Ephesians 1:15-23 The Revelation of His Mighty Power

Ephesians starts with a Hymn of Praise declaring the glorious grace of God in our salvation (1:3-14). It describes all that God did and is doing in grace to provide for our salvation. 

First in Eternity past the Father CHOSE US (His FOREKNOWLEDGE) and PREDESTINED us to glory (see Romans 8:29-30).Predestination includes: 
(2) THE HOLY-SPIRIT: MANIFESTING CHRIST IN US (Our Possession) -1:5,6;11,12.

Second, 2000 years ago the Son purchased our redemption and inheritance with His blood. All was put in Christ for our benefit. Then He CALLED us through the Gospel (the means of revelation of the mystery of His grace) and when we believe in Him we are baptised into Christ and it is all put to our account (JUSTIFICATION, which includes forgiveness):“we have redemption, we possess the inheritance.” 

Third, on the basis of the Blood the Holy-Spirit enters us to produce Christ in us. He begins by regenerating our spirit and SEALING it (marking it as a completed work). However this is just a down-payment, a foretaste of future glory. This is the beginning of SANCTIFICATION (complete in the spirit but not in the soul or body). Sanctification is completed in GLORIFICATION (yet future). Thus the Spirit’s work builds on (manifests) the Son’s work which builds upon the Father’s plan. 

Ephesians1-3 is all about God’s Grace and only then does he go on to Christian living in chapters 4-6. Our life (Christian walk) must be based on the foundation of Grace. It is about expressing and walking in what God has already done for us and in us by grace. Thus we must first have our heart seated (established) in grace in order to then walk and stand in grace (key words in Ephesians).  First, Paul teaches positional truth (GRACE -what God has done, is doing and will do because we are in Christ) then he applies it to our behaviour (how we should live in the light of this). Knowledge of Positional Truth is vital to all Christian living. This is why he prays we have a revelation of it in v17. If we don’t know it, we can’t walk in the reality of it.

Thus in the next Part (v15-23) he moves from PRAISE to PRAYER. Prayer is the key to power. God’s Purpose is revealed through the Word but through prayer we connect with and release God’s Power to acheive His Purpose. (We have a double ministry - to talk to men of God and talk to God about men). This is a Christian Prayer starting with a ‘THANK YOU’ then a ‘PLEASE’. 

It is based on the 3 dimensions of life: FAITH, HOPE and LOVE. He first thanks God for their FAITH (which reaches into the past and grasps the death and resurrection of Christ) and then for their LOVE (which reaches into the presentand grasps the fellowship of saints) but knows they are lacking in HOPE (which reaches into and anchors us to the future (our hope of heaven helps us especially in times of trouble). So he then prays especially for their HOPE (v17). Having given them God’s Will and Vision for their future, he prays they get a full revelation of it:

“Therefore (having described the past, present and future activity of God, the Father, Son and Holy-Spirit in providing the riches of grace (v4-14), Paul prays for believers to have a revelation of these truths which provide a full assurance and hope for their future in God) I also, after I heard of your FAITH in the Lord Jesus and your LOVE for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers ...that you might know the HOPE” (15,16,18). 

Their faith has all the hallmarks of being genuine so he is confident they are ‘called out ones’ who have responded to God’s calling in faith and so are in Christ and that his prayer would be effective for them. Now they are in Christ their greatest need is expressed in this prayer. We often pray for other needs but this prayer hits the mark of what would change and revive their lives, causing them to grow spiritually. This is a prayer to be prayed often for ourselves and others with thanksgiving: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory (the Source of all blessing, the One Who from eternity has been planning, providing and manifesting glory for men) may give to you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (v17). 

‘Revelation’ is no mere intellectual knowledge but a realisation as when the veil is pulled back and all is clear. You KNOW it for yourself rather than know about it. (Eph 1-3 outlines this revelation). It’s the difference between knowing all about steak and knowing steak when it gets inside you! The Christian life is hard when you don’t have a revelation of who we are and what we have in Him. This is the best prayer to pray for a struggling Christian. 

‘Wisdom’ is the practical application of revelation (developed in Ephesians 4-6). 

‘Spirit’ - We need and must pray for the Holy-Spirit to impart this to us (see Isaiah 11:1-2). 

‘The Knowledge of God’ - the riches of Grace are all in God, you can’t know these things without knowing God personally. Ultimately His prayer is that we get to know God better.

“the eyes of your understanding being enlightened” (v18). 
He prays for enlightened hearts, that they would have understanding from the inside: “I see”! With the veil removed and our mental eyes opened, God can flood our minds with the light of revelation. 

Paul prays for the Church that they would have revelation in the 3 areas of GRACE (corresponding to the 3 Sections of the Hymn of Praise (v4-14), the 3 Pillars of Grace to build our hope and assurance upon).
1. The Hope of His Calling: 
Our hope is anchored in Father’s Plan, into which He has called us.
2. Our Riches in Christ: 
Our Eternal Inheritance secured in the Blood-Covenant of the Son.
3. The Power of the Holy-Spirit available and working now to bring it all to pass.

Through this model Prayer, Paul is also showing us how to pray for ourselves.  
He is telling us to PRAY for a spirit of wisdom and revelation (v17,18) of the 3 primary things we need to know personally in order to be established in grace :

(1) Our assured CALL and DESTINY to be filled with every blessing of glory 
(based on God the Father’s Plan and Predestination into which we have been called). 
(2) The rich INHERITANCE in us of every blessing of glory 
(based on God’s Blood Covenant in Jesus Christ, the Son). 
(3) The mighty POWER at work in us able to manifest every blessing of glory and available to us now through faith (based on the indwelling Presence of the Holy-Spirit).

(1) “What is the hope of His CALLING.” (The Hope of Father’s Calling: this corresponds to 1:4-6a, a revelation of God’s Plan for your eternal future). God’s Will is the anchor for our hope (assurance) of Holiness and Heaven. This is a revelation of God’s plan and purpose for your life, that He has called you into. He chose and predestined you to be holy, to be the praise of His glory and possess every blessing as His son. This is His calling upon your life if you are a believer. You weren’t just saved (called out) of darkness but called into His Kingdom to be His son and heir. Our HOPE is a confident expectation (certain assurance) that what God has begun in us He will bring to completion. We must know our purpose and destiny as the first foundation for our life (our hope is based on the FATHER’S PREDESTINATION).

(2) “What are the riches of the glory of His INHERITANCE in the saints”  (Your Riches in the Son: this corresponds to 1:6b-11). This is a revelation of what we have IN CHRIST, on the basis of the Blood Covenant. We are joint heirs with Christ of every blessing. A cure for ‘envy of worldlings’ is knowing they will lose it soon and you will be rich beyond compare: ‘A tent or cottage what do I care? They are building a palace for me over there’. The inheritance is ours now - it is put to our account and even deposited in us (‘in the saints’). It is riches of glory (revealed in the ‘IN CHRIST’ scriptures), that is now in our spirits ready to be released. Most will only be manifested at the resurrection but all we need for this life is available to us now through the Holy-Spirit. We must know what is ours in order to enjoy it. We must know who we are and what we have in Christ, as the 2nd foundation for our life (our hope is based on the SON’S BLOOD). 

(3) “What is the exceeding (‘huperballo’ = beyond measure, to overshoot past the horizon) greatness of His POWER(‘dunamis’ = potential energy available to be used by ‘believing ones’) toward (in) us who believe” (v19). (The Power of the Spirit available now to bring it to pass: this corresponds to 1:12-14). This is a revelation of the Powerful Presence of the Holy-Spirit in us now, bringing forth CHRIST IN US. We must know the power available and working in us, as the third foundation for our life (our hope is based upon the SPIRIT’S STRENGTH). We must pray for a revelation of this power so that we can tap into it and live in it: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (6:10).

Paul uses extreme language to describe this power. He can give a description of its greatness, because it has been fully displayed at one time in the past: “according to the WORKING (energeia = power at work, displayed) of the POWER(kratos = dominion, ruling, overcoming power that overcomes all resistance and opposition) of His MIGHT (ischus = inherant strength) which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Himto be head over all things - to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him -Who fills all in all”’ (v20-23). 

This New-Creation power is greater than God’s power in Creation. 

It did three things for Christ Jesus and the same power is provided for us also!: 

(1) It IMPARTED LIFE, resurrecting Christ out of death (spiritual and physical). Christianity began among the dead. The cemetry is end of human hope and acheivement but the beginning of God’s New Creation, the start of the recreation of the universe. 

(2) It OVERCAME every power of satan’s kingdom and aspect of man’s fall. It was exercised in a Man, Christ Jesus, who bore our sin, sickness and curse, endured death, hell and the powers of satan, RAISING him “far above” all the powers that oppressed him. When God raised him from the dead, He released His power into Christ causing Him to dynamically overcome sin, satan, curse, death and hell. Now everyone has to look up at Jesus (whom they looked down on). 

3) It gave AUTHORITY to the Man Christ Jesus, bestowing dominion over all things, both now and forever, by SEATING HIM on the throne of the universe, so that ‘all things are under His feet’.  Now a Man is head over all!

We need to get a revelation that it is the SAME POWER that is IN US and available TO US (v19)! This is confirmed in 2:1 when it says:“and you (He made alive).”  This power raised up Jesus and us too! We will see in 2:1-10 that this power (glory) of the Holy Spirit has been fully manifested in the New Birth and Sealing of our spirits. This is just a foretaste of when it will be fully released in our souls and bodies. 

Meanwhile we can tap into this spiritual power for strength, healing and life: “If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Rom 8:11).

Further proof that this power and authority is also for us is given in the description of the Church in v22,23: “And He put all things under His FEET, and gave Him to be HEAD over all things -to the Church, which is His BODY, the fullness of Him (or better: ‘which is filled by Him’) Who fills all in all.”  Here we see His HEAD, BODY and FEET. God exalted the Head (Jesus) over all. Where are His Feet? They are also exalted above His enemies. When a battle was over, the victor stood on his enemies, or sat on his throne with his feet upon them. (Discovered: an ancient throne with a footstool of pictures of all the king’s enemies, so that they were under his feet). 

The Church is His Body, between the Head and Feet, so we are under His Headship but exalted over all His enemies. All is under His Feet which means all is under the Body (the Feet are part of the Body). His Body is exalted with Him over all, and filled by Him (filled with His blessings, glory and authority). In the New Creation He fills the Church first (His authority over the Church) and then all things. He is ‘Head to the Body over all things.’ This is saying that Christ rules with and through His Church. 

The same power that raised the Head from death, overcoming all evil, giving Him authority over all, also raised the Body from death, giving us victory and authority in His Name, for the Head and Body are one. 

The Body shares in the position and power given to the Head. Thus man is given authority over all ‘the Gates of Hell’ fulfilling God’s original dominion purpose for man 

Paul is telling us to get a bigger view of God and our lives, to see things from His point of view so we can then live to the praise of His glory. 

Compare a small view with the large view:
1. ‘God is part of my plans’ v ‘I am part of God’s plans’. 
2. ‘I have been saved to make me happy’ v ‘I have been saved to make Him happy’ 
3. ‘There is a room in heaven for me’ v ‘There will be a Christian universe for everybody’. 
4. ‘I chose Him’ v ‘He chose me’ 
5. ‘Christ helps me’ v ‘He fills all in all’
6. ‘I want to be comfortable and happy’ 
v ‘I want to be whatever God wants me to be’. 
7. ‘I wanted to be a Christian’ v ‘He wanted me to be His child’. 
8. ‘We have received gifts from God’ v ‘We are gifts to God’.



About Us



Bible Commentary





OBC Office

363 Banbury Road
Oxford - England - UK
Telephone: +44 (0)1865 515086
Fax: +44 (0) 8721 107068
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sunday Services

Sundays at 11am and 6pm
Cheney School Hall
Cheney Lane - Headington
Oxford - England - UK