This next section begins Paul’s prayer for the saints, once again verses 15-23 is one long sentence in Greek. “For this reason I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints”. This phrase “for this reason” points us back to the preceding section, Paul knows that the Ephesians are true believers and they have received the “spiritual blessings” from the previous paragraph. The blessings are election, predestination, adoption, grace, redemption, forgiveness, wisdom, understanding, knowledge of the mystery of His will, the sealing of the Holy Spirit and their inheritance. Now Paul prays that the readers will know God personally and intimately.
Paul praises the Ephesians for “their love for all the saints”; this concept can be quite confusing in our current culture. What does it mean to love your brother or sister in Christ? 1 John 2:6 declares, “the one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked. So our example of how to love our brothers and sisters is Jesus’ life and ministry. 1 John 4:20-21 follows up with stating that “if anyone says ‘I love God’ and yet hates his fellow Christian, he is a liar, because the one who does not love his fellow Christian whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And the commandment we have from him is this: that the one who loves God should love his fellow Christian too.”
1 Corinthians 13 gives us a good list of how to love. “Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious. Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, endures all things. Love never ends….and now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love”.
“I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation in your growing knowledge of him, –since the eyes of your heart have been enlightened–so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the incomparable greatness of his power toward us who believe, as displayed in the exercise of his immense strength”. (17-20)
Paul prays for “spiritual wisdom and revelation” for the Ephesians, wisdom gives insight into the true nature of things and revelation is the unveiling of things of God Himself. The purpose in having this wisdom and revelation is that you may know Him, God, better. This request is not for special information, but for a deeper perception and knowledge of God as he is revealed in Christ. The “knowing” related here is not an abstract knowledge of God or objective facts about God, but knowing Him personally and intimately. It includes the intimate awareness of God’s character and will.
“Paul prayed for the believers to know God better. How do you get to know someone? By reading biographical information or historical data about him? That will help you know a lot about that person, but it won’t enable you to actually know him. If you want to get to know someone, you have to spend time with that person; there is no shortcut. The same holds true with God. Reading the Bible, great works of theology, and devotional material is wonderful, but there is no substitute for knowing God personally. What about you? Do you really know God, or do you just know about him? The difference is in spending time with him. Study Jesus’ life in the Gospels to see what he was like on earth two thousand years ago, and get to know him in prayer now. Personal knowledge of Christ will change your life”. LIFE Application Bible
From 2 Peter 1:1-2; 3:18 we learn that “God’s divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence”. And that we are called to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. We are to grow in grace and knowledge so that we will understand three things, the hope of His calling, and the wealth of His glorious inheritance and the extraordinary greatness of His power.
This paraphrase from The Message helps me to understand these concepts. “But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for Christians, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!” Ephesians 1:17-19
One of the things we are to know about God is “the incomparable greatness of his power toward us who believe as displayed in the exercise of His immense strength”. Paul continues by explaining “This power he exercised in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms far above every rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come”. The point we are to understand is that the power to live a life pleasing to God is the same power that raised Christ from the dead. That same power is already at work in the lives of believers, we need to remember that God is always at work, even when we don’t “see or recognize” God’s work.
“The world fears the power of the atom, yet we belong to the God of the universe, who not only created that atomic power but also raised Jesus Christ from the dead. God’ incomparably great power is available to help you. There is nothing too difficult for him”. LIFE Application Bible
“And God put all things under Christ’s feet, and he gave him to the church as head over all things. Now the church is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (20-21). This picture of all things being under Christ’s feet conveys that the work of Christ is completely finished, all things are now under Christ’s rule and dominion: death, resurrection, every ruler, all authority, power and dominion and every person forever. The work completed God gave Jesus Christ the church, as head over all things. “Head over everything” means that Jesus is the ruler and master of everything that exists, including the church. “Him who fills all in all” means that Jesus is present, active and has influence in the church and the world.
“Having been raised from the dead, Christ is now the head of the church, the ultimate authority over the world. Jesus is the Messiah, God’s anointed one, the one Israel longed for, the one who would set their broken world right. As Christians we can be confident that God has won the final victory and is in control of everything. We need not fear any dictator or nation or even death or Satan himself. The contract has been signed and sealed; we are waiting just a short while for delivery”. LIFE Application Bible
“No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Romans 8:37-39