The Spiritual Challenge for Us
Ephesians Lesson #096
March 14, 2021
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.
“Our Father, we’re thankful we have this opportunity to study Your Word, to fellowship around Your Word. To be reminded that we are to come to You in prayer, and that perhaps part of our prayer life should focus on praying for those things that are prayed for on our behalf in the Scriptures.
“As we study Paul’s prayer at the end of this first section of Ephesians 1–3 and focus on the things that he prays for, we pray that God the Holy Spirit will use these things to mature us, to challenge us, to bring our focus back to where it should be in terms of our spiritual growth and our spiritual life.
“Father, we pray that as we study these things, we might be reminded that what Paul prayed for the Ephesian believers is just as important for us, that we should be praying for the same things. This should be our life’s purpose: to grow to maturity as described in this passage.
“Father, we pray that You’d guide and direct our thinking this morning. In Christ’s name, amen.”
I have entitled this message “The Spiritual Challenge for Us.” There is a challenge for us in this prayer because of what the Apostle Paul is praying for the Ephesian believers. I want you, as we think and talk about what Paul is telling the Ephesians that he prays for them. In many cases you need to substitute “me” or “us” for “them,” because this prayer is just as important today, just as significant for us in our own spiritual life, as it was for those Ephesian believers.
Today I will do a flyover, to look at these six verses and get an understanding of what exactly the Apostle Paul is praying for; how this is structured.
We’ve learned Bible study methods before a part of which is just observation. I am just looking at how this is laid out to understand it a little better. To begin, I want to just read through these verses.
Ephesians 3:14–15, “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom—that is, from the Father, not from Christ—the whole family in heaven and earth is named.”
Now what family is that? This is the Church, what he’s been talking about. It is focusing on the importance of the Father. Then the content that prayer, Ephesians 3:16–19,
“… that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
I can read some of your minds because you’ve been around a while, and I can already hear you saying, “Well, I wonder how he is going to handle that phrase width and length and depth and height?” You’ve probably heard four or five different explanations of it, and this is probably one of the passages in Scripture about which much ink has been spilled, most of which has been somewhat erroneous.
When we get there, we will have to understand this in light of the context. If people would pay attention to context a lot more, we wouldn’t have problems, but that’s part of the problem.
To begin with I want us thinking about this passage. If you listened to Jim Myers’ message on Tuesday night of the conference, one of the things that he emphasized for all of us believers, is that critical to our spiritual growth and spiritual life is just practicing certain basic spiritual disciplines, one of which is prayer. So, we’re going to learn a few things about prayer from this passage.
A second thing is just reading the Bible through. We have plans on the DBM website. You can search on the Internet and find lots of different plans and structures. As Jim pointed out, there are 1,189 chapters in the Bible.
We all know some of those chapters are very, very short, and others seem really, really long. And we wonder, “How in the world am I going to read four or five chapters a day?” Actually, you don’t need to read quite that much every day. It’s interesting that when I’ve looked at this, that the way the average person reads—some people are slower, some are faster—is 3 to 4 chapters a day.
You can take Saturday and Sunday off because usually something happens and we miss something earlier in the week, and so we have to catch up on the weekend. So it’s a good idea to have a couple of days off to cover all your bases. One of the comments he made a while back when he was doing this was that even if you just read it out loud you can do it in under 10 minutes. I would say 10 to 12 minutes depending on the passage.
I’ve discovered something. I’ve been reading through the ESV on my LOGOS program on my iPad, and I noticed that there’s a little icon at the top of a speaker. I can tap that and whatever verse is at the top of the page is immediately read by a human voice, not a computer voice. It reads it out loud as you go through the passage. So I decided this week that I was going to sit there and just hit that, and instead of just reading, I would listen and read what I’m listening to.
What’s helpful about that, and I know you’re not too different from me, is you’ll read something, and you’ll go, “Wait a minute! That reminds me of something else.” So you stop and get distracted, you go read here, you read there, or you go back and you reread it two or three times to catch it. But when you’re listening to that voice out loud, it disciplines you to keep up with that voice and to go through it.
I did that Thursday morning, Friday morning, and yesterday morning. I’m set to read through the Bible in one year, excluding Saturdays and Sundays, and those three mornings was right around 10 to 11 minutes with listening to that voice read those chapters out loud. You probably spend more time surfing the Internet for no good reason at least that much every day, so it’s not difficult for any of us to incorporate those 10 minutes into our daily pattern.
To go beyond just reading, as Jim said the other night, into thinking about what we’re reading, to meditate on it. But there’s a structure to meditation. This isn’t like in the mindless meditation of Eastern mysticism where you empty your mind of everything and you’ll never know what’ll flood into that vacuum once you’ve emptied your mind.
For the Christian it’s the idea of focusing, ruminating on, “what does this say? what does it mean?” There are a lot of different ways. I don’t think anybody in our day and age can really meditate on the Scripture without pen and paper handy… just make notes or circle things. I’ll give you an idea here of the process that I went through as I’m looking at this passage.
First, when I look at this is I say, is this one sentence or two or three sentences? It’s six verses; that’s a lot of words to keep up with and a lot of things to focus on. I’ll ask, what’s the main verb? Of course, I’ve got a little leg up on that because I can look at the Greek text and figure it out a lot easier than you can in the English.
The main verb here, Ephesians 3:14 is, “I bow my knees.” That’s just the beginning of it. “I bow my knees,” is a term that refers to submission to God and is used frequently, sometimes of not bowing the knee to an idol; sometimes bowing the knee to God. It’s only used about six or seven times in the New Testament. Ephesians 3:16, “I bow my knees” and “that He would grant you,” the content of his prayer.
In many prayer passages, there is this kind of structure where a word in the Greek that is normally for purpose or result—that actually occurs three times in this passage, each with a different significance—will occur in passages related to prayer, introducing the content of the prayer.
In Ephesians 3:16 we start learning what Paul is praying for the Ephesian believers. I would suggest that if Paul under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit recorded this prayer for the Ephesian believers, that there’s probably a pretty good chance that what he prayed for the Ephesian believers is something you and I should be praying for ourselves.
Just a guess, but I think it’s important enough that that should be what our prayer life focuses on.
So often we go to prayer meetings and church, and we pray for all the people who are sick and all these other things, but this is where it really gets significant in prayer, “that He would grant you” something.
The first thing that he prays is that they would be “strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,” but he doesn’t stop there … Notice at the beginning of Ephesians 3:17, “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” What’s the relationship of this phrase or clause with the previous one?
If you’re reading it in English, it appears that he’s praying for four or five different things, like a grocery list. I’m praying for this, and then this, and then this, and then this. But that’s not what he’s doing; there’s a more complex structure to this.
The first thing that he is praying is that God would grant them strength through the Holy Spirit in their spiritual life with the result that Christ will dwell in their hearts through faith. This is a really interesting word for dwelling. It was used of a Roman citizen, or in some cases Roman soldiers, who went to areas where they established a colony.
Establishing colonies and colonialism are nasty words in our modern society. Seems to me that if God is using concepts like that, that they are not inherently evil. There are a lot of things in the world that are not inherently evil, but because they are badly practiced by fallen, sinful men, they have been corrupted.
This is really interesting because in the ancient world when one nation would conquer another nation, they would send colonists in there in order to live and stabilize this region after they have been defeated in war. They would make their homes there, learn the local customs, and assimilate. This is a little different.
The Lord is not going to assimilate to our lives; He is going to get us to assimilate to Him and adopt His customs. That also happened in the Roman Empire. There are a number of cities that we have discovered and gone through the ruins that, for example, in France, which was then called Gaul, when the Romans came in, the local citizens went Roman: they adopted all of the Roman culture. That didn’t happen everywhere, but it happened a lot in the areas of France, some areas in Switzerland, areas north of Italy.
This idea of Christ dwelling in your hearts through faith is the idea that Christ is making His home in your life. What does that mean?
We know that from the instant of salvation God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit all indwell every single believer. But that happens at what we call Phase 1 at the time we’re justified, at the time that we are regenerate. This is one of the many things that God does for us, that Father, Son and Holy Spirit indwell us as Church Age believers.
This is talking about something in addition to that: about what is happening during the Christian life. We will have to take some time to think about what it means: that Christ is dwelling in our hearts through faith.
Another thing we should observe is in the previous clause, Ephesians 3:16, Paul prayed that they “be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,” and in the next line, with the result “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.”
“Hearts” is used as a synonym for the “inner man.” The idea of a heart is not necessarily that organ that is pumping blood through your body. It has nothing to do with the circulatory system. There are one or two places where “heart” is actually used for the physical organ. It’s used in some of the Old Testament passages for someone who gets thrust through with the spear to their heart. But most of the time it’s talking about the center of a person’s life; that is, what’s going on in their soul, what is going on in their thinking.
Christ wants to dwell in our hearts, and this is through faith. We will have to discover how that works. What is that all about?
The next statement, Ephesians 3:17, is “that you.” Here’s another use of “that.” It’s the same Greek word that is used where he says “that He would grant you,” but here it has a different significance. Here it’s talking about introducing another purpose, which gets interrupted by the phrase “being been rooted and grounded in love …”
One of the things where it’s helpful to know Greek grammar is that these are perfect participles. The perfect tense means something that’s already happened. He interrupts himself, as it were, “that you, because you’ve already have been rooted and grounded …” the foundation that’s laid at the beginning of your Christian life when you are saved.
He’s reminding them of what they already have “that you, having already been rooted and grounded in love—the key idea here is talking about love, Ephesians 3:18, may be able to comprehend … what is the width and length and depth and height—of what?” He is describing something that has three dimensions. It’s not just width and length; it’s width and depth and height and length: its three dimensional. It’s a figure of speech.
Ephesians 3:18, that they “might comprehend—that is a word for understanding, for thinking—that they can comprehend what is the width and length and depth and height …” He pauses, thus the em dash, then he repeats himself.
He starts Ephesians 3:19 with the verb “to know,” which is picking up the thought of “comprehend” in the previous verse, “to know the love of Christ.” What they’re comprehending in Ephesians 3:18 is something that’s described with these dimensions. Then he stops and goes back and says, “… to know the love of Christ.”
The dimensions are describing the love that Christ has for us, which is beyond anything that we can imagine. It’s infinite, like every other attribute in the Godhead. It is without end. He says we are to comprehend it. We can never comprehend it exhaustively, but we can comprehend it to the degree that it has been revealed to us in Scripture.
He’s laying down a gauntlet, as it were, that the goal of our life is to advance as far as we can in this life in comprehending the love of Christ. We are “to know the love of Christ which—actually should be—goes beyond knowledge.”
Knowledge here is GNOSIS, and it’s not saying instead of knowledge, but that that knowledge is going to take us somewhere, that it goes beyond simple facts and data. It’s going into something that’s fuller, more expansive than anything that we can imagine.
Ephesians 3:19, “that you” again, but this time it’s not the same. The last time it was introducing the second purpose, then Ephesians 3:18–19 gives the result: “what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ that you—the final purpose; the ultimate goal is to—be filled with all the fullness of God.”
That gives us a little understanding and flyover, but you still look a little confused … let me try a different diagram. First of all, let’s look at this thing in its context.
Ephesians 4:1, Paul says, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord.” The first word is significant: “therefore.” That means he’s drawing a conclusion from what he has said before.
There is not a hard and fast break here between Ephesians 3 and Ephesians 4, though the topic shifts. Starting in Ephesians 4, the focus is on our walk, the Christian way of life, which goes to Ephesians 6:9.
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you are called.”
This is the topical sentence for everything that is coming in Ephesians 4:1 through Ephesians 6:9. Then Ephesians 6:10 talks about the warfare of the believer. But “therefore” takes us to the point where this is a conclusion from what went on before.
Going back to the previous section that we’re starting today, Ephesians 3:14, Paul starts with, “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Well, for what reason?
That’s going to push us back, but it’s found in Ephesians 3:1–13, which we’ve been studying for a couple months, because we saw that is a parenthesis. Paul goes off on a sidetrack to talk about the revelation of the mystery which was given to him for us.
If we carefully look at Ephesians 3:1, it starts the same way that Ephesians 3:14 does. Paul says, “For this reason I, Paul,” and then he will go off into this parenthetical thought.
Ephesians 3:14, “For this reason ….” He’s picking up where he left off in Ephesians 3:1 and carrying that forward.
When he stated in Ephesians 3:1, “For this reason,” that takes us back to everything that Paul said in Ephesians 2:12-21. You have to put this in context.
Well, how does Ephesians 2:11 start, because Ephesians 2:11 is part of Ephesians 2:12. How does that start? It starts with a “therefore,” so that takes us back to what Paul says in Ephesians 2:1–10. What does he say in those first 10 verses?
He says that you Gentiles were dead in your trespasses and sins, but we Jews were also. But God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive together with Christ, raised us together with Him and seated us together with Him in the heavenlies.
How does that section end? Such a great verse! We are His craftsmanship, His workmanship, His work of art, His masterpiece in Christ Jesus. We the church, Jew and Gentile, are this masterpiece that God has created in Christ Jesus for the purpose of good works that we should walk in them. “Walk in them” foreshadows what He’s going to do in Ephesians 4–6.
Ephesians 2:11, “Therefore—because we have been made alive together, raised together, seated together with Him in the heavenlies, remember what you once were.”
He describes that the Gentiles were at enmity with the Jews, that they were completely separate. God had a different plan, but when Christ comes, Ephesians 2:14, “He is our peace,” He has reconciled us to God.
This is the basis then for understanding what is being said in Ephesians 3. Ephesians 3:1–12 is a parenthesis, so the basis for understanding what he is going to pray for is the fact that Christ reconciled Jew and Gentile together in one body, so that the enmity which came from the Law has been destroyed.
There is no basis for any kind of so-called racial antagonism between Jew and Gentile among Christians. Because the issue is no longer our ethnic background, the issue now is our new identity in Jesus Christ.
This whole concept of racism and race is really a modern development that comes after Immanuel Kant in the late 1700s. You didn’t have this kind of racism taking place prior to that, in the basically theocentric worldview that dominated Western civilization.
Sure you had slavery, but it wasn’t a race-based slavery. You didn’t have this kind of ethnic antagonism other than … what was the one form of ethnic antagonism present through the Middle Ages and a little before? Christian anti-Semitism: failure to understand basic ecclesiology that Jew and Gentile were now united together in one Person in Christ.
We have to say some things about this thing called racism. If you didn’t get a chance to listen to some of the talks from the pastors’ conference, there are three or four that dealt very well with these contemporary things that are going on today. We’re shifting our worldview in this country, we’re going beyond postmodernism.
I don’t know that they’ve got an exact name for it, but in some of the study that I’ve done it is critical race theory, which Clay Ward taught Wednesday night. It is an outstanding talk and very good introductory explanation to this—that critical race theory is really the next development according to those who originated the idea. It’s the next development from postmodernism.
We have to learn how these people think.
In fact, there was one quote made by a pastor who spoke in chapel at Fuller Seminary. He raised the question, “can white people even be saved?” Put on those critical race theory worldview glasses, look out there and you just see everything is shaded by race. So can a white person even be saved?"
If you’re confused by some of this, you’re not alone; there are a lot of people who are confused by this. The bottom line is that those who buy into critical race theory, who are thinking according to that system, are redefining everything, so that they have their own narrative. This is one of the things that developed in postmodernism.
Postmodernism is not about the details, it’s that everybody needs to have their story, the “metanarrative.” That’s their buzzword; they are always talking about narratives. So they’ve developed a narrative in critical race theory that everything gets determined by race—you have to look at everything through these race-colored glasses.
Once you understand that, you will understand why it is … For example, somebody sent in a question at the conference, which I didn’t see until it was almost over, so we never addressed it. I probably wouldn’t have any way. But the question and the comment that he made after his question was basically saying that we were all racist and contributing to the continued division of Christianity in this nation. But you have to understand how they redefined racism.
Racism is no longer what you take into account as a primary factor in your relationship with somebody is their race, and that determines everything. The way they’re defining racism now is “anyone who disagrees with our narrative. If you don’t agree with our worldview and the story that we’re telling now to interpret everything, if you don’t agree with that, then you’re a racist.” So that being a racist really doesn’t have anything to do with race anymore, it has to do with rejecting this new philosophy, this post-postmodern philosophy of critical race theory.
That also includes within it Cultural Marxism; Greg Allen did a good talk on that on Monday. Socialism: Dan Ingram did a great talk dealing with all the passages in the Bible that are used by people to justify socialism and to say that socialism is found in the Bible. If you study the verses and context and have an accurate hermeneutic, they don’t. You’re just reading that into it because that’s what you want to get out of it.
We will get into this passage, and will have to go back to these basic concepts that are covered already in Ephesians 2 because it brings up the solution to what has developed as our race problem.
The solution comes as we understand this staircase to Christian maturity. Again, this goes back to understanding the structure here—not a list of 1-2-3-4 things that I’m praying for, but understanding the relationship with each other.
The first step on this stair is that Paul prays to the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of your Bibles won’t have “of the Lord Jesus Christ”, but they should. It’s in the majority of manuscripts, and I think that in terms of the eternal evidence this is important because it’s going to take us back to what Paul has already said about the Lord Jesus Christ and his work in Ephesians 2:11 and following.
Paul prays to the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ here, so as we start to read this, we should ask the question, well, why is he praying and for what is he praying? Why has Paul stopped at this point?
One of the things that we see when we study the prayers of Paul, when they’re inserted within, not at the beginning or at the end, but in the middle of his development, is that he uses prayers to transition his readers from what he has said already to what he is going to say. The prayers relate to taking what he’s already said to the next level in terms of understanding what he is about to say.
Here he’s praying that they will come to understand something that is significant, because in Ephesians 4 he is going to talk about how we should live, how we should walk, and what should motivate us.
One of the problems in Christianity is a lot of legalists came along through the years who want to motivate everybody by guilt and fear—being afraid that God is going to punish you, and creating guilt because of your failures. Paul isn’t motivating us by guilt and fear; He’s motivating us by the love of Christ! And that we need to spend time thinking and learning about Christ’s love for us, because that’s what should motivate us.
The more we learn about the extent, the expansiveness of Christ’s love, how vast it is and all that He has done for us, the more we should be asking our ourselves the question, “Well, why am I living like this when God’s done so much for me? That’s pretty ungrateful, makes me an ingrate if I live in disobedience and God has provided all this for me. Maybe I ought to respond in gratitude, not be so selfish.”
This focuses us on what Paul is praying, and why he’s praying it.
He prays for the Father to use the Holy Spirit to strengthen them and strengthen us in our spiritual life. That’s what he’s praying for in the first step; the first part of the request. He prays to the Father that through the Holy Spirit we might be strengthened in the inner man.
He goes on beyond that, and we need to ask, “Well, why does He want us to be strengthened by the Holy Spirit? What’s the significance of that?”
The result of being strengthened by the Holy Spirit is in Ephesians 3:17a, so “that Christ may dwell in your hearts.” We will look at this when we dig into it a little more deeply, that in Colossians 3:16, Paul says, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you.”
What are the results of that? They are the same results of being filled by means of the Spirit. We will have to look at this and see how these different dimensions of the Christian life fit together, so that Christ is at home with us, so that He is dwelling with us. This is a sanctification truth.
Then we should ask, “Well, why does he want Christ to be at home in us? Why does he want Christ to dwell in our lives?”
That’s in the next purpose statement in Ephesians 3:17b–19a. We can’t ever fully comprehend the love of Christ; we can only begin to. And we will go from this point until the time the Lord takes us home, whether through death or the Rapture, learning and growing in our understanding of the love of Christ.
And we will take that with us, as part of our capacity to enjoy God, to heaven. Then we’re going to spend the rest of eternity learning more and more and more about the love of Christ and the grace of God. What’s our basis for that?
Remember in Ephesians 2 after Paul talked about the fact that we were made alive together with Christ, raised up together, and made to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ, “that—for the purpose—that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace and kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
This is going to be put on display, not just as a museum, but I think we’re going to go through that museum of grace and we’re going to learn all kinds of things about God’s love for us that we didn’t quite realize when we were in this life. We will continue for eternity because you have to go through eternity to understand something that has no boundaries, that’s infinite.
We’re always going to be learning more and more because as finite creatures, we will never exhaustively understand the love of God. This is just the beginning, and that’s the challenge for us, that we can begin to understand the immensity of Christ’s love for us.
Then we should ask, “Why does he want them to know the love of Christ? Why does he want us to know the love of Christ?”
The answer to that comes at the end. The ultimate result, Ephesians 3:19b, is so that they might be spiritually mature, reflecting the love of Christ in their lives, and for us to reflect the love of Christ in our lives. That’s what he means, and we will understand it more clearly when we get there, “… that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
The way that’s translated in the New King James, King James, and a couple other versions, it makes it sound like we can comprehend all of the fullness of God, but we can’t. We’re finite, so that’s not quite the nuance there. The idea really is to pursue this till the day we die, so that we can understand as much as we can in this life.
This is the progression that we have on the path to maturity. We have to, first of all, understand—Point #2—the role of God the Holy Spirit in strengthening us. That has to do with the filling ministry of God the Holy Spirit: we worship by means of the Spirit, we are to walk by means of the Spirit; we are to be filled by means of the Spirit.
When we are walking in light of the Spirit, walking with the Spirit, He strengthens us through the Word of God, not apart from the Word of God. It’s the Word of God that He uses in our spiritual life. The result of that is that Christ makes His home in our life in terms of our sanctification. There’s more of a reality there as we are being conformed, as Paul puts it in Romans 8:28–30, to the image of Christ.
Because our lives are all about Christ, folks. It’s not about us, it is not about what we want; it’s what God wants. It’s not about our desires and our ambitions, it’s about God’s desires and His ambition for us in the body of Christ.
The purpose at the next step is that we can begin to comprehend the immensity of Christ’s love for us. We’re just barely scratching the surface. Even the most mature of us are just barely scratching the surface. There is so much there for us to learn and comprehend, and the ultimate result is so we can be spiritually mature and reflect the love of Christ towards us.
What we have experienced from the grace of God in our lives, from our salvation to our spiritual life and all the ways in which God provides for us, so that we can reflect that to others, so that they can observe in our lives the impact of the love of Christ and the grace of God, and that sets the stage.
This is what we have to focus on. These are the elements that should be part of our prayers every day, that God would use the Holy Spirit to mature us and to strengthen us in our spiritual life, so that Christ will make His home in us.
Then, that we can comprehend the immensity of Christ’s love for us to the degree that we can reflect that in our lives towards others. That’s what this passage is all about, but there is a lot here. There are a lot of details, there are a lot of things that need to be understood and put together in light of other parts of Scripture.
Next week we will begin to look at this and come to understand how this prayer fits into our understanding of what the Bible teaches about prayer, and how this should impact us, and why it is talking about the Father, the significance of the mention of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Father, we’re thankful for this opportunity that we have to come together, to be here, to focus on Your Word. To be reminded that You have a purpose and a plan for our life, and it’s not quite what we think about when we think about Your plan and purpose. But this plan and purpose is all about the inner man. It’s about our spiritual life, our spiritual growth, that You are working to take that carnal person that we were before we were saved, this newborn baby, and mature us to make in our character the image of Christ, that we may reflect Him to the world around us.
“That we’re not saved just so we can go to heaven, but we are saved so that we can glorify You, so that we can mature, so that we can reflect Your love and Your grace to a world that desperately needs it, to a world that is searching for meaning and happiness and significance in all the wrong places. And that we are the only ones who have a true answer to that which is truly troubling the world. Father, we pray that You would give us that focus, that vision to live our lives truly as unto the Lord for that purpose.
“Father we pray too that if any have been listening to this message that have never accepted the gospel, the good news is that Jesus Christ died for You, so that He could freely give you eternal life. And that by believing in Him, which incorporates His person and work, understanding that He is the God-Man, the God and Savior. And “Savior” indicates that He died for us, that focusing on that is accepting the gift, believing that is accepting the gift of eternal life, to trust in Christ and Christ alone as our Savior.
“Father, we pray that You would challenge us with these things, as we think about them today and this afternoon, talk about maybe over lunch, and that God the Holy Spirit would really impress these truths upon our souls, in Christ’s name, Amen.”