Ephesians 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
Our emotions are not the best indicator of our relationship with God. They might tell us we are near to God when, in fact, we are far away from him. Or they might tell us we are far from God when, in fact, we are near to him.
Paul wanted his readers to know that whoever believes in Jesus Christ has been brought near by the blood of Christ, no matter how far away they feel. When we understand how close we are to God, because of Jesus Christ, we are more likely to feel that way as well.
Ephesians 3:8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ.
Paul’s wallet was seldom full of money, but he constantly preached the boundless riches of Christ. He appeared to be poor, but felt richer than a king. The better we know Christ, the richer we will feel.
An old prospector died and his relatives came to collect his possessions. All they found was a table, a cot and a lantern. As they were leaving, his friend arrived and asked if he could have whatever was left. They agreed, so he went inside and pulled up a floorboard. There he found more gold than he could spend in a lifetime. As the relatives drove away he thought, Too bad they didn’t know him better.
Ephesians 3:12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
This is a privilege that should not be taken for granted. To approach a king without permission could result in death (Esther 4:11). And an unauthorized person who approached God’s sanctuary, could also be put to death (Numbers 3:38). God is the greatest being in the universe, so access to him is our highest honor and privilege.
A former president boarded a plane with his bodyguards, and after being seated, was approached by a total stranger. The bodyguards intervened but the stranger said, Mr. President, I know your son from college. At once the man was warmly received. The only way to the Father is through his Son, Jesus Christ. And whoever comes to the Father, through his Son, will be warmly received. That is why we pray in Jesus’ name (John 14:13).
Ephesians 3:17-18 And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.
The need to be loved is a universal human experience. We want to be loved, we want to be lovely, and we want to love others. Human love is wonderful, but our deepest emotional need is to be deeply loved by God.
During the Spanish Inquisition, many Christians were put to the cruelest tortures hell could devise. The skeleton of a man who starved to death was was found chained to the wall of a dungeon. We do not know what other tortures he endured, but before he died, he scratched four words into the wall: wide, long, high, deep. When life was at its worst, he was able to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. That was enough for him, and will be enough for us.
Ephesians 3:20 [God] is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.
The remarkable thing about this verse is that it actually proves what it says. Paul wanted these words to encourage the Ephesians, but never imagined they would encourage billions of Christians around the world for centuries. So God was doing immeasurably more than Paul asked or imagined, even while he wrote those very words.
This is something we should keep in mind whenever we pray. Instead of expecting God to do less than we ask or imagine, we should expect God to do even more than we ask or imagine.
A Saudi king was so impressed by an American golf professional that he offered him a gift. The American requested a golf club to commemorate the round they played together. The next day he was given a key to a golf club, complete with eighteen holes and a beautiful clubhouse. You are coming to a King, large petitions with you bring. For his grace and power are such, none can ever ask too much.
Ephesians 4:2 [B]e patient, bearing with one another in love.
Paul did not tell the Ephesian believers to correct one another, rebuke one another, or fix one another. He simply said, be patient, bearing with one another in love. When we consider how difficult it is to change ourselves, we can figure the odds of changing others. There is a place for correction, of course, but there is a much bigger place for simply putting up with each other. In the age to come we will be perfect. But for now we must be patient with each other, and even with ourselves.
Reflection and Review
Why should we pray in Jesus’ name?
Why did Paul emphasize God’s love?
How much should we ask God for?