The might of divine power is in constant energy on behalf of those who are saved by grace, and who are sealed by the Spirit. In Ephesians 1:19, it is called the surpassing greatness of God’s power towards us who believe;—the power by which the Lord Jesus Christ was raised from among the dead. In chapter 3:20, the power is said to work in us, and according to that power, God “is able to do far exceedingly above all which we ask or think.” As regards its operations then, this mighty power is both towards us and in us.
Those who are Christ’s co-heirs, members of His body, and partakers of life in Him, are, notwithstanding the exalted favour and blessing which has been bestowed upon them, entirely dependent upon God’s power for the needed strength to apprehend by the Spirit the vast range of glory of which Christ is the Centre; and which according to the precious truth of the mystery, they share with Him in a most intimate way, as His body and His bride. This strengthening is also needed, that Christ may be dwelling in the heart through faith, and that founded as to our character and rooted vitally in the love of God, we may increase in the knowledge of the love of Christ; which, nevertheless, however great our enjoyment of His love may be, still surpasses knowledge; for like Himself, it is infinite; but though we are dependent, thank God, we are so upon One whose resources are exhaustless, whose power is immeasurable and whose grace and love towards us are illimitable.
How this encourages our hearts therefore to seek His face in regards to these great things,—the greatest things in some respects! Fallen man, in his fleshly state, has neither the mind nor the power to enter into them; nor could “the natural man,” even at his best, apprehend them, for “they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14); but those who have redemption in Christ through His blood have the Spirit, so that “we may know the things which have been freely given to us of God.” Paul felt that the saints at Ephesus needed divine strength to apprehend these things. He therefore prayed,—“I bow my knees to the Father” on your behalf, he told them (3:14). We also need to pray for ourselves if we are to rightly apprehend the truth. The apostle desired strength in “the inner man” for them.
This inner man, which every saint of God has, is the result of the work of God in us. It is contrasted with the “outward man” (2 Cor. 4:16); and it is “renewed day by day” as we walk with God. In the exercises of the seventh of Romans, the believer makes the discovery that he has this inner man which delights in what is of God (v. 22), though the principle of sin still causes him distress. It is in the inner man therefore the Father is asked to grant strength by His Spirit in Ephesians 3:16; and that according to the riches of His glory. Every family in the heavens and on the earth receives being from Him,—He is the Source of all. How vast then are His riches! With what confidence we may ask to be strengthened according to them! We need to do so if we are to prosper in divine things! It is no question of earthly matters or the circumstances of our pathway here. We are dependent upon the Father of mercies in regard to them also; but this has to do with things that abide in glory and blessedness for ever. Those who minister these things likewise need to pray for those to whom they minister, lest their labour be in vain. If Paul bowed his knees to the Father in regard to them, we do well to do so.
Nor should we allow the mistaken thought to deter us, that it merely effects our own advance in the great things connected with the mystery of Christ and the assembly. It is not simply this which the true heart desires, surely, but that God should be glorified, even as the apostle concludes his prayer, “But to Him that is able to do far exceedingly above all which we ask or think, according to the power which works in us, to Him be glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus unto all generations of the age of the ages. Amen.”