And now we have a wonderful prayer by Paul for these believers. Again the phrase “for this reason” is used. Looking back at the previous verses, Paul is talking about how the mystery of the gospel also being for the Gentiles has been revealed and that God is displaying His wisdom through the church. And that his suffering is for their glory. Because of all this, he is able to bow before God and ask that God strengthen them. “According to the riches of his glory” – God has the power and riches necessary to strengthen them and He does so through the Holy Spirit inside them. Paul again talks about them having strength to comprehend and then goes on to talk about the incredible vastness that is Christ’s love. Paul asks that these believers be rooted and grounded in love, and comprehend Christ’s love, so that they would be filled with the fullness of God. These are some incredible phrases! Christ’s love surpasses knowledge! Perhaps we can grasp a tiny inkling of what His love is. It’s almost an oxymoron that Paul has here: “to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge”. To know something that is beyond knowledge is paradoxical. This gives us a tiny picture of how incredible is Christ’s love for us.
Paul closes his prayer with a reminder that God is much more powerful than we could even imagine, that He can do beyond our ability to even ask. And that power is at work within us! The Holy Spirit is within us as believers and He is God, with the power beyond our imagination. So Paul gives glory to God throughout all generations, forever to be praised. What an incredible passage to show how amazing is God!
vs. 14-17a – Prayer to Father that they’d be strengthened through the Spirit so Christ would dwell in their hearts
vs. 17b-19 – That they’d have strength to comprehend and to know Christ’s love so they’d be filled with fullness of God
vs. 20-21 – God is able to do far more than we could ask or think – to Him be glory (doxology)
Summary of sections in chapter 3:
vs. 1-13: The mystery of the gospel being also for the Gentiles was made known to Paul that he might preach to all this mystery, so through the church God’s wisdom would be made known.
vs. 14-21: Prayer for them to know Christ’s love and be strengthened through the Spirit so they would be filled with God’s fullness – He who does far more than we could ask.
We could summarize Ephesians 3 something like this – The mystery of Christ is that the gospel is for everyone. This truth ‘The gospel is for all’ – this displays God’s wisdom. Also Ephesians 3 reminds us that we are strengthened through the Spirit to understand Christ’s love. So how do we apply this?
How does knowing the gospel is for everyone make a difference in how we treat others?
How can knowing the vastness of Christ’s love change how you go about your day-to-day activities?
Knowing God’s power is beyond what we could even ask or think – how does that change our prayer life? The trials we go through? Who should we pray this prayer for?