by G.J. Stewart
In Ephesians we have what the power of God is. It is displayed in four ways:
(1) What He is towards us (1:19-23). The Apostle prays that we may know it. To see a sample we are brought not to creation but to the grave of Christ. In creation everything was made out of nothing by the Word of God, without any enemy appearing; but at the grave of Christ, death, the great enemy, had swept the scene, so that even Christ (though in grace) yielded to it and died for sins. The power of God raised that blessed Man from the dead and put Him in the highest place at God’s right hand. Thus power is displayed that no enemy could withstand.
(2) The power has acted upon us. God has a righteous basis for the exercise of new creation power, quickening together with Christ those dead in sins, whether Jew or Gentile. God operates on dead sinners and they live together with Christ. In this chapter new creation has three parts: (a) New life, “quickened together with Christ”; (b) New position, “hath raised us up together and made us sit together (not with as in quickening), in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus. God sees us in the One whom He raised from the dead. This also is a pledge that we shall be with Him there, by the application to our bodies of the new creation power; (c) New character, “we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works (2:10). New life and position demand new character.
(3) This power is in us. It was in the Apostle effectually working (3:7), and he desired that it should be in the saints. He prays that it may be known in the power of communion (3:14, 16-17). The Spirit strengthens us in the inner man producing practical exercises of a living faith by means of which Christ dwells in our hearts. This brings us into the enjoyed communion of all His counsels with intelligence and love filling us into His fullness.
(4) He wishes that power displayed in us, not merely dormant. Here our responsibility comes in. It wrought in Paul for the administration of the mystery upon earth. There are four spheres, in the remainder of the epistle: (a) the Church sphere (4:1-16), which is the most important. We need the power manifested in us to walk worthily of the calling; it is first applied to individuals; (b) the world sphere, in which we are to walk as exponents of new creation (although the old creation is in and around us) walking in truth, love and light; (c) the social and domestic sphere, in these we are to act with Christ as a pattern; (d) the sphere of Christian warfare in the heavenlies (6:10-20), where the same power is needed to enable us to sustain the panoply of God, to fight the enemy who opposes the heavenly truth and above all the administration of the mystery of the Gospel. Thus there is a complete display upon earth of His power in God’s people, that they may know it as wrought in Christ toward them, and that they are the subjects of its operation and that it may be practically in them in communion in the power of the Spirit.
Abridged from G.J.Stewart in “the Voice,” 1889
Maintenance of the Truth (Scripture Quarterly) 1940-1942