…having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might… – Ephesians 1:18-19 ESV
Paul had been consistently asking that God would give “the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him” to the believers in Ephesus for whom he prayed. He knew that as they grew to know God better, they would also grow in their understanding of and appreciation for all that He had done for them. It was Paul’s desire that they would know the hope to which God had called them. In the Greek, the word, hope, has to do with “expectation of good.” It is a joyful and confident expectation based on the knowledge that God has called us into a relationship with Him. He has good things in store for us. He loved us enough to save us, but He is also in the process of sanctifying us. We can expect that God will continue His good work of transforming us into the likeness of His Son. We should live with a sense of hope, an expectation of good, even when things appear to be going bad. As we grow in our knowledge of God, we begin to understand just how loving, gracious, merciful and powerful He really is.
In fact, that is part of what Paul prayed for. He wanted the believers in Ephesus to know “what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe.” For far too many of us, the power of God remains an unknown quantity in our lives. It is not that it is absent, but that we fail to see and appreciate it. God is always at work. His power is always available to us. But rather than avail ourselves of that power, we tend to rely on our own. Then we wonder why our spiritual lives seem so weak and powerless. We question why God doesn’t appear to working in our lives like He is in the lives of others. But it goes back to the knowledge of God. It is as we grow to know Him better, that we begin to understand just how powerful He really is and how that power is available to us on a daily basis. The stories we read in the Bible become far more than antiquated antidotes of God’s power in the distant past. They become exciting examples of the kind of power available to us right here, right now. Our God is still a miracle-working God. He is still capable of doing the impossible, conquering the unbeatable, delivering the oppressed, protecting the innocent and revealing His power in a myriad of ways on a daily basis. As believers in Jesus Christ, we have been given access to the same power that raised Him from the dead. But it is one thing to know about that power intellectually, and another thing to know about it experientially. Paul would have us know God’s power in a real and intimate way. He would want us to have the daily experience of the immeasurable greatness of God’s power.
Finally, Paul prayed for a growing awareness of “the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” There is a sense in which we must live our lives on this earth with our eyes focused on the reality of our future inheritance. This world is not our home. God has something far greater prepared for us. Any joy we experience in this life is nothing compared with what is to come. This world is marred by sin and, even as believers, our ability to know and experience God is hampered by our own sin natures. But there is a day coming when we will be free from all the restrictions of sin. We will enjoy uninterrupted fellowship with God and all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior. No more sin, sorrow, pain, suffering, war, abuse, lying, murder or death. God has promised it. We must believe it. Warren Wiersbe has said, “To know God personally is salvation. To know Him increasingly is sanctification. To know Him perfectly is glorification.” That about covers the contents of Paul’s prayer. He would have us know God better and better. It begins at salvation, but it does not stop there. All the while we live on this earth, we are to grow in our knowledge of God. We are to experience His power and increase in our faith as He reveals Himself to us in real and tangible ways. But ultimately, we will know Him perfectly. That is the ultimate objective. It is why Jesus died. Even He said, “this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3 ESV). Knowing God is what it is all about. We can know Him now because of Jesus’ death on the cross. We can know Him increasingly better because of His Spirit within us and the Word in which He reveals Himself to us. But one day we will know Him perfectly and personally, free from sin, and without interruption or interference of any kind.