Ephesians 3:12, 13
"In whom we have boldness and access with
confidence by the faith of him. 13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not
at my tribulations for you, which is your glory."
In Christ, we do have boldness. Our boldness is not in
ourselves, but it is in the knowledge of what Christ has done for us and
what we will yet do for us and what he is now doing for us. Also, our
boldness comes through the fact that we know we have no power of our own
but that our power and talents come from God and that he will be with us
and deliver us.
In Christ, we also have access unto the Father through the
intercessory work of Christ. We rejoice in knowing that he redeemed us
and that he quickened us into spiritual life. But he also stand at the
right hand of the throne of God and ever makes intercession for us.
Having access unto the Father is an amazing thing. This is direct
access to the very God of heaven. We have a throne of grace that we may
obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Both our boldness and our access is with confidence. We
have confidence that what God has promised, God will also perform. This
confidence in God is by the faith of him (Jesus Christ). This is not
the "faith in him" but the "faith of him." In other words, it is not
our faith, but the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ wherein our confidence
comes. This is the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ to perform his
covenant work. Christ was faithful to the covenant of redemption to
call us to spiritual life, to redeem us from our sins by his sacrificial
atonement on the cross, and to raise and change our vile bodies into the
bodies fashioned and conformed to the image of Christ.
"Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for
you, which is your glory." Paul suffered many things for the cause of
Christ and for the benefit of God's elect people. Some might have been
tempted to thing that it was not worth it to suffer for the cause of
Christ and thus faint from the discipleship of Christ. Paul said that
he desired that they faint not at his tribulations for them. As he
pointed out, his tribulations was for their glory. The word, glory,
sometimes means boasting, but other times means honor. Paul's suffering
was for the honor of God's people. We have great honor that has been
bestowed on us. We are honored by God to be his people, even though we
do not in any way deserve to be his people. We are honored by God to
have an inheritance in the glory world, even though we do not deserve to
be in the glory world. We are honored by God to be his representative
witnesses of his grace here in this life, even though we are in no way
deserving of this honor. In these and many other ways we are honored by
God despite the fact that we do not deserve it. God honored us to have
the true gospel of Jesus Christ and this through the sufferings of God's
ministers in times past.
"For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of
our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth
is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his
glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and
grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is
the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love
of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the
fulness of God."
In Ephesians chapter 1, verses 16-20, Paul related a prayer
that he had for the saints at Ephesus and for the faithful in Christ
Jesus. Once again, Paul relates a prayer he has for the saints of God.
Paul begins by relating the humility that we must possess in order to
approach unto our God in prayer. He said that he bowed his knees unto
the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we are not willing to humble
ourselves before God, we should not expect our prayers to be heard by
our God. Further, there was a cause for which Paul prayed for the
saints of God. The cause Paul was referring to was that the saints may
hear and understand the eternal purpose that God had in Christ Jesus our
Lord. Also, that they may have an earnest desire to humble themselves,
repent, worship, and serve the Lord in Spirit and in truth.
Moreover, he relates to us that the whole family of God in
heaven and earth bears the name of God. We are his children and thus a
part of his family. As his children, we can be assured that he cares
for us and that he hears us. In the United States, the custom is that
children bear the name of their father. In the Kingdom of God, we bear
the name of our God. This identifies us to Him and Him to us.
Next, Paul points out to us the things he is praying for on
behalf of the saints of God. First, he prayed, "That he would grant
you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might
by his Spirit in the inner man." The inner man we have because He has
caused us to be born of the Spirit. In the inner man, we cannot sin.
In the inner man, we desire the things of God. Our desire to worship
God and to serve God comes through the inner man. If we are to be bold
and courageous in our service to God it will have to come though the
inner man. It is in the inner man that we need the strength and
boldness to stand against the wiles of the devil and to boldly proclaim
the grace of our God. We are strengthened with might by His Spirit in
the inner man. This strengthening comes from the might of God by the
Holy Spirit. For this strengthening we need to pray for one another.
Second, Paul prayed, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts
by faith." While Christ is omnipresent, that is, he is everywhere
present at all times and no where absent, yet we do not always feel that
presence of Christ in our hearts. This indwelling presence of Christ in
our hearts comes through the exercise of that faith that God gave us in
the new birth. Faith is a fruit of the Spirit. Until someone is born
of the Spirit, they cannot have faith. It is a great blessing to each
of us to have the heart-felt presence of Christ. For this we should
pray for one another that Christ would dwell in each of our hearts
Third, Paul prayed, "that ye, being rooted and grounded in
love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth,
and length, and depth, and height." For a plant the root is the chief
venue for the uptake of nutrients to the plant. Paul prayed that have
our root in the love of God. Additionally, the ground is the foundation
for our lives. That being the case, then the foundation for our lives
is to be the love of God. Paul's prayer continues with the request that
we may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and
length, and depth, and height of the love of God. To comprehend means
to seize, possess, or to take eagerly. Certainly, it is a most noble
undertaking to seize upon, possess, or take eagerly the fullness of the
love of God in our lives. The more that we know and exercise ourselves
in the teachings of God word, the more that we comprehend of the love of
God in our lives.
Fourth, Paul prayed, "And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge." There are some things that we cannot fully know,
yet we want to know as much as we can. The love of Christ is one of
those things. We want to know and experience the love of Christ, yet
the love of Christ passeth knowledge. We cannot know all of the love of
Christ. It is too vast for us to be able to know it all. Yet we should
desire to know as much of the love of Christ as we can while we live in
this time world.
Fifth, Paul prayed, "that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God." How much better each of our lives would be if we were
continually filled with the fullness of God's love. This is a most
worthy thing to pray for. May God help us to pray for one another that
we may be filled with the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:20, 21
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding
abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus
throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
For all that we pray for that is in harmony with the
teaching of God's word and according to the will of God, we can be
assured that God is able to do it and also he is able to do exceedingly
abundantly above whatever we ask or for whatever we may think. God's
power is not limited to our requests or to our thoughts. His love and
power extends far beyond our imagination and desire.
While we cannot comprehend the vastness of God's power and
love, yet this same mighty power is also directed personally to within
each of us. This power was manifest in the new or spiritual birth. It
is also manifest in our understanding of spiritual things and in the
workings of the inner man during our walk of discipleship.
Paul concludes that all glory belongs to God in the church
throughout all ages, world without end. This glory is by Jesus Christ.
He redeemed us. He quickened us. He sent forth the gifts of the gospel
ministry. He gave us his words. He gave us the spiritual gifts in the
church. He fitly framed us together to grow unto an holy temple in the
Lord. He fills us with his love and unites us in his love and spirit.
He directs our steps, gives us our instructions, helps us in our labors,
and delivers us from our enemies. He gives us strength to fight the
good fight of faith. May we give him the praise due unto his great and
holy name! Amen.