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Summary: This is without a doubt the best known and most frequently used benediction. It comes after contemplating a marvelous spiritual experience; it is no wonder Paul burst forth in a doxology, a fitting benediction for such a prayer.

Commentary on the Book of Ephesians

By: Tom Lowe Date: 7/25/17

Lesson 15: The Immensity of God’s Resources (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Ephesians 3:20-21 (KJV)

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Introduction

This is without a doubt the best known and most frequently used benediction. It comes after contemplating a marvelous spiritual experience; it is no wonder Paul burst forth in a doxology, a fitting benediction for such a prayer. Note again the Trinitarian emphasis in this benediction: Paul prays to God the Father, concerning the indwelling power of God the Spirit, made available through God the Son.

Perhaps the best way for us to grasp some of the greatness of this doxology is to look at it in outline form:

Now unto Him that is

able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask

or think

according to the power that worketh in us,

unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus

throughout all ages

world without end.

Commentary

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly,”

This is the conclusion of the apostle's prayer, in which the power of God is celebrated, a perfection which is essential to God, and is very large and extensive; it reaches to all things, to everything that He wills, which is His actual or directive power; and to more things than he has willed, which is his absolute power; and to all things that have been, are, or shall be, and to things impossible with men; though there are some things which God cannot do, such as that which is contrary to His nature, inconsistent with His will, His decrees and purposes, which imply a contradiction, and are foreign to truth; so, for Him to do such things would be the same as denying Himself.

Paul seems to want to use every word at his disposal to convey to us the enormity of God’s power as it exists in Jesus Christ. He has ended each of the two previous chapters with praise to God for His great victory in Christ. He tells us that Christ’s power is so great He arose from the dead and ascended far above all (Ephesians 1:19-23). He teaches us that His power is so great He has reconciled Jews and Gentiles to each other, and to God; and that He is now building a temple to the eternal Glory of God (Ephesians 2:19-22). But in the paragraph before us, Paul shares the exciting truth that this far above all power is available to us! It is even “above all that we ask or think.” In other words, the power of Christ, like the love of Christ, is beyond human understanding or measurement. And this is just the kind of power you and I need if we are to walk and war in victory.

“above all that we ask or think”;

He can do more than men ask for, as he did for Solomon: God knows what we want before we ask, and He has made provisions for His people before they ask for them. We never could (or, never would) ask for some of these things, and we should never have asked for others, if He had not provided them. And without the Spirit of God we do not know what to ask for, or the right way to ask for it. This provides great encouragement for the people of God?to go to God and ask for things we want, and then for Him to provided them; and He can also do more than we can think, imagine, or conceive in our minds.

“According to the power that worketh in us”

He is speaking either (1), of that “power” that is in all believers, meaning the Spirit of God, who is the finger and power of God, who begins, and carries on, and will finish the work of grace in them, and this is an evidence of the exceeding greatness of the power of God; or (2), of that “power” which is in the apostles in particular, preparing and equipping them for their work, and then making them successful in it. This is yet another proof and demonstration of the abundant power of God, and shows what He can do if he pleases.

The word “power” is again dunamis, which we met back in Ephesians 3:7; and “working” is energeia (energy) found in Ephesians 1:11, 19; 2:2; 3:7; and 4:16. Some power is dormant; it is available, but not being used, such as the power stored in a battery. But God’s energy is effective power—power at work in our lives. Power works in us, in the inner man. Ephesians 3:16{2] and Philippians 2:12-13{1] are parallel verses, so be sure to read them. It is the Holy Spirit who releases the resurrection power of Christ in our lives.

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