18 Aug 2020
“and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might that 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).
God’s calling looks back to the beginning; God’s inheritance looks on to the end, and God’s power spans the period between the beginning and the end. And surely only God’s power can fulfil the expectation which belongs to His calling and bring us safely to the riches of the glory of the final inheritance He will give us in heaven. Here the Apostle Paul’s prayer is so very relevant for believers and the church as we live in a fallen world, and battle the power of evil, sin, the influence of the world and the bondage of death. In the midst of the struggles, spiritual warfare, indwelling sin and the pull and ‘attractions’ of the world, believers and the church may lose sight of the mighty power, sovereignty and dominion of God which not only regenerate us who were sinful creatures, but also sustain us and preserve us as His people until the end, and until the consummation of the great salvation which will see Jesus having all things under His feet and sitting at the right hand of the Father in authority and majesty, with all His saints sharing His glory.
The immeasurable greatness of His power was demonstrated in the resurrection and exaltation of Christ Jesus – Paul refers to three successive events: first, He raised Christ from the dead; secondly He made Him sit at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all competitors, and has put all things under His feet and thirdly, He has made Him the head over all things for the church, which is His body (verses 20-23). The resurrection and ascension were a definite and decisive demonstration of divine power – death and evil were conquered and man can be rescued from the bondage of death and evil from henceforth.
This immeasurable greatness of HIs power is, lo and behold, toward us who believe; the same power which effected the resurrection, ascension and supreme authority of Christ over all things is the power available to those who are God’s children. This same exceeding greatness of His power is engaged to uphold, strengthen, and defend God’s people; to complete the good work which it has begun, to fully redeem them from sin, Satan, and death, to conform them perfectly to the image of His dear Son. It is one thing to believe intellectually in the exceeding greatness of God’s power, but it is quite another for us to personally and experimentally take hold of His strength (Isaiah 27:5). Then we prove for ourselves the meaning of those words “out of weakness were made strong” (Hebrews 11:34); and what it is to be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 2:1). Then we may know the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward in removing our enmity against HIm, in dispelling the darkness of our understanding, in subduing our rebellious wills, in drawing our hearts to Himself, in giving us a love for His law and a longing for holiness, in delivering us from the power of Satan. All glory and praise are to be ascribed to Him to whom alone it is due! The exceeding greatness of God’s power to us not only includes all the operations of His grace to and within HIs people but also comprehends His wondrous providences to them in meeting every need and making all things work together of their good. It is also exercised in the glorification of His people when in spirit and soul and body they shall be perfectly and permanently conformed to the image of God’s Son.
In conclusion, Paul prayed that we may know….what is the immeasurable and exceeding greatness of His power in us who believe… which He accomplished in Christ. It is vital to see how Paul brings together the verbs ‘to know’ and ‘to believe’. The very same resurrection power which God exhibited in Christ is now available for us. First we are to know; then we are to lay hold of it for ourselves by faith. There is the need for the continuing exercise of faith in the apprehension of God’s power. Faith goes beyond reason, but rests on it. Knowledge is the ladder by which faith climbs higher, the springboard from which it leaps further. Thus knowledge and faith need each other. Faith cannot grow without a firm basis of knowledge; knowledge is sterile if it does not bring forth faith.
How much do we really know of the power of God, which raised Jesus from death and enthroned HIm over evil? The answer to this question may help us define the quality of our walk and faith in God. If we continue to dwell in fear, doubt, and resort constantly to murmurings, bondage to sin and self-desires, perhaps we have not gone beyond the intellectual understanding of this truth.
The whole thrust of Paul’s prayer is that the believers may have a thorough knowledge of God’s call, inheritance and power. All our thinking is unproductive without the Spirit of truth; yet His enlightenment is not intended to save us the trouble of using our minds. It is precisely as we ponder what God has done in Christ that the Spirit will open our eyes to grasp the implications for our lives.