I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope… the wealth… the immeasurable greatness…
Often when we would refer to our “hearts”, scripture actually, culturally, refer to bowels, but this prayer from Paul, as he begins this letter talks about eyes of the heart – kardia – the heart, as seat of mind, will, emotions, metaphorically speaking of course. He writes from confinement in Rome and prays for enlightenment, Photizo – what a beautiful word picture – pun intended – To be or become understanding, having light cast upon.
It’s interesting to me, “theologians” focus on several things here early in this letter: predestination, in vv4-5, his glory in v6, the cross securing redemption and grace in vv7-8. But Paul doesn’t focus on these, he makes it clear in v12 that they are already partakers of those things. He explains his/their confidence in vv13-14 is that salvation comes when they heart and believed the gospel, and then they received the Spirit as a deposit on greater glory to come.
Then v15 – This is why… – All of that “theological stuff” for us is NOT what he’s worried about, it’s just reality. This Is Why… I never stop giving thanks… remember you in my prayers… Paul has greater concerns for them than whether they wrestle with how God does God stuff, and man is responsible for man stuff and the synergy of it. His greater concern is that the Spirit of wisdom, revelation, knowledge would be given to them. And here’s the thing – they ALREADY had that in vv13-14 – they just needed to surrender, lay down their own understanding, and surrender to the Spirit that now lives within them. Isaiah 11:1 promises the coming Messiah as a shoot from Jesse’s root and then v2 says The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him… of wisdom… understanding… counsel… strength… knowledge… fear of the Lord – yep that’s the fullness, 7-fold, of the Spirit of God – the Holy Spirit and then 11:3 says of the Messiah, He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes… hears with his ears… but righteously… (with) justice … So IF the Spirit of God lives in us, will we let him be at home? If we let him be who he is in us, then Ephesians 1:18 says that as already blood-bought, redeemed, chosen by God, born-again, indwelt by the Spirit; Paul prays for us that the eyes of your heart will be enlightened – that is that we will get the right Photizo (picture), of 3 things that too often get distorted – HOPE, WEALTH, and GREATNESS.
Well… we could spend a minute here, right?
HOPE – elpis is NOT just wishful thinking, but EXPECTATION. The Hope of his calling – When Jesus calls – ALL who come TO him will never be turned away. Jesus said that he would not cast off any who come to him. So, the expectation, the hope is Love. The expectation is Life. The expectation is sonship. When there is an authoritative summons (klesis) then there is an expectation that is certain. Open the eyes of your heart to see the HOPE.
WEALTH – ploutos = wealth, riches, to flow, abound – Oh yeah! The full on abundant flow of riches for the saints is the Inheritance of Christ. Paul tells the Galatian believers in their letter that we are ALL adult sons. Not male or female, slave or free, Jew or Greek, we are ALL Adult Sons. Only adult sons could receive inheritance, and IN CHRIST we are all joint heirs with Jesus. It’s already secured. We aren’t working on it. Certainly there ARE rewards we earn, but this is already set aside for us, and if our eyes would see it, if we would just know it. Wealth is our
The wealth is in the sphere of the saints. Look back at v11 in him we have received an inheritance – it’s already received, though we haven’t taken possession yet, it is according to the Plan of the One who works out everything in agreement with the purpose of his will.
All of these things, God’s purpose, our faith, the grace available because of the cross, all of these work together to enable us to experience the wealth of the inheritance. And IF my heart’s eyes can get a picture of the glory, then I can let go of the things I THINK are “wealth” in the here and now, but are really not.
Hope, Wealth… and GREATNESS
Boy this is the message we need today isn’t it? Hope, Wealth, and Greatness – sounds like I’m running for office.
I grew up in the ALI era. I used to see and hear that great boxer say, “I am the greatest” We talk a lot about greatness, who is, what is, where is, greatness. That word here is megathos – sounds like a cartoon character. I guess these Ephesians must have been having that conversation about Greatness… because Paul needed to differentiate, Immeasurable Greatness. That word is hyperballo – Greatness is about size and extent, great, sovereign, mighty, magnificent, but he says hyperballo. That word means to throw over, go beyond a mark, to run past. Whatever you think is greatness, Paul says I pray you will get a picture of SURPASSING Greatness. I had a high school friend once say “watch this” to the track coach who was a safe distance as he was throwing the discus. He said “I’m feeling good today”. And then he threw the discus Way Over the Coach’s head further then coach had ever seen. Coach was excited until he realized this High School Senior had picture up a much smaller Jr High discuss and thrown it. It only looked great, but it wasn’t. But Paul says, I pray you will see the Immeasurable Greatness of the Power that is toward us, for us, usward for those who believe. Again the definer is our faith in him. The same in v11, in v13 – and here. Hope points us in expectation, understanding, the wealth of our inheritance, and we see this far beyond greatness, it’s all according to the working of his strength – the SAME STRENGTH which raised Christ from the dead – you see that in v20? It says that the power that brought Jesus back to life on the 3rd day is FOR US who believe.
Would Christ leave heaven, be born among us, live and die for nothing? NO. The Cross is an immeasurable sacrifice but it was FOR Immeasurable SOMETHING. Look at the Empty Tomb and see, let your heart’s eyes be opened and see Expectantly, full of riches, exceedingly great something FOR Us Who Believe.
Hope, Wealth, Greatness
Oh Lord – Set my Heart on the Right Images today!