Ephesians 1:3-14 mentions glorious gospel truths in a way that sometimes feels too good to be true—at least for me. The passage opens by praising the Triune God for every spiritual blessing we have in Christ (v3) before unpacking some of these glorious blessings.
God the Father chose me to be adopted into His family? And He did this before time began?!? He lavished His love upon me by sending His Son to die for me to redeem me from my sins and become the bridge over the chasm of sin that separated man from God? And God sends the Holy Spirit as the down payment of a glorious inheritance that awaits those “in Christ” in heaven?
Contemplating these gospel truths often leaves me speechless, or grasping for the words of the Psalmist, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6).
How can we respond to truths that are too glorious and too gracious for us to comprehend with our finite, sin-tainted minds? How can we transport these lofty ideas from our heads and plant deep in our hearts to stir our affections and move us to Christ-adorning action? There are two ways.
We praise God. He has revealed the mystery of His will to us in uniting all things under the Lordship and dominion of Christ. Instead of trying to wrap our mind around all of the details and questions we still have, let us lift our hearts up to God in heartfelt worship—this is the purpose of the glorious truths of Ephesians 1:3-14, that we might live “to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14).
We also pray. And that is exactly what Paul does in the second half of Ephesians 1. Very rarely in Scripture does God give us a prayer of application for a specific passage, and that is exactly how Ephesians 1:15-23 functions for the opening portion of Ephesians (1:3-14). It’s important that we take note of the Spirit-inspired prayers of the Scriptures so our prayers can be shaped by Scripture and God’s priorities, not our own.
So what do we pray for a deeper understanding of the gospel? Paul prays in verse 18 and following that we would have a spirit of wisdom and revelation to know three things:
1. Pray for a deeper knowledge of the hope we have in Christ.
“…that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you…” Ephesians 1:18a
Knowing that we have every spiritual blessing in Christ both now and for all of eternity should well up in an unspeakable hope in our hearts. That’s why Paul prays for us to know this hope. This hope allows us to rejoice in our sufferings and persevere during hardship (Romans 5:2-5).
The idea of hope is not just a pipe-dream, like “I hope I will win the lottery.” This hope is an eager expectation of something guaranteed. Pray for a hope in Christ that will so fix your eyes on heavenly things that earthly troubles only increase your longing for your true home.
2. Pray for a deeper knowledge of God’s love for us in Christ.
“…what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints…” Ephesians 1:18b
Many think the inheritance Paul refers to in verse 18 is our inheritance in God, but it clearly says “the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints”—God’s inheritance in us. What?! We, as God’s dearly beloved family, are His inheritance because are united to His dearly beloved Son by faith.
Just like there is a strong relational bond (albeit imperfect due to sin) between a parent and child, there is a perfect and unbreakable relational bond between God and believers. The Father won’t let anyone or anything pluck His dearly beloved children from His hand (John 10:28).
God could have chosen anything in the entire universe to be His inheritance, His treasure—and He chooses human beings like you and me. We are His bride, His glorious inheritance. How many of you want to experientially know more of God’s love for you? Then pray to know the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints.
3. Pray for a deeper knowledge of God’s power.
“…what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places…” Ephesians 1:19-20
We Christians need to know we are not powerless. The same power that raised Christ from the dead and that rules above every earthly and heavenly authority not only lives in us, but is available to help us when you pray. God’s power is available to give us strength during weakness and do far more abundantly than we can ask or think in every area of our lives (Ephesians 3:20).
How would it change your life knowing and depending on the immeasurable greatness of God’s power toward us who believe? Pray to know it and you will find out.
As you incorporate these truths into your prayer repertoire and meditations, God will bolster your faith and deepen your experience of “the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” and so you will “be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).
Article adapted from a portion of a sermon I preached on Ephesians 1:3-14.