The Largeness of His Fullness

Daily Reformation, 1 Kings 17:10-16

From the Reformer

Before there can be fulfillment, another than Moses must come, bringing another doctrine. Instead of a law enjoined, there must be grace and truth revealed. For to enjoin a command and to embody the truth are two different things; just as teaching and doing differ. Moses, it is true, teaches the doctrine of the Law, so far as exposition is concerned, but he can neither fulfill it himself nor give others the ability to do so. That it might be fulfilled, God’s Son had to come with his fullness; he has fulfilled the Law for himself and it is he who communicates to our empty heart the power to attain to the same fullness.

This becomes possible when we receive grace for grace, that is, when we come to the enjoyment of Christ, and for the sake of him who enjoys with God fullness of grace, although our own obedience to the Law is still imperfect. Being possessed of solace and grace, we receive by his power the Holy Spirit also, so that, instead of harboring mere empty letters within us, we come to the truth and begin to fulfill God’s Law, in such a way, however, that we draw from his fullness and drink from that as a fountain.

—Martin Luther, Assorted Sermons, “The Twofold Use of the Law & Gospel”

Pulling It Together

The American poet, Walt Whitman, wrote in Leaves of Grass, “Do I contradict myself?/Very well, then, I contradict myself;/(I am large—I contain multitudes.)” The Christian admits to no such thing. If a Christian is “large,” it is because of the Spirit that has filled her emptiness. No matter how much one deludes herself or strives to overcome the emptiness, individually or corporately, at the end of the day one must confess her lonely hollowness. There is One, however, who “fills all in all.” (Eph 1:23) Christ comes to occupy your lack with his completeness. The fullness of life begins with the admission that you contain nothing and need the only One who can fill your emptiness with his largeness.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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