I. Introduction. V. 1
a. Human instrument.
1. "Paul" = Gentile (Roman) name given to Saul, a Hebrew name; name meant something in those days; "Saul" means to ask or pray--may mean he was God sent in answer to prayer; "Paul" means small; he may have been small in height and seemingly weakly (II Cor. 10:10) but a powerhouse for God.
A. Contrary to tradition, his name was not changed when he was saved but he begin to be referred to as Paul in Acts 13:9 on his first missionary journey to the Gentiles and he was never referred to as Saul again except when he did so himself in testimony.
B. Paul was born about the same time as our Lord. He was a native of Tarsus, the capital of Celica, a Roman province in the southeast of Asia Minor. Today it would be in Turkey.
C. Paul's father was of the strictest sect of the Jews, a Pharisee, of the tribe of Benjamin, of pure and unmixed Jewish blood. (Acts 23:6; Phil 3:5) We know nothing about his mother, but there is reason to conclude that she was a pious (godly; reverencing the Supreme Being) woman, and that, like-minded with her husband, she exercised all her influence in molding the character of her son, so that he could afterwards speak of himself as being from his youth up, "touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." (Phil. 3:6)
D. It was customary in those days to open a letter with the writer's name and greeting rather than place them at the end, as we do today.
E. "An apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God:"
a. "An apostle" = one sent on a commission to represent another person, the person sent being given credentials and the responsibility of carrying out the orders of the one sending him; our word "ambassador" adequately translates it; Paul met the qualifications of Acts 1:21-22 on the road to Damascus by special revelation as I Cor. 15:8 bears out; Paul testified to King Agrippa concerning his call to the ministry in Acts 26:12-19--this was on the road to Damascus; he also testified to the multitude in Acts 22:10-16 of his salvation experience on the street called Straight in Damascus, where he had been for three days when Ananias told Paul to wash away his sins by calling on the name of the Lord--thus Paul knew he was called before he was saved, in fact that was part of him counting the cost to be saved. (Phi. 3:8)
b. "Jesus" = the earthly name of God incarnate (God robed in flesh); the Saviour of mankind.
c. "Christ" = the Anointed One; the Messiah of the OT.
d. "Will of God" = desire; pleasure; choice; Paul wants his readers to clearly understand that he is not an apostle by his own choosing, nor by man's election, but that he was called, ordained, commissioned, and sent by God.
e. Paul was continually having to defend his office and calling because of those who attacked his ministry and message because they did not like the truth. Thus, he said by the "will of God" which emphasizes the fact that he was divinely appointed as opposed to being self appointed or man appointed.
b. Divine instrument was God. (II Peter 1:21; II Tim. 3:16 = The word was God breathed.)
1. "Saints" = set apart for God (from sin to God); sanctified; the root word is a verb which refers to the act of the Holy Spirit setting apart for God the sinner--taking him out of the first Adam and placing him in the last Adam; theologically man is either a sinner or a saint; this epistle was written to those who were alive, thus refuting Catholic teaching concerning a saint; the moment one is saved, he becomes a saint.
2. "Which are at Ephesus" = the city was located in Asia, and today it is in the country of Turkey; this refers to the saints who make up the church at Ephesus who met somewhere in the city because the early churches did not have a building they called a church to meet in; Ephesus is one of the seven churches mentioned in Rev. chapters 2 and 3; this is the place where Paul planted the seed and watered with tears for three years on his third missionary journey (Acts 20:31); this is the place where the goddess of Diana was worshiped and when several of the people there were saved--they burned their curious arts (Acts 19:18-19); a silversmith stirred up the city and about 25,000 gathered in an open air theater where they cried in confusion for two hours, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians." (Acts 19:23-29, 32-34)
3. This is the fifth epistle written by Paul and rightly placed fifth as II Tim. 3:16 bears out:
A. Doctrine = Romans (the great doctrinal book of the NT); it reveals great truths, that had not been revealed before, to the saints at Rome and also applies to us.
B. Reproof = I and II Corinthians (where Paul reproves sin).
C. Correction = Galatians (where Paul corrects false teaching).
D. Instruction in righteousness = Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I & II Thess., I &II Timothy, Titus, and Philemon (where Paul teaches holy living based on Christian doctrine).
4. "To the faithful in Christ Jesus" = this simply means a believer who has exercised saving faith, thus trusting in Christ Jesus as his Lord and Saviour; means one who has become convinced in his heart that Jesus is the Messiah and author of salvation.
5. "In Christ Jesus" = gives the saints spiritual location while "at Ephesus" gives their geographical location.
6. The Greek construction implies that this letter is for all saints and was to be circulated from church to church. Therefore, it is for saints today wherever their geographical location is because all saints are "in Christ."
7. This epistle is good for the lost so that they may see what the Lord has done for saints and have a hunger and thirst for Him. (Isa. 44:3)
8. It is interesting to note that in this book we do not find Paul fighting the idol Diana but lifting up the Lord Jesus. (John 12:32)
9. When people get saved, they will turn from their idols. (I Thess. 1:9; John 10:27, 5)
C. Time and place written.
1. It is not recorded here but history reveals that it was about 62 AD during Paul's first prison term in Rome, which was from fall of 60 AD to spring 63 AD. (Eph. 3:1; 4:1; 6:20a)
2. The letter was sent by Tychicus (Eph. 6:21) who at the same time carried the letter to Colosse along with Onesimus as he went back with a letter to Philemon.
3. Philippians probably was written about the same time.
D. Message (introductory). V. 2
1. "Grace" = unmerited favor; undeserving favor; refers to sanctifying grace, not justifying grace for this is written to the churches--professed saints; this type of grace enables a saint of God to overcome obstacles in their daily living and keep on keeping on for the glory of God (II Cor. 12:9); we have access (freedom to enter through the assistance or favor of another) into this grace by faith (Rom. 5:2); this word was also used as a greeting among the Gentiles.
2. "You" = the churches--the professed saints.
3. "Peace" = sanctifying peace, not justifying of Rom. 5:1, for he is writing to saints who were already justified; this peace is the peace of God that passes all understanding, even in troubled times (Phil. 4:6-7); a state of Christian tranquility; we are fighting from victory not for victory; this word was used and is still used now as a greeting among Hebrews.
4. Paul may have been using these terms only as a greeting to the Gentiles and Hebrews, but I think he meant more than a greeting as we have just defined above.
5. This grace and peace comes from God whom he identifies as "the Father" and our (personal) Lord Jesus Christ.
6. "From" and "from" = second "from" is in italics thus supplied by the translators; used because the Greek points to God as the fountain head and source of grace and peace.
7. "God the Father" = the first person of the Trinity; refers to God being the Father of Jesus Christ.
8. "Lord" = supreme in authority; Paul is saying He is our Lord, referring to Jesus being his Lord; He becomes one's Lord when saved and not at some later time.
9. "Jesus" = the earthly name of God incarnate (God robed in flesh); the Saviour of mankind.
10. "Christ" = the Anointed One; the Messiah of the OT.
11. The Greek construction refers to God the Father as the source of this grace and peace and also to God our Lord Jesus Christ as the source of this grace and peace. Even in this introduction Paul is saying Jesus Christ is God, a truth many deny.
12. This grace and peace is produced day by day in the heart of the yielded saint by the Holy Spirit.
E. Division of the Book.
1. The first three chapters is the doctrinal part which reveals our wealth in Christ.
2. The last three chapters is the duty part or the practical part and reveals our walk in Christ.
3. The key verse is Eph. 4:1.
4. The theme of this book I would like to use is "Our Wealth and Walk in Christ."
A. Christian living is based on Christian learning.
B. The believer who does not know his wealth in Christ will never be able to properly walk with Christ.
C. Our conduct depends on our calling.
D. Too many want to live in chapters 1-3 and study the doctrine but we must move into chapters 4-6 and practice the duties, but first may we learn the wealth of our calling in Christ.
II. Our wealth in Christ.
A. Praise for spiritual possession. V. 3-14
1. At once Paul burst out with jubilant praise.
2. "Blessed" = to speak highly of; is from a Greek word from which we get our English word eulogize and means to speak well of; it is a different word from "blessed" in the beatitudes which means happy in the sense of being spiritually prosperous; the same base word is used in Rev. 5:11-12 and 7:11-12 where the angels eulogized the Lord as being worthy to receive blessings.
3. "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" = Paul is saying "Let the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be well spoken of." He is giving the Lord Jesus His rightful place as deity when he calls God His (Jesus) Father. (John 1:1, 14; 10:30)
4. The psalmist David is praising God in Psa. 103:1--speaking well of Him.
5. The reason Paul was eulogizing God was because He "hath blessed us:"
A. "Hath blessed" = same root word but different from the first "blessed;" this is more than being blessed of Mat. 5:3 and Psa. 1:1.
B. "Us" = refers to the saints of all times--Paul and the saved today.
C. When we bless God, we praise Him--speak well of Him. When He blesses us, it is not just that He speaks well of us, but He does us good. He places benefits upon us. (Psa. 68:19; 103:2) Our blessing is in word and His is in deed.
6. "Spiritual blessings" = refers to blessings given us by the Holy Spirit.
A. "Spiritual" = pneumatikas (Greek); supernatural; driven by wind--Spirit led; refers to living in Canaan's land where the blessings of God are abundant where God has victory, where we have divine leadership, and fulfilled promises in the midst of persecutions; Canaan's land is not a picture of heaven.
B. "In heavenly places" = "places" is in italics, thus placed by the translators to give us smooth English reading; means "in the heavenlies" = this means that our blessings have their origin in heaven, the very seat where God is and where Christ reigns; the saints while still in their body of flesh on the earth (now) can and should enjoy the blessings in a small degree, which we will enjoy in Heaven.
7. "In Christ" = phrase that gives our spiritual location; refers to all the saved--one gets in Christ when he is saved. (II Cor. 5:17)
8. I am told (and the best that I can track it down) that verses 3-14 in the Greek is one sentence; therefore, it needs to be treated as one thought. Some Bible scholars believe this passage was used as a hymn sung in the early church in praise to God.
9. Paul got excited because this was something to be excited about. I will give a pre-cap of this sentence:
A. Blessings from the Father.
1) He has chosen us. V. 4
2) He has adopted us. V. 5
3) He has accepted us. V. 6
B. Blessings from the Son.
1) He has redeemed us. V. 7a
2) He has forgiven us. V. 7b
3) He has revealed God's will to us. V. 8-10
4) He has made us an inheritance. V. 11-12
C. Blessings from the Spirit.
1) He allowed us to hear the Word of Truth. V. 13a
2) He enables us to believe. V. 13b
3) He has sealed us. V. 13c
4) He has given us an earnest. V. 14 = means there is a whole lot more to come.
10. We could say it this way:
A. The Father planned it.
B. The Son provided for it.
C. The Holy Spirit produced it.
11. Or we could say it this way:
A. The Father thought it.
B. The Son bought it.
C. The Holy Spirit wrought it.
12. Say it any way you want, but when we really see all God has done for us, it ought to cause the saints to burst out in praise like Paul did in verse 3. Also our prayer is that the lost would desire it, get thirsty, and expect the Lord to send the latter rain. (Joel 2:23) He promised to pour water on the thirsty. (Isa. 44:3)
1. Blessings from the Father. V. 4-6
1) He has chosen us. V. 4
1. "According as" = even as; in conformity with the fact or in agreement with the fact; therefore, His blessing is in conformity or agreement with the fact "he hath chosen us."
2. Don't be afraid of that word. To understand, let us ask and answer some questions.
1. "Chosen" = to pick out; to choose; the Greek construction reveals that the subject of the verb acts in his own interest for a definite purpose; therefore, "he"--God the Father chose for His own interest--His own self; the word is used in Deut. 7:6, 14:2 of God choosing Israel.
2. He chose out Israel from amongst all nations to be the channel through which He was to bring salvation to all those in other nations who would receive it.
3. This choosing out of Israel from among the nations does not imply that those nations not chosen are rejected or refused salvation. Instead, the choosing of Israel was for the purpose of making salvation possible to the other nations.
4. The same application applies in the case of individual sinners chosen out from amongst mankind. Those chosen are for the purpose of being channels through which the knowledge of salvation might be brought to the rest of mankind, so that those who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ might be saved. (Mat. 5:14a, 16; Acts 1:8; I Peter 2:11-12)
5. This puts a stop to the idea that those not chosen are rejected or refused salvation. (Mat. 20:16) "Called" here means invited and refers to the call of the gospel--general call and not the effectual (capable of producing the desired effect) call of Rom. 8:30.
6. In Rom. 1:20 we see that man is without excuse because in creation the invisible things of Him (the creator; God) are clearly seen. Therefore, man has a general call--invited, but only few come. (Psa. 19:1-4a)
7. So the act of God choosing out from among mankind certain ones for Himself and those chosen becoming His very own to be used for a certain purpose does not imply that He chooses some to hell. No! If one dies and goes to hell it will be because he himself made a wrong choice.
1. "Us" = Paul, the human instrument who penned down this epistle; the saints at Ephesus; the faithful in Christ; refers to all who trusted the Lord Jesus Christ and also includes those who will trust the Lord.
1. "In him" = in Christ; that is the secret--chosen in Christ; refers to the seed promised to Abraham. (Gal. 3:16)
1. "Before the foundation of the world" = involves the foreknowledge of God and that does not mean there is any merit in man; I will have to say I do not understand all about the foreknowledge of God.
2. "Foundation" = a throwing or laying down; refers to eternity past before a material universe was spoken into existence which had no existence before (Heb. 11:3); there is no room for evolution here.
3. "Before" = prior to; before the earth was hung on nothing in Gen. 1:1 (Job 26:7); before the sons of God (the angels created in Gen. 1:1) shouted for joy over a glorious earth created in Gen. 1:1. (Job 38:4-7)
E. How? I Peter 1:2 = three things.
1. "According to the foreknowledge of God the Father:"
a. "According to" = in a way consistent with.
b. "Foreknowledge" = recognizing beforehand; previous determination; He saw the end before the beginning; therefore, Jesus was no afterthought (I Peter 1:18-20); this does not mean He saw any good in man.
2. "Through sanctification of the Spirit:"
a. "Through" = by; means that it was by this influence--Spirit--Holy Spirit.
b. "Sanctification of the Spirit" = also mentioned in II Thess. 2:13; refers to work of the Holy Spirit--the setting apart work called Holy Ghost conviction, or reproval (John 16:8-11), or godly sorrow (II Cor. 7:10) whereby the Holy Spirit brings one out of the kingdom of darkness (Col. 1:13) and sphere of the Devil's control (Eph. 2:2) into the Kingdom of light and the sphere of God's control; this works repentance and produces faith in the sinner; this is God's part.
3. "Unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:"
a. "Unto" = to; means the work of the Spirit brings you to obedience and sprinkling of the blood.
b. "Obedience" = submission; to come under authority; means to be subject to the Lord and conform one's conduct to God's commands; this is man's part or responsibility; at the point when repentance and faith are worked, then a sinner can repent and believe unto salvation; this is obeying the gospel.
c. "Sprinkling the blood of Jesus Christ" = this happens at the point (instant) one obeys the gospel by repenting and believing; means to be purified by the blood of Christ and cleansed from the guilt of sin.
4. The Father planned it, the Son provided it, and the Holy Ghost produced it--salvation.
1. He wanted trophies of grace--"that we should be holy and without blame before him" = this does not just refer to the Christian's standing as being justified, but also to his character as a child of God.
2. "We" = refers to the saints to whom Paul was writing and applies to all the saved even today.
3. "Holy" = set apart; same word as "saints" in verse 1; means separated to God--to separate from things of the world and be dedicated to God; refers to our position in Christ being followed by progressive sanctification spoken of in chapters 4-6--our walk or growth in Him.
4. "Without blame" = without blemish; free from fault, as a sacrificial animal without spot or blemish.
5. "Before him" = to see down in; the word speaks of a penetrating gaze that sees right down into a thing; refers here to the penetrating gaze of the Holy Spirit as He sees right down into our innermost being, through all hypocrisies and shams of human beings; speaks of now at present time, on this earth, not at the Judgment seat.
6. This is what we should be and the Lord is working in us to be exactly this. (Rom. 8:29, 28)
7. "In love" = the agape love of God exercised in planning our redemption (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8; Eph. 2:4, 5a); this really applies to all our wealth in Christ mentioned in verses 3-14 of this chapter--all one sentence in NT Greek.
8. God takes the initiative in choosing us. Therefore, it is no wonder that Paul burst into jubilant praise in verse 3 as he saw what he was about to pen down concerning our wealth in Christ. He also said in II Thess. 2:13 he had a personal obligation to do so. The word "bound" means personal obligation and we ought to give thanks as well.
2) He has adopt ed us. V. 5
1. Before I deal with this verse I would like to clarify myself concerning predestination and election. Spurgeon said in one of his messages to some in his congregation who were hung up on election by quoting what a lost man had thought or may have even said to him, "I am afraid I am not elect." Then Spurgeon said and I quote, "Oh! dear souls, do not trouble yourselves about that. Whoever comes to Christ and looks for mercy through His blood, is elect, and he shall see that he is elect afterwards. But do not expect to read election till you have read repentance. Election is a college to which you little ones will not go till you have been to the school of repentance. Do not begin to read your book backwards, and say Amen before you have prayed. Begin with 'Our Father', and then you will go on to 'thine is the kingdom the power, and the glory.' But if you begin with 'the kingdom' then you will have a hard work to go back to 'Our Father.' We must begin with faith. We must begin with--'Nothing in my hands I bring.'" End quote.
2. I also read that Spurgeon said that when you come to the door, you will find written on the outside "Whosoever." And when you enter (when saved) and look back you will see on the inside "The elect of God" and "predestinated." That is the middle of the road and that is where I want to be. I may use different terminology that some of the old writers did not use. But give me a chance to explain what I mean.
3. When I say that predestination is not for a lost man, I am looking at it from a lost man's view--man's side--which is basically what Spurgeon said. The three verses where predestination is used reveals the wealth we have in Christ--saved.
1) Predestinated to adoption V. 5
2) Predestinated to be His inheritance. V. 11
3) Predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son. (Rom. 8:29)
4. From God's side--He predetermined--predestinated all things concerning those He foreknew. He even wrote the book of life before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8; 20:15) Also Jesus was slain in the mind of God before the foundation of the world was laid. (I Peter 1:18-20; Acts 2:23)
5. I have been trying to fine tune what I believe so as not to hinder anyone. I want to give you hope. I also want to make it very clear that God does not predestinate the lost to hell. If you die and go to hell, it will be your fault of choosing wrong, by rejecting light and grace He has given to every man. It will not be God's fault.
6. You pray that God will help me fine tune my thinking and preaching and keep me in the middle of the road. Now with that in mind let us look at this verse.
7. "Having predestinated" = to determine before; foreordained; to mark out the boundary or limits of a place, thing, or person previously; in the NT it is always used of God as being determined from eternity (before the foundation of the world); in this verse it refers to those chosen (saved) of verse 4; the matter to be considered when this word is used in the NT is not who are the objects of this predestination but what are they predestined to; the same word is translated in Acts 4:28 "determined before" referring to Acts 4:27 to Herod and Pilate who did what God planned aforetime.
8. "Us" = Paul and the saints he was writing to in Ephesus; also applies to all the saved.
9. "Unto the adoption of children" = one word in the Greek; means the placing as a son; refers to the act of God placing those chosen as adult sons into legal position as an heir, never to be disinherited (joint-heir with Jesus; Rom. 8:17); Paul is referring to a legal Roman practice whereby a person by legal action takes into his family a child not his own, with the purpose of treating him as his own son and giving him all the privileges as his own son.
10. God takes a believing sinner, saves him, regenerates him, and by means of this regeneration makes him a child--Greek word--"teknon" which means a born one. Then He takes this child and places him in a legal position as an adult son--Greek word--"huios" which is the word used in the compound word translated "adoption of children" = placing him as an adult son; therefore, that adopted son is legally entitled to all rights and privileges of a natural born child; know who God's natural born child is? --Jesus; therefore, "in Christ" = God predetermined that we are legally entitled to all rights and privileges that Jesus has.
11. No wonder Paul burst into jubilant praise "Blessed" --verse 3--"Blessed be God."
12. "By" = indicates Jesus Christ was the intermediate agent of God the Father to bring to fruition His purpose of placing believers as adult sons; He did this through His work on the cross where He satisfied the just requirements of God's law which man broke, making it possible for Him to bestow mercy upon a believing sinner on the basis of justice satisfied.
13. Rom. 8:15 states those saved have received the Spirit of adoption--capital "S"--thus it is the Holy Spirit who performs the act of adoption. It is by Jesus Christ yet the Holy Spirit performs it. Sounds contradicting? But it is not. Col. 1:27 says "Christ in you" and Jesus said of the Comforter (John 14:16-17) "shall be in you." Christ in you? And the Holy Spirit in you? Col. 1:27 said it was a "mystery." The three are co-equal--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; therefore, by Jesus Christ and also performed by the Holy Spirit.
14. "To himself" = refers to God the Father; He previously predestinated, marked us out with a view to placing us as adult sons for Himself; for His own satisfaction, that He might lavish His love on us as His sons, that He might give us the high privilege of son-ship and fellowship with Him, that He might be glorified in saving us and being the recipient of our worship and service.
15. "According" = expresses purpose.
16. "Good pleasure" = satisfaction; delight; not strictly in the sense of kindly or friendly feeling but because it pleased Him.
17. "His will" = a desire which proceeds from one's heart or emotion.
18. The last phrase refers to the Father choosing us and predestinating us.
19. Blessed be God for our wealth in Christ.
3) He has accepted us. V. 6
1. These doctrines we just dealt with in verse 5 were not planned by the Father to provoke opposition to God or lead to the charge of partiality, tyranny, severity, or unfairness. These doctrines were planned to arouse and provoke man to thanksgiving and praise.
2. "Praise" = commendation bestowed on One for His worthy actions; the expression of gratitude for personal favors conferred.
3. "Glory" = the manifestation of that which brings forth praise.
4. "Grace" = un-merited favor; unearned favor.
5. Man was undeserving, without strength, ungodly, sinners, and enemies of God and dead in trespasses and sin. (Rom. 5:6, 8, 10, Eph. 2:1) Yet He chose me and predestined me unto adoption. That ought to make us adore Him and praise Him. (Psa. 100:4)
6. The Lord initiated salvation. He made the first move. If man was left to Himself, all humanity would reject His offer of mercy and grace and would perish.
7. We had no claim on God and still He came to us. What grace! Why shouldn't men praise God for what He has done for us. He chooses men:
-to be holy, not sinful.
-to be happy, not miserable.
-to be pure, not impure.
-to be saved, not lost.
For these things and more we should praise Him.
8. Those who are chosen should not complain of the grace which has made them what they are. We have abundant cause for thanksgiving and praise.
9. In praising God for what He does for us we learn to praise Him for what He is and who He is.
10. "Wherein" = which, referring to grace.
11. "Hath made us accepted" = to pursue with grace; to compass with favor; to honor with blessings; to freely bestow; one word in the Greek and could be translated "He made us objects of grace."
12. "In the beloved" = "beloved" refers to the Lord Jesus; it speaks of the love that God is and with which He loves the lost; it is also the love which is the product of the Holy Spirit in the heart of the yielded believer; the tense speaks of an action completed in past time having present and permanent results--"having been loved;" means that God the Father freely bestowed on us the grace which saved us and He did so in the sphere of the Lord Jesus--His person and work on the cross.
13. His grace could not operate in our salvation apart from the atoning death of our Lord. For God is not only a loving God, but a righteous and just God who cannot overlook sin but must require that it be paid for and that was done on the cross, thus making us accepted in the beloved--in Christ, when we exercise saving faith given to us by God.
14. This leads us to see the :
2. Blessings from the Son. V. 7-12
1) He has redeemed us. V. 7a
1. "In whom" = in Christ.
2. "We" = Paul the human instrument who penned down this God breathed book and the saints at Ephesus to whom he was writing; applies to all the saints of God that are saved or will be saved.
3. "Have redemption" = the Greek construction allows us to translate "are having redemption." The tense is continuous action, thus redemption is an abiding fact from the past, through the present, and into the future; to the believer, the fact of redemption is always a present reality when he reads this passage--today or ten years from now.
4. "Redemption" = a releasing effected by payment of ransom; deliverance; liberation procured by the payment of a ransom; to redeem one by paying the price:
A. Three Greek words tell the complete meaning of redemption:
1) "Agorazo" = to buy in the slave market-- translated "bought" in I Cor. 6:20; look at Rev. 5:9; we were slaves to sin under the sentence of death, (Rom. 6:23; John 3:18) and the purchase price was the blood of our Redeemer who died in our place, thereby paying the price; being bought in a slave market, we are His bondslaves.
2) "Exagorazo" = to buy a slave out of the slave market; to buy for one's self (Gal. 3:13; 4:4-5) The bondslave of the Lord Jesus is bought out of the slave market, never to be put up for sale in any slave market for time or eternity--belong to Him forever.
3) "Lutroo" = to set free by the payment of a ransom (Tit. 2:14; I Peter 1:18-20); the bondslaves of the Lord Jesus are set free from their former slavery to sin, to realize in their life that for which God created them, to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.
B. The redeemed are saved or:
1) Set free from the penalty of sin = justification and refers to the spirit. Rom. 8:2
2) Are being set free from the power of sin daily = sanctification and refers to the soul. (James 1:21)
3) Will be set free from the presence of sin at the rapture = glorification and refers to the body.
Note: Therefore, the Greek construction of "have redemption" means "are having redemption;" have been saved from the penalty of sin; are being saved from the power of sin; and will be saved from the presence of sin.
C. All this is ours "through His blood" = the out-poured (not spilt) blood of the Son of God at the Cross = the price for redeeming; the ransom; the wages of sin is death; sin had to be paid for by death which would satisfy God; the outpoured blood means death because the life of the flesh is in the blood (Lev. 17:11); therefore, God was satisfied with His son's outpoured blood. (Isa. 53:11)
5. Blessed be the name of the Lord!
2) He has forgiven us. V. 7b
6. "Forgiveness" = a release; the letting them go as if they had not been committed.
7. "Sins" = deviation from truth and righteousness; a trespass.
8. This is pictured by the scape goat on the Day of Atonement upon which the high priest symbolically placed the sins of the people and was let go into the wilderness never to be seen again by Israel. It typified the aspect of redemption in which the sins of the human race were put away, never to be charged against the individual again.
9. When Paul spoke of redemption, he refers to the fact of being set free from the penalty of sin.
10. Now speaking of forgiveness, which is included in redemption, he is emphasizing the fact that when one is redeemed he is also set free from his guilt due to the fact his sins are gone, separated from him just as the scape goat carried Israel's sins out into the wilderness never to be seen again by them.
11. The Lord said it this way in Jer. 31:34 "I will remember their sins no more"--either He chooses to forget our sins because Christ paid for them on Calvary, or He does not allow them to influence or persuade Him. Hunt all you want, when forgiven, you will never find your sins for they are as far as the east is from the west and you will never find where east meets west. (Psa. 103:12; Isa. 38:17; Micah 7:19)
12. In Christ there is separation of the sinner from his sin. (John 1:29) In OT time man's sins were only covered one year at a time and every year another sacrifice had to be offered. But now, after the cross, our sins are gone and the saved are free from guilt as well as the penalty. (Rom. 8:1, 33) The devil and men may try to lay a charge to God's people, but God will not. (I Cor. 6:11)
13. "According to" = refers to control or being dominated; forgiveness is dominated by His "riches" = wealth; abundance; plentitude (fullness) of His grace; therefore, forgiveness is complete because God's grace is infinite--has no limits or bounds.
14. "His grace to" = undeserved favor; note: it is God's grace.
15. Blessed be God!
3) He has revealed God's will to us. V. 8-10
1. "Wherein" = refers back to "grace" in verse 7; means in which grace He hath abounded to us.
2. "He" = the beloved of verse 6; the Lord Jesus--the Son.
3. "Hath abounded" = to exceed a fixed number or measure; to be over and above a certain number or measure; to exist or be at hand in abundance; more than enough; super-abound; the tense is point action past time; best illustrated by a shook up Pepsi when it is opened on a hot day; which grace He super-abounded toward us; Rom. 5:20 says "much more abound" = means where sin existed in abundance, grace existed in super-abundance and then some on top of that; it is an oversized grace--more than enough to save and keep saved for time and eternity, every sinner who comes to God in Christ Jesus.
4. "Toward" = a preposition which means more than "to" or "toward;" means "in" and "into"--thus reaching not only toward the believing sinner, but into his very being; this grace comes not only towards him but gets hold of him, working a complete work and brings him to salvation--salvation is of the Lord by grace. (Titus 2:11)
5. "Us" = Paul and the saved he is writing to in Ephesus; refers to all the saved past and future.
6. This grace super-abounded "in all wisdom and prudence."
A. "Wisdom" = applies to God; refers to supreme intelligence such as belongs to God.
B. "Prudence" = understanding; refers to the right and effective use of that wisdom in order to attain desired results--to make known to us the mystery of His will.
1. This is an explanation of verse 8.
2. "Having made known" = He hath abounded in that He hath made known; God used His wisdom and understanding to make known unto us the mystery of His will.
3. "Us" = Paul and all saints of all time.
4. "Mystery" = the secret purposes and counsels which God intends to carry into effect in His kingdom; it is something which is not understood until revealed by the Spirit and when revealed it is not difficult of being understood (Rom. 16:25-26); you may know intellectually but not fully understand until the Spirit reveals. (I Cor. 2:14)
5. "Of his will" = pertaining to His will; the word "will" means a desire based upon the emotions; God's will or desire here comes from His heart of love.
6. "According" = a preposition meaning to dominate or control.
7. "His" = God.
8. "Good pleasure" = that which seems good or well to one; delight; satisfaction.
9. This desire on God's part is dominated by His good pleasure. God's good pleasure is not some whim of a sovereign as David when he spoke his thoughts about desiring a drink from the well of Bethlehem (whim--spur of the moment thought). Not so with God. His good pleasure represents that which in the wisdom and love of God would contribute most to the well-being and blessing of the saints.
10. Therefore, the delight, satisfaction, and pleasure which God has in blessing the saints is found in the fact that what He does for them is dictated by what is good for them.
11. This good pleasure is that "which he hath purposed in himself" = "purposed" = to determine.
12. The purpose is God's own free determination, origination in His own gracious mind and is found in v. 10.
1. The mystery that is referred to in verse 9 is stated in verse 10.
2. "Dispensation" = not our usual word; means the management of a household; overseer; administration of other's property.
3. "Fulness" = completion.
4. "Times" = a fixed time; seasons--plural.
5. "Fulness of times" = means the time when the succession of the ages (law, grace, millennium, and etc.) has come to a close in the plan of God--at that time He will gather.
6. "Gather together" = to bring back to and gather round the main point--Christ--"even in him"--"in one."
7. "All things" = people and things; not talking about the rapture--this is further down the road than that; refers to "both which are in heaven, and which are on earth" = the object is to bring the redeemed on earth into harmony with the inhabitants of heaven.
8. This is speaking of the time when all things will be redeemed (that are redeemable) or the time when there will be a new heaven and a new earth. Even this earth will be redeemed. (Rom. 8:19-22)
9. This present world is falling apart. There is war, strife, and separation. But one day God will usher in a new creation with "all thing in Christ." He will accomplish all this work in and through the Lord Jesus and His atoning death on the cross.
10. In Christ we are a part of God's eternal purpose to gather together "all things in Christ." He has revealed to us this mystery.
11. Blessed be God!
4) He has made us an inheritance. V. 11-12
1. "In whom" = "him" = refers to Christ.
2. "Also" = indeed; the word implies not only was it the purpose of God to make known the secret of His grace, but also to fulfill the fact that we were made His own.
3. "We" = refers to Paul and the saints at Ephesus to whom he was writing; applies to saints of all time.
4. "Have obtained an inheritance" = one word in the Greek; to make a heritage; to be designated as a heritage; the Greek construction brings out this fact--we are the Lord's inheritance; it is true we have an inheritance reserved for us in heaven (I Peter 1:3-4); but what Paul is saying here is, we are the Lord's inheritance--His possession through the work of Christ on the cross; in OT time God's inheritance was Israel only (Deut. 4:20--this implies that God will protect, care for, improve, and enjoy His own inheritance and He will be with them and do all that is necessary for them); but now it is much wider for all that God was to Israel of old, He will be to His church now--spiritual Israel (Rom. 2:28-29); Titus 2:14--"peculiar people" = means that which is one's own special valued possession--His inheritance; means that the saints are to be regarded as belonging to the Lord Jesus.
5. "Being predestinated" = same Greek construction as verse 5; to determine before; foreordained; to mark out the boundary or limits of a place, thing, or person previously; in the NT it is always used of God as being determined from eternity (before the foundation of the world).
6. "According to" = expresses purpose.
7. "Purpose" = design; the end or aim to which the view is directed in any plan; a setting forth; proposition; a laying down anything in view of others; a plan of mind; implies God has a plan, purpose, or intention in regard to all who become saints.
8. "Worketh" = to work; to be active; to produce.
9. "All things" = God is the author and gives of all things (Rom. 8:28; John 3:27; James 1:17) and this is "after the counsel of his own will:"
A. "Counsel" = has the idea of intelligence and deliberation.
B. "Of his own will" = a desire which proceeds from one's heart or emotions.
C. This does not mean God acts without reason or thinking things through, as we sometimes do, but what God wills, is with reason, intelligence, and deliberation.
10. This verse could read, "In whom we were made an inheritance, having been previously marked out (for this) according to the purpose of His will."
11. This may be hidden (a mystery without understanding) to us, but it is right and known to God.
1. "That" = introduces the reason which God had in view in predestinating (previously marked out) us to be made His inheritance.
2. "We" = the saints of all time.
3. "Should be" = in English this word makes us think some may not make it because it seems to carry the idea of obligation to the reader, but this is not the case in the Greek; means to be; to exist; to happen; to come to pass--something definite.
4. "His" = "Christ" = the Lord Jesus the Son of God; the Messiah; the anointed One.
5. "Glory" = the manifestation of that which brings forth praise; the idea is that through us His glory will be set forth (saints, not sinners; possessors, not professors); this is the joy set before Jesus that caused Him to endure the cross. (Heb. 12:2)
6. "Who first trusted in Christ" = refers to the Hebrews who turned to Christ as the Messiah and were saved; in verse 13 he refers to the Gentiles trusting Christ--thus the word "first" = refers to the Hebrews.
7. "Trusted" = to hope before; to hope in a person or thing before the event confirms it; the Hebrews, at least some of them, had hope in a coming Messiah and offered sacrifices pointing to Christ, and when He came they received Him as their Messiah.
8. Blessed be God!
3. Blessings from the Holy Spirit. V. 13-14
1. "In whom" = refers to Christ.
2. "Ye" = "your" = refers to the Ephesian Gentiles to whom Paul was writing; applies to all the saved.
3. "Also" = indeed; the Hebrews were "first" (verse 12) but also the Gentiles trusted (at least some of them).
4. "Trusted" = in italics, thus not in the original but supplied by the translators to help us understand the word "believe;" means to have hope.
5. This hope comes as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit as He gives us blessings. What are they?
1) He allowed us to hear the Word of Truth. V. 13a
6. "After" = indicates one must hear truth before he can trust Christ.
7. "Heard" = to hear spiritually; to understand; perceive the sense of what is said. (Mat. 13:9)
8. "Word" = a word uttered by a living voice--preacher, the human instrument which is God's way. (Rom. 10:13-15a; I Cor. 1:21)
9. "Truth" = "the gospel of your salvation" = news of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection (I Cor. 15:3-4) by which one is saved--deliverance (salvation); one has to hear truth before one can call on the Lord. (Psa. 145:18)
10. How blessed we are if we really hear the truth of the gospel. (Col. 1:5)
11. We need to join Paul and say "Blessed be God!"
2) He enables us to believe. V. 13b
12. "Believed" = to exercise saving faith given one by the work of Holy Ghost conviction; for this to occur:
A. Requires guarding the seed. (Luke 8:15)
B. Requires understanding--enough; won't come to the Lord until you have heard and learned (understanding). (John 6:45)
C. Requires godly sorrow (II Cor. 7:10) and a work of reproval (John 16:8-11) bringing you to a point where repentance is granted and saving faith is given. (Eph. 2:8-9; John 3:27)
D. Thus enabling you to obey the gospel--repent and believe and at that point you are saved.
13. "After that ye believed" = does not mean at a later time, but at the same time; could be translated "when you believed" or "having believed;" then at that time:
3) He has sealed us. V. 13c
14. "Sealed" = to set a seal upon; to mark with a seal; sealing is the last thing that must be done prior to delivering; Ex: You seal a letter before mailing.
15. "With that holy Spirit of promise" = means the One promised by the Lord (Acts 1:4,8); the Lord Himself is the seal; a seal signifies:
A. A finished transaction. The seal of the Holy Spirit is a finished transaction between the Father and the Son as to our salvation. (John 17:4; John 19:30; Heb. 10:12)
B. Ownership. We belong to Him when saved. (II Tim. 2:19; I Cor. 6:19-20) The reason we belong to Him is because we are bought with the price of His blood. (I Peter 1:18-19)
C. Security. The Holy Spirit is placed in a believer permanently, (Eph. 4:30) until the body is redeemed, complete in heaven, absent from sin, flesh, world and the devil. That is long enough. (John 5:24; 10:27-29; Rom. 8:35, 37-39) This gives confidence. (II Tim. 1:12)
D. Approval. Our government put seals on meat inspected (USDA choice and etc). This means they put their seal of approval upon the meat the seal is on. You can count on the meat being 1st quality unless some meat inspector was bribed or one failed to do his job properly. Not so with the Holy Spirit--you can depend on Him. (John 6:27; put approval on).
E. Likeness. Some seals make an impression and so does the Holy Spirit. When letters about the king's business were sent, wax was placed on the letters and the king's ring left an impression in the wax. (I Kings 21:8) The Holy Spirit impresses on the soul the image of Jesus Christ. Outward evidence of sealing with the Spirit is the resemblance between Christ and those sealed. That is why Paul could say in Col. 1:27b "Christ in you, the hope of glory" = because the Holy Spirit as the seal impresses on the soul the image of Christ. Those sealed will have the mind of the Spirit which is the mind of Christ. (I Cor. 2:16) The work of the Spirit with us produces the character of Christ in us.
16. Blessed be God!
4) He has given us an earnest. V. 14
1. "Which" = refers back to the Spirit of promise in vs 13.
2. "The earnest" = something which stands for part of the price and paid before hand to confirm the bargain; thereby guaranteeing the rest is coming; in business it means a down payment for a purchased possession; God has given the saints the Holy Spirit as the down payment to assure us that we will experience that total redemption and receive God's promised blessings in glory = "our inheritance." (II Cor. 1:21-22)
3. "Redemption of the purchased possession:"
A. "Redemption" = deliverance; not quite equivalent to "redemption" in verse 7; for there it is a thing accomplished, here it is a thing to come; refers to complete redemption of the spirit, soul, and body of the believer. (I Thess. 5:23)
B. "The purchased possession" = denotes the special, own, purchased possession of God; in I Peter 2:9 the same word is translated "peculiar" people; speaks of the unique, private, personal ownership of the saint of God (I Cor. 6:19-20) who He purchased with His own blood (Acts 20:28); each saint is God's unique possession just as if that saint were the only human being in existence.
4. The Holy Spirit is the first payment in salvation given to a believer, thus guaranteeing the full delivery of all parts of salvation. When one is saved, he is saved from the penalty of sin and is given the Holy Spirit--the earnest. That guarantees that our soul will be saved from the power of sin, day by day and that our body will be made like unto His glorious body (I John 3:2; Rom. 8:24) when he is saved from the presence of sin--rapture. (II Cor. 5:1-8)
5. "Unto the praise of his glory" = this is the reason for all of God's blessings; "praise" = commendation bestowed on One for His worthy actions; the expression of gratitude for personal favors conferred; "his" = "Christ" = the Lord Jesus the Son of God; the Messiah; the anointed One; "glory" = the manifestation of that which brings forth praise; the idea is that through us His glory will be set forth (saints, not sinners; possessors, not professors); this is the joy set before Jesus that caused Him to endure the cross (Heb. 12:2); three times this phrase is mentioned, verses 6, 12, and 14--one for the Father , one for the Son, and one for the Holy Spirit.
6. Blessed be God!
B. Prayer for spiritual perception. V. 15-23
1. "Wherefore" = in view of the facts just mentioned; on this account; on account of all that is true of the saints which is stated in verses 3-14.
2. "I" = Paul, the human instrument who penned down this epistle.
3. Just as we saw one complete sentence in the Greek in verses 3-14, we again see one complete sentence in verses 15-23.
1. Prayer V. 15-16
4. Paul thanks the Lord for the Ephesian saints and prays for them. Praying involves giving thanks (Phil. 4:6; I Thess. 5:18). He did this only after he "heard" = having heard; it seems that Paul had not been present at the Ephesian church for a period of time--we know not how long--and someone he had confidence in told Paul (in prison; first time in Rome where he was allowed to have visitors) about the Ephesian saints.
5. He heard of their "faith in the Lord Jesus."
A. "Faith" = does not refer to the initial act when the Lord grants faith to a sinner enabling him to believe unto justification; this refers to the day by day faith exercised in the Lord Jesus for daily living that exists among the Ephesians saints; this is a faith that works (James 2:17-18); works are necessary to see one's faith.
B. "Lord" = supreme in authority.
C. "Jesus" = the earthly name of God incarnate (God robed in flesh); the Saviour of mankind.
6. He also heard of their "love unto all the saints" = this love refers to the agape kind of love; love in action; refers to that love produced in the heart of the yielded believer by the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 5:5; Gal. 5:22-23)
A. "All" = each and every one, individually.
B. "Saints" = set apart for God (from sin to God); sanctified; the root word is a verb which refers to the act of the Holy Spirit setting apart for God the sinner--taking him out of the first Adam and placing him in the last Adam--Christ; the saved.
1. "Cease not" = means he had them always on his mind and heart as he did when he was with them. (Acts 20:31)
2. "To give thanks" = to express gratitude toward; the tense is continuous habitual lifestyle.
3. "You" = the Ephesian saints.
4. "Making mention of you in my prayers" = refers to words Paul expressed to God in prayer; the tense is continuous habitual lifestyle--Paul kept on bombarding heaven with specific prayer requests on the Ephesians' behalf.
5. "Prayers" = refers to supplication (prayer for particular benefits--being specific in our praying) and entreaty (urgent and pressing prayer).
2. Source V. 17a
1. "God" = refers to God the Father--the first person of the trinity.
2. Identified as the "Lord Jesus Christ's" God. This is in agreement with what Jesus Himself said in John 20:17. This speaks of our Lord in His humanity as worshiping and being obedient to God the Father, yet He was God. (John 10:30)
3. Paul called Him "Our Lord" = personal Lord, ruler, owner, and master to whom many times he referred to himself as the Lord's servant. Paul's Lord was Jesus Christ, not Caesar as was popular at this time. Paul was in prison (first time) but he set the record straight--Caesar was not his Lord, Jesus Christ was.
4. Also he called God, "the Father of Glory" = simply means the Father to whom all glory belongs as Stephen brought out in Acts 7:2.
3. Request. V. 17b-18a
5. "May give" = why? (James 1:17; John 3:27) what? = "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:"
A. "Spirit" = what spirit is he talking about? human spirit or the Holy Spirit? the Ephesian saints had both--they received the Holy Spirit when saved (Rom. 8:9) and also when saved their human spirit was quickened. (Eph. 2:1)
B. How could God give them something they already had? Can't happen, therefore, "spirit" refers to a disposition of influence which fills and governs the individual.
C. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in your spirit. (Eph. 5:18) Paul wanted God to control, guide, and lead the saints and finish in them what He had started. (Phil. 1:6) He wanted this for all saints.
D. "Wisdom" = the knowledge of how to regulate one's relationship with Christ; wisdom to understand the things of His grace.
E. "Revelation" = disclosure; uncovering; unveiling; refers to disclosing more of the mysteries of His kingdom and to be shown what and how great are the benefits of salvation; when saved it is like getting a big gift with a lot of little gifts inside--you will be unwrapping the benefits of salvation throughout eternity.
F. "In the knowledge of him" = refers to knowledge that is true, accurate, thorough, full knowledge "of him" = God Himself, not just the Lord Jesus but the Father as well; what Paul desired for these Ephesian saints was for them to have a better acquaintance with God Himself, even though they already knew God in a special way. He wanted them to know Him better; this was Paul's desire for himself also (Phil. 3:10); this could only take place with the help of the Holy Spirit. (I Cor. 2:9-10)
1. "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened" = these words are just an explanation of the act of God giving the saints a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the full knowledge of Him. (verse 17)
2. "Understanding" = mind as a faculty of understanding, feeling, and desiring; refers to the real you--your inner being sometimes referred to as the heart--the center of spiritual life; therefore, the figure is that the heart is regarded as having eyes looking out toward the Lord.
3. "Enlightened" = to give understanding to the eyes of your inner being; the tense is perfect which means a past completed action with existing results; could be read this way; "the eyes of your heart having been enlightened with the present results that they are in a state of illumination."
4. In other words Paul is praying that a permanent work of the Holy Spirit be done in the human spirit of these saints, that their inner spiritual capacities for the understanding the truth may be the recipient of a lasting benefit.
4. Reasons. V. 18b-19
5. "That ye may know" = absolute, immediate knowledge of a fact once for all; to know absolutely and finally--no doubt about it; refers to three things, each beginning with a "what" in verses 18-19; in each of these three reasons lies a mine full of hidden treasure of which I can only scratch the surface.
1) "What is the hope of his calling:" V. 18b
6. "Calling" = is the call of which God is the author; refers to an effectual call--a call capable of producing the desired result--justified (saved) (Rom. 8:30); this only comes after godly sorrow works repentance and saving faith has been given.
7. "Hope" = expectation of good; a joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation.
8. "What" = not "how great" and not "what kind" but "what;" what is the hope of His calling--what can we expect since being saved; saints do not know all that is involved when saved; it is a gift and we will unwrap it throughout all eternity.
9. What can we expect?
A. Our Lord to come for us one day in what we refer to as the rapture. Then we will be caught up spirit, soul, and body--complete salvation--saved from the presence of sin. (I Thess. 4:13-17; I Cor. 15:51-57)
B. A new body. (I John 3:1-2; Phil. 3:20-21) Therefore we will be like Him--glorified. Walls didn't stop Him, yet He could be felt and He ate.
C. A home in heaven. (II Cor. 5:1-4,8; John 14:1-3)
D. To be with Him forever. (I Thess. 4:17; Rev. 21:4; I Thess. 4:18)
E. Household salvation. (Acts 16:31-32) They were saved not just because the Philippian jailer was saved--they also trusted. If we meet the Lord's conditions, we can claim His promise of Pro. 22:6. No one has completely met these conditions, but if we walk with Him, we will be an influence. (Mat. 5:16; John 12:32; Isa. 55:10-11)
F. If you are reading this and not saved, may you desire these thing in your life so much that you get thirsty and the Lord said He would pour water upon you. (Isa. 44:3)
2) "What the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints:" V. 18c
A. "Is" = a verb which applies to all three of these reasons therefore, implies here--"what is the riches, etc.?"
B. "Riches" = this is singular in the Greek; means wealth or abundance.
C. "Glory" = splendor; brightness; radiance.
D. "In the saints" = in the sphere of the saints; God's inheritance is within the sphere of the saints; in verse 11 Paul says we were predestined to be His inheritance; it is also true we have an inheritance. (I Peter 1:3-4)
E. In the last part of verse 18, Paul prays that we might know how precious the saints are in God's eyes as His inheritance. We are said to be :
a. "Peculiar" = valued possession. (Titus 2:14; I Peter 2:9)
b. "Precious" = valuable. (Psa. 116:15)
c. "Jewels" = wealth (Mal. 3:17); referring to Israel, but saints are true Israel. (Rom. 2:28-29; Rom. 4:13)
d. God is glorified in His saints and that glory is valuable. (Isa. 49:3--"glorified" = embellished; II Thess. 1:10) The saints are part of the wealth that God possesses and we are dearer to Him than all the splendors of creation.
e. Paul prayed that we might know--have absolute knowledge of what "is" the riches of the glory of His inheritance--His saints.
3) "What is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe:" V. 19-23
A. "To us-ward who believe" = toward the saints and faithful (verse 1) to whom Paul was writing; includes Paul and all the saved who read this verse and to all those who will be saved; "believe" = the tense is continuous action thus applying to saving faith given by the Lord and exercised by each individual that saving faith was given to; this phrase applies to all three reasons--His calling, inheritance, and power.
B. "Power" = miraculous power; speaks of divine power; comes from a Greek word where we get our word "dynamite."
C. "Greatness" = magnitude; described as "exceeding" = from a word which literally means "a throwing beyond" and in context means superiority, excelling; it speaks of power that is beyond measure, more than enough, of surpassing power.
D. In these three reasons Paul leads the readers on from hope itself, which becomes theirs as a result of their being called of God, to the splendor of inheritance to which the hope points, and from this again to that in which God Himself makes the fulfillment of the hope and the possession of the inheritance certain. That is the exceeding greatness of His power:
a. Measure of this power--"according to the working of his mighty power."
b. "Working" = power in exercise; operative power; from a word which we get our English word "energy;" it speaks of energy put forth in operation.
c. "Mighty" = manifested strength.
d. Second "power" = different word from first in this verse: means strength; power as an endowment--that which is bestowed.
e. There are four words in this verse that all have the general meaning of power:
a) "Power" = first use = natural ability; divine power.
b) "Working" = power in exercise; used of superhuman power.
c) "Mighty" = manifested strength.
d) "Power" = second use = power as an endowment--that which is bestowed.
f. To put all of these together we could translate this way: "And what is the super-abounding greatness of His inherent power to us who are believing as measured by the operative energy of the manifested strength of His might." This might was demonstrated in verse 20.
1. "He" = "his" = God the Father.
2. "Wrought" = to be operative; be at work; put forth power.
3. "In Christ" = "him" = this is where all the benefits occur in us--"in Christ" = the Anointed One; the Messiah of the OT; this phrase is used or implied13 times thus far in Ephesians; this is where all the doctrines of the Bible can be realized--in Christ.
4. This power (might) we spoke of in verse 19 was operative in two ways:
A. His resurrection--"when he raised him from the dead."
5. "Raised" = refers to imparting life to a cold and mangled dead body. (Isa. 52:14)
6. "From" = out from among the dead.
7. Christ died the cruel death of the cross, was buried by Joseph and Nicodemus in a borrowed tomb, and three days later the women came to the tomb and it was empty for Christ had risen. (Mat. 28:6) This is the first time this type of resurrection had happened. Only God's power could do that and it showed the exceeding greatness of His power.
8. The power that accomplished all this now works in believers.
B. His exaltation--"set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places."
9. "Set" = to sit down; the resurrected Christ entered the Holy of Holies in heaven and sprinkled His shed blood upon the mercy seat and the Father was satisfied and said "set down."
10. "Right hand" = indicates a position of supreme authority.
11. "In the heavenly places" = "places" is in italics, thus supplied by the translators to give us smooth English reading; means in heaven--the third heaven--the abode of God; this is the same place the saints are now. (Eph. 1:3)
12. Sin had been atoned for. Peter testified of this in Acts 2:32-33; 5:30-32, and also Paul in Phil. 2:9 in which "exalted" = to exalt to highest rank and power; to raise to supreme majesty.
13. For this to have happened "power" had to be operative to overcome all the exhausted weight of Satanic opposition and resistance and also to:
a. Overcome the combined assault of Satan and his cohorts. V. 21
1. "Far above" = to exalt to highest rank and power; highly exalted.
2. "Principality" = means properly the beginning; and then the first--the first place, power, dominion, pre-eminence, rulers, magistrate, and etc; may refer to any rank or power, whether among men or angels; the sense is that Christ is exalted above all.
3. "Power" = mastery; authority; right; word here gives the idea that Christ is elevated above all ranks of creatures, however exalted and by whatever name they may be known including Satan.
4. "Might" = natural ability; strength; force; applies here to Satan and his cohorts.
5. "Dominion" = lordship; the devil has power over demons, but Christ has been exalted far above all of them.
6. All four of these terms in context applies to Satan and his demons; Even kings and rulers that were demon possessed could not stop Christ. The sense here is that when Christ arose and ascended to sprinkle His blood in heaven, the devil and all his demons and all mankind could not stop Him. Christ overcame the combined assault by literally stripping them off as they tried to hold Him down. He had great victory and satisfied a holy God by the supreme sacrifice of His blood and the Father God exalted Him above all.
7. "Every name that is named" = every creature of every rank.
8. "Not only in this world" = not only above all kings, and princes, and rulers of every grade and rank on earth.
9. "But also in that which is to come" = refers to a new heaven and new earth; the meaning is, that He is supreme over all.
b. "Put all things under his feet." V. 22a
1. "Put under" = a military term meaning, "to put in subjection under one."
2. "All things" = this does not refer merely to defeated and arrested enemies, but to the whole of creation and the fulness thereof.
3. "His feet" = the context refers to all things are at His (Christ's) disposal as if they were literally under his feet.
4. As a military commander, proceeding even through his own country, has power to requisition everything needful for his army, and deal with all property as may be required for military purposes, so Christ has the whole creation at His disposal, dead or alive, hostile or friendly.
5. The Greek construction of this phrase is spoken as completed. In Heb. 1:13 the Father spoke to His Son words of exaltation but never spoke the same to the angels.
6. I have read the last chapter and have seen in the mind of God it is completed--as good as done. That is power in operation.
c. Christ was made head of the church. V. 22b-23
7. "Gave him to be the head over all things" = appointed Him to be supreme ruler--sovereign--chief supreme, above all others.
8. "To the church" = a called out assembly; a group of baptized believers who meet together to glorify the Lord; the only called out assembly that exists today is the local church of which there are only types of the church of the firstborn (Heb. 12:23) which will be called out at the rapture and then there will be a called out assembly in heaven which will be a local, visible body.
1. "Which" = refers to the church spoken of in verse 22.
2. "His" = "him" = Christ.
3. "His body" = the church is Christ's body in a real though spiritual sense; He is the head and His people are the members; He is the Vine and His people the branches; He dwells in the church as life dwells in a living body.
4. When one is saved, he is placed into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. (I Cor. 12:13) Water baptism places one who professes to be saved into a local church which is a type of the church of the firstborn called out in the rapture and then Christ's body will be complete. (Heb. 12:23)
5. "The fulness of him that filleth all in all" = refers to that which is or has been filled; the word "fulness" is used of a ship as it is filled (manned) with sailors, rowers, and soldiers; this refers to the church being filled with the presence, power, agency, riches of God and of Christ; the idea is, that there is no place where He is not, and which He does not fill and that He is the source of all the holy and happy influences that are aboard in the works of God.
6. We see then the very power that raised Jesus from the dead is available for our daily lives. Christ has already won the victory over sin, death, the world, and Satan. We are not fighting for victory, but from victory. We are seated with Him in the heavenlies where there is power, peace, and victory.
C. Our new condition in Christ. V. 1-10--Before we can really appreciate our new condition we must see:
1. What we were in the past. V. 1-3
1) Dead. V. 1
1. "You" = "who" = refers to the Ephesian saints to whom Paul was writing.
2. "Hath he quickened" = in italics thus not in the original but supplied by the translator because "quickened" is brought out in verse 5.
3. "Dead" = spiritually; refers to a state of separation from God and His life.
4. Physical death is separation of soul and spirit from one's body.
5. God told Adam when He put him in the garden of Eden that he could eat of every tree of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil and if he was to eat of that tree he would die. (Gen. 2:15-17) Adam ate of that tree and died spiritually (separated from God) even though he lived 930 years physically. All Adam's descendants are begotten after Adam's image (Gen. 5:3), so all mankind is born with a dead spirit--destitute of a life that recognizes and is devoted to God because it is given up to trespasses and sins. (Psa. 51:5; 58:3)
5. "Trespasses" = to deviate from the right path; to turn aside; to wander; refers to deviation from truth and righteousness.
6. "Sins" = to miss the mark, as a spear-man throws at a target and it falls short; in the NT it speaks of sin as an act of a person failing to measure up his life to the will of God; the mark is the glory of God and man can't reach that (Rom. 3:23) by self (Isa. 64:6a); all attempts to live (within self) a life pleasing to God falls short of the target.
7. What can a dead man do? Romans 5:6 says he is "without strength" = from the root word where we get our word "anesthesia" which means loss (partial or total) of senses by drugs or disease.
8. The body of a man is world conscience with the five senses: touch, smell, hear, see, and taste. The soul of a man is self-conscience while the spirit of man is God conscience, but we are born with a dead spirit and have no conscientiousness toward God--no worship, no faith, no love, no hope, and no fear. Rom. 3:10-18 gives the condition of a natural lost dead man spiritually--no conscientiousness toward God. (Isa.64:7)
9. Therefore, you ought to praise the Lord for what conscientiousness of God you have because He had to stir and awaken you for what conscientiousness you have. He had to plant the seed and conception leads to life unless an abortion is performed, and God is not for abortion.
2) Dominated. V. 2-3a
1. "Wherein" = refers to "trespasses and sins" of verse 1.
2. "In time past" = refers to what we (ye, the Ephesian saints; applies to all saints) were or are if not saved.
3. "Walked" = to live; to regulate one's life; to conduct one's self; to order one's behavior; the idea is that "ye walked in trespasses and sins;" the unsaved order their behavior and regulate their lives within the sphere of trespasses and sins because they are dominated by three things:
a. World. V. 2a
4. "According to" = implies the act of ordering one's behavior is dominated or controlled by "the course of this world;" also applies to the second phrase of this verse.
5. "Course" and "world" = are synonym words in the Greek:
A. "Course" = the spirit of this age in an unfavorable sense.
B. "World" = mankind in an unfavorable sense.
C. In other words mankind is dominated by the spirit of this age which is rebellion and anti-God.
6. The spirit of this age puts pressure on you to fit in by wearing the fashions of the world no matter how ungodly or immodest they are. Also you are pressured to tell dirty jokes to fit in with the crowd you work with or cuss because they do or follow what the world follows--pleasure activities and just leave God out.
7. Saints are commanded not to love the world (I John 2:15) and be not in agreement (conformed) to the world. (Rom. 12:2) There is an old saying, "When in Rome do as the Romans do." No! No! When in Rome do as God would have you to do.
8. The unawakened, unsaved are dominated by the spirit of this age, and their actions, attitudes, and interests lean that way--anti-God and rebellion. (Jer. 17:9)
9. You ought to thank God if you are even bothered when you follow the spirit of this age, because:
A. You had some godly parents who taught you right from wrong.
B. And spiritual conception has taken place and the Lord wants a spiritual birth to follow.
b. The devil. V. 2b
10. "Prince" = ruler; leader; refers to the first in order of persons; in context it refers to Satan (devil) who is the first in power and authority in his kingdom--he is limited and can only do what God allows.
11. "Power" = limited authority; refers to the demons.
12. "Air" = the lower, denser atmosphere, we call first heaven; Satan and his demons are in the lower atmosphere where human beings are and he is filled with bitter hatred for God and the human race.
13. The unsaved order their behavior according to his dictates and those of his demons. This does not mean that he makes all the unsaved drunkards or murderers. Instead his usual tactic is to give people false security through self-righteousness. (II Cor. 11:14) He would just as soon you to go to hell from the church pew as the bar stool.
14. The prince of the power of the air is also the prince of "the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience."
15. I want to ask two questions. 1) What is that spirit? 2) Who are the children of disobedience?
A. I'll try to answer the second question first--"Who are the children of disobedience?"
a. "Children of disobedience" = refers to the unsaved because they have the character of being disobedient; refers to the sons of Adam who are born with a sinful nature.
b. "Disobedience" = disbelief; does not comply to (yield to); means to be obstinate and rebellious; that is the nature of every unsaved person--even all saints before saved.
B. What is that spirit?
a. "Spirit" = refers to one's way of thinking and acting; it is the spirit of antichrist working in every unsaved person.
b. "Worketh" = to be operative; to be at work; the tense is continuous action which refers to a habitual lifestyle.
c. "Now" = at this time; refers to that spirit operating in every unsaved person--any time this is read--now.
d. No wonder all lost are blinded and deceived until the Lord moves. (II Cor. 4:3-4; Jer. 17:9)
e. That spirit is operating in the unsaved due to the fallen sinful nature received from Adam.
f. Also all are children of disobedience by choice when we reach the knowledge of accountability.
16. The devil uses three channels to deceive us. (I John 2:16)
A. The lust of the flesh.
B. The lust of the eyes.
C. The pride of life.
17. These are the same three channels he used on Eve in the garden and the same channels he uses today. You may ask, "Why doesn't he change his tactics?" There is no need, for they still work! So why change?
18. Dominated by the devil.
c. The flesh. V. 3a
1. "Among whom" = refers back to the children of disobedience. (verse 2)
2. "Also" = indeed.
3. "We all" = "our" = the Jews and Gentiles; Paul included himself in this group; the saints to whom Paul was writing, at one time were numbered among the children of disobedience.
4. "Conversation" = manner of living; refers to one's conduct and behavior.
5. "In times past" = before they were saved; all saints, in times past, were dominated by the lust of the flesh.
6. "Flesh" = refers to the totally depraved (morally corrupt) nature dominating the unsaved individual.
7. "Lusts" = a passionate longing or craving for that which is forbidden or against God; unbridled desire (If you let the horse go--take off his bridle--you will get in trouble).
8. "Fulfilling" = to do; perform; accomplish; speaks of the habitual performing of acts that satisfy the desires of the evil nature and evil thoughts.
9. "Desires of the flesh" = refers to earth-bound appetites.
10. "Desires of the mind" = refers to earth-bound ambitions.
11. "Desires" = refers to desires that come from our emotions; therefore, the life of the unsaved is dominated by emotions rather than reason.
3) Doomed. V. 3b
12. "Were" = the tense speaks of continuous action in past time.
13. "Were by nature" = by birth; before we were converted (saved) (Rom. 5:12); this means our totally depraved condition before salvation was a continuous one, from birth to the day one is saved--without a ceasing of that condition, therefore, children of wrath.
14. "The children of wrath" = exposed to wrath; "wrath" is God's holy hatred for sin (John 3:18); anger exhibited in punishment; the end result will be the lake of fire; John 3:36 says the wrath of God "abideth" on one who has not believed--not saved; "Abideth" means to remain; to continue to be present; implies that he is now under the wrath of God and under condemnation and that it will continue to remain on him until he is saved.
15. Thank the Lord a person is safe until he reaches the knowledge of accountability which is when they have a knowledge of good and evil. ( II Sam. 12:23; Deut. 1:39) However there comes a point that one is accountable, and then wrath is hanging over that person. If it wasn't for God's forbearance (holding back that wrath) giving one a space of repentance (Rom. 2:4), that person would be in hell.
16. "Even as others" = speaks of the universality of sin (Rom. 3:23); all are in the same condition, Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, drunkard or church goer, murderer or preacher.
17. Such a one is doomed, without God and without hope within himself, and if one is not saved, he is still in that condition.
2. What God did. V. 4
1. "But God" = "his" = "he" = shows the contrast; every time God paints a bad picture, we find the contrast "but" and that gives us hope.
2. God, who is angry with sin, is also a God of mercy, love, and grace. His disposition toward the dead, dominated, and doomed is:
3. "Us" = the Ephesian saints to who Paul is writing and he includes himself; applies to all the saved.
A. One of mercy.
3. "Mercy" = kindness or good will toward the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them; it kept me from getting what I deserved and kept me out of hell; described as being "rich" = inexhaustible; abundantly supplied; His mercies are new every morning. (Lam. 3:22-23)
B. One of love.
4. "Love" = agape love; speaks of a love called out of one's heart by the preciousness of the one loved; a love that impels one to sacrifice one's self for the object loved--that is us and it was shown at Calvary. (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8); described as "great" = beyond what is usual; expresses a large, extensive, or unusual degree of any thing; magnanimous.
5. "For" = because of; on account of; He loved us even when we were dead (verse 5a); because of His great love, He is rich in mercy and also rich in :
C. One of grace.
6. Grace gives us what we do not deserve. Grace is mentioned in verses 5, 7, and 8. His grace that brings salvation has appeared to all men. (Titus 2:11)
7. It was grace that :
A. Gave light. (John 1:9, Rom. 1:19-20; Psa. 19:1-4a)
B. Planted the seed--awakened us to our real condition by separating man's soul from man's spirit which was dead. God's word is the seed. (Heb. 4:12)
C. Sent man a human instrument. (Acts 8:31; Rom. 10:13-15a; I Cor. 3:5)
D. Sent the Holy Spirit. (John 14:16-18; 16:8-11) The Holy Spirit broke through the thick crust of our depravity with regenerating light of the gospel.
8. Blessed be God for our wealth in Him!
3. What we are now. V. 5-10
1) Saved. V. 5, 8-9 Contrast to being dead.
1. "Even when we were dead in sins" = repeated from verse 1 in order to set in its true light the declaration that follows of what God did for us to make more emphatic the free and sovereign mercy of God; this phrase ties back to verse 4 to the phrase "his great love wherewith he loved us;" He loved us when we were dead in sins and had no claim to His favor; His great love was the reason why he had compassion upon us.
2. "We" = "us" = "ye" = the saints to whom Paul was writing and he included himself; applies to all saints.
3. "Quickened" = made alive; not just conception but now a birth.
4. "Together with him" = the meaning is, that there is a connection between Christ and those whom the Father hath given to Him, that His resurrection from the grave involved their resurrection to spiritual life.
5. Everywhere in the NT the close connection of the believer is affirmed:
A. We are crucified with Him. (Rom. 6:6)
B. We died with Him.
C. We will rise with Him.
D. We will live with Him.
E. We will reign with Him.
F. We are joint heirs with Him.
G. We share His suffering on the earth. (I Peter 4:13)
H. We will share His glory with Him on His throne. (Rev. 3:21)
6. Then Paul interjected the subject of salvation by grace with a parenthetical clause expressed in a parenthesis. This is more fully dealt with in verse 8. Paul never passed up an opportunity to refer to salvation by grace.
7. "By grace" = undeserving; unmerited favor; God's Riches at Christ's Expense; grace explains how God operates; it is a constant reminder that God does not manifest acts of mercy toward people because they deserve those acts of mercy; the Greek construction of this phrase is unusual--it is put in strong and clear language.
8. "Saved" = delivered from sin and its guilt; justified; the tense in the Greek is perfect which means a completed action in past time with existing results--means at the point one believes he has been completely saved with the present result that he is in a saved state of being; his initial act of exercising saving faith brought him to salvation in its three aspects--justification, sanctification, and glorification, which is spoken of in Rom. 8:30 as already done; salvation by grace is complete.
9. He also uses a continuous action verb "ye are" thus showing results through present time--double emphasis.
10. God does not cease working in the believer's life after he is saved. In other words Paul shows the existence of finished results through present time. This little phrase refutes the doctrine of "falling from grace"--losing one's salvation, that some teach today.
2) Have triumph. V. 6-7 Contrasted to doomed.
1. "Hath raised us up together = one word in the Greek; means we are raised from the death of sin to life, in the connection with the resurrection of Jesus; so close is the connection between Him and His people, that His resurrection made others certain; raised up with One who has Satan beneath his feet. (Eph. 1:20-22)
2. "Made us sit together" = one word in the Greek; indicates the position we have in Christ, as partakers of a finished, accomplished redemption and shares in triumph (a victory); so close is our connection with him, that we shall partake of His glory, and in some measure do now.
3. "In heavenly places" = "places" is in italics, thus placed by the translators to give us smooth English reading; means in the "heavenlies"--means in heaven--the third heaven--the abode of God and because of our position, we are already potentially in heaven, where He actually is.
4. "In Christ Jesus" = this connection emphasizes the fact that gracious proceeding of God towards us is in immediate connections with the work and person of Christ; the meaning is we are united with Christ, we die with Him, and live with Him; we share His suffering, and we share His joys; we become dead to the world in virtue of His death; we become alive unto God by virtue of His resurrection; in heaven we shall share His glory and partake of His triumphs.
5. If saved we are seated right now in the heavenlies, thus:
A. Our eyes are open to heavenly realities.
B. Our minds are moved by heavenly desires.
C. Our hearts are satisfied with heavenly joys.
D. And we have spiritual privileges now in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.
1. We will be put on display as trophies of grace.
2. "That" = in order that; strong statement of purpose.
3. "The ages to come" = in the Greek, literally means that in the eternal ages that rolls in, one after another in the future eternity (not only now and millennium reign), even after the new heaven and new earth.
4. "He" = "his" = God.
5. "Might shew" = the Greek indicates that the subject of the verb acts in His own interest; to show for one's self or for His own glory; in other words, God will exhibit His kindness to the saints for His own glory in order that He may be glorified; that is why man was created and saved--for His glory. (Isa. 43:7)
6. "Riches" = wealth or abundance; described as "exceeding" = surpassing; from a word which literally means "a throwing beyond." (Eph. 3:20)
7. "Grace" = undeserving and unmerited favor; this is how God operates; it is a constant reminder that God does not manifest acts of mercy toward people because they deserve those acts of mercy.
8. "In kindness" = moral goodness.
9. "Toward" = upon.
10. "Us" = refers to the saints to whom Paul was writing and he included himself; refers to all the saved.
11. "Through" = a preposition denoting the channel of an act; that channel is Christ Jesus.
A. "Jesus" = the earthly name of God incarnate (God robed in flesh); the Saviour of mankind.
B. "Christ" = the Anointed One; the Messiah of the OT.
12. The divine triumph over sin through grace will be put on exhibition to every created being, fallen and un-fallen alike. Saints will be on display before the angelic world, basking in the sunshine of God's smile, enjoying the riches of His blessings--all in order that He might be glorified by the angelic host. This is the joy that was set before Him that caused Him to endure the cross. (Heb. 12:2) No wonder John saw the saints rejoicing in Rev. 19:1, over salvation which the angels do not know about; However the angels still give Him glory. (Rev. 5:11-12, 7:11-12)
1) Saved. V. 5, 8-9 (continued)
1. "For" = because of; it is because we are saved by grace that we have triumph.
2. "By grace are ye saved" = already stated in verse 5:
A. "By grace" = undeserving; unmerited favor; God's Riches At Christ's Expense; grace explains how God operates; it is a constant reminder that God does not manifest acts of mercy toward people because they deserve those acts of mercy; the Greek construction of this phrase is unusual--it is put in strong and clear language.
B. "Saved" = delivered from sin and its guilt; justified; the tense in the Greek is perfect which means a completed action in past time with existing results--means at the point one believes he has been completely saved with the present result that he is in a saved state of being; his initial act of exercising saving faith brought him to salvation in its three aspects--justification, sanctification, and glorification, which is spoken of in Rom. 8:30 as already done; salvation by grace is complete.
3. In this verse Paul added "through faith" to what he wrote in verse 5.
4. "Through" = a preposition denoting the channel of an act.
5. "Faith" = (Heb. 11:1) to trust; to rely on; to commit; belief with the predominate idea of trust; the means through which one is saved; the connector whereby man might be saved (Rom. 3:25); the means whereby the sinner takes advantage of this salvation which God offers one in pure grace.
6. Faith does not save, the Lord does, but faith is necessary. If a person was thirsty, in a desert, and about to die, and he came upon a water faucet and took a drink, what would he do or say? "Thank God for the faucet!" No, "Thank God for the water." The pipe and faucet were just channels for the water to come through.
7. Yet someone had to lay the pipe that channeled the water to him. He had nothing to do with it. Grace laid the pipe--the faith--so you could drink of the living water--the Lord. Man had nothing to do with it--"And that not of yourselves" = this is not out of you as a source.
8. "It is the gift of God"= refers to the whole process of salvation and included is "faith;" not your faith but the Lord's faith granted to you--gift. (Gal. 3:22)
9. In Rom. 10:17 it clearly states that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. "Word" means utterance and refers to every utterance of God, whenever and however He speaks. Thus, it is His faith that He has to give you for you to be able to exercise it. (John 3:27)
1. "Not of works" = "works" means an act, deed, or thing done; this phrase means not of a source of works; there is not any act or deed one can do to save himself; means salvation is not produced by man, nor earned by him; therefore, water baptism does not save, because it is a work.
2. "Lest any man should boast" = "boast" means to brag, to glory, and to exalt one's self; man would brag or glory (to speak with pride) in self if he could save himself.
3. God is a jealous God and He wants all the glory Himself. Grace glorifies God. Therefore, salvation is by grace and grace alone.
4. When we see what we were and what God did to save us, it ought to cause us to want to give the Lord glory now, like Paul in Eph. 1:3--Blessed be God!
3) His workmanship. V. 10 Contrasted to dominated.
1. "For" = this is a conjunction which reveals a contrast to verse 9.
2. Even though it is not possible to work, produce, or earn salvation, this verse reminds us that if one is saved, there will be good works in one's life after he is saved.
3. "We" = refers to the saints Paul was writing this epistle to and Paul included himself; this is true of all who have been saved or will be saved.
4. "His" = God's.
5. "Workmanship" = something that is made; a product of what grace can do in man; when you look at a piece of furniture that is handmade, you say "that is good workmanship;" the saints are a work, the handiwork of God, made anew by Him.
6. "Created in Christ Jesus unto good works" = a further definition of "workmanship."
7. "Created" = refers to regeneration "in Christ Jesus" = means to be saved. (II Cor. 5:17)
8. "Unto good works" = means He created us with a view to good works; good works was the object to which the new creation was led to; not the cause. (verse 9)
9. These works "God hath before ordained" = to prepare before; to make ready beforehand; means God pre-arranged a sphere of moral action for all saints to walk in.
10. "Walk" = to regulate one's life; to conduct oneself; to order one's self; we are to order our behavior in the sphere of these good works.
11. Not only are works the necessary outcome of faith but the character and direction of these works are made ready by God. Therefore, God's workmanship or masterpiece was created for the purpose of good works.
12. When a man invents something, he has a purpose for it and it is useless unless it fulfills that purpose--good works.
13. God arranged a sphere of moral action to walk in (Phil. 2:12), and He gives us help to do so. (Phil. 2:13; Eph. 3:20; Phil. 4:13)
14. It is not a bunch of do's and don't's--that is law, but God wants us to walk in liberty motivated by love. (Gal. 5:1, 13; II Cor. 5:14) That is His love for me, my love for Him, and then my love for others that causes me to "walk" or regulate my life in the sphere of good works.
15. That brings glory to the Lord. (Mat. 5:16; I Peter 2:12) We used to be dominated and controlled by the world, the devil, and the flesh, but now we are motivated by love--His workmanship.
D. Our new relationship in Christ. V. 11-22
1. "Wherefore" = means in view of the contents of the last paragraph.
2. "Remember" = to exercise memory; to call to mind.
3. "Ye" = the Ephesian saints to whom Paul was writing.
4. "In time past" = refers to what the Ephesian saints were before they were saved.
5. The great things done for them by God's grace should incline them to think of the past from which they have been delivered, and make them more thankful for their present privilege and more careful to walk in the good works which God had in view for them and for us also.
1) What we were as far as relationship is concerned. V.11-12
6. "Gentiles in the flesh" = refers to the actual physical body and not to the unregenerated man; a class of people held in low regard; called dogs by the Jews.
7. "Called Uncircumcision" = a name of contempt by the Jews who were "called the Circumcision in the flesh" = a distinction that was nothing more than an outward manual act ("made by hands") performed on their bodies.
1. Paul listed five things in this verse, of what Gentiles were as far as thyeir relationship is concerned.
2. "At that time" = before saved.
3. Five things:
A. "Without Christ" = Christ here is not to be taken in its Christian sense but in its Jewish sense; the Jews knew that the word "Christ" was the English spelling of the Greek word which is the translation of the Hebrew word for Messiah; therefore, "without Christ" = means the Gentiles had no title right to the Messianic expectation of Israel; the Jews were expecting the Messiah to come but rejected Jesus as the Messiah or Christ (John 1:11); but as Gentiles we did not have that expectation--without Christ.
B. "Aliens from the commonwealth of Israel:"
1) Israel was God's chosen people. (Deut. 7:6)
2) "Aliens" = to be alienated or shut out from one's fellowship and intimacy.
3) "Commonwealth" = citizenship; the rights of a citizen; most Israelites in Jesus' and Paul's day had no right of citizenship spiritually.
4) The Jews were circumcised in the flesh, which was an external sign of the covenant God made with Abraham. This rite was instituted by God and signified externally what had happened to Abraham internally. (Gen. 15:6)
5) Most Jews in Jesus' and Paul's day had not received an inward circumcision of the heart which was a must to be part of spiritual Israel. (Phil. 3:2; "concision" means to cut up, mutilation; thus the use of this word shows that the Juadizers were really mutilated--not really of the true gospel of grace; Rom. 2:28-29) It was certain that the Gentiles were alienated from the spiritual citizenship of Israel--they had no part or lot in the inheritance of the chosen people.
C. "Strangers from the covenants of promise:"
1) "Strangers" = used in a general sense of foreign to a thing having no share in it; similar to aliens.
2) "Covenants" = agreements between God and man.
3) "Promise" = has a definite article in the Greek, thus "the promise" = refers to the great Messianic promise given the Hebrew people; speaks of the covenants made with Abraham and the patriarchs (Isaac, Jacob, and his 12 sons) concerning the Messiah--not the law; and the Sinai covenant given to Moses. (Gal. 3:17-18)
4) It is for certain the Gentiles had no share by birth in the covenants of promise.
D. "Having no hope" = the desire of some good with the expectation of obtaining it; refers to the Messianic hope; being ignorant of the divine salvation and of Christ in whom it was found, they had nothing to hope for, beyond this world; apart from this Messiah--Saviour there was no hope either for man in general or men as individuals--natural consequence of being without Christ.
E. "Without God in the world:"
1) They were without the one true living God, therefore, they were destitute of God.
2) "In the world" = the domain of their life--this present evil world.
3) As Romans 1:25 reveals, they exchanged God they knew in creation and conscience for an idol. Thus God gave them up.
4. This is a sordid picture of hopelessness--without Christ, aliens, strangers, without hope, and without God.
2) What the Lord did. V. 13-18
1. "But now" = shows how the situation has been completely transformed by the work of Calvary.
2. The name "Jesus" is added to Christ because the Messiah, (Christ) who was the subject of promise has come into the world under that personal name.
3. "In Christ Jesus" = phrase that gives our spiritual location when saved; refers to all the saved--one gets in Christ when he is saved. (II Cor. 5:17)
4. Paul speaks of five big barriers between the Jew and the Gentile that has been swept away.
a. He destroyed: V.13-15
5. "Far off" = at a distance; that was the Gentiles.
6. "Made nigh" = became near; now near because of "the blood of Christ:"
A. His blood is the only thing that will make you nigh or near--save you.
B. Faith in His shed blood by the unusual death of Christ on the cross. Eph. 2:8 says, "by grace are ye saved through faith." Rom. 3:25 says, "through faith in his blood" that was shed on the cross--"set forth." Christ's death was no ordinary death. (Exo. 12:13)
1. Disunion is a state of not being united.
2. "Peace" = to join together that which was separated.
3. "He" = an intensive pronoun which means He (Christ Jesus) Himself is our peace (name); refers to Christ who is Jesus (personal name) and none other.
4. Two meanings can be drawn from this. (II Tim. 3:16)--doctrine.
A. Man was separated in Adam, made one in Christ who is our peace--not the absence of trouble but a person. (Rom. 5:1)
B. Context refers to Jesus and Gentiles--separated by God's sovereign act of election--choosing the Jewish nation to be the channel through which He would bring salvation to the lost. This choosing was not to the exclusion of other nations. Now due to Calvary and the shedding of His blood both Jews and Gentiles are made one. (I Cor. 12:13)
5. "Middle wall of partition" = refers to the physical wall three or four feet high that ran through the temple area separating the court of the Gentiles from the inner court into which Jews only were permitted; this wall is said to had written on it, "No foreigner may enter within the barricade which surrounds the sanctuary and enclosure. Any (one) who is caught doing so will have himself to blame for his ensuing death."
6. Paul nearly got into serious trouble because some people falsely accused him of taking an Asian Gentile, Trophimus, beyond this point. (Act. 21:27-29)
7. This was not only a physical wall but a legal wall as well--the whole Mosaic economy (commandments, ceremonial, civil, and social laws) which separated Jews and Gentiles.
8. Christ tore down both the physical and legal wall when He died on the cross. He fulfilled the law in Himself (Mat. 5:17) and ended the reign of Mosaic law at the cross--it is finished--and the veil was rent. (Mat. 27:50-51)
1. Dissension means that which causes strife.
2. "Having abolished" = having brought to naught; put an end to it; to render inoperative.
3. "In his flesh" = by the sacrifice of His body on the cross.
4. "The enmity" = hostility; hatred; between the Jews and Gentiles, referred to as "the law of commandments contained in ordinances" = this was made up of commandments and these commandments expressed themselves and operated in the form of ordinances--decrees, statutes.
5. Christ nailed that enmity to the cross and said we now have only two commandments summed up in one word-- "love" which is the opposite of enmity. (Mat. 22:37-40)
6. "So making peace" = enmity was abolished and the law was abolished or rendered inoperative--veil rent.
7. "For to make in himself" = by virtue of His death, or under Him as the head.
8. "Of twain one new man" = no longer Gentile and Jew but two (twain) made one in Himself--Christ.
9. "Make" = to create.
10. "New" = new in quality.
11. "Man" = general word for mankind; therefore, male or female, Jew and Gentile--all one in Christ. (II Cor. 5:17)
b. Result. V. 16-18
a) Both can be reconciled to God. V. 16
1. "He" = Christ.
2. "Reconcile" = the restoration of a relationship of peace which has been disturbed.
A. Disturbed in the garden when Adam sinned and enmity has been between man and God ever since. (Gen. 3:15)
B. Disturbed when God brought in the Jew as a separate and distinct nation.
3. "Both" = refers to Jews and Gentiles that are saved.
4. "Unto God" = man was alienated from God and needs to be reconciled unto God.
5. "In one body" = refers to that body in building; the local church is the true type.
6. "By the cross" = by the atonement which He made on the cross.
7. "Having slain the enmity" = not only the enmity (hostility) between Jews and Gentiles, but the enmity between the sinner and God.
8. "Thereby" = in Himself; in His cross, or by means of His cross.
9. "Might" = denotes it was possible; Christ slew that enmity on the cross for all who will receive by faith Jesus as Lord; enmity in any individual, whether Jew or Gentile, has to be slain before one will become subject to Jesus as Lord (Rom. 8:7); this involves a complete work of Holy Spirit reproval which works repentance and produces saving faith whereby one might exercise that faith and trust in Jesus as Lord.
b) Both can have peace with God. V. 17
1. "And came and preached peace" = refers to Jesus having come and announced good news concerning "peace" = to join together that which is separated; this does not mean that Christ did this personally, but He did it by sending His Spirit to the apostles and other early preachers.
2. The Greek construction denotes peace between each of the two classes and a third party--God.
3. "To you which were afar off" = refers to the Ephesian saints and all Gentiles.
4. "To them that were nigh" = refers to the Jews; in chronology, the Jews came first, but the order here is transposed, probably to emphasize the offer of the gospel to the Gentiles and to show that spiritually they were as near as the Jews.
c) Both have access to God. V. 18
1. "Through" = a primary preposition denoting the channel of an act.
2. "Him" = the Lord Jesus Christ who is our High Priest.
3. "We both" = Jews and Gentiles.
4. "Have access" = freedom to enter through the assistance or favor of another; used of those who secure for one an interview with a sovereign.
5. Under the Jewish economy, only the High Priest could go into the presence of God and that only once a year. The Gentile could not be brought near to God except he become a proselyte Jew and then he still could not enter the Jewish part of the temple. But now Jesus is our High Priest and through Him we have access. (Heb. 4:14-16; 10:19-22) We have the privilege of coming into the holy of holies.
6. We see the trinity involved here:
A. God the Son provides the way into the Father's presence through the blood of His Cross.
B. "By one Spirit" = Holy Spirit; God the Spirit conducts the saint in and presents him.
C. "Unto the Father" = God the Father is the One into whose presence the believer is presented.
3) What we are now--concerning our relationship. V. 19-22
1. "Now therefore" = in view of the fact just mentioned--what Christ has done on Calvary.
2. "Ye" = refers to the saints of Ephesus to whom Paul was writing--Gentiles.
3. Just as there was a contrast in our condition, there is a contrast in our relationship. In these verses our new relationship is set forth in five striking particulars.
a. Citizens of one city. V. 19a
4. Ye who were aliens from the citizenship of Israel (verse 12) but now"fellowcitizens" = native of the same town and free in it; Gentiles as well as Jews.
5. Now after being saved the Gentiles ("ye") are "no more" = no longer; "strangers" = means foreigners in a state, as opposed to citizens; and "foreigners" = means guest in a private family; but "fellowcitizens with the saints" = belonging to the same community with the people of God.
6. "And of the household of God" = means of the same family; entitled to the same privileges and regarded by Him as His children; ye are reckoned (to number) with the people of God.
7. A Gentile was not a citizen of Israel but now a citizen of one city with the Jews.
8. It is already stated twice that the saved are in the "heavenlies." (Eph. 1:3; 2:6) Abraham looked for that city (Heb. 11:10, 16; 12:22-24)--"New Jerusalem." (Rev. 21:10-11) He didn't see it with his physical eyes but one day he will as will all the saints. (Rev. 21:27)
9. If saved you are already citizens of that city, but here we are strangers--no place to call home, therefore not at home but pilgrims headed home.
b. Members of one family. V. 19b
10. "And of the household of God" = means of the same family; entitled to the same privileges, and regarded by Him as His children; ye are reckoned (to number) with the people of God.
11. Those Jews, who expected the kingdom to belong to them, will be cast out because they were not saved by grace through faith. (Mat. 8:11-12)
12. But the saved Gentiles, who were looked upon as dogs, as nobodies, will be able to sit down at the same table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the Lord Jesus will gird Himself and serve = can't find this in scripture but I have heard it all my life. It may come from Mat. 26:29. What privilege!
13. All because of our new relationship--members of the same family.
c. Built on one foundation. V. 20
1. "Ye" = is implied here, referring to the Ephesian Gentile saints to whom Paul is writing; refers to the church.
2. "Are built upon the foundation" = the church is compared with building which is common in the Scriptures (I Cor. 3:9-10); the comparison was probably taken from the temple, which was the sacred place where God dwelt on the earth; and as the church was the place where He delighted now to abide, it became natural to speak of His church as the temple or the residence of God; we need to remember that the church is not a building, but the saved ones whose body is the temple of God (I Cor. 6:19; 3:16) where temple is "Naos" = Greek for the Holy of Holies where God dwelt.
3. "Foundation" = that which supports the building; figurative for the element of the doctrines of life, listed as:
A. "The apostles" = the doctrines which they taught are the basis on which the church rests; these doctrines the apostles taught were and still are the basis for salvation. (John 17:20; II Tim. 2:2)
B. "Prophets" = refers to NT prophets (since they are mentioned after apostles) that appeared in the apostolic age among Christians and associated with the apostles; they discerned and did what is best for the Christian cause, foretelling certain future events (proof text I Cor. 12:28; Acts 11:27); I Cor. 13:8-10 makes it clear that prophets would cease to be when the Bible was completed--that which is perfect--complete; they were fore-tellers until the Bible was completed but now they are forth-tellers--telling what God has done for them; the doctrine which the prophets received by divine revelation manifested the righteousness of God who is Jesus. (Rom. 3:21; I Cor. 1:30)
C. "Jesus Christ himself" = the Lord Jesus is the only foundation, not Peter. (Mat. 16:18; I Cor. 3:11) Peter even said in I Peter 2:4-6 that Jesus was "the chief corner stone" = this stone was the most important stone in the building because the stability of all others depended upon it; Isaiah prophesied such in Isa 28:16; this stone was placed in the corner, determined the lines of the whole building; the idea of foundation is that of support; it also provided the standard to follow straight lines both horizontal and vertical; the idea of foundation is that of support; Jesus is not only the Origin, Foundation, Support of the church, but He gives it its shape and form, and He determines the place and the office of each stone; He gives life and character to each member.
4. Jesus Christ is the primary foundation and the apostles and prophets are the secondary foundation.
5. In Christ, both Jews and Gentiles meet and constitute one body (verse 16 which is a body in building of which the local church is a true type).
6. When all the saved are raptured out they will be a called out assembly in Heaven. Heb. 12:23 called that assembly a church which is still a local church built on one foundation.
d. Parts of one building. V. 21
1. "In whom" = upon whom; refers to Jesus Christ the cornerstone--the foundation. (I Peter 2:5)
2. "All the building" = refers to the forming body or body in building (Mat. 16:18--will build, from then til the end of the church age which is the rapture).
3. "Fitly framed together" = one word in the Greek; means to join closely together; just as a carpenter takes different materials and joins them together to make a durable and beautiful building, the Master Carpenter takes the different material of the Jews and Gentiles (saved), the people of various nations, backgrounds, and color, and builds His church referred to as an "holy temple" = this is the word ("naos" in the Greek) for the inner sanctuary--the place where God met His people--the holy of holies. (I Cor. 3:16)
4. "Groweth" = the tense reveals that this work is continuous and progressive (Mat. 16:18--will build and still is); the building is not complete; He is still working; this is not talking about an invisible church for there is no such thing--but when the building is complete, all saints will be called out at the rapture and then all saints will be a part of the church of the firstborn in heaven (Heb. 12:23); until then God operates through His churches--local and visible. (Mat. 16:18-19)
5. Salvation is of the Lord and He wants to meet with us in the church (I Cor. 16:2)--the local visible church you were baptized into with water, which is a picture of being baptized into Christ's forming body with the Holy Ghost.
6. All Jews and Gentiles are parts of one body.
e. Indwelt by one Spirit. V. 22
1. "In whom" = upon whom; refers to Jesus Christ the corner stone--the foundation.
2. "Ye" = the Gentile Ephesians to whom Paul was writing this epistle; Paul again giving them assurance that they are included and are builded together with Christ.
3. "Builded together" = to construct; not merely added but constituted a part of the building--the church.
4. "For an habitation of God" = the dwelling place of God; refers to the believer's heart--a heart believer, to one who has exercised saving faith given by a work of Holy Spirit reproval--Holy Ghost conviction (Eph. 2:8); what a privilege to be the very habitation of God!
5. "Through the Spirit" = by means of the Holy Spirit; God dwells in the heart of all the saved in the person of the Holy Spirit, also called the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:7); the Holy Spirit's dwelling is just an earnest--something which stands for part of the price that was paid before hand to confirm the bargain--thereby guaranteeing the rest is coming; God has given the saints the Holy Spirit as the down payment to assure us that we will experience that total redemption and receive God's promised blessing in glory--dwelling together with Him throughout eternity.
6. Indwelt by One Spirit if saved, whether Jew or Gentile, red, yellow, black, or white, rich or poor. We have a new relationship in Christ.
7. Thank God for our new condition and new relationship. We can look back and marvel at the wonder of this salvation which has brought us from:
A. Such plight to such privilege.
B. Such poverty to such riches.
C. Such shame to such honor.
D. Such ruin to such glory.
8. No wonder Paul burst forth in praise for our wealth in Christ. (Eph. 1:3)
9. If you have not realized this wealth by being saved, then I pray you will get thirsty for these things in your life. And God gives a promise that He will pour water on the thirsty. (Isa. 44:3)
10. Note: Verses 20-22 are hard to explain.
A. We must rightly divide. (II Tim. 2:15)
B. The problem is we sometimes read the Bible in view of what we already know and try to make it line up with our tradition.
C. Also another problem is we have tried to develop a doctrine that lets everybody be saved--not so.
D. Let the Bible say what it says.
E. This in no way denies the doctrine of the local church. In fact, there is no other ekklesia (church) than local.
F. Baptism (water) is a picture of the gospel and what happens to you when saved and puts you in a local church which is a true type.
G. When do you get in Christ? When saved.
H. When do the Gentiles and Jews get in one body? When saved.
I. When you are saved, you are baptized into the one body with the Spirit. This is not a universal church but a forming body that one day will be called out at the rapture and then it will be an ekklesia or called out assembly.
J. There will be no New Hope Baptist Church in heaven.
K. In OT time God used types (true). For example, He used a lamb (an animal) to picture the real lamb (the Lord Jesus) and when He came, the types were done away with.
L. Today, God is using the local church and that is where He operates. It is a true type that will be done away with when Jesus comes and calls out His body--one body that is forming or in building today.
M. This helps us to understand what the Bible is saying instead of trying to make the Bible say what we want it to say. It is easy to get in a ditch. In fact, truth carried to extreme will become ditch-ism.
11. Blessed be God!