Chapter 1:15-23 (ESV) - For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Question to consider: Does the filling of the Spirit happen only when we first come into the faith?
Paul had just given encouragement to the saints at Ephesus that they had been sealed into their promised inheritance through Christ with the Holy Spirit. Because of this wonderful work of God that was part of His plan even before the world began, Paul was overflowing with gratitude toward the Father and continually praying for Christ’s church which was spreading throughout the Roman empire. What did Paul pray? That the Father would continue to fill them with His Holy Spirit who would increase in them wisdom and knowledge so that they would know deep down in their hearts the hope to which they had been called.
Even though we receive the Holy Spirit to dwell within us when we are brought into the New Testament in Christ’s blood, this “receiving” is not a single, completed action, but one that continues throughout our lives. Paul was praying that the Ephesians (and any other church who would receive a copy of this letter) would keep on being filled, keep on being enlightened, keep on growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ Jesus. Our hope and our inheritance in Christ is rooted in His immeasurably great power in being seated at the right hand of God in heaven.
All authority in heaven and on earth belongs to Jesus, and He is the head of the church. Please take a moment and let that sink in. We are brothers and sisters of the one who is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named” forever. I know we live in a time where things seem pretty dark, and it is very difficult to proclaim the name of Christ in the public square.
This is why it is important that we keep our focus on Christ. Either Jesus is risen and reigning on high, or He isn’t. If He is, then everything happening in the world right now is going according to His reign and rooted in Him. If Christ has not been raised from the dead, then as Paul told the Corinthians, “we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Corinthians 15:19) Of course, Paul was among those who witnessed the risen Christ and was willing to go to his death professing this.
So how do we keep our focus on Christ? Through His body, the church. According to Paul, the fullness of Christ who fills all in all has chosen to do so through His church. We are filled with Christ when we gather around His word, receive His body and blood in communion, and serve one another in love. As Christ separates the wheat from the chaff in the world and brings about the culmination of this age, through the church we will keep on being filled, keep on being enlightened, and keep on growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ Jesus.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for raising Jesus from the dead and above all authority and power in heaven and on earth. Thank You for sending us Your Spirit to continually fill us with Your grace and mercy. Help us to realize this more and more as we faithfully wait for Christ’s return. Amen.