nothing to do with this happening. You were a recipient of His mercy, which you don’t deserve, if you have trusted Christ.
There are many other verses that show you that the prime motivation for action for the Christian must be a love for someone other than themselves.
Paul uses the phrase, “all men,” twenty nine times in his letters revealing on many occasions what is to be our response to the lost.
Here is something he wants us to comprehend.
Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There are four dimensions listed here in verse 18; the breadth, length, depth, and height. Paul is trying to explain how big Christ’s love is for us, something beyond our understanding and beyond space and time.
He wants us to know the love that comes from Christ, which is greater than all knowledge, that we can experience God’s abundance. Fullness is FULL – NESS as in abundance or full or completely filled or completely realized.
Deuteronomy 33:16 And for the precious things of the earth and fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush: let the blessing come upon the head of Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him that was separated from his brethren.
1Chronicles 16:32 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof: let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein.
Psalms 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Psalms 50:12 If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
Psalms 89:11 The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them.
Psalms 96:11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.
Psalms 98:7 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
Ezekiel 16:49 Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.
John 1:16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
Romans 11:12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?
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.
Romans 15:29 And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
Now meditate on verse 19 again. It’s incredible. Be filled with Christ’s love.
John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
We, as humans, can comprehend no greater sacrifice than to give up our lives for those we love.
To be filled with all the fullness of God we must seek to know the love of Christ, to understand it. In the political speech of modern American evangelicals there doesn’t seem to be a lot of understanding of love, least of all a love for God. We talk about our rights all the time but what about God’s rights over us?
Rooted in love, the basis of our faith, not in agreement with or participation in another’s sin but expressing an active and living concern for their salvation and their genuine physical welfare, understanding the love Christ has and had for all human beings.
*Charity is the love of one’s brothers and sisters in Christ, a love that means nothing if it is not active, which crosses all dispensations. Charity begins at the family or house of God. If you have no charity for your brethren you will certainly not have any for the world at large.
- James 2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
- Colossians 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
- 1Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.(see Proverbs 10:12).
- 2Peter 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.