Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.Ephesians 3:19-21
There has been much talk, commentary, discussion and debate about this passage and why Paul puts a doxology here. How does it link to the section before it and what follows it. Some see it as being strange and debate its location. Other’s don’t have a problem with it. I fall into the last category. Surely it fits with the sense of Paul stopping and breaking into prayer at this point. It is akin to his breaking into song at the end of Romans 11. (Gem 231) Aren’t there occasions when you stop and give reign to your emotions rather than doing everything from your head? I hope so. Be prepared to lose head control at times. Let your heart soar with the emotional moment. Be spontaneous. That’s all Paul is doing here. He has stopped to pray for the Ephesians in the middle of the letter and has written his prayer down. Ever done that in the middle of a letter? I have. Ever done that in the midst of an email? I have. Ever done that in the middle of a phone call? Of course. If not, why not?
Then because of the things that the Holy Spirit prompted Paul to pray about he lapses into a doxology, or praise to God in response to what he was praying about. He was taking in the big picture of what came to mind and thanks God for it. But he links it with the prayer he had just prayed. It all make sense to me. Debate it all you like but it is really a natural thing to do for a spiritually spontaneous person.
It is impossible to express the full meaning of these words, God is omnipotent, ὑπερ εκ περισσου, “superabundantly above the greatest abundance”. Who can doubt this, if you have any rational or Scriptural view of His power or His love? Both are involved here – both His power and His love.
Do you ever let your imagination run away with you spiritually? I am sure you do in other things. Some of you are more right brain than left brain; more heart, than head. Some of you imagine all kinds of things. Some of you day-dream your desires. But do you ever do that in a spiritual way too. Just stop and imagine something of a spiritual nature. Paul wrote, “beyond all you can think, ask or imagine” God is able. I told the cell group last night that God could have made a river of Sprite for the Israelites in wilderness if He wanted to, instead of a river of water. The one who spoke the stars in space is totally and utterly unlimited! There are no boundaries to God. Wherever you consider the limit to be, be prepared to change your mind. There are no limits. The point of infinity is not even close to it. Anything is possible to Him who does not know the word Impossible. God is able to do more for us than we can ask or think; his ability is connected with His willingness. We can be assured that He will do what His power can, and what the soul of man needs to have done if it aligns with His will.
That power that created the universe with words is at work in you. That power that raised Jesus from the dead lives inside of you. That creativity that imagined and then built the complexity of the universe is available to you. Remember I said yesterday, Moses was able to see the plan while the Israelites could just see the acts of God because he asked for that. ‘You have not because you ask not’ Jesus said. The power of the Holy Spirit is within you to assist you on the journey of life. How cool is that! The problem only comes with the things we want that God does not agree with us having. The tension comes with the clash of wills and remarkably God will allow you to have your own way. But be careful with having your own way. It is just as dangerous for you as it is for a little child who does not have the experience to aid the knowing. You are just like that little child when it comes to the knowledge of what is best for you where God is concerned.
What does Paul mean by “according to the power that works in us”? Either he means “in believers in common”, suggesting the Spirit of God, who is the finger and power of God, who begins, and carries on, and will finish the work of grace in them. Or he means “in the apostles in particular” meaning in giving to them what is needed for the task they faced, help them to succeed in it. It all depends on whether the “us” is inclusive or exclusive. Again there is debate about this. But for me it is clear when Paul then refers to the medium through which this will happen. The Church. The means whereby all this will happen is the Church (capital C). Therefore it makes more sense if the “us” is collective believers. This of course links back to Eph 3:10. Isn’t that the point of it all?
There is a rich fullness in the language used here which shows that Paul’s heart was soaring as he pondered the subject. As he thinks about the time frame as he thinks about the superabundance of it all he adds concept to concept in expansive kinds of way as he tries to describe it. This is Paul lost for words but who invents words or adds adjectives (descriptive words) to adjectives as a means of expressing his concepts. He did it with “superabundantly above the greatest abundance”. He now does it again with “to all the generations of the age of the ages”. It means, in the strongest sense forever and ever . Bloomfield says it is one of “the apostle’s self-invented phrases”. It is literally, “unto all generations of the age of ages,” or “unto all the generations of the eternity of eternities, or the eternity of ages.”
Paul adds words to words to express the depth of God. Kids make up words when their concepts are too rich for their vocabulary. To take a word from the film “Mary Poppins” – God is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Amen – So be it. Let it be established like that, like I prayed! Yes Lord, says Paul. “Establish the Ephesian church like that.” take them to the very end of the limitless of Your power and love.” Don’t you wish that for yourself and your loved ones. Well, start asking accordingly. Then stand back and see what God will do. Introduce them to the “Wow factor” – the God component.
Don’t tell me the SKY is the limit, when there are footprints on the MOON!Rick Godwin
If you limit your story to the days between birth & death, you brace yourself for a sad ending. You are made for more than this life.Max Lucado