As we saw in our last study, the Apostle Paul laid the framework of the Dispensation of the Grace of God in the first three chapters of his letter to the Ephesians to help believers understand why they should live the way God was telling them to live. Before Paul revealed how the Ephesians should live their lives, he first bowed his knees to God and prayed for them.
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:14-21
This is truly an amazing prayer and teaches us more about the Holy Spirit’s work in our life here on earth. Paul’s first acknowledged his devotion to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, then asked that God would grant the Ephesian Christians, according to the riches of His glory, “to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man.” The Greek is dunamei krataiothenai dia tou pneumatos autou eis ton eso anthropon. Dunamei means “achieving power, inherent ability to perform anything.” Krataiothenai means “to make strong, to establish,” and is in the passive voice in this passage. That means the strengthening and establishing of the Christian in the sphere of able power to accomplish what God commands is done “through His Spirit in the inner man.” Dia tou pneumatos means that the Holy Spirit of God is the One Who establishes and empowers Christians. We all know that, but do we all “know” that? Do we understand, acknowledge, and appropriate the truth every moment of our life that God’s Spirit gives us the strength to do God’s Will? We need to remember that because the life God has called us to live and the work He has called us to do is supernatural. It is far beyond human natural ability to accomplish even the simplest of supernatural tasks. Where does all this strengthening happen? In the “inner man.” eiston eso anthropon speaks to that part of a human being that is inside – the inner man, the inside man.” Eso (inner) is an adverb that implies motion. Something is moving in the inside man. What is it? The Holy Spirit of God! God’s Spirit is alive and moving within the believer to establish and strengthen them with the power to accomplish God’s Will.
Paul wrote the Ephesians to understand who they were as God’s chosen children – “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4-6) This is God’s will for every Christian’s life and He accomplishes His will through His Spirit Who lives within us, strengthening and establishing us with supernatural power. We are sealed for the Day of Redemption by the Spirit of God. We have access to the Father through the Spirit of God. We are being built together with other Christians for a dwelling place for God by His Spirit. The mystery of God’s will in this Dispensation of His Grace has been revealed to the human race by the Holy Spirit. And we are strengthened with power in the inner man by God’s Spirit.
What was the first thing Paul called on the Ephesians to do immediately following the “Amen” of his prayer? To walk worthy of God’s calling.
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:1-6
God has called every Christian to do this – not just the Ephesian believers 1,950 years ago. He wants us to live supernaturally – “with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Everything God commands us to do here is supernatural. The natural man – the external man, the old man – does not do these things. Everything God’s Spirit inspired Paul to write to the Ephesians is about unity. That’s what Jesus accomplished for us in His death on the Cross.
“For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” Ephesians 2:14-16
The Spirit of God is in each of us to make us one with each other and make peace. That peace comes “through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.” It is absurd for Christians to oppose each other – since God made us one. One of the most mentioned reasons by the unsaved as to why they don’t want to become Christians is because of the hypocrisy of believers in saying Christianity is about love when they are fighting and bickering with other believers about unimportant things. Even unsaved people can see that. Why can’t we? Christians must endeavor (spoudaizontes – to make haste, to be zealous, to be eager, to be diligent) to keep (terein – to watch over, guard, preserve) the unity (henoteta – one, oneness) of the Spirit in the bond of peace (sundesmo tes eirenes – that which joins and finds together that which is in harmony). That is our high calling from God – to be eager to guard and preserve the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Do you see how important the Holy Spirit is to Christians? We cannot function supernaturally without Him. We are fully dependent on God’s Spirit to accomplish God’s Work. That fact makes the 5th step of walking like a brother vital to our survival as Christians and official representatives of Jesus Christ on earth.
Join us again next week as we see one of the most terrible things any Christian can do to God’s Spirit.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”