Glorious Riches

I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:18-19

The Philippians were faithful to give generously to the work of the gospel. Because of this, Paul was confident that God would meet all of their needs “according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.” Literally in the Greek, the phrase reads, “according to the riches of Him in glory in Christ Jesus.”

What exactly are these riches that are “in glory” that can be found in Christ?

In a discussion with the Romans about why most of Israel rejected the gospel and many Gentiles had accepted the gospel, Paul asks the question, “What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy…?”(Romans 9:23). At the end of wrestling with this mystery, Paul declares, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”(Romans 11:33).

To the Ephesians Paul wrote:

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ…

Ephesians 1:7-9

Then he explained:

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:6-7

And finally:

Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people,this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery…

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. 

Ephesians 3:8-9, 16-17

And once more to the Colossians, Paul writes:

the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 

Colossians 1:26-27; 2:2-3

Over and over again we see that the glorious riches in Christ are the grace, forgiveness, power, wisdom, and understanding that come from knowing the mystery of the gospel. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ, and Christ has now been revealed through the gospel. Christ is now “in us,” which is the hope of glory. Christ dwells in our hearts by the Spirit through faith in Him.

Having a relationship with Christ unlocks the riches of the Kingdom of God–the wisdom, knowledge, power and grace of God Himself. Not only is God pleased to meet our material needs through the provision of the resources of the Kingdom, but He’s pleased to reveal the mysteries of the Kingdom to us through Christ by the Holy Spirit.

Ephesian Prayer

Notice how Paul prays for the Ephesians:

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

Ephesians 3:14-17

Ephesians 3 is a chapter of the Bible that one could spend a whole year unpacking. It is so full, each sentence packed with powerful truths. And all these truths are elegantly woven together by Paul in a symphony of word pictures. This prayer gives us just a taste of it.

For this reason: this phrase connects the prayer he’s about to write with what he has just finished discussing. He’s just completed a section where he explained that the mystery of the Gentiles being included in the gospel is part of the “unsearchable riches of Christ”(Ephesians 3:8). It is not something one could just learn from study. Paul said this mystery had to be “made known to me by revelation”(Ephesians 3:3). And though Paul was the “less than the least”(Ephesians 3:8) of God’s people, God gave Paul “the gift of grace” to preach this mystery among the Gentiles in order to make it “plain to everyone”(Ephesians 3:7-9). So it is “for this reason” that he kneels before the Father to pray for them.

Out of His glorious riches: God’s Kingdom is a Kingdom of abundance. There is always more than enough when it comes to God’s provision. He never struggles with resources whether they are physical, emotional or spiritual. Imagine a massive storehouse of riches that the Father has continual access to. That is God in His Kingdom. There is always more than enough with God.

Strengthen you with power: Paul’s prayer is that the Father would reach back and grab some power out of His storehouse of glorious riches, and that He would send that power to each person Paul is praying for. This power would be sent so that they can be strengthened. But where and how are they strengthened by this power?

Through His Spirit in your inner being: God will bring this strength to the Ephesian believers by giving it to them through the Holy Spirit in their inner being. The strength that will hit them will be an internal strength, a strength of the mind, will and emotions. Some might call it an internal fortitude. This inner strength will come when the Father sends His power, through the Holy Spirit, to each believer.

So that Christ can dwell in your hearts through faith: What is the purpose of sending this power to increase the internal fortitude of the believer? The hope is that this inner strength, coming through the Holy Spirit, will allow Christ to dwell in their hearts through faith. Christ dwelling in their hearts here isn’t about salvation. They are already believers who have the Holy Spirit. Since their spirits have already been united with the Holy Spirit, this is about their souls (mind, will and emotions) being surrendered to Christ.

The idea of Christ “dwelling” is in contrast to Christ “coming and going.” Another way of saying it is that as this power comes and creates an internal strengthening, faith will rise up and allow their soul (mind, will and emotions) to be in continual submission to Christ. Their obedience to Christ will not be occasional; it will not “come and go.” He will, in a sense, have permanent residence on the throne of their hearts because of the atmosphere of faith there.

One final thing to note is that all of this comes from being in the family of God. It comes as inheritance. It comes because of our relational connection to the Father. We can receive this strengthening power in our inner being through the Holy Spirit, establishing Christ as permanently on the throne of our hearts, because we have the same last name as the Father.