This week, in our City on a Hill series, we are discussing the righteousness required by God for relationship with Him and how Christ has provided this to us in spades. The righteousness of Christ supersedes that of the Pharisees and is the ground of our acceptance before God. Seeing and savoring this gift from God is one of the key paths toward transformation within our hearts, an idea that comes up in Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus:
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19
In praying for the church in Ephesus, Paul leads the believer to see the context of growth in daily Christian life: According to the riches of God’s glory (from the outflow of who He is), may He grant you to be strengthened (to be made sure, firm and stable) in your inner man (the seat of your desires, beliefs and thoughts) so that Christ may dwell in your heart through faith.
As you learn that God chose you to be His child, blessed you by placing you in the beloved, redeemed you and sealed you with the Holy Spirit, while fully and finally taking care of the penalty for sin of which you are guilty, the love of Christ dwells (settles, make’s its home) in your heart. Christ in you – the hope of glory.
In this, you are rooted and grounded – and in dwelling upon these truths, you are beholding the nature of who God is and what He says about you in Christ. You are fixing these things in front of your inner man and treasuring what is truly lovely, pure and worthy of praise. You are rooted in love toward God because of the love of God toward you. You are grounded because the Holy Spirit has worked in your heart to cause you to see and believe upon God in His grace toward you.
Through this rooted faith, you begin to see how incomparable the love of God in Christ is. Paul prays believing we might truly see the beauty of Christ and to not only behold, but to know it in its fullness; to behold the love of God so closely that it transforms and fills our lives. It places us in the right pursuit of the fullness of joy.
What is your inner man rooted and grounded in? Is it in love toward God or yourself?
Are you rooted in things that keep you from having faith in the love of God toward you in Christ (fear, doubt, anger, self-love, loathing, envy, pride, entitlement)?
Where do you need help believing the love of God is real for you?
We need the help of the Trinity to see the beauty of God for us in Christ Jesus. Paul affirms that it is the gift of God to strengthen us through His Spirit in us that Christ might dwell in our hearts – and this is the work of faith. Our hearts are often weak and doubtful, and in hope we read:
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21