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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles

Chapter 11 - Ephesians 3:20 - God's Boundless Power to Bless Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles by Bonar, Horatius




God's Boundless Power To Bless.


"Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."-Ephesians 3:20.



     In the fourteenth verse we see Paul upon his knees. His closet door is open, and we overhear his 'strong crying and tears.' He kneels before the living God; and this God is (1) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and (2) the Head of the one family, earthly and heavenly.[3] The measure of his desires and requests is, 'the riches of His glory.' The petitions themselves are, (1) 'to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man;' (2) 'that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith;' (3) that we maybe 'rooted and grounded in love;' (4) that we may be able to comprehend the immeasurable and unknowable love of Christ; (5) that we may be 'filled with all the fullness of God.'

     What petitions are these! Each in itself a heaven. He that has the answer to even one of these has blessing inconceivable. We need not be at a loss for petitions, so long as we have these. We need not weary of prayer, so long as we have such a prayer as this. Think of all these requests going up to the throne, borne upon the sweet incense of the golden altar, or of the golden censer of the High Priest. Let our souls be steeped in such desires; and as we utter them, may we not only get the answers to each, but be so pervaded with their spirit, that we shall be transformed into the likeness of that for which we pray!

     And now we come to the doxology at the close; so full and large, so glorious and divine; which, like a thousand Amens, expresses our assurance of being heard in all these vast petitions, seeing that He of whom we ask them is so infinitely great and loving, transcending all human thought and desire and conception. We take the words just as they stand. This will best bring out the fullness of the heavenly utterance.

     1. To Him who is able.-He is the Mighty One, the Mighty God, the Lord God Almighty. Hear how this word 'able' is used. 'He is able to subdue all things unto Himself' (Philippians 3:21). 'He is able to succor them that are tempted' (Hebrew 2:18). 'He is able to save to the uttermost' (Hebrew 7:25). 'He is able to keep us from falling' (Jude 24). It is with the mighty God that we have to do; mightier than ourselves or our foes; mightier than earth or hell; omnipotent.

     2. Able to do.-To effect or work out or accomplish things for us. His power to do is (1) creating energy, (2) preserving energy, (3) strengthening energy, (4) quickening energy, (5) comforting energy, (6) sustaining energy, (7) conquering energy. His arm is full of power. He 'doeth wonders.' He worketh in us, and for us, and by us; and that resistlessly. Who or what can resist His power to do? Who is stronger than He?

     3. Able to do what we ask.-Is not this much, even though it went no farther? Our God is able to grant our requests. It was no vain promise that He made to us. 'Ask, and ye shall receive.' He is able to fulfill that promise. What we ask is in His power to give. We cannot ask too much for omnipotence like His.

     4. Able to do what we think.-Thinking is more than asking here. We may think of many things which we dare not ask for. But here is a word that takes in not merely the 'groanings which cannot be uttered,' but the thoughts which have never clothed themselves in words of desire. What you think, He is able to do. Is not this a wide range for us in our approaches to God? Yes; our God is able to do for us what we think, even when we do not ask, even when we feel as if we dare not ask. Power beyond our petitioning, nay, power beyond our thoughts, is His. What encouragement is this! And who is there upon earth, whatever be his sin or helplessness, that is beyond the reach of power like this?

     5. Able to do above what we ask or think.-Not merely up to the measure of our asking and thinking, but above it and beyond it. Our asking and thinking may be large and high; but this power to do is larger and higher. Oh foolish hearts of ours! We limit the Holy One of Israel; we limit both His power and His love; we limit His promises, and His faithfulness to these promises. Let us believe in His omnipotence; let us 'take hold of His strength,' trusting it always in its divine sufficiency. It is enough for us. It is on this we continually lean, and it is this that we grasp in our closets, when on our knees before the Mighty One of Jacob, the Holy One of Israel.

     6. Able to do above all that we ask or think.-It is not one great petition that is referred to, but many; nay, all. All that we ask or think! What a range or sweep of blessing! What a compass of fullness is here! Each word of the apostle here widens and widens the circle; raises and magnifies it.

     7. Able to do abundantly above all.-Thus the apostle rises and rises in his great idea here. He would set forth the power of God in His ability and willingness to bless. We may ask much and think much; perhaps feeling that we asked too much and thought too high; that we ought to have been more moderate and modest in our requests; and that if we get the tenth part of what we ask, we shall do well. Not so. He is able to do 'abundantly above all we ask or think.' Is not this good cheer? Is not this a word in season to the troubled, doubting soul?

     8. Able to do exceeding abundantly above all.-He rises still. Words seem to fail him. He heaps word upon word, to tell the omnipotence of the prayer-hearing God. 'Exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think!' What an expression for vastness and majesty! Could human language go higher than this? Does it seem extravagant? Ah! it is in reality too low and narrow to declare the fullness, the largeness, the excellency of the power of God toward us. There is no exaggeration here; no hyperbole. All is true; for it is with almightiness that we are transacting,-the almightiness of infinite love.

     And this is the God with whom we have to do! A God of infinite power; and that power at our disposal, at our command; that power all on the sinner's side; ready to come forth at the sinner's faintest cry! The feeblest sigh of the helpless soul, conscious of nothing but sin and weakness and unbelief, avails to draw out and draw down all this glorious omnipotence! It is for sinners. It is the weak and the worthless that are invited to partake of it. It is power that they need; and this power is at hand. Their cry may be very feeble, but it touches the hidden spring of power. That power comes forth in all its fullness, in answer to the weakest sinner's weakest sigh.