We need power from God for us to continue toward eternal salvation. We need power that belongs to God that helps us in times of need and difficulties. We need it to walk in the light, to return to God in case we drift away, and to accomplish the will of God. Therefore, we have to understand how we can have God’s power in our lives.
Ephesians chapter 3 verses 16 and 17 give us an answer to this question. Paul prays that the Ephesians may receive the power of God that strengthens them, and that God may give it to them according to the riches of His glory through His Spirit. He continues to say that it is for Christ to dwell in their hearts through faith. This tells us that the power depends on the riches of God’s glory and that it is related to living by faith that reveals Christ through love. How are these elements related to each other, and how do they work together to give us the power we need?
First of all, this passage tells us that it is the hope of the riches of the glory of God that gives us power. “According to the riches of His glory” is the key phrase for this idea. The Greek word for “according to” can mean ‘in proportion to,’ ‘in accordance with,’ ‘because of,’ and ‘on the basis of.’ The glory of God is the glory and honor God will receive as a soul has finished the journey of faith successfully. In this phrase, it is not only “the glory” that is emphasized but also “the riches.” The glory is tremendous, and there would be no other glory more glorious than that which a believer may give to God. That incomparably immense glory is the hope of the believer. That is the believer’s hope not only because his salvation is finally fixed eternally, but also because he has glorified God tremendously, who wished and helped him to be saved. As it is conceived in the believer, this hope grants the believer the power to overcome the temptations and carry out the will of God, doing righteousness according to the word of God.
Second, for the hope to give us power, we have to live the life of Christ through faith (v. 17). This means we have to “practice righteousness” by faith (cf. 1 John 3:7). Christ’s dwelling in our hearts means righteousness. Galatians 2:20 teaches this concept thoroughly: “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” This life of Christ, which the believer’s life reveals, is the righteousness in 1 John 3:7. How is this connected with the power that comes from hope? A cylinder of a gasoline engine is a good illustration of this concept. Unrighteousness, to “keep on sinning” (1 John 3:6), is like a crack on the block of the cylinder. The gas from the combustion, which is supposed to push the piston, goes out through the crack, and it does little to no work to the piston. Such an engine should be thrown away unless it is fixed. If one does not live Christ’s life, he will receive little to no power from God because the hope of the glory of God is not tightly secured in him.
Finally, how can we then live Christ’s life so that we can have the power of God in our lives? “Through faith” (Eph. 3:17)! It is not by our willpower. If it is by any of our power, it should be by the power of faith. Only by faith can we always choose the righteousness of God, which is what Christ would do in our situations. Even if some Christians are stronger in willpower than others, they are not always strong enough to always choose the right thing. Even if one is timid and weak in flesh and mind, he chooses God’s will even in very temptational situations if he is strong in faith. Likewise, the power to practice righteousness does not come from the believer’s will but from his faith. Therefore, as we keep on walking in light by faith, we do not lose hope, and hope strengthens us by the power of God. In this way, hope saves us (Rom. 8:24).
We have been through an unprecedented time and now are facing many new challenges. We need the power of God to make the most of this time according to God’s will and to reveal Christ so that we may shine in the community. So, let’s tighten our faith and secure our hope again in the riches of the glory of God so that we may be strengthened by the power from God, who called us to the hope. Then, Christ will dwell in our hearts, and we will reveal Him in our lives, who is the light.