The Power that Worketh In Us
Ephesians 3:20 - 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...
This verse is fairly familiar to most folks who have had a decent amount of Bible exposure. It is often quoted and applied by men to a variety of situational settings, yet most believers are unaware of the context of the verse itself. Without ever first properly considering what God had in mind when he spoke these words, believers grasp a hold on it, claiming it as their very own prayer promise; a hope that is held out that God is willing and able to intervene in their circumstances and rework their problems for the better. Because of how men have used this verse (dare I say abused it), this is the only thinking in many a Christian’s mind about this passage.
Strangely, however, the very last phrase of this verse is often omitted in men’s quotations. Most of the time, you will hear it like this: Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. Interesting! What is the problem with the last eight words that cause men to end their quoting there? The problem is that those eight words qualify what the apostle is talking about and bind the reader to the context so that he will not make the foolish mistake of assuming that God is saying something that He clearly is not saying! To use the last eight words as part of the quotation would completely invalidate the situational meanings men have tried to assign to it, not to mention that the sentence continues to the end of vs. 21. Be vigilant with your understanding and do not drop off words God put there on purpose!
The truth of the matter is that the Apostle is speaking this verse within the broader context of God’s purpose with the “one new man” which is the body of Christ. God’s purpose with us is designed for an impact to be made in the heavenly places upon principalities and powers in accordance with the hidden wisdom of God made known by the church. This is done by the exceeding abundant power of God that works in the inner man of the believer, not in the outer man, hence the qualifier: …according to the power that worketh in us...
In God’s program with Israel, the purpose and will of God focuses in the reconciliation of the Earth among the nations of men. Men are impacted by outward demonstrations of the power of God that they can see. This is why signs, wonders and miracles are intimately a part of God’s program with Israel and the design of God to impact the Gentiles through His elect nation.
With the body of Christ, however, God’s purpose is different. With us, he intends to impact the angelic creation in the heavenly places with a power that they themselves cannot reproduce. Angels are not impressed with a parting sea or a shower of bread in the wilderness or a physical healing of a sick body. They can do many of these things themselves. What they cannot do and what they cannot understand is how the power of God contained in His word can operate effectually in an earthen vessel of clay to sustain him in the face of all suffering and opposition. They cannot understand the power that worketh in us, nor the spiritual intelligence that sustains us when we choose to suffer with him without the expectation that He will intervene to remove our problems.
It is in view of this truth that Paul writes. It is in view of this truth that Paul’s desires that the Ephesians faint not at his tribulations for them. It is in view of this that he prays for their strengthening, not in the outer man, but the inner man, and for their understanding of the full scope (breadth, length, depth, height) of the Father’s will in operating this way.
But will we not faint if God is not physically delivering us? Will we not fold under the stresses and pressures that are seeking to destroy us? We would, except that He “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, ACCORDING TO THE POWER THAT WORKETH IN US.” See the difference? Paul is talking about the power of God in the inner man today. Christ’s grace is sufficient for more and can do more IN YOU than you have ever asked. His grace is sufficient for more and can do more IN YOU than you have ever thought! When you think His grace cannot carry you any further down the road, HE IS ABLE. When you think that there is no more grace for which to ask and that you have exhausted His resource, HE IS ABLE. And not just able, but able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you ask or think. And it is by accessing that power by faith in what God has said to us that we glorify Him now and will yet glorify him in our heavenly vocation in time to come!
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 (Eph. 3:20-21).
Published by Joshua Edwards
Joshua Edwards is an ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ who is dedicated the to the communication of sound doctrine as set forth in the pages of God's word. He desires to have all men to be saved by believing the gospel of the grace of God, and thereafter to come unto the knowledge of the truth by establishment in the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery (Romans 16:25).