“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; 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; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-19).
As earlier lessons this quarter showed, the new covenant is one in which the Lord puts the law in our hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-33). Not only is the law there, but according to the texts for today, Christ is, as well, which, of course, makes good sense, for Christ and His law are so closely connected. Thus, with Christ’s law in our hearts, and with Christ dwelling there too (the Greek word translated in the above text dwell means also “to settle in,” giving the idea of permanency), we come to another one of the great covenant benefits — a new heart.
Why do we need a new heart? What changes will be manifested in those who have a new heart?
Read again the text for today. Notice that Paul stresses the element of love, saying that we must be “rooted and grounded” in it. These words imply stability, firmness, and permanency in the foundation of love. Our faith means nothing if it is not rooted in love for God, and love for others (Matthew 22:37-39, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13). This love does not come in a vacuum. On the contrary, it comes because we get a glimpse of God’s love for us (a love that “passeth understanding”) as manifested through Jesus. As a result, our lives are changed, our hearts are changed, and we become new people with new thoughts, new desires, and new goals. It is our reaction to God’s love for us that changes our hearts and instills love for others. Perhaps this is what Paul means, at least partially, when he talks about our being filled with “the fullness of God.”
Read 1 John 4:16. How does this text relate to what Paul has written in Ephesians 3:17-19?
|Look at texts we have studied today. What can you do that will allow the promises of these texts to be fulfilled in you? Are there things you need to change, things that are perhaps hampering you from experiencing the “fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19)? Make a list of what changes you need to make in your life. Make one for yourself and, if you are comfortable, make one that you could share with the class. How can we help each other make necessary changes?|