God’s Great Power
“…the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe…” (Ephesians 1:18)
Bible Reading: Ephesians 1:18
The third and final thing that Paul prayed the Ephesians might come to know about God was the greatness of his power toward them.
This is how he puts it: “…and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places…” (Ephesians 1:19, 20).
The immensity of the power that God exercises toward us is indicated by the terms “immeasurable greatness” and “his great might” (v. 19). These expressions point to power beyond measure or conception.
But Paul does not rely on words alone to convey this idea. Instead, he links God’s power toward believers with the resurrection and ascension of Christ. It is “according to” the power that God exerted in raising Jesus from the dead, and then seating him at his right hand in the heavenly places (v. 20) that God’s power toward us is to be measured.
The most common way to read this is to say that God’s power toward us is just like the power he demonstrated in raising Jesus from death to glory. And that may be what the apostle means to say here. But he may be saying something more as well. For as we shall see later, Paul speaks of God making us “alive together with Christ” (2:5) and of him raising us “with him” and seating us together “with him in heavenly places” (2:6). He might have that in mind here too. The greatness of God’s power toward us lies in it being a power that makes us alive together with the Lord and raises us and seats us with him in glory.
Whatever the apostle’s precise intent, he would have us and all believers understand that God’s power toward us is immeasurably great. It is a power that is pre-eminently involved in our spiritual awakening from death and resurrection to be with Christ in the heavens. As mentioned, we will explore this more fully in chapter 2.
Whenever I read of these things, a sentence in the introduction to this letter in the NIV Study Bible comes to mind. The writer of this introduction seeks to capture Paul’s purpose in Ephesians as follows: “Paul wrote to expand the horizons of his readers so that they might understand better the dimensions of God’s eternal purpose and grace and come to appreciate the high goals God has for the church”.
It is the idea that Paul wrote the book of Ephesians to “expand the horizons” of his readers that grips me. We often limit the scope of God’s great purposes and the immensity of his power in accomplishing them. Ephesians opens our minds to this.
Like the believers in Ephesus, we need our minds opened to the dimensions of God’s purposes and the greatness of his power.
- Do you need your “horizons” expanded to see the “dimensions” of God’s purposes?
- Do you thank God continually for the greatness of his power toward you in Christ?
– Andrew Young