“For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” Ephesians 1.15-17
To Paul, it was all about knowing. Knowing Christ. Knowing God. Being filled with the Holy Spirit.
He begins with “for this reason…” For what reason? For the reason the church committed themselves to Christ? Upon hearing about their faith and their love for God’s people, Paul writes, he is giving thanks for them. He is also remembering them in his prayers. The encouragement from Paul is noteworthy. He is affirming them in the Lord. They are doing, at this point in the faith, everting that is required — 1) having faith in Jesus, 2) loving all of God’s people.
In contrast, some church’s love all of God’s people and yet they may not love Jesus. Or, they might love Jesus but not all of God’s people. Paul is applauding both things — their faith in Jesus and love for God’s people. They are doing both, which is good and necessary for them to be the people God created them to be. This is why a mega rich church I visited the other day in a big city has an amazing food panty. They are not just loving God, they are loving others by giving of their resources.
As a result, Paul give thanks for them and he remembers them in his prayers. And even in their doing good, Paul asks for more for them from God. As if they weren’t doing enough already, he asks “God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father,” to give them the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation,” so that they “might know him better.”
Although they already knew God, Paul wants them to know God better. This was a new community of faith. There were probably very few human pillars of the faith. Ancient souls who had walked with Jesus for decades. At the most, they might have known the Lord for 20-30 years, but that would have been rare. The Christian faith was very new, not even one generation had passed since Jesus had died and been resurrected. So Paul is writing to this young church of young believers, some Jew and some Greek.
But as we know, Paul is also writing to us. He is writing to me sitting on a couch in the middle of the summer, in the Texas Hill Country. He is writing to you, wherever you might be today. And he is saying to us — know Christ better, love God and love people. Now we can interpret this “love all” according to a plain reading of Scripture or according to cultural and societal norms. We should love all people, whether or not we accept their behavior should be in keeping with Scripture. But this is our endeavor, to be Christ to others and to adore Christ in our own hearts. The more we walk with him, the better we will know him.
Are you pursuing knowing Christ? Are you finding yourself found by him? Are you loving God and loving people?
“O Lord God, I praise you for you I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you for allowing me to be your hands and feet, to know you and to be known by you. Thank you for the power of your Spirit who lives within me and for the grace poured out upon all believers. Help me receive the words from Paul, which are words from you, to know you more. I love you Lord and praise your name. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen