Ephesians

Ephesians 1:1-14 The Riches of His Grace

Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians reveals God glorious vision for the Church. It reveals His Purpose and Plan and His Power to perform it. Colossians (Christ) and Ephesians (the Church) fit together like Head and Body. Whatever special vision we have for our lives should be rooted in His vision for us revealed in the Scriptures. 

Greeting (v1,2): “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, 
to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

His Grace is going to be the theme of v3-14 which describes all that God has freely done by His own loving initiative in saving us. Great peace is the result of knowing these things.

Paul now immediately launches into a Hymn of Praise, that describes the full scope of God’s Purposes of Grace towards us. Verses 3-14 form a single sentence - a masterpiece!

Ephesians 1:3-14 is a Hymn of Praise describing fully the basis of our blessing, how God brings us into full salvation by grace. 
v3 tells how the blessing originated in the Father, then was deposited in the Son for us and is now transmitted to us by the Holy-Spirit. 

First v4-6a describes the work of the Father in eternity past in planning our salvation. 
Second, v6b-12 describes the work of the Son in obtaining our salvation. 
Third, v13-14 describes the work of the Spirit in sealing our salvation.

Verse 3 contains the key thought that v4-14 explain and develop:
“Blessed be (or ‘praise be to’) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing (
or:‘every blessing of the Spirit’) in the heavenly places in Christ”

BLESSING encompasses the fulness of our salvation by grace.
First, he reveals its specific ORIGIN - the Father, Who is Blessed in Himself and the ultimate SOURCE of all blessing.

Then,
 we see its specific present LOCATION - in Christ, the Son. The Father has already deposited it all in His Son Jesus Christ, for our benefit (‘He has blessed us with every blessing in Christ’). This was done once and for all through Christ’s death and resurrection. ‘The God of our Lord Jesus Christ’, puts the focus on Christ’s humanity, for it is this that makes it possible for us to receive the blessing through our ‘faith-union’ with Him. The blessing has already beengiven to us, so that it is our present POSSESSION (He is called ‘our Lord Jesus Christ’). 

Thirdly
, he describes its specific COMMUNICATION - by the Holy-Spirit.

So we see the whole Triune Godhead is involved in our salvation. 
This Trinitarian verse proclaims that any true blessing must come: 
(1) from God the Father 
(2) on the basis of the blood of God the Son and 
(3) communicated by God the Holy-Spirit. 

Verses 4-14 expound v3 following the same Trinitarian pattern.

Outline of v4-14:
 “The Riches of His Grace.”

I. The Father’s Favour - The Blessing Planned in Eternity-Past (v4-6a).
II. The Son’s Sacrifice- The Blessing Procured and Possessed in the Present (v6b-12)
III.The Spirit’s Seal - Glory 
(Blessing Consummated) Guaranteed in Eternity-Future (v13-14)

 The focus of the passage moves in Person from the Father - to the Son - to the Holy Spirit,and in time from the Past - to the Present - to the Future.

*1. THE FATHER’S GRACE IN ETERNITY PAST (v4-6a).
*2. THE SON’S GRACE IN HISTORY (v6b-12).
*3. THE SPIRIT’S GRACE: BRINGING FORTH OUR FUTURE GLORY 
(v13-14)

The focus of the passage also traces the location of the activity of God from: 
(1) The Counsels of Heaven to 
(2) Christ on the Cross, to 
(3) the Heart of Man, 
as God’s wonderful plan for the Church is progressively revealed:

1. By the Father’s Will, the Blessing was PURPOSED.
2. By the Son’s Blood, the Blessing is BESTOWED.
3. By the Spirit’s Presence and Power, 
the Blessing’s CONSUMMMATION is guaranteed.

Each Section focuses on two or three aspects of the Blessing.
1. WE ARE CHOSEN and PREDESTINED FOR GLORY
2. WE HAVE REDEMPTION, REVELATION and AN ETERNAL INHERITANCE.
3. THE GUARANTEE and MANIFESTATION OF ETERNAL GLORY 

These three phases of Grace are also the subject of Paul’s Prayer in Ephesians 1:16-19:
1. ‘The Hope of His Calling’ - The Father’s Plan and Purpose for our eternal glory.
2. ‘The Riches of His Inheritance in the saints’
- Blessings given to us in the Son’s Blood-Covenant. 
3. ‘His Mighty Power working within us’ - 
The Spirit’s Presence within, manifesting Christ in us.


 Ephesians 1:4-14

I. The Father’s Favour - Blessing Planned in Eternity Past (v4-6a): 
- WE ARE CHOSEN and PREDESTINED FOR GLORY.
*THE FATHER’S GRACE IN ETERNITY PAST.
 
By His Will, the Blessing was PURPOSED.

v4-6 expands upon how the Father purposed and planned our blessing in ETERNITY PAST.

CHOSEN
: “Just as He CHOSE us in Him before the foundation of the world, 
that we should be holy and without blame before Him” (v4). 

This is also called His Foreknowledge or Election. He marked us out and set His love upon us with the purpose of our full salvation. The doctine of election is a major point of controversy. If our salvation is just determined by God’s choice then where does our free-will fit in? So, some say that this can’t refer to individuals but instead to the Church corporately. But this is weakens the wonder of the verse. 

My view is that God in His Omniscience saw all possible universes with all possible Brides redeemed in Christ and chose this one to exist. Thus He saw us in Christ and chose us to be His Bride! He chose to set His love upon us (which is what foreknowledge means). So the whole universe and history of man is ordered to bring forth His chosen Bride of which we are a part! (see Rom 8:28-30). This eternal choice is manifested within the universe as the working of God’s mighty power 
‘working all things according to the counsel of His will’(v11). In this way the fact that we were chosen for salvation does not imply others were chosen for damnation. The eternal choice was not the selection of us out of the world of people but the choice of our existance and salvation out of all possible alternative worlds (which don’t exist because of God’s choice).

PREDESTINATION: “In love, He PREDESTINED us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,to the praise of the glory of His grace”(v5,6). 

Logically predestination follows foreknowledge. This means that God determined beforehand our final nature and destiny. He predestined us to become His sons having full sonship-rights of inheritance (1:5,11), that we would be conformed to the glorious image of Jesus, the firstborn son (Romans 8:29,30) - holy and blameless before Him (v4) to the praise of His glory (1:6,11,12). Predestination includes both our inheritance (what we have in Christ) and our glory (Christ in us). This was all the good pleasure of His will. His motive was His love that He had chosen to set upon us. 

God’s ultimate Purpose for us is emphasised in the hymn’s chorus which recurs three times (v6,12,14) at the end of Section of thought. That purpose is that we should be: ‘to the praise of His glory’ - chosen to be a trophy of His glorious grace! 

II. The Son’s Sacrifice - Blessing Procured and Possessed in the Present (v6b-12). Paul now moves from grace of the Father in eternity past (ELECTION and PREDESTINATION) to the grace poured out in the Son, 2000 years ago and presently possessed by believers. 

In Christ we have: (1) REDEMPTION, (2) REVELATION (3) ETERNAL INHERITANCE. 

* THE SON’S GRACE IN HISTORY
. By His Blood, the Blessing is BESTOWED: “which (grace) He has lavished upon us(‘graced us with grace’) in the Beloved” (6b). The grace that Father planned in eternity was poured out upon the Son in history, and in Him we partake of its fullness. It is now located in the Son and is ours in Christ. 

(1) REDEMPTION: “In Him we have (the) REDEMPTION through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us” (v7,8a).  This grace is described as our present possession. The great riches of grace required the payment of a great price - the blood of the Son. All grace comes to us only on the basis of His blood. The first thing that had to be paid for was our forgiveness (the negative aspect - paying for and releasing us from our sin-debt). Once the price was fully paid (by His death) grace was fully poured out (in His resurrection). 

(2) REVELATION
 (the NEW TESTAMENT GOSPEL): “which (grace) He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will” (8,9a). He revealed the Gospel (Good-News) of this great salvation in Christ (grace) to the apostles (which was then recorded the New Testament scriptures) so that we could partake of it by believing the Word. Through the Gospel we are CALLED into this grace and upon believing we are JUSTIFIED. 

This outpouring of grace was: “according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself (the eternal purpose of God is seen as the controlling factor), that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times (eternity future) He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and on earth - even in Him” (9b,10). God’s purpose from eternity past, was to pour out His grace in the present time so as to produce a glorious eternal future, a new heaven and earth where everything is in perfection, submitted to Christ the Lord, Who will reign in glory.

(3) INHERITANCE: “In Him (Christ) also we have obtained an INHERITANCE” (v11a). This is the positive side of the riches purchased by the Blood. We have now a legal possession of God’s grace in Christ, which includes a share in His future eternal glory when He rules all things (described in v10). His grace is sufficient for all eternity. 

We are assured of our eternal inheritance because of: 
(1) GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY - it springs from Father’s predestination and election: “being predestined according to the purpose of Him”, 
(2) God’s FAITHFULNESS to honour the Blood Covenant in the Son, and 
(3) God’s OMNIPOTENCE, the power of His Spirit working to fulfill His Purpose: 
“Who works all things according to the counsel of His will” (v11b). 

Verse 11 says that both our inheritance through the blood of Christ and the working of the mighty power of the Spirit ‘in all things’ especially ‘in us’ are based upon God’s election and predestination. God’s predestination (and therefore His covenant and power) are to fulfill His eternal purpose: “that we (Jews) who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory” (v12).  

Our salvation is built first upon Father’s Purpose and Predestination, 
then upon the Son’s Blood Covenant which purchased the planned blessing, and finally upon the Spirit’s power to manifest what was planned and purchased.

The mention of the working of His power introduces us to the third Section, on the Grace of the Holy-Spirit, Who is present within us, God’s personal guarantee of our future glory.

III. The Spirit’s Seal - Glory Guaranteed for Eternity Future (v13-14)
-(1) The GUARANTEE and (2) the MANIFESTATION OF ETERNAL GLORY.
The Spirit’s Grace (now 
and forever): guaranteeing and bringing forth (manifesting) our future eternal glory. By His Presence and Power, the Blessing’s CONSUMMATION is guaranteed.

Having focused first on the Plan in eternity past, then on the Cross in history, Paul now focuses on the Spirit’s work in us when we trust in Christ: 
“In Him you (Gentiles) also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, upon believing, you were SEALED with the Holy Spirit of promise” (v13).  
In order: (1) we heard, (2) we believed in Christ, (3) we were sealed. 

We are sealed with the indwelling presence of the Spirit of promise. The Spirit is the promise of glory to come, which is explained in v14. His presence is the promise of what He will ultimately accomplish in us by the working of His mighty power. A SEAL is a mark or stamp that signifies a number of things. 

Taking the seal on a royal letter as an example: 
First of all it denotes completeness and perfection. It is only sealed when it is a finished work. Sealing represents the completion of the Spirit’s work in the regeneration of our spirit making us a new creation (Ephesians 2:1-10) - the guarantee of the transformation to come of our soul and body. 

Secondly, it denotes genuineness and ownership - we are spiritually marked as genuine children of God, who belong to Him alone. 

Thirdly, it denotes security. No unauthorised person could break the seal. We are secure in Him, our spirit is ‘vacuum-packed’ (sealed from sin and death - 1John 5:18), indwelt and surrounded by the Almighty Holy-Spirit, like a spherical ring of protection - God’s actual token of His eternal love and promise of future complete union and glory!

“Who is the guarantee (down payment, deposit, foretaste, engagement ring) of our inheritance (of eternal glory)until the redemption of the purchased possession (our resurrection and glorification), to the praise of His glory” (v14). 

When purchasing a home a deposit is paid which secures ownership until the time the transaction is consummated and full possession is taken. It is a guarantee of future full payment. God has purchased us to be His eternal dwelling place which He will fill with His glory. Until that time He has sent the Holy-Spirit as a foretaste and a personal, most intimate guarantee of glory to come (‘Christ in us, the hope of glory’). He is Christ’s engagement ring to His Bride, encircling us, sealing our spirits, as His promise of eternal covenant love, the guarantee that the day is coming when our union will be consummated in glory. He SEALS us with His indwelling presence- the GUARANTEE of future CONSUMMATION of blessing in eternal glory which He will accomplish by His MIGHTY POWER. 

So we have the security of: 
(1) His Predestination, (2) His Covenant in Blood (3) His Presence and Power working mightily in us. Based upon JUSTIFICATION, SANCTIFICATION begins with REGENERATION and SEALING and is completed in GLORIFICATION (accomplished by the mighty power of the Spirit from start to end.

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