World English Bible translation
3:14For this cause, I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, 3:15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 3:16 that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, that you may be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inward man; 3:17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 3:18 may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 3:19 and to know Christ's love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God. 3:20 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, 3:21 to him be the glory in the assembly and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
This is the second of the great prayers of Ephesians. Paul has just explained that God is revealing a portion of His nature to the powers and principalities of this world. Through the body of Christ (the church) God is revealing His grace and that He is the God of all people, Jew and Gentile. This is the cause for which Paul makes this prayer and petition.
He prays to the Father of Jesus Christ from whom all life on heaven and earth emanate. He prays that God would strengthen these believers with His Holy Spirit in their "inward man", their souls. And, this strengthening would cause something wonderful to happen. If God were to do this, then "Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." Christians will never live life to its fullest as God has planned for us until Christ dwells in our hearts. When we know that the Son of God is with us at every moment and through every trial, then we will truly live. And, only the strengthening that God can give us through His Spirit can make us aware of the Son in our lives.
You might say, "How does one know that Christ dwells in their heart?" The only way that I know of is the one Paul speaks about here. "Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith." Allowing the Son to live through us and in us is a faith decision. I allow Him to become a part of my life by believing in Him and in God's work through Him in my life. The Spirit makes me aware of His life and work. I believe in what God is showing me. Christ dwells in my heart through faith. When I refuse to see the work of the Spirit or to listen to Him, I do not see Christ's life and work in my life. I cannot believe what I do not allow myself to see. As a result, the life of Christ in my experience becomes distant and fading.
But look at what remarkable things occur when we allow Christ to dwell in our hearts. We become "rooted and grounded in love." We are strengthened and begin to comprehend with other believers the "breadth and length and height and depth" of the love of Christ. This love is greater than anything that we could ever experience through our "knowledge." We can only experience it through faith. But, when we begin to understand the vastness of God's love in Christ, we are "filled to all the fullness of God." Christ, who is the "fullness of God", dwells in our hearts and we are filled with the "fullness of God."
With this wonder Paul can only heap praise to God. "To him," God, "who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…" God's power is never limited to what we can conceive of Him doing. His plans are always more astounding than we could ever possibly imagine. "…to him be the glory in the assembly and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever." All glory that is achieved by the church and through Christ Jesus will be to the praise of the Father through all eternity. Through all generations to come the love of God and the mercy of God and the grace of God will be on display through the church. We will be the trophies that God displays throughout eternity.
Here is the answer to all questions of doubt and assurance. Allow God to strengthen you in your "inward man." Give Him free reign to work on your heart. He will make Christ dwell in your heart through faith. And, when the Son resides in our hearts, we will be filled with all the fullness of God.
To Him be glory forever! Amen.
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