Ephesians overview – 3:14-19, Gods glorious wealth in the believer.
Thursday June 25, 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.
“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.
Paul prays that God would grant or give (aorist), according to His glorious wealth, to be strengthened or fortified with power through His Spirit in the inner man. God’s glorious riches are the connection from Him to us and the strength and understanding from our new inner man.
The riches of God’s glory: Rom 9:23; Phi 4:19; Col 1:27.
The nation of Israel, her leadership and a great many of her people then living, rejected Jesus as the Messiah and screamed for His crucifixion.
But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; 7 neither are they all children because they are Abraham's descendants, but: "through Isaac your descendants will be named." 8 That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. 9 For this is a word of promise: "At this time I will come, and Sarah shall have a son." 10 And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; 11 for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God's purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, 12 it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger." 13 Just as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! 15 For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth." 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
Pharaoh hardened his own heart towards Israel and then God hardened it by further displays of power.
Exo 7:13 Yet Pharaoh's heart was hardened; 7:22 and Pharaoh's heart was hardened; Exo 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart; Exo 8:32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he did not let the people go.
And the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart,
God uses the wicked for His own purposes.
You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" 20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? 21 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?
It is going too far to conclude that Paul is inferring something about honorable Christians and common Christians. Simply he is stating that the potter has right over the clay to make whatever he desires out of it.
What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared 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 for glory, 24 even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles.
If God randomly chose the vessels of wrath, then the glory of God is somewhat different (how is impossible to tell because it’s a false claim). Therefore, when we look at the riches of glory in this passage, it’s important to exegete it.
First, “prepared” for destruction and “prepared for glory” are two different verbs and in two different voices.
“prepared” (for destruction) = perfect passive or perfect middle.
“prepared” (for glory) = aorist active.
“… shows that God has no direct agency in the destruction of the vessels of wrath, which is due to their self-destruction; the participle perfect denotes the result of a gradual process and a state of maturity for destruction, but not a divine purpose.” (Schaff)
The difference in phraseology doesn’t completely clear up the mystery between the free-will of man and the sovereign will of God, but it does help to clarify that God is not the direct agent in the destruction of any man.
Active aorist indicative of “prepared beforehand” for glory speaks of the believer’s election before the foundation of the earth. They believed the gospel and were predestined and foreknown, and to them, the riches of God’s glory was to be revealed.
To those prepared beforehand for glory, His glorious wealth is made known.
The glory that we can see has to judge a man like Pharaoh. This is heartbreaking but important. The glory of God is untarnished perfect goodness and light. He cannot have anything to do with sin other than to judge it. The riches of glory that we are invited to know is the perfect, unapproachable life of God that enlightens the world. We are looking into pure holiness.
We also are made painfully aware of our own sins and our identity as sinners, alarming in our eyes that have seen God’s glory. We understand that through faith we have escaped horror by the skin of our teeth. It makes us even more aware of just how precious our so great salvation is and heightens our legitimate fear of God.