‘The exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named.’ Ephesians 1:19–21
Suggested Further Reading: 1 Chronicles 29:10–13
Our text twice over uses the strongest words which could be employed, to set forth the almighty power exhibited in bringing a soul to believe in Jesus, and in bringing that believing soul onward till it ascends to heaven. You will carefully notice we have first of all this expression, ‘The exceeding greatness of his power;’ and then we have on the other side of the word ‘Believe,’ lest it should escape anyhow from the sacred barrier, these words, ‘According to the working of his mighty power.’ Now, the first expression is a very amazing one. It might read thus: ‘The super-excellent, sublime, overcoming, or triumphing greatness of his power;’ and the other is even more singular; it is a Hebrew mode of speech forced to do duty in the Greek tongue: ‘The effectual working of the might of his strength;’ or ‘The energy of the force of his power,’—some such strong expression as that. As if the apostle was not content to say, ‘You believe through the power of God,’ nor ‘through the greatness of that power,’ but ‘through the exceeding greatness of his power;’ and not satisfied with declaring that the salvation of man is the fruit of God’s might, he must needs put it, his mighty power: and as if that were not enough, he writes, the energy, the efficacious activity of the power of that might. No amount of straining at the passage can ever get rid of the grand doctrine which it contains, namely, that the bringing of the soul to simple faith in Jesus, and the maintenance of that soul in the life of faith, displays an exercise of omnipotence such as God alone could put forth.
For meditation: God’s almighty power saves and keeps the believer (1 Peter 1:5), but we have to put on the whole armour of God in order to ‘be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might’ (Ephesians 6:10–11).
Sermon no. 534
10 October (Preached 11 October 1863)