Ephesians 3:14-21

14For this reason I bow my knees to the Father, 15from Whom every family in heaven and earth is named, 16that according to the riches of His glory He may give you power to become strong through His Spirit in the inner man, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being firmly rooted and established in love, 18may be fully able to understand with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth…19to know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge, in order that you may be filled will all the fullness of God. 20Now to Him Who is able to do so much more than we ask or imagine according to the power that is at work in us, 21to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever, amen.


Paul now moves to wrap up this section by syllogizing all the premises he’s argued thus far. Based on the rationale of yesterday’s readings, for example, Paul now can explain why he bows his knees to the Father. Notice the trinitarian ethos contained in the pericope; Paul prays to the Father that He will continue to place His Spirit in the Ephesians, so that they may experience Christ—and more of Him. It is, strictly speaking, true that believers do not experience Christ physically the way they will in the eschaton. As expositor Andrew Lincoln puts it, “believers do not experience Christ except as Spirit and do not experience the Spirit except as Christ.” The more the Ephesians come to know God, the deeper and fuller that knowledge is—and the deeper and fuller the experience is. The power to grow stronger comes from His presence in their lives, and knowledge and understanding come from Him. Paul’s closing doxology demonstrates a worshipful attitude toward the God Whose power is more than the Ephesians can ask or imagine. I find it particularly noteworthy that Paul credits God with the power that is at work in the Ephesians—and describes that power as limitless (20).


God desires that we know Him deeper. This doesn’t just mean longer devotionals or crazier services. This means GROWING in Him, and that growth is described as both experiential (20) and intellectual (18). The believer who is growing in God will grow in knowledge and wisdom, and he will be overwhelmed in his life with the power that is at work in him, which is God. This is the way that God is able to do so much more than what we ask or imagine. And Paul is careful that we not lose focus of the cosmic significance of the church, once again: “to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever” (21).


What do we do with this? We commit ourselves to grow. We commit ourselves to learn more about Him, and to experience Him more. We commit ourselves to the Bride to whom He has committed Himself—to disdain her, after all, is to disdain Christ. We commit ourselves to grow in both our understanding and His power. In short, we are committed to a growth process that involves relationship with God and with the church. Most exciting to me is the understanding that from such a process—God-ordained as it is—we will come to be overwhelmed by God’s power that is at work in us. I need this, and so do we all.



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