Author: Ron Graham
Full Sufficiency of Grace
John says of Jesus, "Of his fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace" (John 1:16). This “fullness” is sometimes called his “plenitude” or “all-sufficiency”.
1 The Fullness of Christ
What is it that makes Christ fully sufficient for us as our Saviour? Primarily it is his sacrifice. Look what John and Paul say:
¶“1My dear children, I write this to you so that you won't sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father as our advocate —Jesus Christ, the Righteous. 2He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1John 2:1-2).
¶“27...Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 whom we preach, warning everyone, and teaching everyone in all wisdom, that we may present everyone complete in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:27-28).
There is, of course, much more to the fullness of Christ. There are many passages describing his all-encompassing power. Take, for example, one of Paul’s statements, leading up to the one above:
¶“16For by him all things were created that are in heaven and earth, things visible and invisible: whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. All things were created by him, and for him.”
¶“17He is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he might have the highest place. 19For it pleased the Father that in him all fulness should dwell.”
¶“20 And having made peace through the blood of his cross, the Father was pleased to reconcile all things to himself by him —yes, by him, whether things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Colossians 1:16-20).
Some feel that Christ is insufficient, and we need to worship or pray to angels and saints and other enlightened beings. Yet none but Jesus Christ could provide a sacrifice sufficient to save us from all sin, and none but he is qualified to be our advocate with the Father. He is altogether sufficient.
2 The Sufficiency of the Scriptures
In addition to the fullness of Christ, consider the fullness of God’s wisdom and knowledge to make us wise unto salvation. Paul shows that the scriptures, a gift from God, are fully sufficient for us to know that wisdom.
¶“33Oh the depth of the riches of both the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33).
¶“15...the Holy Scriptures are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith that is in Christ Jesus. 16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; 17that the people of God may be perfect, completely equipped for all good works” (2Timothy 3:15-17).
Some feel that the Bible cannot be understood properly on its own without the support and context provided by other books. But the Bible itself consists of more than sixty books, long and short, written by many different authors over many centuries.
One part of scripture sheds light on another part. There is no matter of any importance in the scripture that cannot be understood sufficiently by comparing scripture with scripture.
The theme of the scripture is Jesus Christ who provides forgiveness of sins to a sinful world. The Bible alone tells us all we need to know about that. The scriptures are fully sufficient to lead everyone to the fullness of Christ.
3 The Fullness of Grace
God has given his Son, and given his word, out of his wondrous grace and mercy. None of us deserved it. Yet we are able to "know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge... filled with all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:19). That's the fullness of God’s grace.
¶“14I kneel before the Father, 15from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being. Thus may 17Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”.
¶“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all God’s holy people. May you grasp how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is. 19By knowing this love that surpasses knowledge may you be filled with all the fullness of God.”
¶“20Now to him who is able to do exceedingly more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that works within us, 21to him be glory in his called out people, and in Christ Jesus, throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:14-21).
¶“1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who are God’s chosen people, exiles scattered in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. 2You are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by the holiness of his Spirit. This led to your obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. Grace to you, and may your peace increase.”
¶“3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again for a living hope. By reason of the raising of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4we hope for an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you.”
¶“5By God’s power, and through faith, you are being guarded for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6You rejoice in this, though now for a little while, if it must be, you suffer various trials.”
¶“7These trials prove the genuineness of your faith. Gold is melted by fire, yet refined. Your faith has more value than gold. When tested by fiery trials, your faith will yield praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
¶“8Though you have not seen Jesus, you love him. Though now you do not see him, yet you are believing in him. Moreover, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and filled with glory. 9You are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:1-12).
Some feel unworthy of salvation, and let that feeling weaken their faith. The truth is, we are all unworthy and only by the grace of God through the sacrifice of his Son are we made worthy —not by our own merit. Fortunately the grace of God is fully sufficient to overcome our unworthiness. Let us believe this and rejoice in it.