Nov8MonNovember 8, 2021
To God be the glory, great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in
Have you ever been meditating on scripture, salvation, the work of Christ, the love of God, the hope of the believer, why God chose you, and then you just burst out in song? I have…often when I am out walking listening to scripture or a sermon expounding the great truths of the faith. As I am listening, taking it all in, suddenly, I just find myself praising God. There are two verses in today’s devotional at the end of the first 3 chapters of Ephesians that just seem to be a burst of Joy & Praise - 3:20-21. For 3 chapters, Paul has been expounding the incredible work of salvation through Christ. He has been focusing on God’s unfathomable mercy and grace, and just before his crescendo of praise, he has been contemplating the vastness of God’s love revealed in Christ. The grace, and mercy and love of God cause Paul to declare:
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (NKJ 3:20-21)
Friends, the mercy, grace and love of God should cause all of us to praise God. “To Him” (repeated twice) focuses our attention on the One to whom all praise is due. All worship must be God-focused! Only God can take a wretched, wayward sinner and, by grace, elect, call, redeem, save, sanctify him. Maybe you should take a moment and read through chapters 1-3 to see why Paul is so excited. In the very middle of His letter to the Ephesians, he bursts into worship! His theology (study of God) has led to doxology (a word of praise). The same is true for us: our study of God should lead us to praise Him!
The thing that stirs Paul to praise is God’s power to perform “exceedingly abundantly above all” we could ask or think. God’s ways are far above ours. We cannot comprehend His incredible love, mercy and grace. It’s almost as if language cannot truly capture in words what God has done for us – let’s just invent a word by sticking a whole bunch of superlatives together – exceedingly abundantly above all! Where can this incredible work of God be seen most? In us! God’s power worked to save and transform us, and continues to sanctify and fill us for His use. His energy operates in us, far beyond what we could ask or think – this “incomparably great power” as seen in Ephesians 1:19. “Whatever we may ask, or think to ask, God is still able to do more, abundantly more, exceedingly abundantly more.” (Matthew Henry) We serve an all-powerful God who goes beyond what our finite minds can think. Now, just meditate on verse 20 and you will discover that GOD IS ABLE; able to do FAR BEYOND what our minds can conceive; according to the power that works IN US. Who is in us? God is in us -The all-powerful, Almighty God of the universe! Paul is overwhelmed by this truth often: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1Cor. 2:9) Even King David is in awe of what God’s power can do for His children: “How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.” (Psalm 31:19) Here is the point – those who spend time getting to know God, meditating on His power and ability, are overwhelmed with all that God has given us, and all that God is able to do for us. With God, all things are possible. As Jeremiah says, “Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” (Jeremiah 32:17) Bring on the Goliaths, the lion’s den, and the fiery furnace! My God is able!
To Him be glory in the Church and in Jesus Christ! The final expression of praise, gratitude and glory directed towards God is ascribed by the church. The church is the recipient of God’s grace and power, and as such giving glory to Him must be a major role of the Church – the world will not give Him glory - it is the job of the Church. Indeed, scripture is replete with the mandate to glorify God (Romans 11:36; 15:17; 16:27; 1Cor. 10:31; Gal. 1:5; Eph. 1:12,14; Phil 1:11; 2:11; 1Peter 4:11, and many more – Read Psalm 29). We live for His glory – He saved us and puts us on display for His glory. And as the church is inseparable from Christ, even as He is our mediator, all glory given to God goes through Jesus. He is the reason we are able to glorify God, for all generations, forever! Paul sums it up like this, “To God, who alone is wise, be the glory forever through Jesus Christ. Amen.” (Romans 16:27 NLT)
This is the end of the first section of Ephesians. It has been all theology, ending in a shout of Praise! Out of that comes section two – chapters 4-6 – our service to God. We will not serve God effectively, until we understand all that He has done for us in Christ. Our theology fuels our service to Him - “Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God". (Romans 15:17). We live for His glory! TO HIM BE THE GLORY in my life!
Praise the Lord praise the Lord Let the earth hear His voice
Praise the Lord praise the LordLet the people rejoice
O come to the Father through Jesus the Son
And give Him the glory great things He has done
(To God be the Glory - Fanny Jane Crosby & William Howard Doane)
Have a greatly blessed week!