Eph 1:15,16 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
Whereas the previous section was a prayer of praise to God, this section is a prayer of supplication on behalf of the believers in Ephesus.
Hearing about their faith in Christ implies that their faith was not
simply a mental agreement to ideas, but an integration of such faith into
their lifestyle and speech. Such faith and love is inevitably indicative
of salvific faith and that they have been born of God, as John writes,
friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who
loves has been born of God and knows God."
1John 4:7 It is
upon the basis of the effect that the gospel had on them that Paul gave
thanks for them. What measurable effect has the gospel had on you that
you can be thankful for?
Eph 1:17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
Eternal life is about knowing God. Jesus prayed, "this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3 This is one of the functions of the Holy Spirit whom all the saints have received. "And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ." Rom 8:9 Paul was not praying that they receive the Holy Spirit. For he had already said that they had received him. Rather he was praying that the Spirit may impart to them wisdom and revelation in their knowledge of God.
By "revelation" I would say he's referring to the realization of general principles which can be inferred from what they know. By "wisdom" I would say he's referring to the revelation of applications of what they know. In other words he's praying that they come to realize what the faith implies and how it applies. This is one of the roles the Holy Spirit has in our lives, as it is written: "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth."John 16:13
What typically happens with such prayers is that God, through the Holy
Spirit reveals challenging applications from the Word. Then if we cooperate,
actually doing those applications, we get to know Christ better. For Biblical
revelation is not simply a arm-chair philosophical exercise. "Whoever
has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves
me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself
to him." John 14:21
Eph 1:18,19 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength
These three things "hope, riches, and power" are a theme in Ephesians as can be seen in the notes on Ephesians. "Hope" itself is a feeling of anticipation of a future event one has faith will occur. But "the hope" is referring to that future event, or state itself.
The hope of his calling is the future state of sinless perfection, in which we will be like Christ and stand blameless before God in holiness, having an intimate relationship with Christ and being revealed as sons of God. It's one thing to mentally agree with this, but quite another to realize the significance of it. For the revelation of this fact affects one's behavior, as it is written:
"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure." 1John 3:2,3The riches I think refers to such things as the riches of the forgiveness of sins, as Eph 1:7 indicates. "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." But more generally deals with the extent of God's grace to us. Romans 8:17 to the end is also very good on this aspect. I've met a number of Christians who simply cannot accept the extend of God's forgiveness of sins, and have opted for a purgatory concept. But under the New Covenant, as I mentioned before, our sins and lawless deeds will be remembered no more. (Heb 10:17)
The power speaks of God's authority and his ability, and
in particular his power to sanctify the believer. Yes, God is quite able
to change people. For after death, we will suddenly no longer be sinful.
But even now he has power which does change the lives of the believers
to an extent as it is written, "No one who
is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him;
he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." 1John
3:9 The word "cannot" is actually using the same Greek word for "power"
as in this verse. Those who have been born of God have lost the ability
to live a lifestyle of sin. You see, we have a degree of free will and
God has limited his authority to an extent to give deference to our free
will, so as to treat us in accordance with his design and purpose. But
having decided to accept Christ as Savior, we give Him the right to change
our nature, in accordance with His plan. Ultimately this will of course
result in complete sinlessness in heaven. This is not a problem with God,
it is quite easy for Him. And one is not subjected to centuries in some
kind of purgatorial suffering to attain sinless perfection. People with
such a concept have not come to the revelation of God's power to change
people. The change is instantaneous, in a twinkling of an eye. And it is
a permanent effect. For there are those who, though they believe a form
of "perfection" can be obtained in this life, believe also that such perfection
is not guaranteed as permanent, but that one can fall away again. But the
perfection God brings us to in the next life is a permanent effect.
Eph 1:20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms
Christ's resurrection is a picture of this power. Though we may view ourselves as innately sinful and that the removal of our innate sinfulness like a leopard changing its spots, yet in the resurrection of Christ we see that God can do what the world considers impossible. And for ourselves, the deadness of our own sinful flesh is raise anew, sinlessly perfect. (1Cor 15)
This raising and seating of Christ is also allegorically true of the
believers, which the next chapter will reveal.
Eph 1:21-23 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
The emphasis on Christ's authority was to give the believers a sense
of their right to practice the Christian life. Notice how Christ's authority
is applied in the following
Christ as Lord:
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:17-20His authority also implies eternal security in the following:
"For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him." John 17:2And his authority also speaks of Christ authority to judge
"And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man." John 5:27The church as the body of Christ is the outward manifestation of Christ in a simlar way in which an ambassador is a representative of the country he represents. But in a more intimate sense, Christ operates in the world through the Holy Spirit and in cooperation with the believers in whom he dwells.