Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Growing in Wisdom

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints" (Ephesians 1:18).

Ephesians 1:3–14 is a long paean of praise for the things God has done for us. Having described all the riches and privileges that we already possess in Christ, Paul goes on to say that his prayer is for us to experience these riches. Thus, Ephesians 1:15–23 is another description of a prayer of Paul. Surely Paul’s example here shows us that we should always study theology in a context of praise and thanksgiving.

Paul says that he keeps giving thanks to God for the people who are reading his letter (v. 16). He asks God to give them the Spirit. Paul has just written that we already have the Spirit (v. 13), so how can he ask that we be given the Spirit? The answer is that Paul wants us to know better the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation. The Spirit inspired the Bible, and if we are going to understand God’s written revelation, we need the Spirit to come alongside us and help us. But this additional knowledge and insight is not just to fill our minds with facts and interesting truths. It is “so that you may know Him better” (v. 17).

The Bible is so full and rich that we shall study it forever and never plumb its depths, but all that richness of revelation is designed to increase our personal walk with our Father. Paul has no interest in a cold intellectualism, but neither is he favorable to some kind of “simple Gospel.” The riches of biblical truths are to be studied in order to make our relationship with God warmer and fuller.

The mission of the church is never far from Paul’s thinking, and part of the reason he wants us to grow is so that we can become more confident warriors. He wants our hearts to be progressively enlightened so that we understand the incomparable riches of God’s treasury. It is a treasury of wisdom and of power, the kind of power that raised Jesus from the dead and elevated Him to heavenly rule. All authority, rule, dominion, power, and title is under His management, and He manages it for our good (vv. 18–21). How can we fear any man if we know that this is so?

Is it possible that one reason for the weakness of the Christian church in our day is that many preachers only preach—and many Christians only want to hear—a “simple Gospel”? Paul links power with growth in knowledge and wisdom. If he is right, what do we need to be doing?