I’ve been looking at the first two chapters of Ephesians to see what the good news that brings great joy means to us. Ephesians is indeed the high-water mark of Paul’s teaching and rather difficult to understand at first blush. However, we risk living sub-par and powerless Christian lives if we don’t take the time to truly comprehend what’s being said here.
Here’s the passage we will look at today. It’s a continuation of Paul’s prayer for us. I will attempt to unpack the amazing things God is saying about us here.
19 I pray that you will continually experience the immeasurable greatness of God’s power made available to you through faith. Then your lives will be an advertisement of this immense power as it works through you! (Eph.1:19 TPT *)
If you remember, last time we looked at the mystery of us in Christ. Now, Paul shifts his prayer by asking that we would experience the immeasurable greatness of God’s power that’s available to us.
First, why is it “immeasurable greatness“? This is not just hyperbole. We have absolutely no mental grid to wrap our mind around it. Just consider that all things in both the spiritual realm and natural realm are held together in Christ…that is, all things visible or invisible live and move and have their being in Him (Col.1:16-17; Acts 17:23).
There is no such thing as “outside” of Christ.
Second, we need to understand that the eternal Christ cannot just be the first or greatest being among beings. He must necessarily be infinite, self-existing outside of time and space and matter itself, which means, outside of our ability to measure. David Bentley Hart describes this most eloquently:
“The most venerable metaphysical claims about God do not simply shift priority from one kind of thing (say, a teacup or the universe) to another thing that just happens to be much bigger and come much earlier (some discrete, very large gentleman who preexists teacups and universes alike). These claims start, rather, from the fairly elementary observation that nothing contingent, composite, finite, temporal, complex, and mutable can account for its own existence, and that even an infinite series of such things can never be the source or ground of its own being, but must depend on some source of actuality beyond itself. Thus, abstracting from the universal conditions of contingency, one very well may (and perhaps must) conclude that all things are sustained in being by an absolute plenitude of actuality, whose very essence is being as such: not a “supreme being,” not another thing within or alongside the universe, but the infinite act of being itself, the one eternal and transcendent source of all existence and knowledge, in which all finite being participates.” (from article here *)
This is just a very sophisticated way of describing “immeasurable greatness.” While it’s beyond our ability to measure or obverse by natural means (because it transcends nature), we can show its necessity through logical deduction and see it in Scripture.
I want you to contemplate the following for a moment…this “immeasurable greatness” lives in you and me. This is why the gospel brings such great joy!
Of course, Paul declares this very thing later (Eph.1:22-23; 2:6), and Jesus Himself said we would know this after we received the Holy Spirit:
20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. (John 14:20 NKJV)
Do you know this yet? We are in Christ and He is in us! And it’s because of this relationship that this potential power is available to us, which we access by faith (remember, nothing is unlocked in the Kingdom of God without faith).
One more point here in the last part of verse 19…
Then your lives will be an advertisement of this immense power as it works through you! (Eph.1:19b TPT *)
What Paul seems to be saying here is when we begin to see ourselves the way God sees us, and begin to access this immeasurable greatness and ultimate power available to us through faith, Christ is able to express Himself through us.
God’s intent is that the world will experience Jesus through you and me.
Now, let me say here that this is not power the way the world wields it. Quite the opposite. In the world, power means control and submission through fear and manipulation, or worse, brutality. Christ’s kingdom compels through other-centered, self-giving love (2 Cor.5:14-15). This is a much greater power. So great that it defeated death itself!
This resident divine power comes to us by surrendering to infinite Love, abiding in that love, and giving that same love away to others (John 15:9-12). Brute force changes nothing at all in the scheme of things. In the end, only other-centered, self-giving love has the power to transform the human soul, and without this love we have nothing (1 Cor.13:1-3).
I hope you’re seeing how pathetically short religion falls in comparison to what we’ve already been given in Christ. When we begin to see ourselves the way God sees us, and begin to access this immeasurable greatness and ultimate power available to us by faith, we begin to put Christ’s manifest goodness (glory) on display for all to see.
Beloved, we are powerless and ineffective only to the degree that we remain ignorant of our identity and purpose in Christ. It’s time we moved on from powerless Christianity.