gratitude & hoopla: The Us-ward God

gratitude & hoopla

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

4.12.05

The Us-ward God

There has been much talk of "power" in these first few chapters of Ephesians. At 1:19 Paul prays that the Ephesian Christians would know "what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe." That's the ESV rendering, but I will always love the KJV here: "the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe."

Yes, to us-ward. For Paul, God is always the us-ward God, and we are his God-ward people. Now this morning we have come to Paul's great paean to the us-ward God, Ephesians 3:20,21.
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. Amen.
We learn something about God from this great hymn of praise. We learn not only that his power is toward us (as in 1:19), but that it is also within us.

This is a rather bold statement, is it not? God is able to do "within us," through us, more than than we ever imagine, precisely because it is his power, not ours, at work within us. Does that make you want to sit down before you faint? Does it make your jaw drop open and the back of your neck tingle?

This is the same the power, after all, that raised Jesus from the dead and sat him at the right hand of the Father. That power is us-ward, yes, to save, and also within us, to carry out his extravagant plan for the earth. Remember Philippians 2:14?
. . . for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
It is either an arrogant boast, which in short order life will certainly prove the falseness of, or it is a assertion of awe-filled appreciation.

For Paul, it is important that the Ephesians understand this. He seems certain that they are someday going to need to trust this power at work within them, and to call on it, to work it. Christian, if you have ever sat with one who grieved, and held her hand and grieved with her, you may have exercised the power of God to comfort. If you have ever laid your hands on a man in prayer, and spoken a word of grace and truth that struck to that man's very heart, you have been used by God for his purpose and according to his power.

I do not really grasp the height and depth and length and breadth of the love of God, nor do I truly comprehend the immeasurable nature (the exceeding abundance) of the power of God at work within me. But I do know that I do not comprehend it, and I get that I cannot measure it. I understand that it exceeds what I can ever imagine, that it is beyond my conceiving, and that it overflows this mortal cup of flesh.

Amazing power! Amazing love! Amazing grace!

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