How appropriate it is that we find ourselves studying these words on the day that marks the rising of Christ from the dead.
We began our consideration of the last petition of Paul's prayer for the Ephesians on the last occasions I was with you, two weeks ago. We considered the fact that we are sadly ignorant of the power that God exercises on behalf of His people in order to bring about their redemption. Paul is praying that the Ephesians may become more enlightened regarding this glorious topic. May God be pleased to open our eyes also.
I. OUR FAITH IN CHRIST IS THE RESULT OF THE MIGHTY POWER OF GOD
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to (in consequence of) the working of his mighty power, verse 19. See verses 5, 7, 9, 11.
1. Believing in Christ is not the simple matter men say it is. Martin Luther commented on the passage, Col 1:12-13, in the following words. "Faith is no easy matter. . . . Neither is it a mere human work, which I can perform for myself, but it is a divine power in the heart, by which we are new born, and whereby we are able to overcome the mighty power of the devil and death."
By believing it is an easy matter, men striving against the Holy Spirit, Who would bring them to faith and repentance, believing that they can of themselves work this miracle.
2. This must work humility and praise in Christians. Modern theology tends to rob God of His glory by speaking of "our decision." It is born out of an ignorance of man's spiritual condition, 2:1, and of what is involved in regeneration.
Regeneration is resurrection. It cannot be wrought by man's own power., Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil, Jer 13:23.
3. The continuing exercise of faith is wrought of God. When we consider what opposes the believer --his own sinful nature, an unbelieving, sneering world, the power of the arch enemy who exists only to defy and destroy His people -- then our continuance in faith must be of God alone, Eph 3:20; 1 Peter 1:3-5. It is God's power from beginning to the end, Hebs 13:20-21.