In Eph. 1:19, we find the first of three times when Paul wrote “exceeding” in the book of Ephesians. He writes, “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.”
Paul chose His resurrection (1:20) as an example of God’s demonstration of His exceeding power to us-ward who believe because there is so much personal application. The power demonstrated in the Lord’s resurrection is the assurance that God’s justice for our sins had been fully met (Col. 1:20). It is the assurance of the all-sufficiency of His sacrifice on the cross being made sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21). It is the assurance of our eternal life with Him. Paul said in I Cor 15:17, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”
When Christ was raised from the dead, He took with Him the keys of death itself, death being swallowed up in the victory of His resurrection and we may live in the here and now that resurrection life, no longer under the law of sin and death, but now under the law of the Spirit of life, living the newness of life in Christ already victorious over death before we die being always victorious in Christ no matter the circumstances through our identification with Him.
C.R. Stam was fond of saying, “His death was the payment, and the resurrection was the receipt.”
It’s not just His resurrection that gives us life but it’s also, in the moment we believe, our identification with His death, burial, and resurrection that empowers us to live that resurrection life in the here and now. (Rom 6:4) “we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
We find in Eph. 2:5-6, “Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ,” He’s made us dead to sin and alive unto God through salvation by grace through faith; and He has already positionally raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Sin and death no longer have any dominion over us.
Paul explained to the Corinthians how there are different types of flesh, different types of bodies, celestial and terrestrial that differ in glory, like the way the stars differ in glory one from another and then he says, (I Cor 15:42-43) “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power…” Paul said in Php. 3:21 that God “shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself”
The resurrection of Christ is God’s power specifically demonstrated to us-ward who believe as an assurance of our faith, of our transformation into new creatures done by the same power that raised Christ from the dead, it’s the assurance of our own resurrection after death, and the assurance of our eternal life with God.
Then, in Eph. 2:7, we read about the exceeding riches of his grace. “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”
Ever thought about that? What does it mean that He’s going to show the exceeding riches of his grace in the ages to come? In the coming ages and for all eternity, God is going to make known His glory, which is the exceeding riches of His grace, through and in His masterwork, which is us.
We know that we already have a seated position in the heavenlies, made to sit together in heavenly places (Eph 2:6). He’s already made us to sit together in Heavenly places, the perfection of His work NOW makes it already possible for us to be seated LATER in the Heavenlies.
Ever wonder why we’re seated? Think of Christ seated at the right hand of the Father or think of the Bema Seat. They’re positions of amazing authority. We’ll be in positions of administrative authority in Heavenly places. Paul tells us in 1 Cor 6:2-3 that we’ll be judging the world and angels, the meaning of which we cannot know today in the flesh, except, I personally think this will be our role not only during the eternal state but also during the Lord’s thousand-year reign.
Also, Paul tells us we’ll be joint-heirs with Christ, which means we’ll be inheriting everything with Him in glory. All that we are and all that we’ve been given will be used to glorify His Son and the exceeding riches of His grace before all things for all eternity.
Arno Gaebelien once wrote, “From eternity to eternity He displays the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. How one is overwhelmed in the presence of such a statement! And how little after all we can understand all those coming riches in glory. What a destiny! The heart may well cry–nothing but glory! What is the little suffering, the little while down here, in comparison with such never ending glory! Fittingly this great revelation ends with the blessed statement that we are saved by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God; and that we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Yet, also, the exceeding riches of His grace is tied to the exceeding greatness of His power, because He cannot bestow upon us the exceeding riches of His grace if He didn’t have the exceeding power to carry it out. This is reiterated in Eph 3:7 when Paul wrote, “Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.” The gift of grace is intricately linked to the exceeding effectual working of His mighty power. He cannot bestow upon us the exceeding riches of His grace if He didn’t have the exceeding power to carry it out.
Finally, in 3:20, we read the third “exceeding”, “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.”
What is that exactly? What can God DO now to us that is exceeding abundantly above all we may ask or think? I think that is intricately linked to the next phrase in the verse, “the power that worketh in us.”
Well, what is that power doing in us? Everything Paul lists in the 4 previous verses: strengthened with might by His Spirit exceeding abundantly, Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith exceeding abundantly, rooted and grounded in love exceeding abundantly, comprehending the love of Christ exceeding abundantly, and to what end? That ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. That we might be under the full influence of the Father in Heaven. This is possible. We CAN be filled with all the fullness of God, which has to be the full measure of God’s grace life – filled with the fullness of Him inside of us. We can know Him so deeply we’re filled with His Son and we’ve live in the image of His Son.
We can be strengthened with all might, rooted and grounded in love. We can comprehend the incomprehensible, which is the love of Christ. We can be so full as to be filled in abundance with the fruits of the Spirit. We can endure all suffering with joy. We can be filled with all the fullness of God, and we can say, as Paul famously said in Php. 4:13, that we can “do all things through Christ which strengeneth me.”
It’s God’s desire that we should be filled with all the fullness of Him to a degree that’s exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the exceeding riches of His grace carried out by the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward in perfect harmony with the counsel of His own will.