After the parenthesis of vv. 2-13, Paul again takes up the prayer he had only begun.
Paul resumes the prayer that he offered at the beginning of the chapter when the current of his thoughts carried him away.
EPH 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles —
For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.
Paul’s prayer, for the reality of Christ and His life to be a reality in the hearts of the Christians he taught, caused him to pause and reflect that he was the steward in charge of caring for and communicating these awesome truths, and because he was called for this purpose by God, he found himself imprisoned.
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What Paul was called to care for became for him the strongest desire to see the reality of Christ in others.
His chief desire was not to be known as the greatest teacher, or have the biggest ministry, or to be the most known, but rather to see the life of God in others.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 And there are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
Each one of us have been given a gift from the Holy Spirit for the common good. Initially our desire for this gift might be to be known as the greatest giver, or teacher, or comforter, or server, but as you come to know the Lord, your chief desire will become the hope of seeing the life of Christ in others. All service, no matter what it may be, is designed for this one purpose - the common good, and what does God consider “good” for people? His life in them.
The content, fervency, and frequency of our prayers is the best way to discover our chief concerns and ambitions.
Paul prays for what is God’s will for all men. The indispensable prelude to all petition is the revelation of God’s will.
The sacrifices in the OT were not recognized as human works, as pagan sacrifices were for the appeasement of the false deity. In the Law they were recognized as divine gifts. They did not make God gracious; they were provided by a gracious God in order that He might act graciously toward His sinful people. “I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar.” (LEV 17:11. And this truth is yet more plainly recognized in the NT, not least in the main texts about propitiation. God Himself “presented” Jesus Christ as a propitiatory sacrifice (ROM 3:25). It is not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son as a propitiation for our sins (1JO 4:10). It cannot be emphasized enough that God’s love is the source, not the consequence, of the atonement.
In the Upper Room, Christ instructed us in His own memorial service, not a usual one in which we do it once and say goodbye to a loved one, but a continual one in which we bring Him into remembrance again and again. He told us to copy Him. To take, break, bless, and share bread and wine. He told us exactly what they signified, the bread was His “body given for you,” and the wine was His “blood, shed for you.” The bread was not His living body, but His broken and dying body which would be given for us in death. The wine did not represent the blood that flowed in His veins as He sat with them to eat, but for the blood that would be “poured out” for them in death. The significance of His body and blood go far beyond the physical. He would be judged for the sins of the world. He would die spiritually as well as physically and the entire event is in view. The Lord’s Supper would not commemorate His birth or His life, but His death on the cross. It is a funeral memorial.
Jesus also showed us the purpose of His death. His blood was “the new covenant in His blood.” Matthew further adds that our Lord also said that His blood was to be shed for the forgiveness of sins. He was taking the initiative to establish the new covenant with His people, doing all that it needed in Himself, which included in it the promise that “their sins and iniquities I would remember no more.”
Many centuries previously God had entered a covenant with Abraham, promising to bless him with a good land, an abundant posterity, abundant prosperity, and through him to bless all the families of the earth.
God renewed His promise at Mt. Sinai, after rescuing Abraham’s descendants from Egypt. He pledged to be their God and to make them His people. Moreover, a conditional covenant, the Mosaic Law, was given to them in which they all pledged to follow. This covenant was also ratified with the blood of the sacrifice: “Moses took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Hundreds of years passed, in which the people forsook God, broke His covenant and provoked His judgment, until one day in the seventh century B.C. the prophetic word came to Jeremiah in which God said, “The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” It would be over seven hundred years before God would offer a cup that was the “new covenant” and significantly, “in My blood,” in the blood of the Messiah guaranteeing the forgiveness of sins.
And then, taking in the significance of His words, which they wouldn’t understand until soon afterwards, the disciples are sure to recognize that the body and blood must not stand apart from them, only taken in by Jesus who would accomplish it all. No, they had to eat and drink of them with Christ. And, just as it was not enough for the bread to be broken and the wine to be poured out, but they had to eat and drink, so it was not enough for Him to die, but they had to appropriate the benefits of His death personally. We cannot imagine a world in which Jesus does this and no one is made alive to God through it. Just as when He said to a large crowd, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you.” So Jesus gave His body and blood in death so that we could die and rise again with Him. We eat of His body and drink His blood by faith in Him and thus participate in His death and in His New Covenant, a covenant of life.
"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.
For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 25 In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.