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God is Able

What is your favorite doxology in the Bible? Mine is found in Ephesians 3:20-21.

The context is a prayer for God’s high purposes for His redeemed people. Paul’s prayer is that every believer “be filled up to all the fullness of God” (v. 19).

No Christian ever has to worry about having inadequate resources to live the Christian life. God wants us to experience His fullness. The means of this fullness is the Holy Spirit.

His prayer is that every believer may be strengthened internally through the Holy Spirit every day and in every circumstance (v. 16). He is our Comforter, Helper or Encourager, who is called along side to help in time of need. He helps us to do the right thing at the right time under all circumstances. He is our competence to live the Christian life.

He also prays that believers will be growing in their availability to Christ (v. 17a). We are Christians because we have Christ indwelling us, but Paul’s prayer is that Christ will take fuller possession of every aspect of the believer’s life. It is the idea of Jesus Christ settling down in our hearts and making Himself at home and controlling us as the rightful owner of the home. The same word (katoikeo) is used of the fullness of the Godhead abiding in Christ and of Christ abiding in the believer’s life. The verb denotes a permanent habitation as opposed to an occasional visit.

Moreover, Paul prays that we will be firmly rooted or fixed, and grounded in love (vv. 17b-18). God’s love nourishes the believer because it is on a solid foundation. Paul prays that the believer will grow up in the soil of rich love.

He prays that believers will comprehend the greatness of God’s love for us (v. 19). We can never exhaust the love of Christ by our knowledge of it. What Paul is praying for is a true knowledge of God’s love for us. We can know that what we perceive is the true love of Christ. His prayer is that we grow in our awareness of that love for us.

The apostle Paul tells us that the believer is already “made full in Christ” (Col. 2:9–10). We are “complete” meaning “filled full.” This pictures our eternal position in Christ Jesus. We are complete in Him, however in practice we enjoy only the grace that we appropriate by faith. We have all the resources we need from God to live the Christian life. By the presence of the Holy Spirit we can appropriate them.

The desire of Paul’s heart is that we fully experience the love of Christ which surpasses human knowledge (v. 19). His prayer reaches a crescendo in his petition that we may be filled to the measure of the fullness of God. The petition is staggering. The fullness is God’s own fullness, that which fills Himself. He prays that we may be filled up to or unto all the fullness that is in God Himself. God wants us to experience His fullness. A more accurate translation is, “Filled unto all the fullness of God.” The measure of our fullness is God Himself (Eph. 4:11-16). We will reach the limit only when we have reached His fullness.

The staggering thought is that God will fill us with all His fullness. That is an infinite thing that will take place through all eternity. Paul is praying that we will be continuously filled forever as God out of His infinite resources continually pours Himself into His redeemed people.

As His great prayer is expressed he breaks forth in a great doxology of praise to the Lord God. He stands on the edge of the infinite. That we should “be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” who “is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us.” He is able to do “exceeding abundantly beyond.” What God is doing is immeasurable. It is superabundantly, quite beyond all measure. Paul uses the highest form of comparison imaginable. He is involved in something that will be worthwhile a million years from now. God will keep on doing in eternity what He is doing for us in this life.

Paul’s prayer and doxology run together with the plea that we be filled forever to the measure of all the fullness of God, which is immeasurable. God is always doing what is “exceeding abundantly beyond” what we ask or imagine because it is His power that is at work within us to accomplish His will.

Now unto Him
Who is able above all things to do
Exceedingly abundantly above
Beyond all that we ask or think
Abundantly above all that we ask or think
Superabundantly, over, above and beyond all that we ask or think
According to the power that works in us
To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.

Selah!

Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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