“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19
What is Apostle Paul’s prayer for his readers in Ephesus? What is his prayer, and mine, for you — for each of us? “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
Paul prays that the Holy Spirit, working through the Word of God (cf. Rom. 10:17), would strengthen and keep us in the true faith in Christ Jesus, that we would trust in Him and His atoning sacrifice for the remission of all our sins and that He Himself would take up residence in our hearts and dwell in us, as He does in His members, His Church (cf. Eph. 2:19-22).
Paul prays that our faith would be rooted and grounded in God’s love for us sinners in Christ Jesus and that we — together with all other believers in Christ — would be able to comprehend “what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
But do you — do we — even begin to grasp and understand the love of Christ for us? The Bible tells us of God’s love for us in Christ Jesus, the only-begotten Son:
- John 3:16 — “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
- 1 John 4:9-10 — “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
- Romans 5:5-8 — “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
But do we understand and grasp this love of God for us sinners — that God, in love unmerited by us, sent His Son into the world to redeem us from our sin and the eternal death and damnation we deserve? Do we understand and grasp the fact that God, in love for us sinners, sent His Son to be the propitiation and atoning sacrifice for our sins? Do we understand that Christ Jesus gave Himself to die on the cross in our stead, for our sins, that we might not have to die and suffer the eternal punishment we justly deserve and which God’s law demands on account of our sins? That is the apostle’s prayer for us.
Do we still fear death and God’s judgment? The Bible tells us in 1 John 4:16-18: “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
If we truly know God’s love for us in Christ Jesus, it will remove our fear of judgment. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:31-39. Who will condemn us on the last day? Christ will be our judge and He is the one who died for our sins and rose again and now intercedes for us before the Father (v. 34).
Can anything or anyone separate us from the love of Christ? No, no matter what happens in our lives, even if we are persecuted and suffer death, we still have God’s love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul writes: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).
Paul’s prayer for the believers at Ephesus — and mine for you — is that the Holy Spirit, working through God’s Word, enables you to know and grasp in faith the love of God for you which is in Christ Jesus our Lord (and in Him alone); that you see His great love for you in sending His only-begotten Son into this world as a true man to die for you; that you see that Christ Jesus so loved you, even when you were yet dead in your trespasses and sins, that He suffered your punishment and provided salvation for you in His cross; that God so loved you that He, through His Word, brought you to see your sinfulness and the punishment you justly deserve but also brought you to trust and believe in Christ Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the world for your pardon and your salvation; and that, knowing God’s great love for you in Christ Jesus, you continue to trust in Him unto the end, knowing that you have forgiveness and will not be condemned in God’s judgment, and knowing that no matter what you face in this life, nothing will able to separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. God grant this to you for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Dear Father in heaven, by the Holy Spirit’s working through Your Word, graciously open our hearts and minds and grant to us to know and grasp Your great love for us in Christ Jesus that we might trust in Him and Him alone for pardon, peace and life everlasting. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
[Scripture quotations are from the King James Version of the Bible]