What does all this mean? Well, many have made interesting suggestions about the meaning of these four dimensions I just explained. Some see these dimensions in the cross; being represented in its height and depth and length and breadth. Others see them as representing God love.
But I think that makes it too complicated. Paul’s letter answers all of the symbolism. In chapter one, you find the “length”: “the hope to which you are called” (Ephesians 1:18). The hope began before the foundation of the world and stretches into eternity. That is the length and scope of God’s plans. We are part of that plan; the hope we are called to experience.
The “width,” is what Paul refers to as “the magnificence and splendour of the inheritance promised to Christians” (Ephesians 1:18). The fact that all men, whether Jew or Gentile, black, white, rich, poor, slave, freeman, male, female are united in the church, without difference or division — it doesn’t make any difference. When gathered together in the Church, all are one. All are caught up in the riches of Jesus Christ, in the cross and the Church.
The “height” is the place where we are raised with Christ. We are to “sit together with Him in heavenly places, far above all principalities, all powers, all authorities, in this age and in the age to come.” It is the place of authority as a disciple, the place of power to be free of everything that would drag you down, the place of being given the power and strength to live above all that the world can throw at you, seeking to destroy your faith.
The “depth,” is what Paul described in Chapter 2 as the “spiritually dead all the time that we drifted along on the stream of this world’s ideas of living, and obeyed its unseen ruler (who is still operating in those who do not respond to the truth of God).” We “followed the passions of the flesh, doing what we thought was right” and ended up being wrong in everything we attempted, “children of wrath.” As Paul described us — “being under the wrath of God by nature, like everyone else” (Ephesians 2:3). Out of that living death, the depths of human depravity, God called us into the heights with Christ.
As we learn to relate to others, our understanding and confidence in the new life grow. This is why the church has been so barren and poverty-stricken. Why it has been so narrow, standing alone and so isolated. We have loved to attend our church services and merely sit and listen, but never relate to anyone else. The service ends, and we rush to our cars, believing that we fulfilled our “Religious” duty for the week.
This is why churches have been trying to have “body life” services and trying to encourage people to make friends when they came to church. To simply become acquainted and to connect to the person sitting next to you in the pews. As soon as we learn to reach out to others, we “realize with all saints” that we gain the ability to lay hold of all these great provisions in Jesus Christ. The next step:
“. . . know for yourselves that love so far beyond our comprehension” (Ephesians 3:19)
We now begin the fifth step, which is to know the unknowable! Huh? How do you do that? Well, this is where our experience reaches its fulfillment. You begin to know the love of Christ. This is where feelings reach full throttle. You will begin to glow with this understanding of our Savior’s love. You can’t understand it, but you can feel it. All of us know that you can feel something you can’t understand. Recently, one of our grandsons broke his elbow. While he was waiting for the surgery, the only who could calm his fears and provide any comfort was his mom. Not the nurses and certainly, no the doctors. The nurse could certainly tend to his injuries, but they could not calm his fears. Only his mom loved him and knew how to comfort him.
Did my grandson understand what caused my his mommies love. Or her reason for loving him, but he didn’t have to know. All that mattered is that she was there and she loved him. This is what Paul was trying to explain. His prayer was that we would begin to experience our Savior’s love, in the same way, a child experiences their mother’s love. That our Savior’s love would become evident in our circumstances, in the world around us, in our relationships, and in life itself! We should become overwhelmed with the sense of our Father’s love. As we sometimes sing,
“Heaven above is softer blue,
Earth around is sweeter green;
Something lives in every hue
Christless eyes have never seen:
Birds with gladder songs o’erflow,
Flow’rs with deeper beauties shine,
Since I know, as now I know,
I am His, and He is mine”
~Loved With An Everlasting Love
And then we come to the last step:
. . . that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19)
Now you have reached the top. And when you have, you have realized the purpose of your own creation. This is what God made humanity for. He made us to be vessels wholly filled and flooded with God himself. Now, this is not a condition you attain only once or twice in your Christian life. It is a condition to which we are to return again and again. This is what Paul refers to as being filled with the Spirit. It is the condition in which God is in possession and control of our lives, enriching us, blessing us, and strengthening us. Our faith is strong and vital, and we are reaching out, ministering. And, as Paul puts it earlier, we are God’s workmanship, and we will discover the good works to which we have been foreordained. Let’s close with the final verses of this chapter:
Now to him who by his power within us is able to do far more than we ever dare to ask or imagine — to him be glory in the Church through Jesus Christ for ever and ever, amen!. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Who is going to do this? You? No, no; Yahweh in you. That is the secret, isn’t it? Yahweh in you is able to do more abundantly all you can ask or think. What are you dreaming about for the next year? Well, if you insist on manipulating it and trying to bring it to pass, the best that you can hope for is what you can ask or think. But if you put your case in the hands of this mighty God, and follow these steps, obeying Him about yourself, and praying for others in this same way, you will discover that, though he might take you in ways you don’t understand and at first seem to be almost tragic, nevertheless, out of them he will bring you to the place where you stand in amazement and awe and wonder at what he has brought into your experience and your life — beyond all that you can ask or think. That is the nature of the God we worship, and that is the power at work in us right now.
Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,
Jesus, I come! Jesus, I come!
Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee!
Out of my sickness into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee!
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.