That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory…
1. The source of spiritual enlightenment is God.
2. The agency is that of the Holy Spirit.
3. The end sought is the owning of the glory of God. For the marginal reading seems preferable here. "For the acknowledgment" of God, that in this whole matter He may be known, owned, glorified, is this prayer for the enlightenment of His people offered. But now, what is it that in terms of this apostolic prayer we are thus to know? Three things are specified, embracing three aspects of the religious life.
I. "WHAT IS THE HOPE OF HIS CALLING." The hopefulness of God's calling; what hope there is in it; how full of hope it is.
1. Consider who it is who calls, and in what character. God, in the character of the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory; the God who gives grace and glory.
2. Consider who are called. Men; all men, such as they are.
3. Consider the nature of this calling.
(1) The calling of God is hopeful; there is hope in it for sinners, because it is on the one hand absolutely free, and on the other hand peremptorily sovereign and commanding.
(2) The calling of God is hopeful, because it is on the one hand earnest, in the way of persuasion; and on the other hand effectual, as implying a Divine work of renewal in the will within,
(3) The calling of God is hopeful, because it is, on the one hand righteous, and on the other hand holy: righteous, as proceeding upon provision made for the righteousness of God, the righteousness of His character and government being maintained without compromise; holy, as making provision for our becoming personally righteous — upright, pure, holy.
4. There is hope in this calling of God; as being on the one hand sure on His part, and on the other hand capable of being made sure on our part.
II. "WHAT ARE THE RICHES OF THE GLORY OF HIS INHERITANCE IS THE SAINTS"; its rich glory; its glorious richness. God takes us to be His inheritance.
III. "AND WHAT IS THE EXCEEDING GREATNESS OF HIS POWER TO USWARD WHO BELIEVE." That is the third thing to be known. And here the apostle gives us a measure. It is "according to the working," etc. It is a measure of amazing compass. It is nothing short of this, that you who believe may rely and reckon upon the power of God as available on your behalf, to the full extent of its exercise on behalf of Christ; in His victory over death, His resurrection to life, His ascension to the right hand of God, and His investiture with dominion over all. Application:
1. The knowledge for which Paul prays is altogether Divine; coming from a Divine source, through a Divine agency, for a Divine end. It is meant to be a knowledge both assured and assuring. But it cannot be so unless these conditions of it are duly observed.
2. The highest point in this threefold knowledge of God is the centre, and that implies your being His saints, His holy ones. It must be as His holy ones that you reach and realize the knowledge of the riches of the glory of His inheritance in you. Let no false humility come in here.
3. The exceeding greatness of God's power is put forth in your exercising faith: it is "to usward who believe."
(R. S. Candlish, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: