EPHESIANS, THE EPISTLE OF THE CHURCH AND THE CROSS # 10


The Great Design Summit – prayer and doxology

Ephesians 3: 14-21

Dr. G. Ernesto Johnson

Rio Grande Bible Seminar

Pablo has been the climber climbing spiritual Everest since that magnificent prologue."Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places in Christ, as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, for that we were saints without spot in front of him. . . . " (Ephesians 1: 3,4) Paul traces the role of the Triune God: God the Father who chose us (v.4), God the Son in whom we have redemption through his blood (v.7) and God the Holy Spirit who seals us with the Holy Spirit of promise (v. .13). All this is done by God according to the riches of his grace and for the praise of his glory.

Pablo breathes the air of the future and takes us with him to contemplate the highlands of the Great Designo centered everything on the Cross of Christ. Upon glimpsing that future glory, Paul immediately raises a prayer for the Ephesians and all believers to this day. Ask God for three blessings: a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, enlightening the eyes to our call to know our hope (v.17) and the riches of his grace (v.18) and the supereminent greatness of his power to with we who believe (v.19). Only through faith and the heart open to the Holy Spirit, the believer can participate fully in this Great Design

To make the riches of his grace shine even more brightly after the sad past of the unbeliever killed in crimes and sins (2: 2 3), God gave us life, resurrected us, made us sit in heavenly places (vv.5-7) and all based on the Cross. Pablo now gives his great pronouncement: "For by grace you are saved through faith; and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast " (vv.8, 9). This glorious statement covers not only the justification but also even more sanctification – all by grace through faith.

The Axis of Great Design the work of the Cross

East Great Designo already formulated reaches its peak in the vicarious death of Christ and his resurrection and our full co crucifixion and identification in such death to sin and now alive for God in Christ (Romans 6). God has united both the Jews of the promise and the Gentiles, previously uncircumcised, alienated from the citizenship of Israel, without hope and without God in this world.

The eternal plan of bringing Gentiles closer to being one body in Christ has been revealed. In the "consummation of the centuries"(Hebrews 9:26), Christ did the redeeming work of"be our peace, that of both peoples made one, breaking down the middle wall of separation. . . and through the cross to reconcile with God both in one body, killing in it the enmities"(Vv.14,16).

There is one more altiplano. Of the two peoples in pure grace God will make a family and a temple "Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone" (v.20). Thus united, it grows to be a holy temple in the Lord, a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. This is the Great Designe of which Paul was the spokesman.

Pablo's digression amazed by being the spokesperson for the Great Design Ephesians 3: 1-13

Upon reaching the summit, Paul is about to give summary or prayer as has been his frequent custom (see 1: 15-23). "For this cause I Paul. . . but immediately he introduces his precarious situation, "prisoner of Christ Jesus". But suddenly Paul reflects on the supereminent greatness of God's grace for having chosen him to announce to the Gentiles that they are "Coheirs and members of the same body, and partners in the promise of Jesus Christ through the gospel"(V.6). Far from exalting him the grace of God humiliates him; respond with "To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given to me. . . . "

In the sovereign will of God he had sent his Son who "tabernacled" among us. Before there had been those of the family of faith: Adam and Eve, Enoch, Noah, Job and Melchizedek and many more anonymous, even apart from the children of Abraham, the father of faith. But only in the "consummation of the centuries, he presented himself merienda for all for the sacrifice of himself to remove sin from the midst" (Hebrews 9:26)

Pablo is dazzled by the light of "the unsearchable riches of Christ. . . so that the manifold wisdom of God is now made known through the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose that he made in Christ Jesus our Lord"(Vv.8-12).

Paul knows how to turn each situation into a lesson or motivation to encourage them to serve God. He is in prison for having served them, but in no way does he want their sufferings to faint them; those are his glory and rejoicing. Finished the digression picks up his previous introduction: "Because of this . . . " (v.14).

Paul's Prayer for the dwelling of God in the Spirit Ephesians 3: 14-15

We are now on holy ground. As God called Moses from the burning bush: "Moses, Moses! . . . Here I am . . . Stay away; remove your shoes from your feet, because the place where you are, holy ground is " (Exodus 3: 4,5) The prayers of Paul in Ephesians put us well into the temple of the Church, the Body of Christ. The first sentence followed that trinitarian doxology taking us to eternity past. This second and last one takes us to the purpose of Great Design – the same dwelling of God.

As Paul finished the previous chapter: "in who (Christ) the whole building, well coordinated, is growing to be a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you are also edified together to dwelling of God in the Spirit"(3: 21,22). Now he picks up the same thought fervently asking that so many Jews and Gentiles, now only one man, can realize the supereminent greatness of God's grace in full union with Christ.

Paul clearly feels the wonder of the "cause", being the Church, the Body of Christ, the dwelling of God in everything he understands now and in the glorious future. In an act of profound adoration, bend your knees before God the Father. Textually there should not be the phrase of "our Lord Jesus Christ"; the best manuscripts do not have it. The idea rather is that God is Father in the sense of being the sole source or origin of each spiritual family in the heavens and on earth. The word used refers to God as the creator of the family or the great architect of the temple.

The urgent request that Christ should live by faith in the brothers Ephesians 3: 16.17

Paul's passion for his brothers was to realize that Christ lived in them, having them this "treasure in earthen vessels. " That is why Paul gives himself to prayer. Just as he did in giving the Trinitarian doxology, he does it again at the end of the first half of the epistle to the Ephesians. "I bend my knees. . . to give you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power, in the inner man by his Spirit" Once again he turns to God himself as the source of the riches of his glory. These riches are without limit and they are also available for the urgent need of the persecuted brothers.

Paul likes redundancy to emphasize the sufficiency of Christ, strengthened with power,

("Dynamis" – dynamite). But it is not the intellectual power but the transforming power that changes the interior of man. Apart from the gospel there is no way to change the innate sin in the human being. But on the contrary, this power is directed to the distinctiveness of Christianity: "so that Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts so that, rooted and grounded in love, you are fully capable of understanding with all the saints. " The abode of Christ in the heart of the believer is the jewel in the crown.

This encontrarse describes the room of Christ as a decisive, permanent, residential, firm and fixed room. No other religion can compare with this treasure. Everyone knows the joy of being back home after the world swaying. What freedom! What a relaxed life, happy, happy!

But the disturbing question remains. Is Christ happy in the environment of our thinking, acting, speaking and leading? That is why Paul exhorts the Ephesians in prayer to be strengthened as in a permanent state in the inner man. Paul describes life in union with Christ as good rooted, that is, with a firm root that grasps the spiritual nourishment that is alone in Christ; then change the shape of a building well cemented whose foundation is good since it resists until the earthquake of evil.

But you have to notice the small but very important phrase: "so that Christ may dwell by faith in our hearts . . "The divine initiative"according to the riches of his glory " It is pure grace operating only on the basis of faith, not works, merit or service.

Paul rightly describes the essence of the gospel in two well compressed verses: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God's power for salvation to everyone who believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Because in the gospel the justice of God is revealed by faith and for faith, as it is written: But the just Faith will live " (Romans 1: 16,17) Four times in two verses emphasizes faith as the only effective means to realize the fullness of salvation.

Then Pablo says it again: "Therefore, it is by faith that it be by grace, so that the promise may be firm for all offspring. . . " (Romans 4:16) So many times the emphasis is on what we have to do, but this treasure is our permanent resident, feeling Christ fully at home in which his son is believing and obeying.

God in full grace offers us the horizons of God's love Ephesians 3:18, 19

In no way are we prepared for what prayer offers us. At this point we were speechless. The phrase "in love"Can refer to both encontrarse 17 above and encontrarse 18 later. In the phrase "In love" (agape) God is described as best he can by the poverty of human words. The room of Christ in the believer is the culmination of divine love. Christ himself is incarnated in him who believes through the Holy Spirit.

Listen to the dimensions of this love within reach of faith! Of course we will not get to know the totality of God's love, but prayer cordially invites us to embrace it."In love be fully able to understand with all the saints what is the width, length, depth and height, and know the love of God, which exceeds all knowledge, so that you are filled with all the fullness of God " (vv.17-19).

It really seems sacrilege to make a poor comment about this flight of the "Supereminent greatness of God's power for with we the what do we believe" (1:19)

The doxology performed in the church what a tribute to the grace of God Ephesians 3: 20, 21

In that same spirit of heart worship, what can we add to what has been said above? In submission and in brokenness of heart we keep silent before this glorious doxology: "And to him who is able to do all things much more abundantly than we ask or understand, according to the power that acts in us, to him be glory in the church in Christ Jesus for all ages, for ever and ever. Amen".

I just make a comment in the middle of this majestic doxology. The phrase strikes me "According to the power that acts in us" (v.20). In God there is no limit whatsoever in what he would do in us "according to the power that acts in us". Rather, it is a question of how far we allow God to act in us. It is a strong challenge that we open our hearts to the work of the Cross. Jesus had said: "He who loves me will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him. " (John 14:23) In this way both the individual believer and the Church, the Body of Christ will redound to the glory of the Triune God.

"Because by grace you are saved (sanctified) through faith and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not for works, so no one can boast. "

Gordon Johnson

Author: Gordon Johnson

is recognized in Latin America as a lecturer. He has served as a professor at the Rio Grande Bible Seminary, Texas since 1954, being president of the institution for many years as well. He has several degrees among which he received a Masters in Latin American Studies and a PhD in Missiology.


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