Ephesians 1:1-14 | Spiritually Blessed for God’s Glory
1Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
- ‘an apostle by the will of God’ – making it clear that God had chosen and appointed him to this role
- Paul calls them “the faithful” as if it is by their own faithfulness, but then goes on to say that they are chosen and predestined. Their faithfulness is a result of their being chosen/predestination and the work of the Holy Spirit
2Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
- Far greater than any earthly blessing we might receive is our spiritual blessing in Christ
- The theme and result of this section is our spiritual blessings in Christ, which results in praise and glory to God
- ‘every spiritual blessing’ – how great it is that God bestows on us all the righteousness and blessings that Christ himself has!
4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
- BLESSING #1: CHOSEN
- Out of all humanity that is lost in sin and darkness, in his great mercy, God, has decided to choose some to salvation
- We are chosen ‘in him’ (in Christ) as that is the only way to salvation/the Father. There is no other way of being chosen and saved, except through Christ
- ‘before the creation of the world’ – not that He chose us according to His foreknowledge of our future response to the gospel, but that He chose us out of his divine will even before the creation of the world. The fact that God chose us precedes and causes all other things pertaining to our salvation.
- We are chosen, not just for our own sake, but to be holy and blameless in God’s sight, i.e. for His good pleasure!
In love 5he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
- BLESSING #2: ADOPTED
- We have been predestined to be adopted as children through Jesus, meaning that our salvation was not God’s plan B but God’s original intention according to his pleasure and will. He wanted it to happen and made it happen.
- How great it is that we have been adopted! Even though we naturally belonged to the way of the world and sin, God in his great mercy saw it fit to adopt us into his holy and heavenly family!
- Yet even so, we are not just adopted for our own sake, but for the praise of his glorious grace.
- ‘freely given us in the one He loves’ – God has expressed his grace and love to humanity through Jesus Christ
7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding,
- BLESSING #3: FORGIVEN
- In Christ we have been redeemed/purchased by his blood and so also been forgiven of our sins which stood in way between us and God
- Our forgiveness was brought about because of the grace of God which is lavishly poured out onto us. Yet this love and grace is not reckless and unjustified, as He did it with all wisdom and understanding.
9and he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
- BLESSING #4: REVEALED HIS WILL
- God did not keep us in dark regarding his intention and plan, but revealed the mystery of His will to us, just as loving parents do not withhold important information from their children
- God’s will is purposed in, put into effect and fulfilled through Jesus Christ. He is the agent of God’s will and is therefore at the centre of all that God is doing.
11In him we were also chosen [lot-cast], having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
- BLESSING #5: WON
- “The Greek text literally reads, “In whom (Christ), indeed we were lot-cast”
- The idea here being that Christ has won us, like through the casting of lots, and therefore we are now His treasure and inheritance
- But this was not an accident, or a lucky draw, or a spontaneous decision. God predestined us according to his plan and in conformity to the purpose of his will – i.e. God wanted to win us all along, so that we would be His treasure!
- God did this (won us), according to his predetermined will, so that we might live for the praise of his glory!
- BSB “In him we were chosen as God’s own”
- NET “In Christ we too have been claimed as God’s own possession”
13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
- BLESSING #6: MARKED/SEALED
- Upon hearing and believing the message of the gospel, we were included in Christ by being marked and sealed by the Holy Spirit
- The Holy Spirit does not come at a later stage through a ‘second blessing’ but is given at the moment of salvation through belief in the gospel
- The Holy Spirit is our deposit which keeps and secures us, until the full redemption of the church. We cannot lose our salvation because the Holy Spirit will not lose us and we won’t lose the Holy Spirit.
- Again, Paul reiterates that what spiritual blessing we might have in God is ultimately for the praise of His glory. We are spiritually blessed for God’s glory!
The church is spiritually blessed in Christ by being chosen, adopted, forgiven, knowing God’s will, bought as a possession and sealed by the Spirit. Ultimately, whatever spiritual blessings we have in Christ are for the praise of God’s glory. We are his possession, predestined for his good pleasure.