FromA Sermon Preached Before the King’s Majesty at Whitehall on Christmas Day(1609)

Here is a double “fullness:” God’s as much as he can send; and on our side, as much as we can desire.  The first fullness is this: God sent his Son, made of a woman, under the law.  And our fullness comes next: we are redeemed and receive adoption… when we were strangers from the adoption, and not that only, but lay under the law, as people, from this we are redeemed and that being so redeemed we might further receive adoption as children.  Just as Christ is the son of man, so we might be made the sons of God.  And this is our fullness.

To this I will add another fullness, one that emerges out of our redemption and adoption.  As now is the time when we from God receive the fullness of his bounty, so now is also the time when God from us may receive the fullness of our duty.  The time of his bountifulness and the time of our thankfulness are one: downward and upward, from God to us, and from us to God again…

And so, growing from grace to grace, finally from this fullness we shall come to be partakers of another, one to which we aspire.  For all this is but the fullness of time.  But the fullness to which we aspire is the fullness of eternity, when time will run out and time’s hour-glass empty, which is at God’s next sending. For yet once more will God the Father send Christ, and he come again.  At which time we shall then indeed receive the fullness of our redemption – not from the Law, for that we have already, but from the corruption to which our bodies are still subject.  Then we will receive the full fruition of the inheritance of our adoption.  And then it will be a perfect, complete, absolute fullness indeed, when we shall all be filled with the fullness of God who fills all in all.  For so will all be, when nothing will be wanting in any; for God will be all in all.

Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626) was Bishop of Chichester and Winchester, one of the most influential scholars and church leaders of his day. He was one of the principal translators of the Authorized “King James” Version of the Bible, and a widely admired preacher. He preached the 1609 Christmas Day sermon at Whitehall Palace in London before King James I. He is commemorated on September 26 on the calendar of several Anglican churches. The text has been slightly adapted for contemporary readers.