Growth in Spiritual Knowledge
Ephesians 1:17-19
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory…

I. THE MEANS WHEREBY THIS KNOWLEDGE IS ATTAINED. "The spirit of wisdom and revelation." Here are two things — the spirit of wisdom and the spirit of revelation. This "spirit of revelation" I understand to mean "inspiration." The prayer for its bestowment upon the Ephesian Church was in effect a prayer for the multiplication of its prophets, the then accredited guides and instructors of the Church, in the absence of the apostle, in all that related to spiritual matters. The spirit of revelation, however, is not a need of the Church now since it has the "revelation of the spirit," for where the revelation of the spirit is, there can be no need for the "spirit of revelation." But the spirit of wisdom is still a need of the Church, and will ever form one of its first necessities.

1. To secure an attitude of firm, unflinching faith in this revelation. Just as the force by which the earth is hurled along in its ceaseless course through space has never succeeded in overcoming the force by which it is kept in its orbit, so the spirit of wisdom in the Church will ever prevent the centrifugal force of free thought and free criticism from overcoming the centripetal force of faith in the Divine revelation, humanity's moral sun, the source of its spiritual life and glory.

2. It is not alone in relation to the attitude we are to assume towards God's Word, in view of the modern spirit of unsparing, not to say reckless, criticism, that the spirit of wisdom is needed. It is needed also as the power by which alone we shall be able to unlock the spiritual secrets of that Word, to explore its hidden treasures, to take in fully and sympathetically its deepest teachings.

II. WE COME NOW TO CONSIDER THE SECOND DIVISION OF THE SUBJECT OF THE TEXT, NAMELY, THE OBJECT TO WHOM THIS SPIRITUAL ENLIGHTENMENT RELATES — "GOD." It is "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him," "Him" as described in the preceding part of the verse. The full purport of this expression in reference to the Ephesians will be better understood if we remember that they had until very recently been heathens. It is thus reasonable to suppose that their conceptions of God were very defective. They had not as yet succeeded in entirely divesting their minds of the low, degrading notions of God with which their heathen training had impressed them. They had still much to learn concerning His nature and character. They had constant need of instruction whereby their notions of Him might be purified and elevated. Hence the prayer that they might have the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Further, the apostle indicates the particular aspect of the Divine character upon which they were to seek further enlightenment — "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Father of glory." It is a description of God that covers the whole ground of His redemptive relation to men. And it is God in this inexpressibly glorious aspect of His character that the text represents as the great object of Christian knowledge. It is that the Ephesian believers might have a more abundant entrance into the transcendent glories and the ineffable joy of this truth, that the apostle prays that they might have the spirit of wisdom and revelation.

III. WE NOW COME TO THE CONSIDERATION OF THE THIRD TRUTH INDICATED BY THE TEXT, NAMELY, THE FURTHER EXPERIENCES OF SPIRITUAL THINGS TO WHICH THIS KNOWLEDGE OF GOD CONDUCES. The apostle specifies in the text and the next verse three things, to the right and full apprehension of which we come "through the knowledge of Him." These are — "the hope of His calling," "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints," and "the exceeding greatness of His power to usward" and Christward. The first includes God's purpose in relation to men — to call them into glory. The second refers to the glory that shall accrue to Himself through men thus glorified. The third refers to the transcendent character of the means adopted to secure these glorious ends. Here are three matters of knowledge arrived at by the enlightenment of the understanding through the knowledge of Him. They are matters of transcendent glory, and sweep the whole horizon of our salvation. Yes, we are to come into the full meaning of these superlative truths through our knowledge of God, as the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory. The Divine Being, thus apprehended, is the higher plane from which alone the full glory of our salvation can be viewed and comprehended. It forms our coign of vantage for the attainment of an adequate conception of at least three things respecting this salvation.

1. The grandeur of its aim both as regards the individual and the race.

2. It is as viewed from this higher plane of spiritual knowledge that the infinite reasonableness of this munificent gift of grace and love will reveal itself to the mind.

3. Again, we notice that the knowledge of God is our vantage ground for understanding the infallible certainty of the accomplishment of these great ends. From this standpoint we enter into the full apprehension of the exceeding greatness of His power. Whatever fear or doubt may perplex the mind regarding the realization of the redemptive scheme, on the score of the grandeur of its aim and comprehensiveness of its scope, and the vastness of the difficulties in its way, will vanish in the light of this apprehension of the exceeding greatness of His power. This power covers every difficulty, is, in fact, illimitable and absolute in relation to the Divine purposes. He whose eyes have been enlightened knows this, and in this knowledge rests in unshaken tranquility.

(A. J. Parry.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

WEB: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him;

God's Inheritance in His Saints
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