Look - Walk
R. V. Court, Bristol, England
This Article has been given THJS somewhat strange title because the consideration of the passage in Ephesians 3 brought to mind the experience of Abram as recorded in Genesis 13. 5-17. There we read of a dispute arising between the herdmen of Lot and the herdmen of Abram, and the magnanimous suggestion of Abram that he and his nephew should separate and go their different ways, and his giving to Lot the first choice of the land before them. The outcome of this choice is familiar reading, and ultimately Abram is left alone, Lot having made his choice, in spite of all its moral dangers, and moved off toward the cities of the plain, which were soon to be visited with judgement because of their vileness.
As Abram is left alone God comes to him with an assuring word. Verse 14 of Genesis 13 reads 'And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it'. !n verse 17 the Lord adds 'Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee'. It was almost as though God was saying 'Abram, I not only want you to see from a distance that which 1 have planned for you, I also want you to walk through it, and enjoy as much as you can of that which I have promised you-I want you to treat it as your own, now!'
As we look at our passage in Ephesians 3 we see that Paul is being led to pray that those blessings which have already been given by God in His sovereignty to every simple believer may really be enjoyed in practical experience. It is almost as though God was again saying to Abram, 'Look, all this is yours, now enjoy it by the exercise of faith'.
As we stand upon the hilltop of faith we begin to grasp a little of what God has given us in Christ. Here we would refer to 1 Corinthians 2.9 where the apostle says 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which Cod hath prepared for them that love Him'. Some would limit this to what we shall enjoy when our earthly life terminates, whether by death or the rapture, but note that Paul goes on to say 'but God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit', and we are brought into the present as the time for enjoying them.
Chapter 1 of Ephesians contains some amazing revelations which we should be enjoying now, although prepared for us in eternity. Verse 3 'blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places'. Verse 4, 'chosen us in him before the foundation of the world'. Verse 5 'predestinated us unto the adoption of children'. Verse 7, 'redemption through His blood'. We could continue, but let us return to chapter 3. Look at verse 16 'strengthened with might by his spirit'. Verse 17, 'That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith'. Kenneth Wufst translates this, 'may settle down and feel completely at home in your hearts'. Verses 17-18, 'that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height'. We stop here and ask 'of what'. To what do these dimensions refer?
Is the Spirit of God here saying to us, 'Look, these things are all yours, now walk day by day in such a way that will show that you have accepted them and are enjoying them?' Abram's outlook was north, south, east, west, on an earthly level, but Paul brings in depth and height, and he introduces blessings which need eternity to grasp, and the upward call to fully enjoy.
Our minds go back over the things already revealed to us and the question naturally arises within us, Am I really enjoying these things which God has provided for me in Christ?
It is normally said that these dimensions, height, depth, etc. relate to the love of Christ, referred to in verse 19, but in the av this verse begins 'And to know the love of Christ'. This treatment is repeated in the rv and the rsv. The Revised av does not use the word 'and' but indicates that knowing the love of Christ follows the knowledge already listed-it is a glorious bonus.
Does it mean that our growing understanding of what we are and what we possess and what we will possess eternally will lead to an increasing appreciation of the love of Christ?, that is, we shall know it in a way not known before? When we were first converted we loved Him 'because he first loved us', 1 John 4.19. But how little we understood at that moment; how vast was His love for us, and what He had included in His great salvation. The Christian life should be one of ever deepening growth in knowledge through the reading of the scriptures and the teaching of the Holy Spirit, and this increase in knowledge will lead to the deepening of our love to the One who has loved us so much.
Paul makes it clear in verse 19 that the love of Christ, while we increase in it, will never be fully comprehended, 'it passeth knowledge', but as we learn more and more of it we shall also know more and more what it means to be 'filled with all the fulness of Cod'. We ponder these words and confess how little we understand what they mean, and as we humbly ask our God to teach us more, we read on into verse 20 and we discover that our God 'is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think'. With faith we grasp this, and experience that it is possible not only to look at the great things God has done for us, but we may make them our own, walk in the enjoyment of them constantly and discover a deepening love for the Giver.
Privilege brings responsibility. This is indicated by the opening verses of chapter 4, '[ therefore . . . beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace'. There will be attempts to spoil our enjoyment of what is already ours in Christ; attempts to limit our growing appreciation of the love of Christ.
As Abram made that step of faith, and began to walk and enjoy the inheritance God had given him, Genesis 13. 7 reminds us that 'the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land'. They were undoubtedly watching what this man did, and Satan would see to it that there would be times when they would oppose his 'walk' and his full enjoyment of what was his as a gift from God, but there is a little doubt that the various experiences that came to him drove him nearer to his God, until he could be called 'the friend of Cod'. With friends, love deepens as days go by and this is something the Canaanite and the Perizzite cannot prevent.
We look back, we see 'the things which God has prepared for them that love Him', and our hearts swell with love and adoration. Another believer, representing the household of faith, wrote
It passeth knowledge, that dear love of thine.
My Jesus, Saviour, yet this soul of mine Would of Thy love in all its breadth and length
Its height and depth, its everlasting strength, Know more and more.
And when my Jesus face to face 1 see,
When at His lofty throne I bow the knee, Then of His love, in all its breadth and length,
Its height and depth, its everlasting strength, My soul shall sing.