“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, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever.” Ephesians 3:20-21)
Some wonder if these verses might have been where the Apostle Paul intended to end his letter to the Ephesians. In his letter he has already given the Ephesians a clear exposition of the Gospel, that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Later he points out that we are saved by grace through faith. This is not our own doing it is the gift of God, not as a result of works so that no one can boast.
He has assured both the Jewish and the Gentile members of the congregation that through the cross of Christ they have been reconciled to God and brought into his household. He has told the Ephesians that he is praying for them, that they may be strengthened with power through the Holy Spirit in their inner being.
And now in these verses he writes what is called a doxology, an ascription of praise and glory to God forever and ever. Yes, it certainly would have been a good place for Paul to end his letter to the Ephesians.
The first words of this doxology, “now to him,” remind us that all the glory, praise and honor go to God now and always.
We don’t know a lot about heaven but we do know that it will be an eternity of praising God. So if that is the case why not start now? “Now to him,” be the glory forever.
Next Paul writes that God is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think. As we live lives of faith and trust we come to realize that it is true; God can do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.
If that is God’s mindset it should be ours too. We should go above and beyond what people expect. As believers in Christ with every spiritual blessing already given to us we should seek ways to go above and beyond what people ask or think of us.
This leads to the most amazing part of this doxology: “according to the power at work within us.” God works abundantly through the power at work within us. We are the instruments through which God does his work.
In the previous chapter Paul wrote: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
It’s one thing to be able to do the miraculous things that God does. It’s even more amazing that he gives us the ability to do great things too.
And what is the power at work within us? It is the Gospel: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)
How does the Gospel empower us? It removes from us the burden of having to save ourselves. Without the Gospel we are so focused on trying to earn our salvation by our own efforts that we don’t have any strength to do anything else.
But the Gospel sets us free. Jesus has done it all to reconcile us to God through his death and resurrection. We are free to serve others above and beyond what they expect.
In Mark, chapter six, it says, “And when they [Jesus and his disciples] got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. (Mark 6:54-55)
It was the healthy people who brought sick people to Jesus so that he could heal them. When we have been healed by the Gospel we then have the strength and willingness to bring others to Jesus so that he can heal them too.
Paul concludes his doxology by repeating what he says at the beginning; to God belongs all the glory in the church in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever.
Although Paul could have ended his letter to the Ephesians at the end of chapter three he does not. The Holy Spirit inspired him to write three more chapters, where he addresses marriage, parenting and fighting our spiritual enemies. Then finally he signs off with the following blessing: “Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.” (Ephesians 6:24).