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Ephesians 3:17

Christ in You

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

Most grammarians agree that it is impossible to tell whether the second phrase of our verse, "that ye, being rooted..," belongs with this verse or the next. It has been translated both ways, and I believe most commentators see it as belonging to verse 18. However, the conjunction "that," which actually appears in the Greek at the beginning of what is our verse 18, is not usually placed that far from where it belongs. Literally translated, verse 18 would begin, "That ye may be able to comprehend... etc."

Since there is no way to be certain, I can only go with what God lays on my heart and must interpret it as follows: "That (you) having been rooted and grounded in love, may permanently have Christ dwelling in your hearts through faith." This logically follows the strengthening of the inner man by the Holy Spirit in verse 16.

Paul uses two metaphorical words to describe what he assumes is the case with the Ephesian Christians. To be rooted is to be firmly planted in the soil of love. He uses the perfect participle to describe a finished act resulting in a permanent condition. When we are rooted in God's love there is nothing that can remove us from it. We are His forever.

He uses the same grammatical structure for the word "grounded." This is an architectural term that means to be built on a firm foundation. That foundation is none other than the love of Jesus Christ. We can foolishly build our house on sand or wisely upon the Rock. When we are grounded in His love, His love for us cannot be lost and our love for Him cannot be swept away. We are bonded to Christ and His love as the foundation for everything we think, say and do.

Knowing that the Ephesians had been rooted and grounded in love, Paul prays that they would permanently house the Lord Jesus in their hearts. The Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus Christ cannot be separated. "To be strengthened with might by the Holy Spirit in the inner man" is to have God's Spirit residing within you. In this sense, Jesus dwells in our hearts but, if we go with my interpretation, it means that the Christians would receive Him to permanently reside within them.

There is no doubt that Christ comes to live permanently in our hearts. That is an unbreakable promise that was given to us. "...and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Sometimes, however, we act like we do not want Him there. We do things that we hope He will not see; we think thoughts that no one should know about; and we say things that are certainly not fit for the ears of the Savior.

We have to make a home in our hearts that is suitable for the God of creation. We have to make an effort to live righteous and holy lives that are a testimony to His presence and His glory. If everything that we think, say and do is offensive to Him, how can He call our hearts, "Home?"

There is no way for us to be suitable temples for the Holy Spirit by our own efforts. The key to this verse and to the whole of Christian living is the word faith. We must have faith in order to live the kind of life that will be pleasing to Him. Faith will change every thought, every word and every action in our lives, if we will cling to it.

Paul's prayer for the Ephesians and my prayer for you, dear Readers, is that you might have Christ permanently residing in your hearts by faith.

Before The Throne:

Pray for yourself and for your brothers and sisters in Christ to be made suitable dwelling places for the Spirit of God. Pray that each might be so firmly rooted and grounded in love as to be be motivated by that love to live for Christ. Ask God to help you take control over everything you think, say and do (especially over what you think). Ask Him to forgive you for your sins and for defiling the Holy Temple, which is your body.

For Further Study:

** Christ: Eph 2:21; Isa 57:15; Joh 6:56; 14:17, 23; 17:23; Rom 8:9-11; 2Co 6:16; Gal 2:20; Col 1:27; 1Jo 4:4, 16; Rev_3:20; ** being: Mat 13:6; Rom 5:5; 1Co 8:1; 2Co 5:14, 15; Gal 5:6; Col 1:23; 2:7; ** grounded: Mat 7:24-25; Luk 6:48


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