Ephesians 3:20, 21
Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,…
The apostle had exhausted all the forms of supplication, and now he casts himself upon the very infinitude of God, which was able to supply more than the thoughts or desires of men could suggest in the sphere of prayer.
I. THE THEME OF THE DOXOLOGY. It is no abstract ascription of glory to God; it is one full of hope and cheer to the Church - the ability of God to do great things for his people. There is a sort of climax in the language employed: God is able to do what we ask or think; he is able to do above all we ask or think; nay, abundantly above it; nay, exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think; and our thinking is very much wider than our asking. Two things make us strong in prayer - a deep sense of need and a strong hope of supply. Perhaps we shall hardly venture to ask some blessings, but we ought to consider that we are either to approach God on our own merits or on the merits of Christ. If we pray for blessing on our own merits, we can hardly be too stinted in our asking; but if on the merits of Christ, we ought not to disgrace God by asking little things on such a wide basis of encouragement. We have, in fact, got a carte-blanche put into our hands by Christ, saying, "Ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you." We are to ask up to our power of thinking, and far beyond it; for "God giveth liberally and upbraideth not?" "Prove me now... if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it." But Paul says merely that God is "able" to do so; what about his will to do so? We remember, when speaking of God's ultimate restoration of the Jews, Paul says, "And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in; for God is able to graft them in again." That is, they shall be, because God is able to do it. Therefore, we shall never have asked too much till we have asked beyond God's ability.
II. THE MEASURE OF THE POWER REFERRED TO. "According to the power that worketh in us." It is not abstract or intrinsic omnipotence, such as merely suggests a possibility that may never pass into a reality. It is a power in actual exercise for the benefit of the Church of God. It is in actual operation even before we have begun to ask or think; it is "the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe;" it is the glorious and surpassing power of God, not only irreversibly pledged, but irrevocably in operation. The principal thing that God does for us is what he does in us. "According to the power that worketh in us." There is a power that worketh for us, in virtue of whose supreme disposal "all things work together for good to them that love God;" but there is a power that worketh in us, to will and to do of his good pleasure, that perfecteth that which concerneth us, keeping us from falling, so that we may be presented blameless before the presence of his glory.
III. THE DEBT OF GLORY DUE TO SUCH A GOD. "Unto him... be the glory." What shall we not render unto him? Is it not a glorious work he has done? We cannot make him glorious, but we can tell how glorious he is in his gracious and mighty administration. "Thine is the glory," said Christ. All glory belongs to him. Many glorious things exist in creation. The sun is glorious, the stars are glorious, even one star differing from another star in glory; but it is God who feeds their wonderful fires. They belong unto Jehovah. "No flesh must glory in his presence;" and the only way not to glory before him is to glory in him. "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."
IV. THE SPHERE OR SCENE OF THIS GLORY. "Unto him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus." "The locality or sphere is the Church, the outward theatre on which this glory is manifested before men;" and "Christ Jesus is" the Minister of this glory to God, the Minister of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man, by whom the glory in question is presented with acceptance. In fact, it is in him God manifests the glory of his perfections as the God of grace and salvation; it is through him he shines into our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God. Thus the blessings descend through Christ to the Church, just as all the Church's service goes up to God through the hands of Jesus Christ.
V. THE PERIOD OF THIS GLORY. "To all the generations of the age of the ages." A cumulative expression of great force. This glory is to be given to God during all the ages of time. "His Name shall endure forever; men shall be blessed in him; all nations shall call him blessed;" "I will make thy Name to be remembered in all generations." The stream of time rolls on world without end, but the glory is to continue through all the ages of eternity. "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be to him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever. Amen."
VI. LESSONS TO BE DRAWN FROM THIS DOXOLOGY. Let us not be poor any more in cur supplications; let us not be stinted in asking to the dishonor of his abounding grace. Let us be encouraged to ask by the recollection of the blessings we have already received. Let us show a more signal gratitude for all our mercies. Are not the extent of our obligations and the perfection of the holiness to which they bind us, far beyond our powers of apprehending or appreciating them? and ought they not to leave us with the similar question of bewildered gratitude, "What manner of persons ought we to be?" - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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,