Online Bible Commentary
The Greatest Example of God’s Power
Ephesians 1:15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. 22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (NKJV)
The book of Ephesians is part of what is known as the Prison Epistles. The writings, themselves, affirm that the epistles were written by the Apostle Paul from prison.
There are differing opinions as to during which of Paul’s prison confinements the epistles were written. There are many sources that discuss this subject fully. For our purposes, we will go along with the thought of most scholars that Paul wrote the prison epistles during his house arrest in Rome from AD 60-62.
The book of Ephesians can be divided into two halves. The first half, the first three chapters, is concerned with the positional; doctrine outlining our position in Christ. The second half, the last three chapters, is concerned with the practical; how we work out our position in the practical living of our Christian life. This is similar to the breakdown of the book of Romans.
The epistle was written about AD 61 to the house churches in Ephesus, Asia. The idea was that this authoritative letter would be passed along to other churches in Asia Minor.
Previously, in this chapter, Paul wrote “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing.” (v. 3). He then went on to write of three spiritual blessings that come with being in Christ, being Christians.
The first of these blessings is that Christians are chosen by God to be His adopted children (v. 4). This blessing is referred to as election, or predestination.
The second spiritual blessing is God’s redemption (v. 7). Redemption is an action. In Christianity, it is the action of clearing a debt, specifically our sin debt. Our sins have been forgiven by God and He has given us eternal life in Heaven.
The third spiritual blessing Paul mentions is the seal of the Holy Spirit (v. 13). The Holy Spirit is the seal of our redemption, guaranteeing our eternal life in Heaven.
This passage begins with the word “Therefore” (v. 15a). This is a reference to the previous passage, specifically the three spiritual blessings just identified.
Paul continues by writing “after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints” (v. 15b). Paul recalls what he has heard recently about the believers in the house churches of Ephesus. It has been about five years now since Paul departed Ephesus in AD 56 and he has recently heard wonderful things about the Ephesian believers.
He writes “(I) do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:” (v. 16). Paul stays in prayer for the Ephesian believers, giving thanks to God for what He has done through them.
Next, Paul reveals the nature of his prayers for the believers in Ephesus. In his prayers, he asks “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (v. 17). His prayer for them specifically is that God will give them a special dose of wisdom and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
The goal of this special dose of wisdom and understanding of Christ is that “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (v. 18a). He asks that they might be enlightened, that they might have a greater understanding. He then lists three areas of knowledge for which they would have a greater understanding.
First, Paul’s prayer is that they “may know what is the hope of His calling” (v. 18b). The Ephesian believers, just as all believers, were called, chosen, predestined by God. That calling encompasses all of the Christian life, that we will be sanctified, glorified and join Jesus in Heaven.
The second area of knowledge for which Paul asks greater enlightenment for the Ephesian believers is “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (v. 18c). His prayer is that they would have greater knowledge of the “riches of the glory”.
This is a reference to the greatness of God’s glory, which Christians may not fully appreciate. Previously, Paul wrote “for our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Our earthly troubles are described as light and temporary, this too shall pass. All of our earthly troubles are nothing compared to the eternal glory we have in Christ. Our Heavenly glory far exceeds our troubles and is permanent, eternal.
The third area of knowledge for which Paul asks greater enlightenment for the Ephesian believers is “the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power” (v. 19). His prayer is that they may have a greater knowledge of the greatness of God’s power that is available to them.
Paul then concludes this passage with the greatest example of God’s power. He writes “which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead” (v. 20).
The greatest example of God’s power was not the Creation or any of His miracles. The greatest example of God’s power was the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Everyone of Satan’s resources were at work to stop the resurrection, for the resurrection is the bedrock of the Christian faith. Without the resurrection, there would be no hope of eternal life in Heaven for Christians. But God’s power was in the resurrection
Paul continues “and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” (v. 21).
Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven. He completed his earthly mission and now sits in Heaven having dominion over all things. His rule is eternal, both now and forevermore.
Paul writes “He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church” (v. 22). God, in the person of Jesus Christ, is above all things, on earth and in Heaven. And He is given to the church.
One day every knee will bow to Him. At the millennium, the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth, all things will be under His dominion, and the church will share in that dominion.
Paul closes with “which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” (v.23). The church fulfills Christ, not that He needs anyone or anything to fulfill Him. Because He does not. He rules over all. And the church will rule with Him.