That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
In the very title of such a subject it is already proclaimed to be inexhaustible. Other topics may be compassed and disposed of in a certain way, but who shall grasp and estimate this? It is a sea of glory, and we have no line to fathom it. It is a mountain of gold, and we have no arithmetic to compute its value. It is a domain of beauty, and we have no adequate language in which to speak of it. It is a field of truth, and the end of all our searching is to discover that it is unsearchable. Happy are they who receive a few crumbs from this rich table, or a few glimpses of this glory! The riches of His glory. The glory of God is the forthshining of His being, the necessary splendour of His revelation of Himself. The glory of an object is that bright medium in which it stands revealed. The glory of the sun is the effulgence of light which it pours forth from its golden urn, revealing itself and all the worlds around. Painters seek to represent the glory of a saint by drawing a circle of light around the head. The glory of a king is seen when he sits upon his throne, crowned and sceptred, surrounded by his nobles, and canopied with banners, that speak of his victories. God is revealed in nature, and therefore the heavens declare the glory of God. God is revealed in providence, and therefore He is said to lead His people with His glorious arm. God is revealed in redemption, and therefore Jesus Christ is the brightness of His Father's glory, and the express image of His person. The riches of His glory. How rich the expression! Language labours to utter all that is implied here. God is not only glorious, He is rich in glory. Notwithstanding all that He has revealed of Himself in the past, there still remain in Him for evermore depths of splendour unrevealed. All that we know of God, as compares with that which lies hid, is but as the first yellow streak of dawn which breaks the darkness of night to the full brightness of noonday. We may speak of the riches of God under three aspects — first, the riches of His power; second, the riches of His wisdom: and, third, the riches of His goodness; and, as it is the blended and harmonious attributes of God that make up His highest glory, the view of His riches under these three aspects may enable us to see something of the riches of His glory.
I. THE RICHES OF HIS POWER.
1. This is seen in the power to create. If a man could create in the highest sense of the word, how rich he would soon become! For his own wants he would have an immediate supply. When he was hungry he would create bread. When he wanted money he could turn everything he touched into gold. It is in the ability to produce that the source of wealth is found. The rich gift lies in the possession of the faculty to invent or make. Now, God has the power to create. He alone has that mysterious energy which called everything we see out of nothing. From all eternity God was sufficient for Himself, full of life and joy, and under no obligation, either from without or from within, to create a single world. His great and inconceivable act of creation, then, was a demonstration of His perfect freedom and His boundless power. It was the overflowing of the riches of His power.
2. But the riches of God are seen in the preservation of all things in existence as well as in their creation. The sublime act of creation did not exhaust or weary God. From day to day, from year to year, and from century to century, the whole universe is upheld in its primeval freshness and power.
3. The riches of the Divine power are seen not only in creation and preservation, but in recreation. We are taught in Scripture that a wondrous transformation must pass over the present world — that forms of being now around us will be dissolved in a deluge of fire, and that from this second deluge will emerge a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. We are also taught that the bodies of men will be raised from the dust of the ground in a new and higher form. What marvellous exhibitions, then, has the future still in store of the riches of the power of God!
II. THE RICHES OF HIS WISDOM. Wisdom is commonly said to lie in the use of the best means in order to the best ends; and many things might be said as to the adaptation of means to ends in nature. We can scarcely look at any work of God with an intelligent eye, but we begin to discover uses and harmonies and proofs of design in it. From what we already know in this direction we may conclude that the whole of nature is one vast and intricate design manifesting the wisdom and goodness of God; and we are expressly told that all things are working together for good. How manifest the traces of His wisdom in the way in which the earth has been fitted to develop and support man, and in the manifold provision made for man's education and comfort. But what we have to notice more particularly here is, not merely the wisdom of God, but the riches of His wisdom; and these are seen, not only in the original adaptation of means to ends, but in the way by which God can bring good out of evil. The machinist would be wise who could invent and construct a machine which, by the simplest movements, could produce mighty results; but he would be rich in wisdom, who, out of that same machine, when marred and broken, could produce still mightier results. A general is wise who can conduct a great campaign to a successful issue; but he is rich in wisdom who has always in his mind a plan beyond the last stratagem of the enemy, and can therefore turn the tide of battle when all seems to be lost, and pluck from the heart of widespread disaster a glorious victory. It is from this point of view that the riches of the Divine wisdom are seen — not merely in producing good, but in bringing good out of evil; not merely in producing beauty, but in bringing beauty out of deformity; not merely in producing harmony, but in bringing harmony out of discord; not merely in producing life, but in bringing life out of death. If the power of God is seen in the creation and preservation of all things, His wisdom is seen in making all things work together for good; and what a wealth of wisdom is implied in bringing out of the most contradictory and deleterious elements a vast, harmonious, and unspeakably valuable result! In a machine, a great variety of movements and powers contribute to one result. Wheels of different sizes revolve in different directions. There are perpendicular movements and horizontal movements; zig-zag movements and elliptical movements; — a swift and bewildering involution and evolution of forces, and a warring multitude of sounds — hissing and hammering, grinding and thumping; and yet there is the utmost harmony, and the most delicate and precise balance of action throughout the whole.
III. THE RICHES OF HIS GOODNESS. We use the term goodness as a general expression to embrace the mercy, the compassion, the benignity, and the love of God. All the attributes of God culminate in love. God is first and last a God of love. The whole universe and the plan of redemption is summed up in love. It is the want of love, it is the selfishness and hatred, that is the curse and woe of the world. God comes to fill up the sorrowful void with His own rich heart. Think of the love of God in creation. He needed not to create anything in order to consummate His own happiness; but, if we may so speak, the joy and love of God's being were so great that He could not keep them to Himself. He was rich in love; and His goodness overflowed. He created other beings that He might lavish upon them the grandeurs of His mind and the felicities of His heart. He created them, too, although He foresaw their fall, rebellion, and ingratitude. He created them, because He saw beyond the dark sin of man, and knew that His love could snatch from sorrow and the grave a new creation still. It is to the riches of the love of God, therefore, that we owe our very existence. Think of God's love in providence. God would have been rich in love had He done nothing more than created man, and after that, when man had sinned, displayed the glory of His justice in crushing him forever. But God has not only created us; He has also preserved us, even in the midst of our deep depravity and alienation. But preeminently in the work of redemption do we see the riches of His goodness. There we behold God not only working and waiting, but making a great sacrifice for the salvation of man. How little do we know of the greatness of that gift, and of the depth of that sacrifice! How little do we know of that mystery of sorrow that seems to enter into the very Godhead, and all to save such a creature as man! Rich as is the power of God, man could not be saved by mere power. Rich as is the patience of God, man could not be saved by the mere lapse of time. God might have given away everything He had made; He might have emptied the exchequer of heaven; but the price would not have purchased the redemption of a single soul. He might have waited and pleaded with man for ages, explaining to man his sin and ingratitude; and yet man might not have relented. Something more had to be given, something more had to be done, and God gave that — God did that. He delivered up His only begotten Son, the Son of His love, that eternal One in comparison with whom the universe itself is worthless. Measure, then, God's love to man by His regard for His own Son! By all that is beautiful and holy, by all that is deep and rapturous in the relation of Father and Son, measure the sacrifice involved in the death of Christi
1. God alone is rich. He alone is absolutely self-sufficient. He alone is the true possessor of everything. He alone can create. He alone can hold forever that which He now possesses. He alone has enough and to spare.
2. Every man in himself is poor. Sin reduces the soul to utter destitution, and all have sinned. It matters not that many say, "We are rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing"; not knowing that they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Let a man labour ever so hard, let him pile his earthly treasures ever so high, he can never with his own puny hand fill the dark and sad abyss within himself.
3. He who was rich became poor for us (2 Corinthians 8:9).
4. It is a blessed thing to know that we are poor (Matthew 5:3). The discovery of our own poverty implies some apprehension of the wealth of God, and hence its blessedness. We have, then, an ear for the word which says, "I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich." So great is the capacity of the soul, that if a man had the whole universe he would still be poor, being destitute of God. But with God he has all, and abounds; for the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof.
5. Beware of despising the riches of God (Romans 2:5).
(F. Ferguson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;