The Clarity of the New Covenant

Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 1:15–23 is for revelation. In it, he asks that our eyes would be enlightened so that we might increase in the knowledge of God. But merely knowing the truth is not enough.

Because of this, Paul has a second prayer in Ephesians 3:14–21 for the realization of our faith. This second prayer is for enablement after we have been enlightened to put our faith into practice.

The Clarity of the New Covenant

Paul’s prayer for the church stems from his exploration in Ephesians 3:1–13 of how God has clarified spiritual truths in the new covenant. The old covenant that God gave to the Jews pointed ahead to this new covenant.

One truth the new covenant clarified is the union of Jews and Gentiles in the Body of Christ. God used the Jews’ rejection of Him to bring about the inclusion of Gentiles in the Church, uncovering part of the mystery of His plan. It is important to realize, though, that the Jews are not excluded from the new covenant. God still calls Jews to Himself, and many will believe. It is for this reason that Paul stresses the unity of the church—Christians ought to have no divisions.

In addition to the unity of believers, part of the mystery revealed is that of the spiritual life of the Christian. The old covenant relied on the Mosaic Law with its sacrifices and ceremonial works to point to the holiness of God. But in the new covenant, the Holy Spirit indwells believers, and we are given the righteousness of Christ.

Believers—in both the old covenant and the new—have always been justified by faith. But that truth becomes even more explicit in the new covenant.

Paul’s Prayer for Enablement

Having explored the clarity of the new covenant, Paul goes on to pray that his fellow believers would live out their faith through the power of the Spirit. We are to do so from the foundation of the enlightenment we have received in Christ. This foundation is communal as well as individual. The Spirit indwells each one of us, and He also dwells in the midst of all of us together as the Body of Christ.

Paul’s prayer goes beyond asking for the physical health and well-being of his fellow believers. Instead, it focuses on what is essential. While prayers for health can be good, prayers for a sense of God’s strength and love give us the perspective we need to face trials.

The love of Christ fills us and sustains us, and it is for this reason that we can pray to be more and more conformed to His image. He is powerful, and our prayers can glorify Him.

The Clarity of the New Covenant

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