Thursday, 25 August 2016
…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man… Ephesians 3:16
The verse should be considered with the previous verses for context –
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man…”
The words, “that He would grant you” are speaking of God the Father mentioned in verse 14. There is a chiastic structure to the words of these verses which seems to show that “from whom” of verse 15 is surely speaking of Christ –
Riches of His glory
Strengthened with His might
Through His Spirit
This clues us into who Paul is referring to in each instance. And so, his prayer is a concern that the Father would grant something specific to those in Ephesus (and thus all who are the recipients of the epistle throughout the ages).
His next words, “according to the riches of His glory,” have a strong emphasis in them. They are speaking of what God has done through Christ. This term is used in the same way in Philippines 4 –
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
Theses “riches of His glory” are what can be seen through His workings in and through Christ, just as such riches can be seen through the physical creation. When we ponder the many things which God has done, we are pondering the riches of His glory. They are the open and visible manifestations of what He does to express Himself. And so Paul prays that these riches will be granted to his audience in order “to be strengthened with might.”
Again, this is a reference to the work of Christ. It is what was seen in his work, and it is that which is available through understanding the implications of that work. Christ prevailed over the law, over the horror of the cross, and over death itself. He never failed to please the Father in all ways. This is the strengthening that is being petitioned for us by Paul, and he asks that it come “through His Spirit in the inner man.”
He has now introduced the third member of the Godhead into Scripture once again. The Spirit of God is what will provide to us the strength which Christ possessed as we yield to God. Our inner man will be built up and strengthened as we rely wholly on God to direct us. This will only come about as we yield to Him through such actions as prayer, praise, study of the word, fellowship, and the like. But it is a process which can occur as we attempt to be more like Christ. This same sentiment is reflected in Paul’s words of 2 Corinthians 4 –
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Life application: Though we will never be perfect in this life, we should strive always to become more Christ-like at all times. Let us ever pursue the magnificence of what God did through Christ by applying His word to our lives.
Lord God, it is marvelous to see the riches of Your glory displayed in the world around us. We can see the majesty of the heavens which reflect back Your wisdom. We can see it in the intricacy of the spider and its web. It is evident in the marvelous depths to which the whale can dive to. The sunrise and sunset display such riches in ten thousand colors of splendor, changing from moment to moment. And the greatest riches of Your glory are seen in the Person and work of Jesus our Lord. He radiates out the full splendor of Your majesty. How exceedingly glorious are You, O God. Amen.