THURSDAY, November 23

Ephesians 1:15–23

People empowered by the same power that raised Jesus from the dead

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people,
16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.

  • What follows draws out Paul’s practice of interceding for people in the churches (and therefore his readers) to have the spiritual insight to grasp what they have in the Father, the Son and the Spirit which he sets out in the preceding verses.

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.

  • The Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not stated explicitly in Scripture which is one reason why it took until the end of the fourth century (Athanasius) for this essential doctrine to become established. For further study see 1 John 5:7 and the prologue to John, John 1:1–14)
  • Verses 3 to 14 set out consecutively the blessings that come through the Father (vv. 3–6), the Son (vv.7–12), and the Holy Spirit (vv.13–14). The role of the Holy Spirit is primarily to reveal (bring revelation) of the Father and the Son. That is what happens when we come to saving faith, putting our trust in One we cannot know intellectually but can know by faith, a particular perception imparted by the Holy Spirit. The New Testament epistles assume hearers in the churches who have this dimension of revelation. The Gospels draw a picture of people encountering Jesus Christ who promised the Holy Spirit.

18 I pray 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 his holy people…

  • “That you may know the hope…” is more akin to certainty than the common use of the word, which is aspirational. To replace “hope” with “confident expectation” brings out the true meaning. Knowing who we are in Christ Jesus, knowing the basis of our calling and salvation, knowing that we are precious sons and daughters – this is foundational to a Christian life which overcomes the battle that the enemy wages in our thought life.

19 and His incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength…

  • The incredible, miraculous working of power that resulted in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the same power that we can tap into by faith.

20 …He exerted when He raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms,

  • At the right hand is a position symbolic of the highest honour and authority.

21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

  • There is a power struggle being played out in the heavenliness, but one where Christ has won the ultimate authority. In the present evil age this is largely imposed by us as people of faith. In the age to come the Messiah will return and there will be righteousness on earth.

22 And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church,

  • Later in Ephesians we read that we are seated together with Christ in heavenly places Ephesians 2:6. Therefore what is positionally under His feet, is under our feet, as we take our place with Him. This releases us into spiritual expressions and prayers that are authoritative, not simply asking. We are expected to use the authority we have been given as His body on earth.

23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.

  • Human nature with its religious tendencies does its best to create institutions out of what is simply one body of believers united and submitted in Christ in worship, and dedicated to fulfilling His mission. If institutions are necessary, they are something quite different.

Application: Grasping the Christian hope which is ours as those who belong to Jesus is a confident spirituality. Much of our perceived powerless comes from not being aware of who we are in Christ, and the spiritual authority which our words of faith, articulate or mumbled, have in the heavenly realms.
This is about knowing who the King of the kingdom is, and who we are in Him. Understanding this is difficult within the rules of human logic. The Holy Spirit was given, not just for empowering us for witness Acts 1:8 but for enabling that witness by revealing to us truths that we could not grasp otherwise.
The enemy of our souls is always at work trying to plant thoughts in our minds of how powerless we are, how God couldn’t use us because we are disqualified. All lies, of course. This narrative of hopelessness is the opposite to the assurance and certainty and confidence which is the hope spoken of in the Bible – which truth the Holy Spirit highlights for us.

Discussion starter: Do you know the hope to which God has called you (v.18)? How would you set about explaining this Christian life principle to someone who saw something different in you? 1 Peter 3:15

Also published on Medium.

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