16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Riches of His Glory
What do you imagine when you think of the glory of God? The bright shining cloud that filled the tabernacle and temple (Exodus 40:34; 1 Kings 8:1). A heavenly vision of God on the throne (Isaiah 6:1). Yes these are manifestations of the glory of God. But,
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 4:6)
The glory of God is truly made known to us through the Lord Jesus Christ.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)
So when Paul writes according to the riches of his glory he is referring to the glorious essence of God which we see in Christ. When we see who Jesus Christ is we are strengthened.
Steven Hawthorne wrote an great article called “The Story of His Glory” in which defines the word “glory” as “The essential worth, beauty and value of people, created things and, of course, the Creator Himself'”. This is what we see in Christ.
Strengthened with Power Through His Spirit
We have an amazing power within us that in the time before Christ came to earth only came upon people at times. The presence of the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament the Spirit of God came upon people at certain times to strengthen and anoint them to do certain tasks (Exodus 31:3; Ezekiel 11:5). But since Christ came the Holy Spirit now can dwell in the hearts of those who have faith in, trust in and believe in Christ as their Lord (2 Corinthians 1:22).
Rooted and grounded in love.
There can be nothing better than being being rooted and grounded in love. To have the very essential nutrient of love coming into us when our roots are firmly planted in Christ. He is the very nature of love and the only way we can love one another is obtaining that love from Christ, to be then able to pour it out on others. We can only comprehend the love of God with others. The only way to show love is to love others and the only way to feel love is to be loved by others.
Christ gives us the strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. The love Christ shows us is beyond our comprehension. We see it vaguely, as Paul put it:
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)
At that time mirrors were made of highly polished brass so the image was vague. When we get to be with Christ we will begin to know the full depth of the love he has for us. The only way to truly comprehend the love of God is to see it in the face of Jesus Christ.
Filled with the Fullness of God
To think of us being filled is an unusual concept. We can relate to eating a huge meal and feeling full and satisfied, but that soon passes and hunger returns. To be filled with the fullness of God means to be satisfied with the filling of the Holy Spirit who dwells in our hearts by faith. The most basic desire of the human heart is to know God and to know his love. When you know you are loved by God only then are you fully satisfied. You come to the realisation that God is all you need to be fully satisfied. All our desire for things, experiences, relationships amount to nothing in comparison with comprehending the love of God towards us. What ever we may think we want or need God is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think and his love for us is perfect.
Paul gets to the point in this letter where he just wants to give thanks to God and worship him for all he has done for us. Thinking of the love of God brings him to the place of just wanting to worship God for who he is.
The term doxology stems from Latin and means to express worship, praise and give glory vocally. Often in services portions of scripture are read out to express worship to God for what he has done and verses 20 and 21 are one of these passages:
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.