That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
Let us consider that great thought of the Divine strength-giving power which may be bestowed upon every Christian soul.
I. First, then, I remark that God means, and wishes, THAT ALL CHRISTIANS SHOULD BE STRONG BY THE POSSESSION OF THE SPIRIT OF MIGHT. I do not know what Christianity means, unless it means that you and I are forgiven for a purpose; that the purpose, if I may so say, is something in advance of the means towards the purpose, the purpose being that we should be filled with all the strength and righteousness and supernatural life granted to us by the Spirit of God. It is all well that we should enter into the vestibule; there is no other path unto the Throne but through the vestibule; but do not let us forget that the good news of forgiveness, though we need it day by day, and perpetually repeated, is but the introduction to, and porch of the Temple, and that beyond it there towers, if I cannot say a loftier, yet I may say a further gift, even the gift of a Divine life like His, from whom it comes, and of which it is in reality an effluence and a spark. The true characteristic gift of the gospel is the gift of a new power to a sinful weak world; a power which makes the feeble strong, and the strongest as an angel of God. I would maintain, in opposition to many modern conceptions, the actual supernatural character of the gift that is bestowed upon every Christian soul. My reading of the New Testament is that as distinctly above the order of material nature as is any miracle is the gift that flows into a believing heart. There is a direct passage between God and my spirit. It lies open to His touch; all the paths of its deep things can be trodden by Him. You and I act upon one another from without, He acts upon us within. We wish one another blessings; He gives the blessings.
II. Now notice, next, THAT THIS DIVINE STRENGTH HAS ITS SEAT IN, AND IS INTENDED TO INFLUENCE THE WHOLE OF THE INNER LIFE. As my text puts it, "Strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man." That, I suppose, does not mean the new creation through faith in Jesus Christ; what the apostle calls "the new man," but it means simply what another apostle calls the "hidden man of the heart," and only refers to the distinction which we all draw between the outward, visible, material frame, and the unseen self that animates and informs it. It is this inner self, then, in which the Spirit of God is to dwell, and into which He is to breathe strength. The leaven is hid deep in three measures of meal until the whole be leavened. And the point to mark is that the whole inward region which makes up the true man is the field upon which this Divine Spirit is to work. It is not a bit of your inward life that is to be hallowed. It is not any one aspect of it that is to be strengthened, but it is the whole intellect, affections, desires, tastes, powers of attention, combination, memory, will. The whole inner man in all its corners is to be filled, and to come under the influence of this power, "until there be no part dark, as when the bright shining of a candle giveth thee light." So for this Divine Indweller there is no part of my life that is not patent to His tread. There are no rooms of the house of my spirit into which He is not to go. Let Him come with the master key in His hand into all the dim chambers of your feeble nature; and as life is light in the eye, and colour in the cheek, and deftness in the fingers, and strength in the arm, and pulsation in the heart, so He will come and strengthen your understandings, and make you able for loftier tasks of intellect and of reason, than you can face in your unaided strength; and He will dwell in your affections and make them vigorous to lay hold upon the holier things that are above their natural inclination, and will make it certain that "their reach shall not be beyond their grasp," as alas! it so often is in the sadness and disappointments of human loves. And He will come into that feeble, vacillating, wayward will of yours, that is only obstinate in its adherence to the low and the evil, as some foul creature, that one may try to wrench away, digs its claws into corruption and holds on by that, He will lift your will and make it fix upon the good and abominate the evil, and through the whole being He will pour a great tide of strength which shall cover all the weakness. He will be like some subtle elixir which, taken into the lips, steals through a pallid and wasted frame, and brings back a glow to the cheek and a lustre to the eye and a swiftness to the brain, and power to the whole nature. Or as some plant, drooping and flagging beneath the hot rays of the sun, when it has the scent of water given to it, will, in all its parts, stiffen and erect itself, so this Divine Spirit will go searching every corner of the inner man illuminating and invigorating all.
III. And now, lastly, let me point you still further TO THE MEASURE OF THIS POWER. It is limitless with the boundlessness of God Himself. "That He would grant you," is the daring petition of the apostle, "according to the riches of His glory to be strengthened." There is the measure. There is no limit except the uncounted wealth of His own self-manifestation, the flashing light of a revealed Divinity. Whatsoever there is of splendour in that, whatsoever there is of power there, in these and in nothing this side of them, lies the limit of the possibilities of a Christian life. Of course there is a working limit at each moment, and that is our capacity to receive, but that capacity varies, may vary indefinitely, may become greater and greater beyond our count or measurement. Our hearts may be made more and more capable of God; and in the measure in which they are capable of Him they shall be filled by Him.
(A. Maclaren, 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;