Ephesians 1:19-23

Resurrection Power (19-20a): The final area of knowledge that Paul prays is the power of God in our lives. The eyes of our hearts need to be enlightened (1:18) to perceive "the surpassing greatness" of God's power directed toward us who continually believe.[1] Paul then reveals that this[2] is God's impressive power which raised Christ Jesus[3] from the dead. The power that energizes[4] us spiritually is God's resurrection power! Our hearts need to perceive that we are tapped into this immense power of God! We are not spiritually weak. We are to "be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might" (6:10)!

Exaltation Power (20b-23): God's power is also seen in the exaltation of Christ. God in His power transported the resurrected Christ into the "heavenly places" and seated Him "at His right hand," a place of supreme authority.[5] By His power, God placed Jesus "far above" all the angels[6] and everything else, both in this world and in the one to come. God's power subjugated everything humbly under the Lord's feet! Paul then considers for a moment[7] the church's position under the authority of the exalted Christ as her "head." As the body is to the head, so the church carries out her Lord's will[8] in everything ("over all things"). Christ is our head, and we submit to Him!

[1] "Who believe" is present participle, i.e., a continual faith. His power is active in people of faith (cf. 1 Pet. 1:5).

[2] There is a direct connection between God's resurrection power and His power toward us. The phrase "in accordance with…" modifies the prior clause (like ESV). Thus, NASB's "These are" is better rendered "This is."

[3] This is "the Christ," not the Messiah in a general sense, but the specific person of the Messiah, viz., Jesus.

[4] "Working" mentioned in 1:19 is literally "energy [en-er-gei-a (ἐνέργεια)]." This is God's active work seen in our deliverance from sin and Satan (2:1-6), spiritual growth (3:16-20) and spiritual warfare (6:10-12).

[5] This is a high position of authority (1 Pet. 3:22), from which divine rights are exercised (Acts 5:31).

[6] "Rule and authority and power and dominion" point to angels (6:12), over whom Christ rules (Heb. 1:3-4).

[7] Paul returns to the idea of God's power in 2:5-6, where His power in Christ is made analogous to the church.

[8] In 4:7-16, Christ's headship is made practical. We are to reach "the fullness of Christ," who "fill[s] all things."