Ephesians 2-3 Grace, Faith and Works

Ephesians 2-3 Grace, Faith and Works

Psalm 146:1-10 Trusting and Praising the Eternal God
Ps 146:1 “Praise Yah! Praise Yahweh, my soul. 2 While I live, I will praise Yahweh. I will sing praises to my God as long as I exist. 3 Don’t put your trust in princes, each a son of man in whom there is no help. 4 His spirit departs, and he returns to the earth. In that very day, his thoughts/plans perish.
5 Blessed is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in Yahweh, his God: 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faithfulness forever; 7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry. Yahweh frees the prisoners. 8 Yahweh opens the eyes of the blind. Yahweh raises up those who are bowed down. Yahweh loves the righteous. 9 Yahweh preserves the foreigners. He upholds the fatherless and widow, but the way of the wicked he turns upside down. 10 Yahweh will reign forever; your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise Yah!"

Observations: 146:1-10 This is the first of the five Halleluiah Psalms which each begin and end with “Halleluiah.” God and His purposes endure forever; people don't, so we should put our trust in the eternal God who helps His people rather than pin our hopes to worm food. Verse 5 is the last of the 26 “Beatitudes” (blessed/happy) in the Psalms. The one who trusts in God is the one who is blessed. While on the subject of trust and belief, believe it or not, Hebrew grammar can help you understand and praise God better. All the verbs describing God in verses 5-9a are active participles, indicating a characteristic or state of being rather than a specific action. Only the last two verbs in 9b-10 are “imperfects” indicating continuous action that is usually future or ongoing. We focus our praise on the character of God which is reflected in the actions and help for which we give Him thanks. The list of God's characteristics echo those of the Messiah's job description (Isaiah 61:1-3). God loves the righteous, and righteously executes justice.
Application: Our righteous God will reign forever, therefore He is worthy of our trust as well as our praise.
Prayer: Eternal praiseworthy God, it's so obvious I should trust You, rather than any frail human, including myself; help me see that truth for the rest of my life, as I daily depend on You for my needs and desires. Amen.

TMS Hebrews 9:27 You and Christ Only Die Once
Heb 9:27 “(24 For Christ has not entered...in the presence of God for us; 25 not that He should offer Himself often/gain and again (NIV), as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another --- 26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the culmination of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.)
27 And as it is appointed for men to die once,
but after this the judgment,

28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him
He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.“

Observations: 9:27 This is an important verse to memorize and understand because it teaches truth that refutes a handful of heresies. You should see the comments on Hebrews 9 for a fuller understanding of the verse in context, but here a a few points to observe. The author of Hebrews is writing the epistle to show the superiority of Christianity over Judaism, and here notes the superiority of Christ's sacrifice over the Levitical system, specifying that it is a one time only event (superior to something that had to be repeated every year in the Day of Atonement). Note that Christ sacrificed Himself (no one did nor does it for Him, nor again).
The timing indicates that Christ's death is at the culmination of the end of the previous ages (the Mosaic Legal system being one of them), initiating a new age.
Verse 27 parallels the one time death of Christ with the one time death of humans. We die once. This is a destiny “stored up”/appointed for us. After that we face judgment. No second chances, no reincarnation. Once, and that's it. In light of that judgment, Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many (Isa 53). The substitutionary atonement is in view, which is the basis of our justification (our present possession); Christ died in our place, so we wouldn't have to die for our sins.
To those who eagerly await Him (not those who just do their own thing), He will appear a second time (this is referred to as the Second Coming -2Cor 5:9-10). This return of Christ is not in reference to sin, to bring salvation (glorification aspect) to them, when He sets up His kingdom.

Application: The smart saint will live to please Christ, so they will eagerly look forward to the return and judgment of Christ.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I look forward to Your appearing and glory; please guide me to live so as to please You in all I aspire and do. Amen.

Ephesians 2-3 Chapter 2 is another crucial chapter to understand the need for salvation, how God saves, and what to do once saved. As in most crucial things, Satan has counterfeited and distorted it over the centuries. Fortunately, the key distortions are easy to refute. The first half of the post (up to verse 2:8) might be difficult to follow since I had to get a little technical to refute some of the misinterpretations. So make sure you get to verses 8-10 which are great to know and memorize and pass on to others. Chapter 3 follows up on the rich inheritance God has planned for believers, and gives insight into the why and how of it.

Ephesians 2 Graciously Saved for Works
2:1 "You were made alive when you were dead in transgressions and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the age of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience; 3 among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up and made us to sit in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus;
8a for by grace
8b-c you have been saved through faith,
8d and that not of yourselves;
8e it is the gift of God,
9 not of works,
that no one would boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared before that we would walk in them.
11 Therefore remember that once you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called "uncircumcision" by that which is called "circumcision," (in the flesh, made by hands); 12 that you were at that time separate from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off are made near by the blood of Christ.
14 For He is our peace, who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, 15 having abolished in the flesh the hostility, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, that He might create in himself one new man of the two, making peace; 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, putting to death the hostility thereby. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, 20 being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone; 21 in whom the whole building, fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are built together for a habitation of God by the Spirit."

Observations: 2:1-22 Paul now explains how the power of God works in the lives of believers to accomplish His purposes of summing everything under Christ's headship. God uses His power toward believers in a manner parallel to how He demonstrated it in Christ's life, by making us alive, raising us up, and seating us together in the heavenly realms. But before we enjoy our seats at the future victory banquet, we are constituted as His Body for Him to indwell here on earth.
2:1 Paul's argument is to show that both Jews and Gentiles are guilty before God and thus have a basis for unity, neither being superior to the other. This is similar to his reasoning in Romans 1-2. Those whom God has made alive were once dead. The root idea of being dead is a lack of dominion. See 2Cor 5, under Digging Deeper, for matters of life and death. The question is “what does Paul mean by dead?”. For those who understand and pay attention to context there a number of rewarding insights. The opposite of “dead” in the following context is “made alive...raised...sit with Christ in heavenly realms” (which, according to 1:20 is the position of glory and dominion). In the previous context of the last half of chapter 1, this parallels to what God did for Jesus; which is the means of fulfilling the plan in the beginning of the chapter and book, to have people share in Christ's rule and glory (sum up everything under His headship). However, instead of being holy and blameless before Him to share in that glory (as Adam and Eve had before they sinned and were deprived of it) the Ephesians were without glory/dominion because of their sins (as Adam and Eve were after they sinned). Note that people are “dead” by means of their trespasses and sins (not original sin, although that would be true too, but Paul is emphasizing the multiple offenses that have deprived them of glory/dominion/life, which behavior he will seek to correct in the rest of the letter). “Trespasses and sins” are in the instrumental dative case indicating the reason (cf Paul's use of the causal dative in Rom 4:20) or means by which they were dead. It's not sphere, since verse 2 gives the sphere nuance. The only other use of “made alive” which is the verb in verse five that Paul is leading up to (and which “corrects” our deadness) is
Colossians 2:13 “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” 
In this verse, instead of a Dative of Means/Cause Paul uses the preposition en plus the dative (“where the simple dative of instrument might have been used” -Thayers). Sorry if this is getting too technical, but it's imperative to understand that the “deadness” is not due to some “inherent depravity” but the willful rebellion against God. (If you think uncircumcision is inherent, check out Rom 2:25, it's the result of law-breaking). So, this is not about “total depravity” despite its use by those whose theology clouds their understanding of the argument and grammar (see Calvinism For Dummies on Truthbase.net). Paul is writing to believers about the basis for unity necessary to display the glory of God.
2:2-3 His (Gentile) readers once walked according to the “age” of this world, which is under the control of Satan, who is the spirit that works in the Jews (you have to be a son first to be a disobedient one). Paul and others once lived among the Jews carrying out the desires or lusts of the flesh and mind (note that these are two separate things, many resoundingly condemn the former while indulging deeply in the latter: pride, arrogance, self-centeredness, jealousy, envy, malice, etc.). As a result of these things, they were naturally children of (destined for) wrath as were the Gentiles (the rest) because of their trespasses and sins. Although “in Adam all die” (1Cor 15:22) is totally true, Paul is not here teaching about original sin, but the sins that folks had specifically committed (otherwise there would be no need for verses 2-3). For those with calcified craniums who insist that “nature” must mean original sin, in Romans 2:14 Paul uses the same word to say the Gentiles by nature do the things contained in the law, and in Galatians 2:15 contrasts the Jews by nature, with the Gentile sinners. The moral of the observation is that the usage of a word needs to be determined by the author's argument in context, not some author of a theology book. So both Jews and Gentiles alike have no dominion and are headed for wrath.
2:4-7 Even though we were enemies of God, He demonstrated mercy and love in saving us. “Made alive together” is one word in Greek, indicating the Jews and Greeks together are made alive, and this is in relation or union with Christ. Compare 2:14-16 to see that Paul is talking about the two groups being together in one body, and then in the body reconciled to God. The “in Him” in verse 6 is/are incorrectly added by translators in some versions (it's not in the Greek text), because they miss the whole unity argument.
Paul and Jesus used “made alive” to refer to the work of the Holy Spirit in giving: physical life (Rm 4:17), spiritual life (Jn 6:63), and the glorified life (Rom 8:11). It's used most frequently in the last sense (Gal 3:21; 1Tim 6:12-13) but the Col 2:13 reference (the only other usage with the “sun” prefix =together) clearly links with forgiveness (justification aspect of salvation).
Not only are we made alive, but also raised, and seated. These are not the same thing as being “made alive” (justified or regenerated). Just like God demonstrated His power in Christ's life in specific stages, so too does He deploy His power in the lives of believers. Paul uses the aorist tense to give a snapshot of the action, which usually refers to things in the past, but all grammarians will agree, that the time of the action must be determined by the context. There are some who say we are already raised and seated in heaven with Christ, which leads to a rather irrelevant “positional” application, not In sync with reality nor Paul's theology.
“Raised together” is only used in two other passages with a distinct sanctification flavor (the second aspect/use of the word salvation (See introduction to Matthew for all three).
Col 2:12 having been buried together with Him in baptism, in which also you were raised together through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.Col 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
Baptism was the first step of discipleship, in which a believer pledged death to the old life and vowed to walk in newness of life. See the comments on Romans 6 for more on sanctification.
Romans 6:4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be in the likeness of His resurrection; 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, so that the body of sin may be done away with, that we should no longer serve sin.
“Seated together” is a reference to the glorification aspect of salvation, being in the position of ready to rule (as Christ is 1:20). The raising and seating are the prerequisites to God pouring out His glory upon the faithful, which fulfills God's purpose in Eph 1:11-14 and reverses the death of 2:1 with life, as elaborated upon in 2:7 (dominion/glory of the Kingdom -See 2Cor 5 Digging Deeper).
Luke 22:30 so that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel."Acts 20:32 "So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.Acts 26:18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.'
2:8-10 This is the first of the 7PASSAGES in the Discipleship Studies. It provides the basis for sharing both the good news with others, and the assurance of salvation. It also refutes a couple bad theologies. I'll just scratch the surface here, so go to the Sidebar and own the passage so you can pass it on to others. You can also find instructions for learning how to do an exegetical outline which enables you to trace an author's argument through the text.
Note the structural layout in the text up above. The main verbal proposition is that “we are having been saved” a periphrastic construction of a present tense indicative (“are”) and perfect tense participle (“having been saved”) used to emphasize the ongoing nature of an event which happened in the past with continuing results into the present. We have been justified (forgiven), but the sanctification (holiness) and glorification are ongoing (the last is yet future based upon how we're funding our heavenly retirement account). The means by which all this happens is God's grace, which is not a static “unmerited favor” but has past, present and future aspects as well. The past is unmerited (justification/forgiveness), the present power is ongoing enablement dependent upon daily dependence (sanctification), and the future (glorification) is merited by our service. See the Survey on Grace if you've never studied how the Bible uses “grace.” (Otherwise you're just parroting someone else's error.) The channel through which we receive God's grace is faith. See the Survey of Faith if you've never studied how the Bible uses the term. Everyone has faith, it's all a matter of what one places that faith in. You have faith (an expectation of an unseen future) that the chair you're sitting in won't collapse, or that the sun will rise, or the world won't end tomorrow.
If you've ever heard someone say that faith is a gift, you know that the person is a false teacher who is either ignorant or evil, or both (yes, I know this is strong wording, but I want you to pay attention to this and maybe even study the Scriptures to refute or verify it). The “that” in verse 8d (the “it” in verse 8e is legitimately supplied) or thing which is a gift, is in the neuter gender. Greek has masculine, feminine, or neuter gender built in to the ending of the nouns (pronouns, and articles).
Here's the entry for Thayer's Lexicon in the OnlineBible Strong's #5124 “τουτο touto too’-to
neuter singular nominative or accusative case of 3778; ; pron” So “that,” the thing which is a gift, has to stand for or modify a neuter person, place or thing. Grace is feminine; salvation is feminine; and faith is feminine; so “that” (the gift) can't refer to any of them (to do so “that” would have to be feminine). Faith can't be the gift; it's grammatically impossible (as well as theologically impossible if you've understand what the Bible says on the topic). So what's the gift? Here's a hint: Neuter nouns usually refer to ideas or concepts. What's the idea or concept in the context? I'm going to go with “this whole saved by grace through faith” concept. Good choice! God graciously saves those who exercise faith in His provision.
Being saved, especially in the past justification sense, is not a result of works. You can't work off the death penalty by good behavior. You either die for your sins, or accept God's provision of Jesus as your substitute. That is what you put your faith in. Works are what God created us to do after we're saved and made alive and raised and energized by Him. Works done with His strength (daily dependence upon His power/grace) are what glorifies Him, and gets us glory as well. Since He's providing the job, tools, and energy to do it, and richly compensates us for doing what His Spirit prompts and enables us to do, there is no basis for boasting. Such boasting would disrupt or destroy the very unity God is seeking to create. So the second heresy is that we can work our way to heaven. Clearly God's word says it is a gift. To say otherwise is to be ignorant or evil, or both. If you want to know more about these good works God has planned for you to walk in, Paul might talk about them in the rest of the letter (keep your eyes out for “walk”). You can also read or listen to the Survey of Good Works on Truthbase.net. Here's the definition from that outline:
Definition: Good works are purposeful Christlike actions, prompted and enabled by the HS of grace, which eternally benefit others (through having real needs met), God (by making Him look good in the eyes of others) and ourselves (through growth and reward).
2:11-21 Paul describes the condition of the Gentiles before Christ. Note that the emphasis is a lack of participation in the glory and dominion of the covenant promises. This is another validation of the meaning of dead as a lack of dominion. Commonwealth is a word used of the rights of a free citizen in the government of a city. In union with Christ, Gentiles are now participants in the promises of the Messiah, a point Paul will elaborate upon in the next chapter. Out of the two, Jews and Gentiles, God has made one new man, and then together the two groups/one man are/is reconciled to God. Jesus made the two into one by abolishing or annulling enmity, caused by the law, which separated the two groups. He did it by living the law perfectly while still interacting with Gentiles, or rendering the law inoperative through His death (a little more in line with Col 2:14 and Gal 3:20). Thus Christ created one new entity, the church, composed of former Jews and former Gentiles. Through the apostles and authenticating work of the Holy Spirit, that peace is announced (which resulted in a lot of hostility from the Jews).
2:18-22 Note that the emphasis in the chapter is not on the salvation of individuals, but the corporate aspect of salvation. It's not so much on the fact that we now have access through the Spirit to the Father on the basis of Christ's death (nice Trinitarianism), but that we have that access together. The bulk of the chapter lays the foundation for the unified building together of Jews and Gentiles into a new dwelling place of God. The church is built on the authenticated revelatory work of the apostles and prophets, which laid the foundation (not to be repeated). The task at hand is for the Body to grow into a holy temple (which chapter 4 details). The NT church should serve the same function as did the OT temple. A place for God's glory to be manifested to the world so they have a point of contact for a relationship with Him. As God works in the lives of NT believers, they should be declaring psalms of His praise just as in the OT Book of Psalms, as God dwells and works in their midst.

Application: If you've been trusting your works rather than God's grace to be saved, it's time to become Biblical and accept God's gift by exercising your faith in what He's done, rather than what you've done. If you've done that, it's time to be part of a Biblical Body so God is glorified.

Prayer: God, thanks for Your gift of Christ dying for my sin, so I could be forgiven; may I now live as you desire, learning and doing the good works You've planned for me. Amen.

Ephesians 3 Point of Creation
3:1 "For this cause I, Paul, am the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles, 2 if it is so that you have heard of the administration/dispensation of that grace of God which was given me toward you; 3 how that by revelation the mystery was made known to me, as I wrote before in few words, 4 by which, when you read, you can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ; 5 which in other generations was not made known to the children of men, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;
6 that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of His promise in Christ Jesus through the Good News/gospel, 7 of which I was made a servant, according to the gift of that grace of God which was given me according to the working of his power. 8 To me, the very least of all saints, was this grace given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all men see what is the administration/dispensation of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things through Jesus Christ;
10 to the intent that now through the assembly the manifold wisdom of God might be made known to the principalities and the powers in the heavenly realms, 11 according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord; 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him. 13 Therefore I ask that you may not lose heart at my troubles for you, which are (for) your glory.
14 For this cause, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, that you may be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inward man; 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be strengthened to lay hold of with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to experience the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.
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 the glory in the assembly/church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen."

Observations: 3:1-9 Paul started to pray for them in light of the new status believers have as members of God's household (2:19) in which His glory should be displayed. But when he mentions that he is a prisoner of the Lord for their benefit, he decides to elaborate a bit more about what he said at the end of chapter 2. God had given Paul a stewardship of grace that he was to use to make known the revelation from God concerning the mystery. A mystery, as Paul uses the term, is something hidden or not revealed in the OT. That the Gentiles would be blessed was clear. But that they would be equal heirs with the Jews of the Messianic promises was news, good news for Gentiles. In verse 4 he says that if they just read what he's written they'd see that. Implicit in being reconciled and raised and seated as one Body is that the reward or inheritance would be equal. He now makes that explicit (I suspect the Jews weren't that thrilled with the news that the weren't any better than the saved Gentile dogs). So Paul and the apostles and prophets (upon whom the church is built) proclaimed that Gentiles are:
  • fellow heirs;
  • fellow members of the Body;
  • fellow partakers of the promise in the Messiah, proclaimed in the good news (about the kingdom).
This is not about forgiveness and being born again as children of God, but the rich inheritance that God wants to give His children. This is what he prayed they'd get insight into in 1:18 (having just finished the power aspect in the first half of the last chapter)
3:10-13 The plan to join and bless Jews and Gentiles together with the unsearchable riches of the Messiah in the Messianic Age so that all could see His glory was God's plan in creating all things (including the world). This means that God's purpose in creation is not soteriological (saving people from their sins) but doxological (displaying His glory). To say the Bible is about God saving sinners is short-sighted bordering upon stupidity (or at least ignorance of the Bible). The bookends of the first and last three chapters of the Bible aren't about saving sinners, nor is most of what is in-between, but rather it's about blessing those who are faithful. Verse 10 gives a purpose statement for creation: to display the manifold wisdom of God, through the church to angelic/demonic powers (as 1:21 intimates, and 6:12 identifies who these critters are). The wisdom of God was also the subject of the praise of God in Romans 11:33, in which, parallel to our book, Paul praises God for how He saves and blesses Jews and Gentiles. So what's the point? Why would God want to show off His wisdom to a bunch of angels? Satan's objection to God blessing Job (in the oldest book of the Bible) gives a clue. If you don't like my take on it, feel free to come up with your own, but this will help you understand how and why Satan works (and you don't want to be ignorant of his schemes). Satan was the highest created being, and very impressive. He was so impressive, he thought he could take on, and defeat God. A third of the angels (who are a heck of a lot smarter than the average, or above average bear) agreed, and bet on Satan. What no one could see was the infinite nature of God, and when they rebelled, God flicked them out of heaven to earth. That's all history, the next piece in inference, based upon past, present, and future pieces. Satan perhaps objected to the justice of God, saying that it was unrealistic to expect obedience from a creature that had free will. God responded by making a sub-par being, lower than the angels, with free will, and said that they would obey Him, and He would give them the glory that Satan grasped at, and missed. That's a possible explanation for Satan's temptation of Adam and Eve, testing of Job, blinding people to the glory of the gospel (which is endemic today). It's why he offers short-cuts to God's will, which are really one way detours to disaster. It's why he takes captive false teachers to do his will by preventing people from doing God's will so He can reward them. It's why he disrupts relationships in Bodies of believers, so they won't be unified as a temple to display God's glory. There are two dozen of Satan's actions that are explained by this scenario. This also explains why there is such an emphasis on faithfulness and loyalty to God in both testaments. I don't have an exegetical outline to back up all this but have had to commit the unpardonable sin of theology to put the pieces together. If you find something better to explain the facts, please let me know, and I will gladly repent :) We might just be pawns in the cosmic chess match between God and Satan, but we are rightly rewarded pawns.
Back in the realm of humans, in proper relation to the Lord Jesus, we have moral courage and confident access to God based upon our faith in Christ. Therefore the Ephesians should not be discouraged at the difficulties he faces, since they are for their glory (they pay obedient attention to Paul's revelation, they get glory).
3:14-21 In light of the purpose that God has for believers to be the temple which displays His glory, Paul prays that His Spirit would empower them to live under the control of Christ, manifesting His love toward their brothers and sisters in the faith, so that they would be filled with the fulness of God. Filled with the fullness is a reference to the glory of God filling the tabernacle (Ex 40:34) and temple (1Kg 8:11) when they were completed. To know the love that surpasses knowledge is probably better as translated above, with perhaps an illusion in Paul's thinking to his message to the Corinthians, that love surpasses knowledge (1Cor 13). To manifest the love that Christ desires (commanded John 13:34) requires the prerequisites for which Paul prays: first that they would be made strong by the Holy Spirit's power, so that the Messiah would control them as they believed Him. This is not a reference to initial justification, but rather sanctification. They already had faith in Jesus as their sin-bearer (Acts 19; Eph 1:1; 13). For Christ to dwell, or be at home in their hearts, they needed to faithfully depend upon Him. This could only happen if the Holy Spirit had been at work in sanctifying them (Rm 8:4; 14). Then having been rooted and grounded in love (this is a possible reference to God's love for them, or the first/foremost fruit of the Spirit), they might have strength to love their fellow saints as they corporately experience the love that is sourced in Christ. Only then could God's glory be displayed in them. This is not about our loving Christ, nor even about being aware of how much He loves us (both of which are good Biblical concepts from other passages) but about believers being strengthened to display God's glory (this context). What is it that Paul says is necessary for this love to be experienced? God's strengthening power. And what is the end result? God's power/glory will be displayed.
Just notice this in the “doxology” at the end of the prayer. The love piece is subsumed in the power/glory motif. God works in us through His power (Holy Spirit) to demonstrate the behavior in the church which brings Him glory. It is in the church, the assembly of believers operating under the control of the Holy Spirit that God's glory is seen. This is the theme which will be unfolded in the next chapters.

Application: If we are going to bring God glory in our churches/assemblies, we must learn to draw upon God's power to live in love under the Lordship of Christ. There is no short-cut.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for the rich inheritance You have planned for your faithful children; may I live for seeing Your glory displayed in both my present church life, as well as in my life in the Messiah's future kingdom. Amen.


Digging Deeper

God in a nutshell: God graciously saves (justifies/sanctifies/glorifies) those who exercise faith in His revelation, so they can do the works He has planned for them. He also has a plan to richly bless faithful believers in the future with His glory, and to display His glory to the world through the church, as He dwells in their midst.

Build-a-Jesus: Jesus reconciled Jews and Greeks to each other, and then both to God in one body, so they could be the NT temple, living under His control, by the power of His Spirit.

Us in a nutshell: We are graciously saved by faith, so we can do good works. We need to supernaturally draw on the Spirit's power/grace to love others as Christ desires, so that God's glory can be seen in our midst.

Where to Go for More:
Truthbase.net