Ephesians 1:15–23comment (0)
September 9, 2010
By Dale Younce
Related Scripture: Ephesians 1:15–23
Explore the Bible
Professor, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
God’s Plan Involves Power
Thinking about God, much less trying to understand Him, is difficult for many believers. They may not enjoy such deep thoughts or may believe such thoughts are too difficult for them. Perhaps they say because God is beyond human understanding. In their view, then, they have no reason to think about God. To be sure, no human being can understand everything about God. Yet every human can have a better understanding of God. We cannot understand Him exhaustively, but we can understand Him truly. Nonbelievers can understand that He has a plan to provide salvation that includes them. Christians can understand more about what God’s plan means for them and the power of God that is available to them. In addition, God gives them the needed spiritual insight to understand more about Him. The apostle Paul prayed that such insight be given to his readers.
Pray for Spiritual Insight (15–17)
In the middle of Ephesians 1, Paul moved from explanation (1–14) to prayer (15–23). He had described the blessings of God’s eternal plan of redemption. Then he prayed that his readers might receive the spiritual insight needed to grasp these truths. Paul asked that believers be given a disposition of “wisdom and revelation” in knowing God. Wisdom gives insight into the true nature of things while revelation is the unveiling of a thing. The purpose in having this wisdom and revelation is to get to know God personally and intimately, including an intimate awareness of His character and will.
Expand Your Understanding (18–19)
Paul prayed that his readers might have true spiritual insight into God. A spiritually enlightened mind is the only means for a genuine understanding of truths about God. “Heart” in the Bible is considered the center of a person’s life. Paul desired that the believers appropriate three spiritual facts concerning the past, present and future: (1) the hope of God’s calling, (2) the riches of God’s inheritance (which the saints are) and (3) the great power of God displayed in Christ’s resurrection and exaltation.The hope of God’s calling refers to the past; it is His summons to salvation (Phil. 3:14). A believer’s present hope has its source in the past work of Christ on the cross. “Hope” in the New Testament is the absolute certainty of victory rooted in God’s Word. Paul wanted his readers to live confidently in the present because of what God has done and said in the past. The believer does not rest upon his or her own imperfect response to God’s call but upon the fact that what he or she has heard and responded to is His call. “The riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” refers to the future, the believer’s glorious destiny; God’s future glory will be displayed though His people. “The surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe” refers to the present, accenting the power that now works in the believer and on his or her behalf. This is that great power of God that raised Jesus from the dead and exalted Him to glory to sit at the place of supreme authority in the universe. This power is granted freely to every believer at the time of salvation and is always available. Paul did not pray that God’s power would be given to believers but asked that they would be aware of the power they already possessed in Christ and would use it.
Acknowledge God’s Power (20–23)
The power of which believers can lay hold is the same power God used in raising Jesus from the dead and lifting Him to sovereignty over the universe. The risen, exalted Christ is Lord and Master over the visible world of nature and people. He also has command of all spirit-beings. Jesus is the Lord of all the cosmic forces because He is their Creator and rightful Ruler. His name excels all such forces, both now (in the present age) and in the age to come (the millennial age). God has exalted Christ over everything, including the Church. He is the administrative head of the Church, which is Christ’s body, in the world as the instrument of His purpose. All that Christ has from God, He passes on to the Church. The Church is filled with Him, partaking of all that He is and possesses in order to continue His work in time/place history.