Ephesians – A First Consideration
with notes from Marshall Segal at Desiring God.org
17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (Ephesians 1:15–18)
Paul’s prayer for these believers is that he prays God “may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, so that you may know him better.” Paul knows God is infinitely capable. Do they? If Paul believes these people are already believers, why does he ask God to help them know him better?
So Much More to See
He prays this way — as should we — because God is not done showing us himself and his work when we first accepted the gospel. Even though we have known Christ — really known him — and surrendered ourselves to him, we have not even scratched the surface of who he is and what he accomplished for us with his death on the cross.
“We need help from God to hold onto the hope we have in God.”
Paul prays specifically that believers would see three realities and know them more and more as we walk with Jesus: our hope in God, our wealth from God, and our safety with God.
- Our Hope in God
Paul asked God that these loved ones know “the hope to which he has called you” (Ephesians 1:18). They needed help from God to hold onto the hope they already had. Sometimes it seems darkness surrounds us, the winds blow violently, the waves come crashing into our lives. It often feels hopeless, but that’s only because we’ve forgotten Jesus is with us now.
Nothing can ultimately harm or destroy us because we’ve been saved and secured by God himself in his Son. And this God — whose wrath once burned against our sin and promised to punish us forever — this God has become for us “the God of hope” (Romans 15:13). Now, by faith, “we rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).
- Our Wealth from God
Secondly, Paul prays that they would know “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18). Paul loved his heavenly inheritance and relied on it daily to get through the poverty, persecution, and temptation he experienced in this life. Nothing that could be given to Paul, and nothing that could be taken from him, could compare with all that waited for him with God in glory. Thus he kept his eyes on the prize, ran the good race, gave all he could give, and died believing he would soon see God. It is often written that he was crucified upside down. I don’t know that this is true, but if it is, (I hold a degree in human physiology and a Doctor of Chiropractic) I should expect his death came quickly. A man of his age and health condition might not last more than 10-minutes hanging that way.
“Nothing that could be given to us and nothing that could be taken from us compares with all of what God has in store for our future. He has a plan for us that we shall be like him!
When you are tempted to return to your past less than righteous ways, remember what has been given to you. What could we suffer and lose? Have you any idea of the true wealth and happiness we will have for millions of years after just a little while here on earth. The hope of an eternal inheritance should strengthen you to sing in the midst of loss, and it help you deny the deceitful desires of this world. It’s a sure defense against the lesser, competing pleasures constantly warring against Christ for our heart and devotion.
May God open our mind so that we shall know him better and see the worth of what we have in Him!
God has saved you, and has secured an infinite, eternal inheritance for you.
- Our Safety with God
Thirdly, Paul prayed that we would know “what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe” (Ephesians 1:19). Do you feel afraid, tired, weak, helpless or hopeless? We all do — some much more often than others. But we are all weak people.
You might be falling again in the same old patterns of sin, or struggling to believe that God could forgive your past, or seeing your inadequacies as a spouse, parent, or child, or feeling physical, emotional, or psychological burdens you can’t even explain, or experiencing any number of a thousand other weaknesses.
God wants you to know that the power to heal, the power to press on, the power to love and minister, the power to obey — any power you need — does not come from within you, but from within him. And if God’s power is in you, then you have an infinite, merciful, and invincible strength that will keep you and grow you in every circumstance. His divine power is for you, and not against you.
Remember, the Lord himself said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
We Want More
“Even in heaven, we will never exhaust everything there is to know and love about God.”
We can spend the rest of our lives asking God to give us new glimpses of himself. Even in heaven — free from sin — we will never exhaust all there is to know and love about him. That’s one of the major reasons Heaven will be so glorious. We will constantly be meeting more of the infinite God — our Creator, Redeemer, and Father — and never getting to the end of him, never seeing everything there is to see.
God, open Our eyes that we may see and our minds that we might know you better with each passing day.