From Spirit-Filled Life New Testament Commentary Series
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Of whom the whole family in Heaven and Earth is named,
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
In order to be effective in the assault upon the powers of darkness believers need supernatural empowerment through the Holy Spirit. In addition, because of the fullness of the love of God in Christ, God fully inhabits believers and the church is triumphant in the battle over evil. But first things are first. The church must embrace these important aspects of God.
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in Heaven and Earth is named. (vv. 14-15)
The focus of this chapter is Paul’s prayer that begins in this verse. He begins the chapter with the same phrase, For this cause, only to digress for thirteen verses out of the overflow of the Holy Spirit in his heart. This is a glimpse into Paul’s prayer life, however. He is never far from petitioning the Father. Paul fully recognizes that prayer is an integral part of assaulting the principalities and powers. He accomplishes his purpose through prayer and writing to the Ephesians.
In identifying God as Father, Paul highlights that we are members of God’s family, born into it through faith in Jesus Christ. So, we are to live solidly, established in the certainty of the Lord’s life in us.
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man. (v. 16)
God’s strengthening only happens through the person and work of the Holy Spirit. God’s reserves for blessing are inexhaustible. The riches of his glory show that believers may draw upon God’s power at any time, place, or in any circumstance. Power failure is impossible with God. The place of his ministry is deep within the believers. The inner man is similar to the heart in verse 17. It is the very seat and center of every human being whom God empowers and changes by his Holy Spirit. In fact, no lasting change can come without a change in the inner man.
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. (vv. 17-19)
The dwelling place of Christ is in the heart, the very center of one’s being. In using the word, dwell, here, Paul emphasizes a permanent residence. Paul could have used a related word that refers to a temporary dwelling place. But God abides within the believer as the Holy Spirit. This is a permanent dwelling place through faith. Because God dwells in people by faith, they grow in his love.
Thus, Paul prayed that the believers in Ephesus be filled with all the fullness of God, and so experience stability rather than a transient experience of Christ. Nothing firms this up more clearly than the term, rooted and grounded. Being rooted and grounded in the Lord makes possible the growth of Jesus’s life in us. God’s love is a believer’s roots and ground that lead to growth and fruit-bearing.
Paul prays that the believers will have a comprehension of God’s love that transcends knowledge. He describes the width, length, depth, and height of God’s love to show that God’s love is inexhaustible. No one is far from his love; no one is in too deep a hole to experience him; no one will ever reach the end of the demonstration of God’s love. Such knowledge of God’s love surpasses knowledge.
Paul prays for the knowledge of love that surpasses knowledge. This is a play on words. He hopes that the Ephesian believers will have such a comprehension of the love of God in the inner man that simple explanation is inadequate. The goal is that all the fullness of God may dwell in the believer. This is the Christian’s goal. God accomplishes this in love by the power and work of the Holy Spirit.