For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
Faith and Love
Faith and love are mentioned together in 73 verses in the Bible. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6) and love is the greatest gift of all (1 Corinthians 13:13). Faith towards God and love towards the community of believers gives God glory. Paul thanks God that the Ephesian church has faith and love for one another. For anyone who plants and nurtures a church the greatest thing is to see them walking by faith and living by the greatest commandment, to love one another (John 13:34).
Sadly, in the book of Revelation Jesus speaks to the Ephesian church and says “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4). What would make a church or person abandon love? Selfishness, pride…? The way you love people reveals how you love God (1 John 4:20-21). You cannot say you love God if you hate people. God is love and His first motivation is love. That should be our motivation if we trust in Him.
Psalm 100 says:
For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100:5)
God is faithful and God is loving. He wants us to learn how to show His love to others, by faith in Christ.
Thankfulness and Prayer
Paul loved the church at Ephesus and here we have a rare example of how Paul prayed for his churches. Firstly he gave thanks. That is so important in prayer.
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! (1 Chronicles 16:34)
This refrain is repeated frequently in the Bible (Psalm 106:1, Psalm 107:1, Psalm 118:1, Psalm 118:29). It is such a great way to start praying. When Jesus taught us to pray, He began “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9). The word “hallowed” means to have deep respect and reverence, to see as holy. As we give thanks to God for all he had done and all he has given us we realise our requests are in His hands and this gives us peace (Philippians 4:6-7).
Paul’s Prayer – the Spirit of wisdom.
Paul starts explaining his prayer by saying that “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom”. He mentions all three names of the triune Godhead. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father and He always prayed to the Father. Paul here addresses the prayer to the Father but defines Him as the God of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He then prays that God would give the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. Oh, how we need wisdom! What is wisdom? It is more than knowledge, it is how we apply that knowledge in our behaviour.
The Book of Proverbs is full of exhortations to get wisdom. The fear (deep respect and reverence) of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10, Proverbs 1:7). But we need the Spirit of wisdom. We can have no wisdom outside of that which comes from God through His Spirit. The Spirit of wisdom is first mentioned in Deuteronomy 34:9, then promised in Isaiah 11:2. Daniel was seen to have the spirit of wisdom (Daniel 5:14). Jesus gave the Holy Spirit to the Church (John 20:22) and at Pentecost, the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4). Prayer is the key to receiving the Spirit of wisdom.
Here Paul prays that God would give the Spirit of wisdom so that they could have the “eyes of your hearts enlightened”. We need to see God but how? We need light in our lives to reveal the truth and that is what the Spirit of wisdom gives. Revelation means to have something that was already there displayed. In the dark, you cannot see but turn a light on and what is already there is revealed. There is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). God is making known what He has already done. You do not need brand-new enlightenment to learn something no one has ever discovered before. You need God to open the eyes of your understanding (Acts 26:18) to turn from darkness to light. This is the gospel. No man has seen God but in Christ we see the Father revealed (John 14:10).
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
We have an inheritance that we can hope for.
But notice this! Paul writes “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints”. The inheritance is Christ’s. His inheritance is the church, His bride, We have such salvation that is so much more than us being saved from the wrath of God. The Lord wants to bless us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. We receive what we do not deserve, given new life, accepted in the beloved, crowned with glory and esteemed by God above creation and the angels. That is some amazing hope.