Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
We have noticed a trend developing in our home. When our grandkids get told no by mom or dad they will come and ask grandpa for what they want. Somehow, my lack of willingness to say no has given them the idea that I have an unlimited supply of money and willingness to satisfy their desires. They are correct that I would spend anything I had to make them happy (it is a perk of grandparenting) but they are wrong about the unlimited supply!
However, no one has ever come to me and asked me to refinance their home mortgage or invest in their new building project. Why? Because people know I don’t have those kinds of resources.
People seek help from those they believe can actually help them.
That is why verse 20 is such an amazing verse. It speaks of a God who is able – able to heal, to provide, to strengthen, but most of all to save, to make new, and to make sinners such as we are righteous before him. He is able. But his ability goes beyond what we can imagine. Look at what this verse says.
- He is able to do all we could ever ask.
Perhaps there would be something God would refuse to do for you, because he knows what is best and because your request is not according to his will. But he is able to do anything you would ever ask. You cannot ask anything of God that he cannot do.
- He is able to do all we could ever think (imagine) to ask.
How good is your imagination? God’s power is greater than that. Again, he’s not a genie in a bottle and doesn’t just grant our wishes, but he is able to do anything you could ever imagine asking him to do.
- He is able to do MORE than we could ask or think.
When you have exhaustion your imagination, God’s sovereign power has not even been drained a mite. He is able to do, as one translation says, “exceeding abundantly above” all we could ask or imagine.
Why? Because he works on the basis of his power. His, not ours.
I remember sitting in a meeting a couple of decades ago when I realized what was wrong with the church I pastored then and many churches in America. We were discussing OUR resources and OUR abilities and trying to figure out what we could do for God. But in the Bible the “bank” is not our resources and abilities but the mighty power of God. We’d stopped seeking a God who is able and started relying on our own ability.
This section (the entire first 3 chapters) ends with this doxology, much as Romans 11’s beautiful doxology ends the discussion of the great salvation God gives. Here, we are instructed, in light of his amazing grace, to rely on his power and to give glory to him in the church and in Christ = forever. When we examine the grace of God and all he has done, there is nothing we can do other than to give glory to him now and for all eternity.