“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
Words are containers designed and intended to carry thought and emotion. But sometimes, words buckle and break under the weight of what they are intended to carry. Paul faces this both in his prayer and his doxology, grasping for words to express the inexpressible. How can he write about love that is beyond understanding and pray for mortals to be filled with God!
But Paul will not give up trying. Greek scholars tell us that Paul resorts to coining a phrase trying to communicate what is beyond words: “unto all the generations of the ages of the ages” (eis pas genea ho aion ho aion). That is Paul, trying to say that God’s work and glory go on forever and ever and ever! Alexander MacLaren ponders Paul’s magnificently invented phrase:
“We can understand ‘to all generations’ as expressive of duration as long as birth and death shall last. We can understand ‘the ages of the ages’ as pointing to that endless epoch whose moments are ‘ages’; but the blending of the two is but an unconscious acknowledgment that the speech of earth, saturated, as it is, with the coloring of time, breaks down in the attempt to express the thought of eternity.”(Alexander MacLaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture: Ephesians)
The ages of the ages and eternity await us! There is unfathomable glory ahead because God has raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms, “in order that in the coming ages he might show us the incomparable riches of his grace” (Ephesians 2:6-7).
Early American theologian and minister Jonathan Edwards preached a long remembered sermon about the eternal glories in store for God’s children:
“But this pleasure of seeing God can suffer no mixture. For this pleasure of seeing God is so great and strong that it takes full possession of the heart…When once the saints are come into God’s presence, tears shall be wiped from their eyes, and sorrows and sighing shall flee away. The pleasure will be so great, as fully and perfectly to employ every faculty; the sight of God’s glory and love will be so wonderful, so engaging to the mind, and it shall keep all the power of it in such strong attention, that the soul will be wholly possessed and taken up.”(Jonathan Edwards, “The Pure in Heart Blessed,” The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 2)
Across the Atlantic, the hymnist Charles Wesley penned praise of the unfathomable glory of beholding God face-to-face: “No angel tongues can tell thy love’s ecstatic height, the glorious joy unspeakable, the beatific sight.”(Hymn: “Maker in Whom We Live”)
C. S. Lewis thought it strange how we mortals often think of the devil and demons putting thoughts into our minds when their best work is done by keeping thoughts out. Here is a thought never to forget: what we do today will count forever!
THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
“For the Christian, death is not the end of adventure, but a doorway from a world where dreams and adventures shrink, to a world where dreams and adventures forever expand.” Randy Alcorn