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How can we be rooted and grounded in love?

After explaining to the believers in Ephesus the amazing new life that God has bestowed upon them by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:1—3:13), Paul concludes by praying for them (Ephesians 3:14). A section of Paul's prayer states that they are rooted and grounded in love (Ephesians 3:17).

Paul's prayer includes the following: "That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what the breadth and length and height and depth are, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:17–19, ESV).

Paul describes how he is praying for the Ephesians to the God who created all humanity—the One from whom every family on earth takes its name (Ephesians 3:15). Because this One possesses the ability to grant prayer requests, Paul is emphasising that this is not an empty prayer or one sent to someone who is incapable of granting the request. This One is wealthy and glorious—yet another indication that God has the ability to answer prayer (Ephesians 3:16a). Paul petitions this Great One to offer the Ephesian Christians "power through His Spirit in the inner man" (Ephesians 3:16). Paul recognised that God had given His Holy Spirit to everyone who believes in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:13–14), and he recognised that the power of God will manifest itself in a person's life through that Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12:7). Paul prays for the believers' inner persons to be strengthened by the Spirit within them.

Paul also knew that the strengthening he sought comes from a deeper understanding of Christ and His love (Ephesians 3:19). He is not pleading with God to perform a mystical or magical act, but rather that He would enable them to grasp the truths about God and Christ that had already been given to them. Paul prays to God for strength in this knowledge, but recognises that they have already been established and grounded in love (Ephesians 3:17).

This rooted and grounding in love had already been achieved by God for the Ephesians (and for all believers), as Paul stated, most notably in Ephesians 1:4–14. As the verbs errizomenoi ("to be rooted") and tethemeliomenoi ("to be grounded") in Ephesians 3:17 and their perfect passive participle usage reveal, God Himself has achieved our rooting and anchoring in love. Because we are rooted and grounded in love and have received this amazing new life by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9), Christ can make his home in our hearts via faith (Ephesians 3:17a).


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