Posted December 16, 2013
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Paul concludes his prayer for the church in Ephesus with a doxology (or a short hymn of praise). We’ll look at this passage through asking a series of questions of the text:
Who is the God we’re praying to?
He is the God who is “able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think.” Not just abundantly, but far more abundantly. Just in case it was unclear, he adds that He can do far more abundantly than all we ask, and not just ask, but also think. If we sat around and attempted to conceive something grandiose of God, God can outdo it! This is no small thing… When we pray, may we remember Who it is we pray to. He is the “far more abundantly” God.
How does He do this?
According to the power at work within us, which seems to be a reference from verse 16 for the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is working God’s purposes in us; the Triune God is at work as we pray.
For what purpose?
To Him be glory. The answers to our prayers are ultimately to be to the glory of God! Often we think of prayer as getting God to do what we want Him to do for us, but a greater lens must be the “glory lens”. We must learn to ask if the things we’re asking of God bring glory to Him or to us. This is a hard and perhaps terrifying thing to do, but we must remember we serve a good God whose glory is tied to our good. We might not see it as such initially, but ultimately His glory is our good!
Where is His glory seen?
This passage teaches us that God’s glory is seen in two places: the church and in Christ Jesus. God is glorified, in the words of John Stott, “in the body and Head, in the bride and in the Bridegroom, in the community of peace and in the Peacemaker.”
In our culture, church is becoming more commonly seen as an accessory or periphery item, but the New Testament sees the church as essential and vital to any Christian. A church-less Christian is unheard of. In God’s plan, the church is central to His glory and revealing His manifold wisdom (Ephesians 3:10)!
There would be no church apart from Jesus! It’s His church and bride. His life, death, and resurrection didn’t just accomplish salvation for individuals, but brought about the church. God receives glory from His Son! What is the Father like? Look to His Son (John 14:7, Hebrews 1:3, 2 Corinthians 4:6).
For how long?
This is an amazing truth: God’s intent is to bring glory to Himself through the church and His Son throughout all eternity. There’s no end date to this desire, no expiration date. It is to be done throughout all generations, forever and ever.
Let it be done!
Song by Ryan Walker and Steve Goss.
Production by Chris Clark.
Artwork by Kyle Turman (http://turman.co/).