The reason he can say that is not because he is simply an optimistic person, but because of his faith in Jesus Christ and his understanding of fullness in Him. I think that if we could catch a glimpse of the fullness God intends for our lives, we would have a brand new perspective and a renewed faith.
Let's begin with a brief Greek word study.
Greek Word Study
In a related post on the topic of multiplication, I noted that the word “multiplied” in the New Testament comes from the Greek word "plethuno", which means "to abound or multiply." That word "plethuno" has its roots in the Greek word "plethos", which means “fullness”, that is, a large number, throng, populace, bundle, company, or multitude. This is not only used in the New Testament, but even in the Old Testament. There is a Greek translation of the Old Testament called the Septuagint. In the Septuagint, this same Greek word plethuno is used for “multiply.”
This present study looks at the word "fullness" in the New Testament. It is the word "pleroma". "Pleroma" means "repletion" or "completion." In other words, it can refer subjectively to that which fills (as contents, supplement, copiousness, or multitude). In this sense, it refers to that which is put into something in order to fill it up. It can also refer to the piece that filled up, fulfilling, full, or fullness. On the other hand, it can also refer objectively to that which is filled (as container, performance, or period).
"Pleroma" comes from "pleroo". "Pleroo" means "to make replete," that is, (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc., accomplish, (be) complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply.
So when we read about "fullness", we should understand it is something that has been crammed, like a vessel leveled off at the top, filled up to the brim, and made full.
Here are the instances in the New Testament where the Greek word "pleroma" appears. The English word for pleroma in each verse is bolded below:
A patch sewn used to repair a tear in a garment is considered fullness (pleroma)
"But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. (Mat 9:16)
The baskets used to collect left overs after Jesus multiplied the fish and loaves were full (pleroma)
"and they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish." (Mar 6:43)
"When I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of broken pieces did you pick up?" And they *said to Him, "Seven." (Mar 8:20)
When the Israelites come to faith in Christ, they are considered fulfilled or completed (pleroma)
"This is set in contrast to their transgression and failure: Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!" (Rom 11:12)
When all the Gentiles who are going to be saved have been saved, then that people group will be considered complete or full (pleroma)
"For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery--so that you will not be wise in your own estimation--that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in." (Rom 11:25)
The relationship between love and the law is that love is the fulfillment or completion (pleroma) of the law:
"Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Rom 13:10)
Paul intended to visit the Romans with the fullness (pleroma) of Christ’s blessing
"I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ." (Rom 15:29)
All that the earth is full of (pleroma) belongs to the Lord
"For the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof." (1Co 10:26)
When the time comes for certain events in God’s plans to be carried out, the time for those events is considered to be full (pleroma)
"But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law." (Gal 4:4)
"with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth." (Eph 1:10)
God Himself has a completeness or fullness (pleroma)
"and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." (Eph 3:19)
All of God’s fullness resides in His Son Jesus Christ, and God is pleased to have it that way
"For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him." (Col 1:19)
God’s fullness (pleroma) and all that He is dwells in Christ in bodily form
"For in Him all the fullness (Gr., pleroma) of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete (Gr., pleroo), and He is the head over all rule and authority." (Col 2:9-10)
It is from the fullness (pleroma) of Jesus that we have all received
"For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace." (Joh 1:16)
The church, the Body of Christ, is the fullness (pleroma) of Jesus Christ
"And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." (Eph 1:22-23)
Christ has a fullness or completeness (pleroma). Attaining this fullness in our level of maturity is the end state of the body of Christ
"And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ." (Eph 4:11-13)
Putting it All Together
It's clear from God's Word that a patch sewn into a garment to repair a tear is considered fullness. Just as a patch fills up an entire hole in a garment, this is what it means when there is fullness. The entire need is met, the entire empty place filled up.
The baskets used to collect leftovers after Jesus multiplied the fish and loaves were full. So not only did he fill up and complete the crowd’s need for nourishment, but even the baskets containing the leftovers were brimming full.
When the Israelites come to faith in Christ, they are considered fulfilled or completed. When all the Gentiles who are going to be saved have been saved, then that people group will be considered complete or full.
The relationship between love and the law is that love is the fulfillment or completion of the law.
Paul intended to visit the Romans with the fullness of Christ’s blessing. When the time comes for certain events in God’s plans to be carried out, the time for those events is considered to be full.
God Himself has a completeness or fullness. All of God’s fullness resides in His Son Jesus Christ, and God is pleased to have it that way. It is from the fullness of Jesus that we have all received grace upon grace, because it continues to overflow from Him and fill us.
The church, the Body of Christ, is the fullness of Jesus Christ. God’s intention is that we will all one day attain to the measure of the stature that belongs to the fullness of Christ.
Christ has a fullness or completeness. Attaining this fullness in our level of maturity is the end state of the body of Christ.
The word for “multiplied” in the Bible is the English translation of the Greek word plethuno, which comes from the word pleroma that we have researched in this word study.
Since this word for “fullness” is a root for the word meaning “multiply”, we can better understand what God is doing when He multiplies. He causes everything to abound and increase exponentially until every hole, every need, every ditch, every deficiency, and every area lacking is completely filled up. When He does this, we end up with a large number, a throng, a populace, a bundle, a company, or a multitude.
I hope this study has helped to open up your understanding of fullness. Hopefully you are able to begin seeing the glass completely full to the brim now, instead of just half full. It's only possible through the eyes of faith when you know Christ.
If you already know Jesus Christ personally, but are not experiencing His fullness in your life, then let me encourage you today. Why not take a moment right now to cry out to Him from your emptiness and ask Him to bring about His fullness in your life. Then read the related post in this blog on Multiplication and watch the Lord increase your faith in Him to do that in your life.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
Author's note: You are invited to visit the Home page of this blog, and also access my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.
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