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Before the second prayer commences, Paul expresses a desire: "Wherefore I ask that
ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which are your glory" (3: 13 R.V.). The
extraordinary point here is that the Apostle is not contemplating the possibility of his
fainting under the pressure of his prison tribulations, but rather the Ephesian believers
doing so. He himself knew only too well the exalted Saviour and Head who had called,
equipped and sent him as His mouthpiece to the Gentile world, and the great resurrection
power which worked in him mightily, causing him to triumph over every trial and
difficulty. He was however concerned that the Ephesians should not be discouraged or
misunderstand his imprisonment as being something contrary to God's will. They could
then learn to glory in his sufferings as he himself did. When he wrote to the Colossian
church Paul asserted that these tribulations, were "the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for
His Body's sake, which is the church, whereof I am made a minister" (Col. 1: 24, 25).
They were a necessary part in the outworkings of the Divine Plan for the Body and so the
Apostle was ready to experience them to the full. That they were the Lord's sufferings as
well as his, he had learned on the Damascus road when the Saviour, identifying Himself
with His tested people, said "Why are you persecuting Me?" (Acts 9: 4). A man who
can regard suffering and privation like this, is one who has learned to triumph over all
circumstances, and while we are never likely to suffer as he did, the same great
discovery can be ours, that the Lord is our sufficiency for every experience or trial that
can come our way and never will He allow us to be tested above what we are able to bear
(I Cor. 10: 13).
The Epistle to the Ephesians (7).
pp. 56 - 60
Having seen the link between the second prayer of Ephesians in chapter 3: with the
great climax of chapter 2:, we are now in a position to consider this prayer's great
features. "For this cause", says the Apostle, "I bow my knees unto the Father, from
Whom every family in heaven and on earth is named" (3: 14, 15 R.V.). "Every family"
is better than "the whole family" A.V., which would require the definite articles in the
Greek. The R.V. margin points out that the word family is more literally "fatherhood"
which better shows the link in the original of the two words "Father" and "fatherhood".
All fatherhood is derived in character from the Fatherhood of God, although the human
version is often so far off from the Divine original. God's great family here has its
earthly and heavenly sections, neither of which gives the complete picture by itself and
we need to take care that we do not narrow down the Plan of the ages to either earth or
heaven, as so many theological schemes do.
Verse 16 continues: "that He would grant (give) you, according to the riches of His
glory, that ye may be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inward man".
Again Paul begins to pile up words which emphasize the greatness of the experience he
desires the Ephesian believers to share. They would need Divine strengthening for what