There are four things that God uses to hold chaos in the world in check. These are sometimes called the laws of divine establishment.
1. Conscience (authority of the soul)
2. Marriage and Family (authority of parents)
3. Government (authority of the state)
4. Church (light and salt of the world)
1. Conscience (authority of the soul) - Every person’s conscience has an embedded idea of God’s law, e.g. the Ten Commandments. When people overrule God’s law and make up a false law they wipe out personal restraint and remove all feeling of guilt or remorse that would naturally come upon them. They will steal and murder and overrule their nagging conscience so much with their false law that they will actually convince themselves that they’re doing good.
2. Marriage and Family (authority of parents) - Two biological parents has always been God’s law for family. Two parents with natural love for their children will instruct, guide, and discipline them. The parents, themselves moral, serve as an example on a personal and day to day basis. Wipe out the family and there is no parental discipline upon children, no example to them to daily see, no instruction from the source of love. The number of children born out of wedlock has greatly increased since 1965 (25% to 75% in black households, now 25% in white and 50% in Hispanic)
3. Government (authority of the state - carries the sword not in vain) - For those who failed to receive 1 and 2 and become criminal, the state protects those who do good by punishing the criminal. When the state fails to exercise this final stopgap, chaos and lawlessness become a real potential.
4. Church (salt and light of the world) - As the light of the world and salt of the earth, the church proclaiming the truth of the Bible will mature Christians who in turn will affect their community in the proper way concerning 1-3. Even unbelievers are influenced by a strong Christian community who believe and walk in the truth. When the church leaves the foundation of the Bible in order to make money or capitulate to the culture in order to gain worldly popularity, the nation becomes less godly, more and more have no fear of God, and 1-3 decrease.
Note that during the Tribulation, by far the greatest period of lawlessness in the history of man, the Holy Spirit no longer restricts the works of man and the church is not on the earth.
there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall. 22 "And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short.
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.
“that He would grant you according to the riches of His glory” - that God would give to you from His glorious wealth.
Paul has already asked in chapter 1 that we may know:
that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
We may know the glorious wealth of God’s inheritance to us, and, to be strengthened by that glorious wealth (riches of glory) so that we may fully understand (behold His glory) the Christ in us.
Every believer has been blessed with an inheritance in heaven from the glorious wealth of God.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire [your faith in the heavenly world is tested in this world], may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
Last time, we noted in ROM 9:23 He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory
We spent some time looking into the truth of this difficult passage. I would remind you that knowing everything there is to know about it, there will still be plenty of mystery surrounding the sovereignty of God and the presence of sin and evil in this world as well as the free-will of man.
From the riches of His glory, we receive everything we need for giving graciously to others, for we are to love and give so graciously and abundantly that we need the Lord’s storehouses.
But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak from want; for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Note how Paul writes that “I have learned,” “I know how,” and “I have found the secret (been initiated)” showing how he has thoroughly investigated to the point that he was led into the deepest secrets of God’s mystery.