Ephesians 1:9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure that He planned in Him 10 for the administration of the days of fulfillment —to bring everything together in the Messiah, both things in heaven and things on earth in Him.(HCSB)
Ephesians3:3 The mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have briefly written above. 4 By reading this you are able to understand my insight about the mystery of the Messiah. 5 This was not made known to people in other generations as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: 6 The Gentiles are co-heirs, members of the same body, and partners of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.(HCSB)
Ephesians 3:8 This grace was given to me —the least of all the saints—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah, 9 and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things.(HCSB)
Ephesians 3 defines the mystery for us as Gentiles and Jews sharing in the promise as co-heirs together in Christ Jesus. This is a true mystery that for ages past had been kept hidden although hinted at. The Old Covenant spoke of people of other nations and tongues coming to worship God, but the actual understanding that Jews and Gentiles would share equally in the promise was not even thought of by those who worshiped The Name.
As we saw in chapter 2 not only were these two to be co-heirs, but would become one man. Yeshua came to make us one together so that we can be presented to Him as a spotless bride without wrinkle or defect. Our God is so awesome and His ways are truly above our ways and His thoughts truly far above our thoughts.
God, however, does not stop by just revealing this mystery to us and then leaving us to figure out how to make this reality in our time for ourselves. Most of us, I would venture to say, do not even think it is really possible for us to truly act and be as one this side of the Messianic Age or heaven. We tend to leave things alone as they are and not strive for true oneness in this world where sin is still a reality. But Beloved, God’s plans are greater than ours and not only does He expect us to act and be as one now, He also gave us the road map of how to achieve it. That is what the rest of Ephesians is about.
Chapter 3 lets us know that God gave Paul the administration of this mystery or to say it another way, He gave Paul the way in which the body of Christ, the blessed bride of The Lamb, could actually carry out this mystery. It is that reality that speaks of God’s wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. When they see God’s Spirit filled people living out the mystery of being one with each other and with Him it screams volumes to the unseen realms of how only God could have thought of this awesome mystery.
It is with this truth that Paul prays the prayer of Ephesians 3.
14 For this reason I kneel before the Father 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named. 16 I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit, 17 and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us — 21 to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.(HCSB)
Paul begins pretty much where He left off in the prayer of chapter 1, with praying for power among God’s people. Remember this is no ordinary power as the world defines power, but the power that raised Jesus from the dead. That is what he prays will be in us, in our inner being through His Spirit. He prays that through faith, being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see, faith that leads us to action not just intellectual awareness that Yeshua the Messiah will dwell, be tabernacled in us (we are the temple of God).
Paul assumes our rooting and firm establishment in love. The believer is rooted deep in God’s love, the love that sent His Son to die for us, and firmly established in our love for one another, a requirement for the believer based on the command of Jesus. He (Paul) knows that it is only in this love, the love God has for us and our love for each other, that we will together with all God’s people even begin to be able to comprehend the love of Christ – the width, depth, length, and height of His love.
It is only together that we will have our full strength to eagerly take hold of that kind of love. It is His love being made manifest in all of us toward each other that makes His love knowable to us just as us living out that life of the mystery makes His wisdom known to the unseen realms.
Paul prays for us to be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God, which harkens back again to the prayer in chapter 1. We can only be all that God desires us to be as we live in power, faith, and love together. This life baffles the world, but also lets them know that the Father sent His Son.
Can this generation of believers live this life? Yes it can! And the rest of Ephesians instructs us in just how to live out this mystery. So as we study the rest of the book we will be approaching it from this perspective.
Ephesians 1:15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
This is an awesome prayer that is great to pray over ones personal life and family. Paul commends the believers on their faith in Yeshua/Jesus and also in their love for all the saints (whether Jew or Gentile). Their priorities are just what God the Father would want them to be and this is commended by Paul. Their love for all the saints is essential to everything we are talking about. It is because they have faith in Jesus our Messiah that they know obeying His command to love one another must be followed, and follow it they do. Because of this evidence of faith that Paul continually gives thanks for them and expands his prayers for them.
The prayer of Paul in this chapter is amazing when you take a close look. He begins with a very interesting statement, “I keep asking”. This is not a one time prayer for Paul on their behalf. If is one he prays for them time and time again. Therefore, one might say that this is very much on his heart for these believers, not just a casual thought now and again.
He asks the glorious Father, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ – that’s right Jesus worshiped, honored, obeyed, prayed to, praised, and glorified His Father during His earthly life, God the Son did all these things in regard to the Heavenly Father – for the Holy Spirit to give wisdom and revelation to the believers. He offers this prayer so that they will know God better and thereby so that they would be able to properly acknowledge their God.
In this knowledge and acknowledgement of Him, as they gaze at His glory and brilliance, Paul asks that the God would shed His rays of light on them. In other words, “that the eyes of [their] heart may be enlightened”. Or to put it another way, as the believers looked upon God’s light that God would share that light with them or reflect it upon them. Our glory is not our own, it is merely a reflection of His. We would do ourselves a great service to remember this.
Paul asked for this reflection of God’s glory in their lives for three reasons: 1) that they would know the hope to which they were called 2) that they would know the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints and 3) that they would know His incomparably great power for all (Jew or Gentile) who believe. Let’s break them down one at a time.
The first one, that they would know the hope to which they were called, reveals the foundation of their faith. The hope that Paul speaks of here is a confidence, not wishful, in the promised expectations. Knowing that they can fully rely on the promises of God with joyful anticipation and steadfast confidence. This hope is unshakable. This hope or joyful and steadfast anticipation is firmly imbedded in their calling or God’s invitation in their lives. God’s invitation to wholeheartedly follow Him in all His ways. Just as Jesus called the disciples. He did not just say, “come”, He said, “come follow me”. We come to God through Jesus and then proceed to follow Him.
The second reason God reflects His glory on us, making us more like Him, is so that we can know the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints. These riches are the abundant life in our Messiah. As we know the abundant life is not just for the here and now, but also for eternity. It is the life lived to the full forever. A life lived to the full, think about that for a moment. To know this life that can only be lived with His glorious inheritance that He has placed in His saints. This refers back to the love He has commanded to have toward one another and ahead to the power of the Spirit in our lives. However, for this particular point it is important to note that the whole of the saints are in view here, not individuals. We, as the saints of God, can only live the life to the full, the abundant life, or experience God’s glorious riches in our lives when we live within the whole of the body of Christ. We cannot forsake the assembly of ourselves together as the writer of Hebrews to eloquently put it.
Lastly, on this list, is to know the power and not just a little power, but super dynamite power for us who believe. To say it another way, a super-duper magnitude of power for us who come and follow. Power that goes beyond anything that you and I can comprehend and yet that is the vastness of power that He has placed in His people. It is also not an arbitrary power, but it is His power. Then just to make sure his readers understand the true magnitude of this power Paul describes it. And what a description.
A power that is according to God’s mighty strength, or strength strength, or power power, or might might. The two Greek words used here could have easily been translated this way. They are two different words with very similar meanings. In other words, Paul was driving home the enormity of God’s power, strength or might. It was this power that God used to raise Jesus from the dead and to seat Him at His right hand. No small task to be sure. Again to be clear, Paul explains the powerful seat of the Messiah. Yeshua is above all and not just a little above them, but far above or super-duper above. It is the same Greek prefix used above on “immeasurably”, it is the “hyper” prefix. So Jesus is “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” Needless to say, that is a High Seat.
Paul does not stop at just how high that seat of power is, but also let’s us know what God placed under His (Yeshua’s) feet. He placed everything or “the whole” under His feet. He is the head, the One to take hold of, of the church or the “assembly” of His saints. He was given this position by His Father, to say it another way, this position was committed to Him by His Father. He is our head, He is the One we take hold of, in everything – absolutely everything – that concerns His people. He is our Rock, our Firm Foundation, our Anchor, our Cornerstone and He is the One who holds us steady in any storm. He has absolute supreme authority over His body.
What a body it is, it is what He died for – it is of utmost importance to Him. His body, His people, are the fullness of Him – the One who fills everything in every way. WOW, the fullness of Him. That is who we are. Do not let that escape you. The whole of the body or bride of Christ is the fullness of Him. We were given His fullness when He gave us His Holy Spirit. We lack nothing in Him. Everything we need for life and godliness has been given to us. We are His reflection to a lost world. Let us live a life worthy of that calling!
According to His Power That is at Work in Us Who Believe,