Ephesians 3:20–21 (ESV) “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians is the letter of grace; the certainty of what God has done for us, and the possibility of what God can do in us and through us in the future. It is an incredibly optimistic view of what it means to be a forgiven, redeemed, and loved child of God. Included the promise that God’s work in us, to create us into his workmanship, has only just begun.
Indeed, as the Apostle Paul states in the verses above, the greatest barrier to what God can accomplish through us is just that: us. Our failure to grasp God’s incredible plan. Christian author C. S. Lewis, in one of his most quoted sermons, The Weight of Glory, puts it like this:
Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that Our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at sea. We are far too easily pleased.
It doesn’t feel that way though, does it? Indeed, it quite often feels like the rewards of being a Christian and the great spiritual blessings we supposedly have already been given are few and far between. But I think both the Apostle Paul and C. S. Lewis are right. The problem is not that we are not being blessed, the problem is that we are hoping for the wrong kinds of blessings. And thus, when we are blessed, we tend to miss seeing it for what it is.
How so much like children we are with our Heavenly Father; waiting for our father to come through the door with a present; not realizing that the real blessing is that our Father has come back home to us once again. And yes, He does come bearing gifts. In the first chapter of Ephesians Paul lays out all the many blessings our Heavenly Father has blessed us with in Christ: chosen, made holy and blameless, predestined, adopted, given and forgiven, redeemed, lavished upon. Indeed, a Heavenly Father so rich in mercy that he gave his true one and only son so that you and I might be adopted into the family. And what a family! But like our own children, how easy it is to take our family for granted. Which is why, I believe, the Apostle Paul reminds us:
Ephesians 3:14–19 (ESV) 14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
What is the “power at work within us?” A power that is “far more abundant than all that we ask or think?” It is the power of God’s love for us in Christ Jesus. It is the power of the cross. It is the power of Grace. If we are rooted in Him.
In Christ’s Loving Service, Pastor Steve