Paul’s first Ephesians prayer focuses on spiritual revelation. He crafted it like a prayer tripod. Tripods are devices that provide good stability but with the minimum number of legs—they can stand on their own even on rough ground where four-legged devices would wobble. Paul left us a prayer for illumination in three broad areas that together can make every Christian rock-solid in their faith.
1. The Hope of His Calling
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling . . . (Eph. 1:18)
As God answers this Ephesians prayer in our lives, what should we expect to happen? Clearly, hope will rise—a hope connected to our calling, an increasing realization of the immense value of our calling. So it’s the calling that we need to investigate.
In Greek, the word “calling” (klēseōs) relates to the word for church, the “called out ones” (ekklēsia). The hope-filled calling in Paul’s prayer is common to all Christians1. We’re actually called in two directions—out of one life and into a wonderful relationship and a new life.
Peter explains it as a calling out of darkness into light, from an orphan identity to being a new people of God. We become aliens and strangers to the fleshly world2. Whatever cultural, social, national, or religious memberships we once treasured, those groups become secondary to our adoption in the family of God3. The door to His household has been flung wide open; hope has come to the Gentiles4. Now God calls all His children “Beloved” and “Saints”5.
That’s just a beginning. Our calling extends beyond the horizon of this life to the hope of the resurrection6. We are called into God’s kingdom and glory too7. Christ living in us gives us hope of that glory because He brings it about8.
In case anyone thinks that the Christian calling is nebulous or otherworldly, the New Testament writers stress the everyday outworking. Later in his letter, Paul exhorted the Ephesians to walk worthy of their calling9. The word “saints” anchors us to the practical. In the first place, we become saints by nature because God changes us. He breaks sin’s power over us, mercifully removes our guilt and shame, and counts us righteous. The designation “saints” is a free gift. Our calling is to freedom from sin and legalism; it carries the expectation of a saintly lifestyle10. The fruit of the Spirit will mark the transformation11.
Walking the walk is entirely possible when we remember that Jesus is given as “head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23). All power and every resource we could ever need are at our disposal to follow our calling. Now there’s a reason for hope!
“The Christian hope is not simply a trembling, hesitant hope that perhaps the promises of God may be true. It is the confident expectation that they cannot be anything else than true.” William Barclay
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