This evening I finished teaching a seminary course on Christology (Study of Christ’s Person & Work) at Asian Christian Academy‘s Extension program in Bangalore. Six lecture hours x Seven Saturdays! After forty-two hours of teaching, I feel like I have not scratched the surface of perhaps the richest topic in all of the Bible. Over the course of going over the teaching material many times I wished that I could pause and linger on a particular definition or an explanation or a good quote that need to be unpacked. It would have taken several more sessions to complete the course. How multifaceted the doctrine of Christ is! I am in love with this doctrine. I want to study it again, and teach it again perhaps, if there is a platform to do that.
But what is the purpose of studying a doctrine of the Bible such as Christology?
It should be nothing short of a strong desire to be filled with the “fulness of Christ” himself in our lives. In the concluding session, then, I told the class that we take a look at the famous Spirit-passage: Ephesians 5:18, “Be filled by the Spirit.” Surprised?
I agree with the Greek grammarian Daniel Wallace that the Holy Spirit is the agent who is doing the filling, not the object of what is filled. So, if Holy Spirit is the agent, then what does He fill us with? Wallace suggests that the key to finding what the Holy Spirit fills us with is to chase the word “fill” (and fullness) in Ephesians itself. See it for yourself:
“…According to the working of his great mightthat he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things 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” (Ephesians 1:19–23).
“…So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17–19).
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers,to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” (Ephesians 4:11–15).
Individuals and churches are to be the full expressions of God as Christ enters in to every part of their being and every aspects of their lives through truth, faith, and love. It is the Holy Spirit who helps us to be filled with the fullness of Christ in our personal and corporate life, as we yield to His direction and His operation in our lives. This is especially achievable if we take personal responsibility of our own spiritual growth that being wrought about in Christ by the Spirit, and at the same time be on the lookout for each other (as is illustrated in this video) to help them become Christ-filled in their life. Imagine what every home and every church and every community would be if the doctrine of Christ is applied practically!
The study of doctrine must lead to practical life. Christology necessarily leads to Christo-Zoe (life).