Notes for Paul’s Prayer for Your Power
Gregg Caruso // Ephesians 3:14-21
- Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is profoundly Trinitarian. It seems that every few verses Paul is mentioning the Father, the Son, and/or the Holy Spirit…
- It is both abundantly clear and concise in Eph 2:18: “For through [Christ] we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
- We see the Trinity clearly in our verses for today as well… “I bow my knees before the Father” (v.14)…“to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner [person]” (v.16)…“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (v.17).
- What Paul is saying throughout this letter is that Christian faith and practice must, at all times, be rooted in the tri-unity of God. All that God is—and all that God does, flows out of His tri-unity.
- “For it is only when you grasp what it means for God to be a Trinity that you really sense the beauty, the overflowing kindness, the heart-grabbing loveliness of God…The source of all delight.” Delighting in the Trinity, Michael Reeves
- Concise overview: You and I were created in the image of the Triune God (imago Dei). The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have dwelled together in infinite relational harmony for all eternity.
- Theirs is a pure, infinite, perfect love that is never stained by conflict or competition or polluted by self-centeredness.
- So powerful is this loving relationship that some theologians have suggested that this Trinitarian relationship is like an eternal dance, with each member of the Trinity deferring to and delighting in the other.
- The idea of the relationship of the Trinity as a dance can be traced back to the early church fathers. They had a word for it: Perichoresis (notice the root of our word ‘choreography’ is within it), which refers, in particular, to a circle dance/s the first century Greeks engaged in on festive occasions.
- So, each of the divine persons of the Trinity focuses upon the others. Each voluntarily circles the other two, pouring love, delight, and adoration into them. Each person (not personality) of the Trinity loves, adores, defers to, and rejoices in the others, which creates a dynamic, pulsating dance of joy, delight, and love.
- As believers, we are invited into this dance as we enter into a relationship with God. (We don’t become God’s, we become loyal subjects.)
- Entering this dance will affect how we relate to one another as it flows directly out of how the three persons of the Triune God relate to each other.
- If we had to condense Paul’s letter to the Ephesians into just two words, those words would be UNION and UNITY (both words speak of a deep connection). Our UNION with Christ gets us on the dance card and our UNITY as believers flows directly out of the tri-unity of God.
- Here’s the BIG IDEA for today…In chapters 1-3 Paul is telling us that—The triune God is ever present in the Church today to bring into effect all that Jesus Christ accomplished in redemptive history.
- Paul’s prayer, here in chapter 3 contains 4 parts—and each part builds on the preceding part.
- That we may be strengthened by the [Holy] Spirit
- So that Christ may dwell in our hearts
- So that we experience Christ’s love for us
- So that they may continuously be filled to the fullness of God
- Considering the implications of God’s glory.
Resources for further study:
- Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith, 2012 IVP Academic by Michael Reeves
- The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis
- My Heart Christ’s Home by Robert Munger