17 “…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17–19 (ESV)
Ephesians 3:17-19 contains the purpose for the Apostle’s Paul prayer on behalf of the Ephesian believers, within the immediate and historical context, and on behalf of all believers in Christ at all times, within the overall context. The prayer’s ultimate purpose is based upon the apostle’s previous statements contained in Ephesians 3:14-16: “14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,…”
What was the ultimate purpose for Paul’s prayer? Examining Ephesians 3:17-19 separately will contribute to our understanding. Today, we examine vs. 18.
The reason for the Apostle Paul’s prayer was that Christ would be at home in all believers’ hearts. Additionally, that all believers would continue to be firmly rooted and grounded in the self-sacrificial love of God. This love is to be expressed not only in our love for the Lord, but also in our love for one another.
Permit me to take an opportunity to comment on something that intrigues me. Through the course of my ministry as a pastor in Michigan and Indiana, I’ve encountered some individuals who attempt to adamantly and stubbornly initiate a conversation with me by saying, “There is no place in the Scriptures where it says that Jesus is in your heart.”
I remember one individual who said it every time we spoke to one another, either prior to, or following, a worship service. What I also recall about this person is that they said this with such intensity, bordering on anger. Their conviction was a nonnegotiable with them. It was not long after they began attending the church where I was pastoring, that they left to begin their own church.
Well my friends, there is a place in the Bible where it does say that Jesus is in your heart, which is another way of saying your soul. Ephesians 3:17 says that Jesus is to dwell and be at home in your heart. He is to be at home in your thinking, your feelings and your decision making.
Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Every believer is indwelt by Christ at the moment of salvation (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 12:13), but he is “at home,” finding comfort and satisfaction, only where hearts are cleansed of sin and filled with his Spirit (cf. John 14:23).”
May each of us repeat of sin and continue to pray that Jesus will be at home in our hearts. Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!