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A Prayer for the Ephesians April 29, 2012

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Ephesians 3:14-21.

Summary: Paul begins by stating that as the Ephesians are a part of the temple of God, he prays to God the Father – as all believers, both the living and the dead, are His children. He prays that out of the fullness of God’s grace and power they would receive power via the Holy Spirit to invigorate their spiritual lives. In this way Christ can dwell in their souls by their spiritual apprehension and delight in Him – confirming them in love. He then prays that they would be able to know and experience the love of Christ – which passes knowledge, and so they would be perfect as God is perfect.

Paul concludes by praying that God – who is unrestricted by the prayers and knowledge of believers, as His power has raised them from the dead and transformed them – would be eternally praised in all believers and in Christ.

Thoughts: In verses 17-19, we see that Paul prays that the Ephesians would be able to know the infinite nature of the love of Christ for them. Hodge offers some thoughts on this point in his commentary on verses 18 and 19:

To know what is infinite, and which therefore passes knowledge, can only mean to have some appreciation of its nature and of the fact that it is infinite. It is only thus that we can know space, immensity, eternity, or God…This love of Christ, though it surpasses the power of our understanding to comprehend, is still a subject of experimental knowledge. We may know how excellent, how wonderful, how free, how disinterested, how long-suffering, how manifold and constant it is, and that it is infinite. And this is the highest and most sanctifying of all knowledge.

My experience leads me to conjecture that many believers, when confronted by an infinite concept, become intimidated and either 1) refrain from pondering it or 2) merely assent to its truth. It is difficult for us to wrestle – in an intellectual sense – with infinite concepts such as eternal life and Christ’s love for us. Yet if we strive to comprehend Christ’s love for us, God will enable us to gain a better – albeit incomplete, at least in this life – understanding of it. My struggles in this regard have improved my understanding of Christ’s love – particularly through in-depth studies of His Word and various trials that I’ve faced.

In verses 20 and 21, we see that God is able to do far more than we could ask or imagine. Hodge offers some thoughts on this point:

God is not only unlimited in himself, but is unrestricted by our prayers or knowledge. No definite bounds, therefore, can be set on what people in whom Christ dwells may expect and who are the objects of his infinite love.

The fact that God is not bounded in His actions by our thoughts and desires is actually rather liberating. Yet often it is difficult for believers to reconcile their hopes and dreams with this fact, especially when we believe that we are praying according to His will. This fact is typically easier to grasp in hindsight – when God provides additional information that helps us see why He allowed events to play out in a particular way. We must remember that God knows more of the “variables” than we do, and He knows how to “optimize” them for His glory – and for our benefit.

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1. Paul’s Labor for the Church « Ringing In - October 11, 2012

[…] This passage is analogous to Ephesians 3, which I’ve blogged about. Perusing those posts reminds me of the difficulties of fully comprehending Christ and His love for […]


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