Above All. From the verses shown above, one would think we had reached the end of the book of Ephesians. Yet, right here at the end of chapter 3, with three more chapters remaining, Paul gives us an interim benediction. Though the benediction is short, it is profound in its expression of God's grace in our lives.
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21, NKJV
Ephesians 3:20 and 21 is an interesting phrase applied to God, our Father.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.
Do we not know that God is so mighty, so holy, and so powerful that we cannot even imagine the things God can do for us? On one level, we certainly do have this perspective of God, do we not?
As a matter of fact, how often are we guilty of praying in a manner to this Holy God as though He is a benevolent Being whose sole purpose is to fulfill all of our wants? Yet, that is hardly the meaning being expressed by Paul in verse 20. The reverse is actually true. We have a tendency to put God in a box, so to speak. Our faith is so small that we scarcely believe He can or will do anything for us. We limit His abilities to only those things we are able to see and do. What would happen to the ministry of most believers if they actually believed God could and would answer their most ardent prayers?
Of course, this presupposes two things. First, it presupposes that we actually believe that God is exactly who He claims to be in His Word and that we have the faith that He will perform it for us. Second, it presupposes that we will ask for the right things.
We do not expect God to answer the, "Please give me a new car" type of requests. However, we should be actively praying for the salvation of our friends, neighbors, and acquaintances, knowing that God does, indeed, change hearts. Even the most hardened criminal can be changed when His heart is given to Christ.
Paul, however, did not stop there. He continued, "According to the power that works in us."
Think about what Paul is saying. As believers in Christ, we can live happy, peaceful, successful lives because of the power that works in us. We do not have that success because we are so good or talented. We have that success and the resultant peace because the Holy Spirit within us guides us in the way we should go. It is when we totally give up on ourselves and our own abilities that Christ truly begins to work in our hearts and lives. How amazing is that?
What is the proper response to such a discovery? "To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
We only need to look around us to see how God has responded to these words of Paul in Ephesians 3:21. In spite of man's wickedness and Satan's desire and attempts to destroy the church of God, here we are literally thousands of generations later viewing God's church spread throughout all of the countries of the world. The Word of God has spread throughout the world, and through the power of God, alone, the flames of truth have been fanned to all races and peoples.
What an amazing God we serve. Let us remember that the work we do for God is His work! It is He who equips us, and it is He who guides and directs us through the power of the Holy Spirit working within us. It is not up to us to fulfill the great commission. It is up to us to fall before Christ and seek His help and aid. He will grow us and make us more and more like Christ. And, He will use us to spread the Gospel and grow His church.
Go, then, today in the strength and power of the Lord. What a wonderful interim benediction by the Apostle Paul. Let us always remember that it is Christ within us and not we ourselves that brings glory to God our Father.