Thursday, January 18, 2007

Ephesians 3:16-19 HNV

…that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory,

that you may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man;

that Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith;
to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

may be strengthened to comprehend with all the holy ones
what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know Messiah's love which surpasses knowledge,
that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.


The object of Paul's prayer is that the church (comprised of believing Jews and Gentiles) is found in verse 19: that we be filled with the fullness of God. I see verse 16 as an introductory statement, as if he is saying, "this is how you become strengthened with the Spirit's power:" Everything that follows describes the process that leads us to walking in God's fullness. It is a progression that begins with trusting Jesus, then experiencing his love and then being immersed in it.

Being filled with God's fullness (verse 19) is the result of what verse 16 promises. As we become stronger and stronger in the Spirit and his revelation of the the knowledge of Jesus' love, we experience that love to such a degree that we are immersed in it. We come to know by our own experience, that his love surrounds us. It is above us, below us, to our left and to our right. process continues until we are filled with His fullness.

The verses are a bit complicated but the foundational truth here is that this process of growth occurs as we invite Jesus into our lives and issues, choosing to trust Him day by day, moment by moment.


Previously in this chapter, Paul explains the "Mystery of God through the Ages." He says that it was always God's plan to unite Jews and Gentiles in Christ Jesus and that his plan is now being demonstrated to the angels that rule in heavenly places. This was extraordinary news, for the Jews were known as God's Chosen People and considered themselves defiled by close contact with Gentiles. In fact the word "Gentile" was usually followed by the word "sinner," as in, "Gentile sinners." And everyone who wasn't a Jew was a Gentile.

What was being played out here was a revelation of God's mercy and grace, something new to the world and to the angels. No wonder Paul says in verse 14 that he falls to his knees when he thinks about God's wise plan. No human or angel would ever have thought of - or had the means - to unite these two separate factions. But it was done through Christ Jesus, Lord of all.

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