A Doxology Ephesians 3:20-21
Learning to praise is an important Biblical discipline. We easily run into prayer because we readily recognize our personal needs. But praise is important (1) because God deserves all the praise we can give and because (2) through praise we remind ourselves who God is. The Apostle Paul shows us how this is done.
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, . . .” (Ephesians 3:20).
In Ephesians 3, the Apostle Paul just finished asking God for some incredible things in verses 14-19. He asked God to give us the strength in our inner person, in order that Christ may feel at home in our hearts through faith, in oder that we might know the unknowable love of Christ, and finally that we might be filled with all the fullness of God.
Is God able to grant these huge prayer requests? The answer is YES. Our God is able. To help us to understand how able our God is, Paul piles up words to try to get us to see infinity. Paul says literally that God is able to do far above all that we could aske or think. Then he puts three words together to say “it is far beyond any comparison.” No one can begin to measure what God can do.
Why is this important? Do you remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from Daniel 3? They taught us the anatomy of faith in their response to Nebuchadnezzar’s command to bow to the idol. They said, we know God is able to deliver us, He is willing to deliver us, but if He doesn’t, He still is God.
How can we know that God will do far above all that we can ask or think? He has done much more than we could ask or think already. God did this in many ways. Let me list some of them. First, the infinite, holy, just God has chosen to save us fallen people. The infinite God chose to save us. That is much more than we could ever ask or think.
Second, to save us He sent His Son, His only Son into the world to be incarnate in Human flesh and to be rejected by His own Creatures and to die on a cross to bear our sin so we could be forgiven. Then He rose from the dead to demonstrate that we too one day will rise and spend eternity with Him. This is super much more that we could ask or think.
Third, He gave us God, the Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity to take up residence in us who have come to Him by faith. The Holy Spirit is the guarantee that all the promises that God made to us will come to pass. “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14)
Fourth, our Father also is actively working all things together for good in the lives of those who are His children (Romans 8:28). “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Because of the infinity of God and His willingness to do far more than we can ask or think, we should ascribe glory to God. “To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:21).
We may ask, what is glory? This is a difficult question. Glory has many manifestations. God’s glory is all that God is. Glory is the holiness of God which keeps us from seeing His face. Glory also is something that Christ set aside when He came to earth. (John 17:5) “And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” There is also a kind of glory that we will share with Christ (Romans 8:18) “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
When we glorify God, we do not make Him more glorious. We simply allow others to see His glory by being the person and doing the things He wants us to do.
Where should God be glorified? He should be glorified in the church. All we who know Christ as Savior and thus are the church must bring glory to God with our hearts, lips and lives. The way we live shows the wisdom of God in His world. God also must be glorified by Christ. This means all of us in Christ need to glorify Him (John 15:8). “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
How long should we glorify God? Now and throughout all generations and into eternity. Our Glorifying God should never ever end. Let’s conclude by stealing a glimpse at the way our Lord will be glorified for all eternity.
Revelation 5:11-14 “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!’ And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: ‘Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!’ Then the four living creatures said, ‘Amen!’ And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.”