Ephesians 3:12-21

Eph 3:12 (KJV)
In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
Boldness - “Fearlessness, freely, or unreservedly”
Access - “Access”
Confidence - “Trust”
As Paul continues from verse 11, he states that only the believer can come to God in the manner described in this verse. It is very important that we understand the usage of the small words in Scripture which give specific meanings. In this verse we once again see the word “we” which means only those people in Christ, the saved, have the permission to approach God freely but even that approach comes through the Lord Jesus Christ. We can never come to God by means of the Mass or any religious ceremony. We can only have that access to the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we can have that access in great trust or confidence because as we see in the rest of the verse that it is not our faith that gives us the access to God but the Faith of Christ. We see this great principle in other parts of Scripture also:
(Gal 2:16 KJV) Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
(Phil 3:9 KJV) And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
Notice the common theme which runs in these two verses that the works of the law and our own righteousness are placed in comparison to the faith of Christ which saved us and gave us the access to God the Father. The sorry thing is that the modern versions take this great teaching away from Christ and gives it to people by changing it to “faith in Christ.” This makes Christ the object of our faith. Grammatically speaking it is changing the sentence from Possessive “faith of Christ” to Dative “faith in Christ.” This places man at the center instead of keeping Christ in the center of salvation.
Eph 3:13 (KJV)
Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
Wherefore - “Therefore or on this account”
I desire - “I ask”
Faint - “Lose heart or be despondent”
Tribulations - “Affliction, distress, or pressure”
Paul is building on the prior verse which focused on the great access to the Father through the faith of Christ. Paul is basically saying, that based on what I just wrote to you, please do not lose heart or become despondent. Remember, Ephesians is one of the prison epistles. Paul had no problem with being in prison or suffering for the Lord.
(2 Cor 12:15 KJV) And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
Paul was very concerned for the churches and he did not want the work of the church to stop because he was not present at that time. He was afraid that the church would begin to fade away if the people went into a despondent disposition. This is why the Scriptures give us the command that we are to commit the work to faithful men (2 Timothy 2:2) so the work continues to go forward when we are taken from the scene. It is indeed a strange appendage that Paul uses that his sufferings are the glory of the Christians in Ephesus. Paul was stating that his sufferings were for the eternal good of the Christians because he was suffering in prison for them, for all the churches, for Christianity in general as the glory of Christianity is that we will suffer for it. In many ways we suffer for being a Christian, some ways are rejection, mockery, hated, avoided, no promotion at work, etc.
(1 Pet 4:16 KJV) Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
Paul wanted his sufferings to lead to the glorifying of God and not for the despondency of the Christians.
Eph 3:14 (KJV)
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Paul counted it worthy to suffer for the Lord Jesus Christ and as a result, he humbled himself before God the Father.
(Acts 5:41 KJV) And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
The world has no clue that when a Christian suffers for being a Christian and not an evildoer, it is a mark of honor with God. The glories that a Christian has waiting for them in heaven, far surpasses any menial suffering here on earth. Paul was also counting on the fact that a great work was going to be done through the churches and he was aware that his presence was not needed because God would raise other Christians up to continue the work of the church. This is part of the freedom we have in Christ, so when we have to retire or we become sick that we cannot do the work we used to, we can have confidence that God will continue the work which He started with us through other capable hands.
(Heb 6:10 KJV) For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have showed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
Eph 3:15 (KJV)
Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
(Acts 11:26 KJV) And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
There are some commentators which teach that this verse teaches not only the Fatherhood of God for the body of believers but also that it teaches the Fatherhood of God to all the unbelievers by means of creation. Well the problem with that theory is that the unbelievers will not be in Heaven and therefore the family that is in view is the body of believers which carry the name of Christ, hence, the name Christian. The Greek of the first century followed the Latin method of placing an ending to a proper name such as “Christ-ian” to note that a person was a follower or an adherent of a person or thing. In this case, in the Greek, “ianos” was added making it “Christianos” in the Greek which was the name for the followers of Christ.
Eph 3:16 (KJV)
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
Strengthened - “to empower or become strong.”
Here the Apostle Paul is praying that the Ephesian Christians would be granted the supernatural strength in the inner man. In other words, he is asking the Lord to strengthen these believers. Paul was concerned that they may have become despondent because of his imprisonment. This comes from a misunderstanding of God’s differing plan for each Christian. Now he is asking the Lord to give them strength according to the riches of God’s glory. Notice he is not asking God to strengthen them out of the riches but according to the riches. An example of this would be if a millionaire gave $500,000 to a cause, he would be giving according to his wealth but if he gave $5, he would be giving out of his wealth. Therein lies the difference between “according to” and “out of.”
(Rom 7:22 KJV) For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Our delight is in the law of God according to the inner man. Basically, we delight in our salvation and if God strengthens us in the inner man or our spirits, then we are able to endure the trials of life and be able to minister at the same time.
(2 Cor 4:16 KJV) For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
This was also a concern for the church at Corinth. The Corinthian church was probably the most challenging of all the churches that Paul dealt with and yet he encouraged them by telling them that even though our physical bodies are perishing progressively each day, our inner man is being strengthened and renewed daily. This is how we are as we walk with the Lord, our spiritual strength becomes mightier even if our physical bodies become weaker. There is a great Old Testament verse which teaches this very principle that God will always give strength to His people according to their situation.
(Deu 33:25 KJV) Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be.
This is a great verse of promise because on those days when we face many problems or we just face a fatiguing day, God promises that He will give us the strength needed. This was Paul’s desire for the Christians that he was writing to. His desire was that the work would be done in the power and strength of the Lord.
Eph 3:17 (KJV)
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
Dwell - “Settle down or Inhabit”
Paul’s second desire for the Ephesians was that not only that they would be mightily strengthened in the Lord, but that Christ would dwell within them. This is a saying which is common in the Scriptures because God is continually conveying to us the relationship that we have with Him and His Son. He continues to remind us that it is He who will strengthen us and guide us because we belong to Christ. That connection to Christ comes through faith and we previously saw that it is the faith of Christ and not ours.
Then the second part of the verse speaks of rotting and grounding which speaks of being firmly established in the love which is not only the love for each pother as brethren but also love for the Lord and that love is not an emotional love as we are told in Scripture what love is.
(2 John 1:6 KJV) And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
The true love that the Christian exhibits is when we are walking in obedience to the commandments of God and the commandments of God are contained in the whole of Scripture. The biblical synonyms for the commandments would be laws, precepts, statutes, judgments, etc. If you turn to Psalm 119, you will see all the words that God uses to describe His Word. Now we do not keep those commandments to gain salvation, we keep them as a result of salvation unto the glory of God. A Christian becomes firmly rooted in love, when we are firmly rooted in the teachings of Scripture and not the teachings about Scripture (AKA man‘s teachings), then we are able to be rooted in love for the Savior and the brethren.
Eph 3:18 (KJV)
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
Comprehend - “Grasp, understand or perceive
Breadth - “Width”
Length - “as is”
Depth - “Deepness”
Height - “as is”
This verse is tied into the next one as we are being told that as Christians we should comprehend or try to grasp within our mortal minds the love of Christ. In the city of Ephesus was a great temple to Diana, and Paul may have had this structure in mind when he began to use these architectural terms to try and use an earthly object to describe something heavenly. Anyone who lived in Ephesus would have known and seen this structure. In modern times, we can apply the same principles to large buildings. We look at these huge structures and see the same structural terms. However, when compared to the love of Christ, the earthly structures fail in comparison. In this verse we are asked to comprehend the love of Christ. How can earthly people fathom the hugeness of the love of Christ?
Eph 3:19 (KJV)
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Passeth - “Surpass or exceed”
Filled - “Make full, complete, or supply fully”
Paul now concludes his thought on the love of Christ. In the last verse he asks us to comprehend it, to see if we can grasp the immensity of the love of Christ but in this verse he tells us that the love of Christ surpasses knowledge. The knowledge of man is limited, even about things of this earth. How much more limited is man, even regenerate man, concerning the depths of Christ? We could not even fathom 1/1000 of it. This is why Paul tells us that the love of Christ exceeds or surpasses knowledge, or better yet, surpasses the ability of man to comprehend that love. This is why we read that we are to accept the things of God on faith.
Then the Bible goes on to tell us that through the love of Christ, which conveys salvation to the Elect of God, that we are filled or “supplied fully” with all the fulness of God. This is the great goal of the believer to be full with all the divine wisdom and knowledge that the human being can possibly be filled with.
(John 1:14 KJV) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
(Col 1:9 KJV) For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
The filling of the believer is all that God can place into His regenerated children, which can be, wisdom, spiritual understanding, grace, truth, etc. The fulness of God in the believer is all that comes with salvation as we have seen.
Eph 3:20 (KJV)
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Able - “be able or have power to do”
Exceeding - “Over or more than”
Abundantly - “Beyond all Measure or superabundantly”
Above - “Profuse or Extraordinary”
This verse has become one of the most beloved benedictions used in the church down through the ages. After we were told of the spiritual power and fulfillment the believer can have in their life, the chapter ends up with this tremendous revelation of the majesty of God. It begins with “Unto Him” which leaves no room for misinterpretation that this verse is pointing to God Himself. First we are told that he is able to do all things that we ask or even think. How shallow are our prayers some times in that we treat or even perceive God as one having minimal powers. This word “able” is actually a cognate of the word “dunamis” which means “ability, might or force.” It means that God possesses the power and ability to do all that he says He can do.
Then the verse tells us that God can do exceedingly which means more than we can even think or even understand. He attaches this word to the word “exceeding” which is the word “huper’ in the Greek and it means that God can do over or more than we can even understand. As humans we will never be able to comprehend the depths of the power that God has. Even when he created the entire universe and all the stars we see every night, he speaks of it as a mediocre event. (Gen 1:16 KJV) And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.  It is like when we stop at the store on the way home from work and tell our spouse, “oh by the way I picked up milk on the way home.” God’s power is so immense that making the universe only warrants 5 words in this verse.
Then the word “above” is attached to abundantly which means that God can do for us what He deems necessary beyond all measure that we can even think of. He opened the Red Sea so Israel could go through and He allowed the sun to stand still for 24 hours so Joshua could have victory over the Amorites.
(Josh 10:13 KJV) And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
God is the God of the Sun, the Seas, the Universe! Everything is under His power since He is the one who created it all. Paul wants us to know that God is always greater than what our human minds can fathom, even the regenerated mind. What the Bible is getting across to us is that God is able to aid in every situation which comes into our life and we need not fear that God will let us down as man does.
Eph 3:21 (KJV)
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
The Glory of God is that He is the one who formed the Church or the called out assembly of redeemed Saints. (John 6:37 KJV) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. Notice this important phrase “throughout all ages.” Many feel that the church had its beginning at Pentecost but that is not true, that is when the last days began, actually they began at the cross. The church age really began before the foundation of the world and will continue until the last day. Those whom God has written in the Lamb’s Book of Life which were predestined for salvation, were not only those who were saved after the cross, but were saved before the cross. Abel was definitely saved and also Abraham, so was Joseph. It is interesting to note that the Church of Jesus Christ has been growing since creation and will continue to grow until the last one becomes saved.
Now dovetailing that particular teaching is another great insight, “world without end.” We know specifically from Scripture that this present world is going to come to an abrupt end and will be burned. (2 Pet 3:9 KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Then how could the world without end be a true teaching? Very simple, when one looks at the different passages in the Abrahamic Covenant, we see how God uses the word “forever.” It is the same principle here. God is inserting the prophecy of the New Heaven and the New Earth which will be without end. (2 Pet 3:13 KJV) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (Rev 21:1 KJV) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. Peter was looking for it and John saw it! This is what the Scripture is speaking of when it speaks of “world without end.” God also speaks of this same event in the Old Testament and He connects it with salvation as Paul does in Ephesians 3:21. (Isa 45:17 KJV) But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end. “World without end” is speaking of the new, eternal earth wherein will dwell righteousness, as 2 Peter 3:13 states.