And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,…
The exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe. This is the third thing the apostle wished them to know "for their furtherance and joy of faith."
I. THE SPHERE OF THIS WORKING. "TO usward who believe." Power will always excite our admiration, but it will not inspire comfort unless it is exerted on our behalf. The devils know the power of God, but its exercise inspires them with no comfort. This power is manifested in the various parts of Christian life, both in grace and in glory, from conversion to glorification. It provides all things that pertain to life and godliness. It is God's saving power.
1. At the beginning of Christian life - in our conversion. God "hath delivered us from the kingdom of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Colossians 1:13). The apostle speaks of this power in relation to his own conversion and apostleship: "Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effectual working of his power" (Ephesians 3:7). The gospel is the instrument of Divine power. It is "the power of God unto salvation" (Romans 1:16); for "our gospel came unto you, not in word only, but in power" (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
2. In its progress - in our sanctification. The thought of preserving grace is, perhaps, uppermost in the passage. Relievers are "kept by the power of God unto salvation" (1 Peter 1:5). Therefore the apostle prays that God would "fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness and the work of faith with power" (2 Thessalonians 1:11). God "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). The apostle prays for himself that 'he may know "the power of his resurrection' (Philippians 3:10). There is power everywhere at work in our salvation; for it is thus that" the whole body increaseth with the increase of God by the effectual working- in the measure of every part" (Ephesians 4:16).
3. At our final glorification. "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like to his own glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself" (Philippians 3:21).
II. THE NATURE OF THIS POWER. "The exceeding greatness of his power." It was power that could overcome all obstacles. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31); "My Father is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hands" (John 10:29). We argue from his power to his forgiveness, and, therefore, in the Lord's Prayer, after we have asked for the forgiveness of our sins, we plead for it on the ground, "Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory." Let us not hesitate to accept the fullness of Biblical teaching through any fear of trenching on the free-will of man. Man's freedom works freely within the sphere of God's power. But the apostle does not content himself with merely piling up a succession of phrases expressive of the wonderful effects of this power. He places it side by side with the power manifested in the resurrection and glorification of the Redeemer. - T.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,