The Working of His Mighty Power - Part I and II

Posted in: 2010
By Tom L. Ballinger
Aug 13, 2010 - 10:39:50 AM

Plainer Words Online
Tom L. Ballinger

July 28, 2010


Part I

In the Old Testament, whenever God promised the children of Israel that He would perform a marvelous work, He would remind them of the great and mighty power He exerted when He delivered them from their Egyptian bondage. The Old Testament expressions for God’s mighty power of deliverance was with (1) “a mighty hand,” (2) “great or mighty power,” (3) “a stretched out arm,” and (4) “with fury poured out.” All four of these are Metonymies in which they are put for God’s “miracle working power.” When Israel faced oppression, perilous times, or even annihilation, He would remind them of how He delivered them from Pharaoh and their Egyptian bondage. Therefore, Israel could count on Him to step-in on their behalf. This act of God’s mighty power was the “Benchmark” for all of their deliverances.

Exodus 32:11
And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?

Deuteronomy 4:34
Or hath God assayed to go and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?

Deuteronomy 5:15
And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

Deuteronomy 9:29
Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm.

Deuteronomy 11:2
And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched out arm,

Psalm 106:8
Nevertheless he saved them for his name's sake, that he might make his mighty power to be known.

2 Kings 17:36                                                                                                                                    
But the LORD, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt with great power and a stretched out arm, him shall ye fear, and him shall ye worship, and to him shall ye do sacrifice.

Ezekiel 20:33
As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you [during the Day of Christ]:

Ezekiel 20:34
And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries [during the Day of Christ] wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out.

Ezekiel 20:35
And I will bring you [in the Day of Christ] into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.

The last three verses are a prophecy of how He will bring them out of the countries where they had been scattered. He will demonstrate, again, His “mighty Hand,” and “His outstretched Arm, and “with fury poured out.” The previous verses were to remind the children of Israel of Yahweh’s awesome MIRACULOUS POWER.  He demonstrated this power when He delivered them from Pharaoh’s cruel bondage in Egypt. Perhaps, the ultimate demonstration of His power in the Old Testament was His outstretched Arm at the Red Sea.

The emphasis was on the work the LORD did on behalf of Israel. Nowhere, in any of these narratives, was it suggested that Israel, itself, was in possession of these powers! The nation was the beneficiary of God’s working of miracles as He delivered them from their enemies. In this respect, God’s mighty power was “working in them.” (We will not attempt to enumerate the many times God wrought wonders on Israel’s behalf).

“For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up from before us, until we were gone over: That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever”
(Joshua 4:23-24).

The whole totality of the Old Testament experience of Israel’s Deliverance was “that all the people of the earth MIGHT KNOW THE HAND OF THE LORD, THAT IT IS MIGHTY.” The mighty POWER of God worked on Israel’s behalf throughout the Old Testament.  The Lord’s mighty Hand, when brought to bear, overcame Israel’s enemies. Time-after-time in the Old Testament narrative, He used His mighty Hand, His stretched out Arm, and with fury poured out on the behalf of His people. Israel was to lean on the everlasting Arms of the LORD.  Whatever He promised, He was, also, able to perform.


The revelation of the New Testament brings to light a newer Benchmark for God’s mighty power. He no longer mentions His outstretched Arm, or His mighty Hand, or His mighty power, or His fury poured out. That was the benchmark of the MIGHT of HIS WORK which He, continuously, wrought on behalf of His ancient people—the children of Israel.

A newer Benchmark of God’s power was to be measured by the power He exerted on behalf of Christ when He restored His life and raised Him out from among the dead—RESURRECTION POWER.

In Paul’s New Testament writings, he pointed out that the believers were identified in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; therefore, they should reckon themselves dead unto sin, but alive unto God and to walk on “Resurrection Ground.”

“Likewise reckon ye [Acts Period believers] also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God [‘alive’ on resurrection ground] through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6: 11-13).

The Apostle Paul, in his Acts’ Epistles, took the believer, in their reckoning, no higher than that of being brought from death and the grave to life, living in Christ Jesus on Resurrection Ground. This newer Benchmark reckoning was based upon Jesus Christ being “declared to be the Son of God WITH POWER, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4).


With the temporary setting aside of Israel and New Testament Truth (Acts 28), the post-Acts’ Revelation of the Mystery is made known and the bringing to light of a subsequent Benchmark of God’s Power.

Using a Figure of Speech (to wit—an “Implication”), it can be said that when we read, consider, or ponder the NEWEST BENCHMARK of God’s power (after Acts 28), we tip-toe through the passages of Scripture as if we are gazing upon strikingly beautiful new strains of incomparable flowers. Their beauty is of the highest degree of comparison, surpassing, or superior to all other flowers. In plainer words, these species of flowers are SUPERLATIVE.

F. F. Bruce has written that Paul “Coined super-superlatives to express God’s capacity to transcend all that we can ask or think” (Eph. 3:20-12).

In fact, many writers express their inability to get a clear “grasp” of the Truth which the Apostle Paul presents in his foremost Prison Epistle—The Epistle to the  Ephesians. The “stacking” of adverbs and adjectives, by the Apostle Paul, signifies the greatest degree of the quality that can only be described—BEYOND COMPARISON!

As we go tip-toeing, with reverence, through “The Epistle to the Ephesians,” we-stop-from-time to take in the sweet fragrances of the Holy Spirit’s species of spiritual “word-blooms.” They magnify the latest flowering BENCHMARK OF GOD’S MIGHTY POWER.

Early on in our pursuit of Dispensational Truth, we were told, repeatedly, verbally, and in print, that we should be mindful that the language in certain portions of “Ephesians” is so lofty that it seems as if it was part of some heavenly language. Several writers said that the Apostle was writing such sublime Truths that it was difficult for us to really comprehend. We were told that Paul’s inspired language was so lofty, exalted, and elegant that “only heaven can understand.” One prominent expositor of renown wrote, concerning a particular verse in “Ephesians,” saying; “These are words so great that it is impossible to fathom them.”

Well, we often thought; “If these guys can’t explain, or fully understand some of the profoundly lofty verses, far be it from us to be able to do so.”

Here is the point at which we will pause until we will pick up the rest of this study in our next issue of “Plainer Words Online.”.


Plainer Words Online
Tom L. Ballinger

Plainer Words Since 1968

August 12, 2010


Part II

With the ushering-in of the latest report from God—the Revelation of the Mystery, we find that He added a new dimension to the Benchmark of His Mighty Power. The new dimension is that God not only raised Christ from the dead, but lifted Him up into heaven and seated Him at God’s Own Right Hand. The super superlative Truth, added to these two, is that members of the Church, which is His Body were identified as having been “with Christ” in the working of these miraculous events.

God sees us, as members of the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head, as having died “with Christ,” and quickened together “with Christ,” and raised up together “with Christ,” and made to sit together “with Christ” among the heavenly high-ranking-ones* in Christ Jesus (Eph.2:5-6). Based upon these miraculous actions, we discern “the mighty power that God wrought in Christ.”

*(The “high-ranking-ones” are the principalities, powers, mights, thrones, and dominions that make up the leadership of God’s Heavenly Government. We are even reckoned to rank “far above all” these heavenly Creatures in authority, prestige, and glory according to Ephesians1:21; not “far above” them in altitude).

It was pointed out in the previous study (Part I) that many expositors point out that there are some passages in the Ephesians Epistle that are so incomparable that it is almost impossible to comprehend the exalted phraseology. One of the most exalted verses under consideration is Ephesians 3:20. It is matchless. So much so, that many students and teachers of the Word simply marvel at the verse with “jaw-dropping” admiration.

Ephesians 3:20
20 Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to [or, consistent with] the power that worketh in us.

As the Spirit seemed to open avenues for us to traverse as we pondered over the thought; “Did Paul, under inspiration, pull the incomparable Ephesians 3:20 out of thin-air?” No, he did not. In many cases, we find that Paul uses some Old Testament Scriptures as a basis for his inspired writings. We find that he did just that when he penned Ephesians 3:20. He relies, to some extent, on words found in Isaiah.

Isaiah 64:4
For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

Turn this over in your mind. Ponder it. Reading Isaiah 64:4 certainly calls to mind the following passages:

I Corinthians 2:9
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

I Corinthians 2:10
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

As we read these verses, another one of immense importance pops-up in our mind.

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

It certainly seems that the Apostle had these verses in mind as he was directed, under inspiration, to write the super superlative verse—Ephesians 3:20.

We can see the backdrop to Paul’s super superlative verse of Ephesians 3:20.

Ephesians 3:20
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.

The Holy Spirit led Paul to consider Isaiah 64:4 when he wrote I Corinthians 2:9-10 and Romans 8:28.  We see these as being a backdrop to his revelation of Ephesians 3:20.  We believe that Psalm 31, even in a veiled way, played a role in Paul’s writing of                   I Corinthians 2:9-10, Romans 8:28, and the majestic writing of Ephesians 3:20.

Psalm 31:19
Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!

Psalm 31:20
Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
In its context, “What is Ephesians 3:20 telling us?” Granted, this is a profound verse of Scripture. Not only that, but it is spiritually overwhelming. If we had a “Life’s Verse,” it would probably be Ephesians 3:20.  The phrase, “according to the POWER THAT WORKETH IN US,” is bewildering when attempting to reconcile it with problems we encounter in the course of our daily-life experiences. We have often wondered how God’s wonder-working POWER can be working IN US when our outward man is perishing, or wasting away. Yes, our inward man is renewed day by day (2 Cor. 4:16). And, yes, this “light affliction” is but for a moment. Things such as arthritis, diabetes, cataracts, high blood pressure, heart attacks, cancer, senility, and on top of these, the loss of a child, or the death of your spouse of a life-time, at times, are manifest, and we wonder how can this be? Isn’t God’s Mighty power working in us? We suppose, falsely, that His Mighty Power is “INSIDE US.”

Paul could say, in his Pentecostal Dispensational writing of 2 Corinthians that “I glory in my infirmities.” We just cannot, truthfully, say that we glory in our infirmities, frailties, or ill-health as Paul did. We, as members of the Church, which is His Body, don’t have an angelic-thug (or a human agent) sent from Satan to pummel us. In today’s spiritual economy of Grace, we don’t think we would welcome such attacks. But, Paul’s conclusion of the matter was:

“And He [Christ] said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:9).

The Apostle could say this because it was Pentecostal Truth preparing him to endure the prophecy of Acts 9:16. “For I will shew him [Paul] how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.”

Notice a very relevant fact in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “the power of Christ may REST UPON ME.” This miraculous power (dunamis) of Christ was not resident “IN,” to wit, “inside” Paul, but “UPON” him, in proportion to Paul’s infirmities. In plainer words, the POWER of Christ worked on Paul’s behalf. Just as in the Old Testament, the Mighty Power of God was not resident in the Israelites, personally, but rather, it rested upon them in that His power worked on their behalf.

Paul was specially equipped by the Holy Spirit to be engaged in outward physical aggression by Satanic emissaries. The Church, which is His Body has NOT been called upon to wrestle against flesh and blood; therefore, The Church is not Divinely equipped to do so because “we wrestle NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD” (Eph. 6:12), but against the world-rulers of this darkness (Eph. 6:12).

The Apostle, during his Acts’ ministry, had a messenger sent from Satan to buffet him. “Buffet” is from the Greek word, “kolafizoo;” which means; “to strike with the fist, give one a blow with the fist; 2 Cor 12:7” (Thayer's Greek Lexicon).

(In this paragraph, in order to be more emphatic, we will employ the First Person Pronouns). As I scrutinized the differing ideas (Phil.1:10), comparing Scripture with Scripture, it was then that I determined to call on the Lord Jesus Christ to strengthen me “with might by His Spirit in my inner man” (Eph. 3:16). I asked the Lord to remove all the preconceived ideas that were lodged in my mind regarding the “unfathomables” of “The Epistle to the Ephesians.” While I love and cherish Paul’s use of the super superlatives as he described God’s Mighty Power, I began to recognize an “unfathomable” factor. It was the use of His Mighty Power “resting within, or inside” the believer of Present Truth.

“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to THE POWER THAT WORKETH IN US.” Is His resurrection power working within, or inside our perishing body?

Let’s notice where we first encounter the mention of God’s resurrection power in Ephesians.

Ephesians 1:19
19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

Ephesians 1:20
20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places.

In Verse 19, the word, “exceeding,” means; “surpassing, out-doing, or measureless.” The greatness of God’s power toward us is MEASURELESS—in plainer words, Mount Everest can be measured (it is 29,029 feet above sea-level), BUT THE GREATNESS OF GOD’S POWER CANNOT BE MEASURED. Ted William’s longest home-run was in Fenway Park. It was measured at 552 feet. The world’s record for throwing a shot-put was measured at 75.84 feet, thrown by American Randy Barnes in 1990. Even the speed of light can be measured. It is 669,600,000 miles per hour. Yet, to measure God’s power IS IMPOSSIBLE.

 We found it interesting to note that the Greek word used in Ephesians 1:19 for “exceeding” is “huperballo: huper, over, ballo, to throw; hence to surpass in throwing; to throw over or beyond any thing; beyond all measure.” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon).

In plainer words, it can be said; the greatness of His power is “beyond any thing,” which is to say; “it is beyond measuring!”

A very salient point is that the measureless greatness of His power is “to usward,” which is to say, “toward us,” or “to us” who believe. This miraculous power is not “IN US,” meaning; the power is not residing within us (within our mortal body). But rather, this resurrection/ascension/seated power is currently working FOR US—the power is not inside each one of us who believe. All of this is “according to [or, consistent with] the working of His mighty power.

The crew of sailing-ships of old looked and longed for favorable winds. These were the winds that propelled, or drove them and their vessels toward the ports-of-call. The power was not IN THE SHIP ITSELF, but a wind that worked favorably on their behalf.

To give the sense of “the exceeding greatness of His power” is to say; God’s mighty power is working more favorably than can be measured on our behalf, as members of the Church, which is His Body.

It is noteworthy to point out that the Apostle Paul was made a minister of “the gospel of Christ” (Eph. 3:6) consistent with the grace of God given to Paul.

Ephesians 3:7
Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

Ephesians 3:8
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;

The effectual working of His power is what gave “the gift of grace” to Paul.  It was “grace” that was given Paul, not God’s Power Itself. The grace given to him was “by the effectual (producing the desired result) working of His power.” It could be said, in plainer words, that Paul was made a minister of the Gospel of Christ, consistent with the power that was working on His behalf.


God’s MIGHTY POWER is, NOW, working on our behalf. God demonstrated His awesome, matchless, immeasurable, and majestic POWER when He raised Christ from the dead and set Him at God’s Right Hand. This extraordinary and unexplainable POWER even worked on our behalf, inasmuch as we were identified as being with Christ in this matchless “Operation of God” (Col. 2:12).

Remember, whenever the Lord wanted to call to mind the POWER He exerted in the Old Testament, He would point to the Red Sea Crossing when He delivered Israel out of the land of bondage. This was the Old Testament demonstration of His MIGHTY POWER.

In contrast, the New Testament demonstration of the Father’s MIGHTY POWER is the resurrection power exerted on behalf of the Lord Jesus Christ. The supreme demonstration of His great POWER was exhibited when Christ was raised from the dead and seated at the Father’s Right Hand, far above heaven’s rulers.

We are to become acquainted with the POWER which is at work in our lives. The power “wrought in Christ” is working for us, inasmuch as it is the POWER which God is exerting continually on our behalf. It enables Him “to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” This POWER is operative at all times on behalf of us who make up the Church, which is His Body (Eph. 1:22-23). We are to recognize that He is the Director and Producer of all that relate to His purposes concerning us.

We should be as Moses, “for he endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible” (Heb. 11:27).  We should sense the Hand of God in our affairs as He works all things after the counsel of His Own will (Eph. 1:11).

The MIGHTY POWER which “worketh on our behalf” produces for us “both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13). A comparable POWER to the resurrection and  ascension POWER, wrought in behalf of Christ by the Father, is applied by Him to work out circumstances so that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who  are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). This is the POWER being exerted by the Father on all outside influences. He is preparing us. He is preparing others. He is causing events to shape-up and is working-out things in the lives of others in order that when our paths cross, it will be good for both us and them. These things are being done for the purpose that future events in our lives will work for our good.

He Who raised up our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead and seated Him far above all principality and power, is using that same MIGHTY POWER to bring about events in our lives that will “work together” for our good and for His Glory.