Tuesday June 30, 2020
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.
We are to know the glorious riches of the inheritance God has given to the believer.
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,
What God has given us from His glorious wealth cannot be diminished or taken away, therefore it is nothing earthly.
It is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 1PE 1:4. Therefore, it is nothing earthly.
If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
We all have earthly blessings, but as Job said, any or all of them can be taken away. We thank God for our earthly blessings and we use them under His will and authority. However, the spiritual blessings, our inheritance from the riches of His glory, cannot be taken away or diminished.
It is up to us to learn from the Bible what those blessings in the inheritance are. It is up to the Holy Spirit within us to make that learning a living reality.
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him.
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
Revelation of God’s glory is two-fold: in time and in eternity. To see it now, in the midst of a dark world, has great reward.
The phrase is written by Paul five times: twice in Ephesians, ROM 9:23; PHI 4:19; and COL 1:27.
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.
Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use? 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared (fitted: perfect/pass or mid/part) for destruction? 23 And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand (aorist/active/indicative) for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
I would remind you that if we knew 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.
God tells us that His ways are higher than ours and that His ways are never unjust but wonderful.
PSA 139:1-6 For the choir director. A Psalm of David.
1 O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me.
2 Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up;
Thou dost understand my thought from afar.
3 Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And art intimately acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O Lord, Thou dost know it all.
5 Thou hast enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Thy hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.
“enclosed me” - tsuwr = to confine or besiege. It conveys the sense of being surrounded and restricted. Paralleled with “You have placed Your palm over me” (like cupping the hand around something) - God’s controlling, restricting, imposing His will.
David understands that every aspect of his life is known and controlled by the Lord’s penetrating knowledge. The Lord knows his every move, his motivation, his every word before he says it, and he knows that the Lord restricts his actions and imposes His will upon Him. The Lord’s knowledge is so extraordinary that it is beyond his understanding. It is too wonderful for him.
It seems that David’s initial reaction to this revelation is to flee from it. This overwhelming knowledge of God prompts us to want to get out from under it.
Where can I go from Thy Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Thy presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there.
God is everywhere we go or even think of going.
For Thou didst form my inward parts [kidneys - emotion or soul];
Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb [body].
14 I will give thanks to Thee [yadah - confess: “I will praise You”], for I am fearfully [in an extraordinary way that produces fear] and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Thy works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame [body] was not hidden from Thee,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.
16 Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Thy book they were all written,
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
God has formed every person in the womb and all the days that were ordained for them, and everything they would ever think, say, or do was written in His book [God’s omniscience] before they were born. God planned all activities for every single person before they were born. Naturally this raises many questions, but such knowledge is too wonderful for us. It is too high.
Note another passage that is much like ROM 9:22-23.
The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord saying, 2 "Arise and go down to the potter's house, and there I shall announce My words to you." 3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something on the wheel. 4 But the vessel that he was making of clay was spoiled in the hand of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make.
The potter would not have wanted the lump of clay to spoil in his hands. And perhaps God is using that to convey something to us, but we cannot be sure. Of course, the potter makes mistakes whereas God cannot.
And there is no one who calls on Thy name,
Who arouses himself to take hold of Thee;
For Thou hast hidden Thy face from us,
And hast delivered us into the power of our iniquities.
8 But now, O Lord, Thou art our Father,
We are the clay, and Thou our potter;
And all of us are the work of Thy hand.
The Bible has this constant tension between the mercy of God and the judgment of God.
"The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations."
Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, 6 "Can I not, O house of Israel, deal with you as this potter does?" declares the Lord. "Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel. 7 "At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; 8 if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it [Nineveh]. 9 "Or at another moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to build up or to plant it; 10 if it does evil in My sight by not obeying My voice, then I will think better of the good with which I had promised to bless it [Jerusalem]. 11 "So now then, speak to the men of Judah and against the inhabitants of Jerusalem saying, 'Thus says the Lord, "Behold, I am fashioning calamity against you and devising a plan against you. Oh turn back, each of you from his evil way, and reform your ways and your deeds."' 12 "But they will say, 'It's hopeless! For we are going to follow our own plans, and each of us will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart.'
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.
Paul had come to know the riches of God’s glory, and through them, could do anything God called him to do, strengthened by that very glory.
I think we can conclude confidently that the thorn in his flesh contributed to the deep enlightenment of his inner man. Would he have learned to be content in all things without that thorn and without his having been forced by God to depend upon Him? The suffering and weakness that resulted from that thorn in his flesh forced him to look for the strength that was in the glory of God, and when he found it, he gloried in his weaknesses.
Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast [kauchaomai = “glory in or rejoice”] about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me [ episkenoo - to spread a tabernacle over; ep’ eme = upon me. “the power of Christ may spread like a tent upon me”].