Future Power in the Present Age

3340713641_74582212ed“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, which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, 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.” -Eph. 1.18-21

The apostle Paul longed for the saints to come into a revelation of the hope to which God has called us. He described that hope as “the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.” The inheritance of the saints, which is God Himself, and the surpassing greatness of his power for us, is the hope which lights the hearts of His people. It is a hope in the future which also breaks into the present when we believe. Hear Gordon Fee, who according to many is the foremost Pauline scholar in our day. In his thought, the hope points to

…. their eschatological future on the one hand, and the present realization of divine power on the other.

Paul leads them from contemplation about the future to a new understanding of the present. The same God who has thus guaranteed their lives for eternity has not left them to their own devices as the face the ‘powers’ in the present. Paul therefore prays that their Spirit-enlightened hearts may understand how “surpassing great is God’s present power” unto “us who believe.” Further, this power is quite in keeping with that previously manifested in the resurrection and present session of Christ Himself. There is nothing else in the corpus [the collection of Paul’s letters] quite like this especially high concentration of power terminology….

Paul’s concern here is not with any petty victories over the powers, but with his readers’ understanding of their position in Christ, who has Himself assumed the place of authority over the powers for their sakes. The reality of what God has done for them in Christ is to be realized as they are seated together with Him “in the heavenly realm”….

But the empowering takes place in the midst of everyday life.

(Fee, God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul; Hendrickson Publishers- Peabody, MA: 1994, pp. 677-679)

There are no words to describe the awesomeness of what Paul is saying here. Can we fathom that the power which God “exerted” in the tomb of Christ, the power which pushed back all the powers of darkness, the power that is sufficient to obliterate the sins of all history, the power that raised Jesus Himself to the right hand of the Father, is “working” “for us who believe?” Can we believe that, as Fee said, “the empowering takes place in the midst of everyday life?”

No wonder Paul prayed for a revelation of the hope to come to the saints! Oh, that the Lord would have for Himself a people who walk in the rawness and simplicity of true faith in Him. We are not alone in the battle, saints. The inheritance of fellowship with the Father is ours through the Son and by the Spirit, and his power works for us “in the midst of everyday life.” We need only to turn to Him in faith, to receive and abide in the same Life which raised Jesus from the dead. Could anything in this life be greater than that?

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