STRENGTHEN THE INNER MAN
(THOUGHTS FROM EPHESIANS 3:14-21)
Leslie M. John
In order to understand Paul’s usage of the word “inner man” in Ephesians 3:14-21, it is imperative that we know how the words and phrases, such as “flesh”, “fleshly desires”, “inner man”, “carnal”, are used in the Scriptures. Everyone has outer body and inner man. The usage of the word “flesh” in Scriptures does not necessarily refer to “sin”, but it denotes the body as distinguished from the soul. The following examples will give us the answer that Spirit is different from the body.
“And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years” (Genesis 6:3)
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14)
The phrase “fleshly desires” point to the desires of the flesh leading to sin as a result of evil that comes from the heart. The word “carnal” denotes the corporeal appetites, and corrupt nature of the body as a whole, and fulfilment of fleshly desires leading to sin.
When John wrote “…the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” he meant that the Word was made to be a living body and the body in reference was of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Scripture says: “… (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth”, and “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (cf. John 1:29; John 1:36)
THE INNER MAN
The “inner man” is the real self, a combination of spirit and soul; and thus man’s body consists of outer body, which is flesh, the spirit, which is the breath of life, and the soul is the actual man inside the body.
In this passage Paul lays emphasis on the necessity of regularly strengthening, refreshing of inner man in us by the might of His Spirit. In order that inner man is spiritually nourished it is imperative that we allow Lord Jesus Christ to occupy the whole of our heart rather than conceding limited access.
If we are serious to improve the quality of our Christian life, it is essential that we allow our Lord to control our lives, and cast our entire burden on Him in order that He may take care of us fully. We should give Him full authority to lead our lives. What a great peace and joy it would be to cast upon Him our entire burden in order that He may lead our lives. When He takes charge of our lives and leads us in this world we will overcome the temptations of this world.
ON KNEES WHILE PRAYING
Apostle Paul bows on his knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and prays for the believers at Ephesus Church, which he planted by the grace of God, that the Lord may grant them, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened in the inner man with the might of Holy Spirit.
In all cases of intense meditation before the throne of grace, it is better that we find a place, or close the door of the room, and kneel down and pray to the Lord. As far as possible, and as the situation and time permits, our prerogative should be to bow down on our knees and pray. Nevertheless, our legalistic approach making it mandatory to kneel while praying is wrong. It is the bowing down of the heart to the Lord that matters rather than physical posture that we adopt.
God is our Father, to whom belong all those who have received salvation. We are called the “children of God”, as one family whether they are in heaven, or on earth. The children of God as we are, we are entitled to be granted to be strengthened in our inner self, according to the riches of His glory.
The outer body deteriorates gradually and ends up in grave. We are made of dust and to dust we will return; yet because we are “born-again” children of God, we will be raised in our spirits, and in our glorified bodies, when the Lord comes again to be with the Lord forever and ever.
FAITH IN THE LORD
Our desire should be to be rooted and grounded in love by faith in Lord Jesus Christ. Our endeavors should be to comprehend, along with all His saints, the breadth, the length, the depth and height of His love. Our deeds falls too short when we understand the true love Lord Jesus Christ shown on the Cross.
Lord Jesus bore our sins upon Him and died on behalf of us, in order that salvation may be available for everyone who believes that He is the Lord, and God raised Him from the dead. Escape from hell-fire and receive everlasting life by fulfilling that one criterion.
BREADTH, LENGTH, DEPTH AND THE HEIGHT
“May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” (Ephesians 3:18)
Who can fathom God’s love towards us? The breadth, the length, the depth, and the height of His love are so inexplicable and unfathomable that He gave His only Son to be crucified on the cross bearing our sin in order that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
There is neither anyone saved in the past, nor will be saved either in the present generation, or in future except by accepting Jesus as Lord and by believing in heart that God raised Him from the dead.
The mystery of the Church was unknown in the Old Testament, but it is revealed to us. In Christ alone is salvation and every believer, whether he is Jew or Gentile, will see Him face to face and be with the Lord forever and ever.
The Lord has bestowed on us such love that we should be called the sons of God. The world does not know the value of it, because it does not know the Father.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure” (1 John 3:1-3 ESV)
The mystery of the Church is revealed in Ephesians Chapters 2 and 3. His love is from everlasting to everlasting. We are given the privilege to be joint heirs of His love (cf. John 3:16; 1 Cor. 13:8; Phil.2:8).
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans 8:16-17 ESV)
INCREASE IN KNOWLEDGE
The Lord desires that we may not remain in the status of babes in Christ our entire life, but to increase in the knowledge of God. It is necessary that we make endeavors to possess the attributes of Lord to have fullness of God, which is to refresh in His knowledge and allow Him to occupy our hearts fully.
While making such endeavors it is imperative that we know that God will not share His glory to anyone. God’s incommunicable attributes such as “self-existence”, “self-sufficient”, “immutability” cannot be shared by us and we cannot become equal with God at any time. We have the privilege of sharing His communicable attributes such as “Spirituality”, “individuality”, “knowledge”, “wisdom”, “truthfulness”.
Paul in his doxology exalts in sublime words that the Lord is able to give us exceedingly and abundantly all that we ask in the Lord’s name according to His purposes, and according to the power of Holy Spirt who is at work in us. Unto the Lord is glory in the Church, and in Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (cf. Eph. 3:20-21)
It also helps us to recollect how David praised the LORD in Psalm chapter 148, which is full of praises and advices that the entire creation should praise the Him
PRAISE THE NAME OF THE LORD
“Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights! Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts! Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars! Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created. And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away” (Psalm 148:1-6 ESV)