Paul wanted the faithful Ephesians to move from concepts to communion. There is knowing the truth of God, and then there is knowing the God of truth, through his truth. This is his prayer for them, and for all believers, in the second half of chapter one.
There are three truths he wishes believers to know in this way:
“the hope to which he has called you”
“the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints”
“the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe”
I would like to take a moment to reflect upon the third item on this apostolic prayer list.
Believers are the ongoing subjects of God’s power. What kind of power exactly is explained in the next verse: “according to 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” (v 20).
First, this is a resurrection power. The Bible’s nickname for being totally depraved unregenerate children of Adam under the wrath of God is being dead in sin (2:1). When you were saved, you were raised from spiritual death, or, resurrected in Christ. Your baptism pictured this. But the resurrection power of God toward you did not cease upon your conversion; it continues to work and transform you into the image of God in Christ. This is always happening by his providence, and most especially through his means of grace.
Secondly, this is God’s power toward Christ. Jesus earned this resurrection power by his perfect life and wrath-bearing death. Because the Righteous One put away sin when he died, death could no longer hold him, having no dominion over him. And so, God raised him in a breathtaking act of power which tore the fabric of creation and produced the only physical new creation stuff in existence: the resurrected body of the Lord Jesus Christ.
What this means for us is that, in Christ, we are the perpetual recipients of God’s powerful grace, which Jesus earned with his law-fulfilling life and sin-atoning death. He is the proper subject of its working; and we, in him, are its proper subjects by imputation. He did it for us.
God’s power is always working in your life if you are a believer. You can rest in his promise to finish the good work he started, and bring you to stand before him in splendor and holiness with great joy. However, if you once begin to really grasp this truth, you will find your faith so strengthened, your joy so full, and your heart so at peace, that you may come to feel that you are, even now, as Paul says in the second chapter, “seated with him in the heavenly places.” And that is something worth praying for.