LIVING CORAM DEO
Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Power

Power of GodEphesians 1:19

His incomparably great power for us who believe. The word “power” (dynamis; cf. 3:20) means a spiritually dynamic and living force. This power of God is directed toward believers. Paul then used three additional words to describe God’s power. It is according to the working (energeian, “energetic power,” from which comes the Eng. “energy”); of the might (kratous, “power that overcomes resistance,” as in Christ’s miracles; this word is used only of God, never of believers); of God’s inherent strength (ischyos) which He provides (cf. 6:10; 1 Peter 4:11). This magnificent accumulation of words for power underscores the magnitude of God’s “great power” available to Christians.

Then Paul mentioned three manifestations of God’s power which are seen in Christ (Eph. 1:20–23). First, this energetic power was exerted (enērgēken) in Christ when God raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms. God’s energetic power which resurrected and exalted Christ in the past (cf. Rom. 8:34; Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22) is the same power available to believers in the present (cf. Phil. 3:10). What an amazing source of spiritual vitality, power, and strength for living the Christian life! (cf. Col. 1:11) Christ’s Ascension to the right hand of God involves His being exalted above every order of authority (cf. Col. 1:16), human and superhuman (cf. Phil. 2:8–11), whether present (in the present Age) or future (the Age to come; cf. 1 Cor. 15:23–28). The words rule and authority, power and dominion may refer primarily to angelic beings (cf. Rom. 8:38; Eph. 3:10; 6:12; Col. 1:16; 2:15; Titus 3:1).

A second manifestation of God’s power in Christ is seen in His placing all things under Christ’s feet. Whereas Adam lost his headship over Creation when he sinned, Christ was made Head over all Creation (cf. Eph. 1:10). This will be fully realized in the future (Ps. 8:6; 1 Cor. 15:27; Heb. 2:6–8).

The third manifestation of God’s power in Christ is His appointment of Christ as Head over … the church. Though the final manifestation of Christ’s headship over all Creation will be in the future, He is now Head over the fellowship of believers. He is also called the church’s “Head” in Ephesians 4:15; 5:23; and Colossians 1:18. Though the church is implied in Ephesians 1:10, it is specifically mentioned for the first time in Ephesians in verse 22b. The church is His body (v. 23; cf. 4:4, 15–16; Col. 1:18). His body, the universal church consisting of all believers, is the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way. The meaning of this description of His body is difficult to determine. The verb “fills” can be taken passively, meaning that Christ, the Head of the body, is filled by the church. That is, as the church grows it completes Christ. However, it is better to understand the word “fills” as in the Greek middle voice: Christ, the Head of the body, fills (for Himself) the church with blessings. The verse could then be rendered, “which is His body, which is being filled by the One who fills all things with all things (blessings).” This interpretation is preferred for these reasons: (1) Nowhere else does the New Testament state that Christ finds fullness from the church. (2) This view fits the context well because the Persons of the Godhead are completing the actions (cf. Eph. 1:10). (3) This view correlates well with 4:10–11 which speaks of Christ giving all things (“the whole universe” is lit. “all things”), namely, gifted people to the church.

Hoehner, H. W. (1985). Ephesians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, pp. 620–621). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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