Ephesians – Chapter 1, Part 1
God’s Plan for Salvation
Outline & Ephesians Vs. 1-4
Outline of Chapter 1
I. Salutation or Greeting, Eph 1:1-2.
II. The Doctrinal/Theological Portion of the Epistle, the Wealth and Calling of the Church; God’s Purpose for the Church, Eph 1:3-3:21.
A. Praise for Redemption, Eph 1:4-14. The seven elements of the believer’s position.
1. Chosen by the Father, Predestination in Christ, Eph 1:4-6a.
2. Redemption by the Son, Redemption in Christ, Eph 1:6b-12.
3. Sealed with the Spirit, and Our Inheritance in Christ, Eph 1:13-14.
B. Prayer for Wisdom, Knowledge and Power, Our Resources in Christ, Eph 1:15-23.
1. The Cause of the Prayer Eph 1:15-18a.
2. The Content of the Prayer, Christ Exalted to be the Head of His Body, the Church, Eph 1:18b-23.
Opening Salutation / Greeting, Eph 1:1-2.
Vs. 1 – 2
Eph 1:1-2, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
As noted above, this is one of Paul’s “Prison Epistles” written around 61 A.D. Like the letter to the Galatians which we have previously studied, in this letter Paul established his apostolic authority by saying, “an apostle of Christ Jesus,” ἀπόστολος APOSTOLOS, Χριστός CHRISTOS, Ἰησοῦς IESOUS.
APOSTOLOS is an Attic Greek word that was already 500 years old when used in the New Testament. It was originally used for a high‑ranking admiral or general officers chosen by a council to command either an army or an Athenian fleet on a military expedition, generally against the Spartans. Therefore, it was an admiral or supreme commander, one who has the highest rank. Its other meaning was used less extensively for a group or band sent out in the military or as colonists. HO APOSTOLOS was used for whoever was in command of a band of Greek colonists when they would leave Athens and go elsewhere to establish a Greek colony. The governor of the founded colony was called an APOSTOLOS.
APOSTOLOS is a noun from the verb APOSTELLOO, which is a compound word from APO, a preposition and primary particle meaning, “from or away from” and STELLOO a primary verb meaning, “to arrange, prepare, or gather up.” Therefore, APOSTELLOO comes to mean, “to send or send away.” Likewise, APOSTOLOS comes to mean, “a messenger, he that is sent or one sent on a mission.” It is transliterated and used for an apostle, a delegate, specifically an ambassador of the Gospel and officially a commissioner of Christ with miraculous powers. It was specifically applied to the twelve apostles of Christ, and in a broader sense,applied to other eminent Christian teachers like Barnabas, Timothy,and Silvanus. Therefore, Paul was one sent out by Jesus Christ as his messenger or spokesperson.
The Doctrine of Apostleship
1. Apostleship is the highest spiritual gift ever to exist in the church. It is sovereignly bestowed by the Holy Spirit to certain individuals, 1 Cor 12:11, 28; Eph 4:11.
2. Apostleship was a temporary gift designed to carry the church until the Canon of Scripture was completed. It had the highest rank of authority and such an authority did not exist until the completion of the New Testament. Now the absolute authority is the New Testament. The gift carried absolute authority in both written and verbal communication of doctrine.
3. The Time of Appointment. The apostles for the Church Age were appointed after the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Eph 4:8, 11. Hence, they must be distinguished from the apostles to Israel in Mat 10:2ff.
4. The Extent of the Gift. This spiritual gift exercised authority over all the local churches. Once the canon was completed the gift was removed. Today all local churches are autonomous with authority vested in the Canon and the local Pastor-Teacher.
5. The Qualification of Apostles. Apostles had to be eyewitnesses to the resurrection of Christ. This qualified the eleven and Paul was qualified on the Damascus road, Acts 1:22; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:8-9. Paul saw the resurrected Christ on the Damascus road according to Acts 9:3‑6; 22:6‑11; 26:13‑18. Then he appeared to Paul again in Arabia. Then he appeared to Paul in the Temple, Acts 9:26‑30; 22:17‑21. Finally, he appeared to Paul in prison, Acts 23:11. So Paul saw the resurrected Christ on four different occasions.
6. The authority of the apostles was established by the possession of certain temporary gifts which went with it. Every apostle also had the gift of miracles, healing, and tongues. These were spectacular type gifts, which he had to use to establish his authority when he went to certain places, Acts 5:15; 16:16-18; 28:8-9. These gifts do not exist today. Once the apostle’s authority was established in an area, he did not use these gifts anymore and eventually, when the apostles’ authority were all established, these gifts were removed.
7. The Roster of Apostles. We have the eleven minus Judas Iscariot. Matthias was elected, Acts 1:26, but he was not an apostle. Man cannot superimpose his will on God’s will ever. The twelfth apostle is Paul, 1 Cor 15:7-10. He is the one whom God appointed to replace Judas Iscariot.
8. There were others who had delegated authority from the apostles and therefore in a sense exercised from apostolic authority when they were sent on apostolic missions. They include Barnabas, Acts 14:14; Gal 2:9; James, the Lord’s half-brother, 1 Cor 15:7; Gal 1:19; Apollos, 1 Cor 4:6, 9; Sylvanus and Timothy, 1 Thes 1:1; 2:6, etc.
In addition, Paul notes that his apostolic authority is from the Sovereign “will of God,” θέλημα THELMA, θεός THEOS, and has nothing to do with his own merits. This was the “Directive Will” of God the Father to send Paul to the Gentile nations to establish the early Church. It also conveys that it was part of God’s Plan from eternity past as part of His “Divine Purpose” inside His Divine Decree and therefore also becomes His desire.
Therefore, Paul became an apostle as a result of the sovereign decision of Jesus Christ according to Eph 4:11. Paul was given the spiritual gift by the Holy Spirit according to 1 Cor 12:11. Paul did not become an Apostle, go on his missionary journeys, or write his epistles on his own accord, but by the leading and guiding ministry of God from eternity past. As an apostle, Paul was commissioned and sent by God with the gospel message. Thus he had God’s authority behind him and this letter. Cf. 1 Tim 1:12-14.
Background of Paul, PAULOS
The name “Paul” comes from the Latin and means, “small or little.” Paul was first known for many years as Saul of Tarsus, Acts 9:11; 21:39; 22:3. Saul means, “asked for.” He was born to Jewish parents in the city of Tarsus the capital of Cilicia, a Roman province in the south-east of Asia Minor. He was the son of a Pharisee and became a Pharisee himself, Acts 23:6. In the book of Philippians, he states that he “was a Hebrew of Hebrews, and from the tribe of Benjamin,” Phil 3:4-5. Scripture also tells us of his sister and his sister’s son, Acts 23:16, and of other relatives he had, Rom 16:7, 11-12.
At a young age, he went to Jerusalem, and studied at one of the great seminaries of his day and was taught by the well-known rabbi Gamaliel, a noted teacher in the School of Hillel, Acts 22:3. In his studies, he advanced in the religion of the Jews beyond many of his fellows, being one who was “extremely zealous for his ancestral traditions,” Gal 1:14.
It appears that by Paul’s acquaintance with Greek culture and their thinking, being familiar with many of the sayings of classical and contemporary writers, he was also a Greek by culture, having evidently received a Greek education, cf. Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12. Paul had also been taught the trade of tent-making as a youth, Acts 18:3, which he used to support himself during his missionary journeys. Finally, Paul was a Roman citizen, being Roman born, Acts 16:37-39; 22:25-29.
His zeal as a religious Jew led him to zealously persecute the early church. As a young Pharisee, he was present and in agreement when Stephen was stoned and murdered, Acts 7:58-8:3; Gal 1:13. In his persecution against Christians, both men and women, he traveled with letters of arrest from the high priest from city to city to destroy the church of Jesus Christ, Acts 26:10–11.
It was on one of these missions that Saul was converted to true faith while on the road to Damascus, Acts 9:1f; 22:6f; 26:12-18. The Lord knew that he was uniquely qualified to be the one chosen to carry the message of the gospel to the Gentiles, as Paul could easily say, “I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some,” 1 Cor 9:22.
Having energetically and consistently persecuted the church of Jesus Christ, while on the road to Damascus, Paul had an encounter with the glorified resurrected Christ, which dramatically changed his life. He had denied the Christian claim that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. Further, he did not believe that He had risen from the dead as Stephen had proclaimed when he was being stoned to death, Acts 7:56, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” But when the Lord spoke to Saul on that day, he knew that Stephen had been right and that he had been wrong. Jesus was the Messiah, He was alive and He must be the Son of God. Soon thereafter, in the synagogues of Damascus, he proclaimed Christ as Savior, Acts 9:1f; 22:6f; 26:12-18.
Prepared for Ministry.
Paul did not go out right away to evangelize the early church. It was many years after his conversion that He began his full ministry, Gal 1:16-23. He spent three years in Arabia being personally taught by the Lord, and then returned to Damascus and he began to preach the gospel, Acts 9:27. Then according to Gal 1:18, he went to Jerusalem because of persecution and stayed there for fifteen days; persecution there chased him away, Acts 9:20-30; 2 Cor 11:33. He then went back to his home territory of Tarsus, Acts 9:30; Gal 1:21, and for a period of three or even up to ten years, (scholars differ on the amount of time he remained alone in Tarsus), little is known of his activities. Then Barnabas, being sent to Antioch to oversee the ministry there, remembered Paul and sought him out in Tarsus to bring him back to Antioch and assist in the ministry. About a year later they were sent out on their first missionary journey, Acts 13:1-3.
Paul had three missionary journeys that are noted in the book of Acts. Each being larger than the previous, Acts 13:1-14:28; 15:36-18:22; 18:23-21:14.
After completing his third missionary journey, Paul traveled to Jerusalem where he was arrested and sent to Rome where he was imprisoned, Acts 21:15 through the rest of the book. He was released for a short time and then rearrested and imprisoned in Rome. At that time, the emperor Nero sentenced him to death. Around 65-67 A.D., he was lead outside the city of Rome on the Ostian Road, a few blocks out of town and was beheaded. Some say a few days later, Nero was assassinated for this by the Praetorian Guard, thus ending the Claudio‑Julian line.
Fox’s Book of Martyrs – Paul
“Paul, the apostle, who before was called Saul, after his great travail and unspeakable labors in promoting the Gospel of Christ, suffered also in this first persecution under Nero. Abdias, declareth that under his execution Nero sent two of his esquires, Ferega and Parthemius, to bring him word of his death. They, coming to Paul instructing the people, desired him to pray for them, that they might believe; who told them that shortly after they should believe and be baptized at His sepulcher. This done, the soldiers came and led him out of the city to the place of execution, where he, after his prayers made, gave his neck to the sword.”
All of this is what led Paul to proclaim in 1 Timothy 1:12-17, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 14and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus. 15It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. 16Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Next in our verse we have “to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus.” As I have previously mentioned, “at Ephesus” is not in the oldest reliable Greek texts. “Three of the oldest manuscripts, the Chester Beatty Papyrus (dated circa 200); the Codex Sinaiticus; and the Codex Vaticanus (usually dated in the Fourth Century), do not contain the words “at Ephesus.” The earliest extant manuscript containing the words “at Ephesus” is at least two centuries later than the last two manuscripts referred to above.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)
In addition, there is no “who” in the any of the Greek texts. There is only the definite article plus the Dative Plural, Present, Active,Participle from EIMI, εἰμί that means, “to be or to be alive.” Therefore, it should read, “to those being saints and believing (PISTOS) in Christ Jesus.” This is addressed to believers, those who are born again are continuing to walk in faith-rest.
“Saints” is the substantive use of the Adjective HAGIOS, ἅγιος in the Dative Plural of indirect object that stands for believers who are, “holy, consecrated, perfect, pure, righteous, etc.” It speaks to the position the believer has in Christ. It represents our Positional Sanctification.
At the moment of anyone’s belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, they are consecrated and set apart unto God as a clean, pure, and righteous individual. They stand as being holy before God, entered into His Royal Family. Saints are those who are cleansed by the blood of Christ. And by the renewing of the Holy Spirit; they are separated from the world and consecrated unto God. So Paul references our Positional Sanctification in the opening salutation.
Next we have “believing” PISTOS, which is also in the Dative Plural that speaks to our ongoing relationship with Christ as faithful and believing people. It also alludes to our entrance into union with the person of Jesus Christ, which is by faith, Eph 2:8-9. So here it is used in a technical sense for those who are responding to Bible doctrine, positive toward doctrine, growing up spiritually, building an ECS, and moving toward the super-grace life. It does not refer to believers who are either spiritual morons or in some stage of reversionism. The Dative case is used to indicate the ones in whose interest the letter is written, and that refers to all believers who study this epistle. It is of no benefit to those who do not study it. Ephesians is an epistle for those who are positive toward Bible doctrine.
Next we have the One we are “being and believing” in, which is “Christ Jesus,” CHRISTOS IESOUS. These saints were “in” and “faithful to” Christ Jesus, not the goddess Artemis of Ephesus or some other false god or religion. They were sanctified, set apart by God and placed in union with Jesus Christ and were walking in Christ consistently.
Col 2:6, “Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.”
Notice that this setting apart is put before man’s faith. Here we are given the twofold aspect of salvation, God’s grace in the first instance sanctifying us, (that is, setting us apart in His eternal purposes as holy unto Himself); and our faith, by God’s gift, which lays hold of salvation, 2 Thes 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2.
2 Thes 2:13, “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.”
This leads us to:
The Doctrine of Sanctification
Definition: Sanctification is a technical theological term for the status quo of the Royal Family of God in three phases of the Plan of God. The term means to be set apart to God for a special purpose. We, the royal family of God, are set apart to God in three ways from salvation to the eternal state, which we will note below.
L.S. Chafer defines “sanctify” with its various forms (i.e., holy and saint) as such.
“This word, which is used 106 times in the Old Testament and 31 times in the New, means ‘to set apart,’ and then the state of being set apart. It indicates classification in matters of position and relationship. The basis of the classification is usually that the sanctified person (or thing) has been set apart, or separated, from others in his position and relationship before God, that is, from that which proves unholy.” (Systematic Theology, Volume 7.)
1. As noted above, the word “saints” is HAGIOS, ἅγιος which means two things. Sometimes it means “saints” and sometimes “holy.” The same word is used for both an adjective and a noun. The noun is “saint,” the adjective is “holy.” Therefore, it can mean “Holy; (things), consecrated; (persons), unapproachable, perfect, pure, upright, worthy of God, or saint.” It is used to indicate people or things “separated to God’s purpose or worship.” It refers to our Positional Sanctification and has to do with one of the 40+ things we receive at the point of salvation, our entrance into union with the person of Christ. This is where we are first of all sanctified. It means that believers now have access to fellowship with the living God, Rom 5:2. To worship “in spirit and in truth,” means that we are not limited to holy places and times to worship and that true worship should always continue in the life of the believer. We will see that our position in Christ, as His bride, is possible because we have been made holy, Eph 5:27.
There are a number of other Greek words taken from the same root:
Hagiotes, which means, “holiness or sanctity” is a rare term and only used in Heb 12:10, (some manuscripts have it in 2 Cor 1:12 also). It refers to our relationship with God. Our relationship at the point of salvation is holiness because we are in union with the Lord Jesus Christ, and Heb 12:10 tells us that the discipline of the Lord is intended for the experiential application of the holiness we have been given as children of God.
Hagiosune, which means, “sanctification, holiness, or majesty” It denotes a manifestation of the quality of holiness in personal conduct. Paul used it in 2 Cor 7:1 that suggests dual connotations.
a) The basis of human holiness is found in the atonement of Christ.
b) But holiness also demands completion by an individual’s moral dedication to the worship, service, and glorification of God. 1 Thes 13:1 shows the means by which one can become complete in holiness; by the purity of the heart. Therefore, the aim of the believer is to bring holiness to its full maturity so he may be found “blameless” in holiness at the coming of Christ.
Hagiasmos, which also means “holiness, sanctification, or purification.” It defines the state of the believer brought about by his taking on the righteousness of Christ, Rom 6:19, 22; 1 Cor 1:30. Holiness or sanctification in this sense is brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit, 2 Thes 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2. Holiness is the evidence the believer demonstrates to show he is indeed a partaker of the righteousness of Christ, 1 Tim 2:15; Heb 12:14.
Hagiazo, is a verb that means, “to set apart, to sanctify, consecrate, etc.” For believers it means to be separated from sin and unto God. Rev 22:11 indicates that the holy person will continue in this state of sanctification throughout eternity.
2. Basically, all words for sanctification connote some form of separation into; therefore, a relationship with. In the believer’s case, that relationship is with God. Therefore, Sanctification of the believer means, being set apart from sin and being made holy; this is God’s part. In addition, consecration means, being dedicated to God’s service; this is our part.
3. The agency (the one who makes it happen) of our sanctification includes.
a) The Son of God, Jesus Christ, Heb 10:10, 14.
Hebrews 10:10, “By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.”
b) The Holy Spirit, Rom 15:16; 2 Thes 2:13.
2 Thes 2:13, “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.”
c) The Word of God, John 17:17; Eph 5:26.
Eph 5:26, “So that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word.”
4. God’s Plan of Sanctification is divided into three phases:
a) Phase One of Sanctification is positional truth. You are placed in union with Jesus Christ. See all verses that use “In Christ” terminology. It refers to salvation, at which point the baptism of the Spirit enters every believer into union with the person of Jesus Christ. There are seven results of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, four of which are pertinent here.
1) Sanctification is the means of extending the great power experiment of the Hypostatic Union into the Church Age, so that the correct designation for this dispensation is the great power experiment of the Church Age.
2) Sanctification is the means of the formation of the Royal Family of God.
3) Sanctification is the means of the creation of a new spiritual species for the utilization of the Divine omnipotence; i.e., the omnipotence of God the Father related to our Portfolio of Invisible Assets, the omnipotence of God the Son related to the perpetuation of human history, and the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit related to your very own palace, the operational Divine power system for your life.
4) Equal privilege for every believer to execute the protocol plan of God in union with Christ.
Therefore, Positional sanctification means you have eternal security; there is no way you can ever get out of your relationship with God, John 10:28-30.
b) Phase Two, (Experiential), Sanctification is the function of the spiritual life after salvation. The function of the spiritual life depends on the three spiritual skills: the filling of the Holy Spirit, the metabolization of Bible doctrine in your soul, and the utilization of the Eleven Problem Solving Devices. This produces experiential or spiritual righteousness, which is your residence, function, and momentum inside the operational-type Divine Power System.
It results in the super-grace life, which is your consistent daily walk in fellowship with God resulting in your spiritual advancement inside of God’s Plan for your life. It is the combination of a maximum amount of time logged in the filling of the Spirit, as per Eph 5:18, and the daily function of the Grace Apparatus for Perception (GAP), John 17:15-17.
John 17:15-17, “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”
By the daily function of GAP, over a prolonged period of time, the entrance into the super-grace life is accomplished. That is the area of Experiential or Phase Two Sanctification.
Experiential Sanctification has several objectives:
1) It is to carry the believer during the intensified stage of the Angelic Conflict. In this intensification, every believer is an ambassador for Christ and every believer is a priest, Eph 6:20; 1 Peter 2:9; therefore, in full time Christian service. This fact from the moment of salvation onward plus the intensification of the Angelic Conflict demands Experiential Sanctification and/or the entrance into the super-grace life.
2) To establish Divine viewpoint in the devil’s world and to provide capacity for every believer to be the rapid beneficiary of grace under all circumstances and situations.
3) To provide from the capacity for love in super-grace maximum occupation with the person of Christ. One of the great objectives of the Christian life is to appreciate who and what Jesus Christ is right now on this earth, not waiting until we get to heaven. This can only be accomplished through Bible doctrine.
4) To glorify God through the establishment of the Edification Complex of the Soul (ECS). The ECS is reflected glory. We glorify God through the structure in the soul from which all bona fide function and all Divine good must emanate. (See Chart)
5) To produce triple-compound Divine good. When it is it falls into the category of gold, silver and precious stones, 1 Cor 3:10-15, and it means that we have accomplished something in this life that will glorify God forever. All rewards in the future do not glorify the individual who receives them; they glorify God’s grace that made them possible.
c) Phase Three (Ultimate) Sanctification is the believer in his resurrection body in the eternal state, Rom 8:29; 1 Cor 1:8; Phil 3:21; 1 Thes 5:23; 1 John 3:1-2.
1 Thes 5:23, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify (HAGIAZO) you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In this salutation, many things that are connected with our relationship with God at the point of salvation are mentioned or suggested. At the moment of salvation, we receive 40+ things which can never be improved. For example, the baptism of the Spirit, regeneration, the sealing of the Spirit, the spiritual gifts, etc. These things received at the point of salvation are non-improvable. Our capacity to appreciate them and our capacity for blessing is going to come out of our spiritual growth, but spiritual growth does not mean improving positional truth or the things we received at salvation.
Eph 1:2, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Here we have two more things that we receive from God at salvation that continue to be part of our lives during our spiritual walk in Christ Jesus; grace and peace. Grace is all that God does for man, and peace is the result of God’s grace applied towards the believer. “Grace” contains the meaning of receiving something completely undeserved, and “peace” contains the idea of enjoying inner tranquility, undisturbed by external circumstances. Therefore, these two are part of our “Riches in Christ.”
“Grace” is the Greek noun CHARIS, χάρις and “peace” is the noun EIRENE εἰρήνη. Combined, as here, were the normal fashion of greetings in those days.
CHARIS means, “grace, graciousness, kindness, goodwill, a gift, a favor, thanks, or even gratitude.” It is formed from the root CHAR, whose derivatives all focus on that which gives pleasure, benefit and happiness. Thus there is a certain relationship between CHARIS, “grace or kindness,” and CHARA, “joy.” CHARIS evokes joy and delight, often in a totally undeserved and unexpected way.
“Occurring about 155 times in the NT where about 100 of these are in the letters of Paul, CHARIS plays a crucial role in the N.T.’s presentation of God’s relationship to mankind. Grace is the autograph of the decree of God’s kingdom; it is governed by grace.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary.)
Grace is consistently defined as God’s “gracious” act of redemption in Christ. Because of His grace, God justifies the unworthy and undeserving and through grace in Christ, He grants them a share in eternal life, Rom 3:24f; 5:1f, 15. Grace as a way of salvation stands in opposition to any thought that someone can be saved by the Law or their human good works. Grace excludes any hope of achieving righteousness through works of the Law or self-redemption, Rom 6:14; Gal 5:4.
Eph 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, so that no man may boast,” cf. Titus 3:5.
Grace and faith; therefore, complement one another, Rom 4:16; Eph 2:8. By faith we accept grace, and by faith the grace is in effect. Grace and faith then form an inseparable unity, 1 Tim 1:14.
1 Tim 1:14, “And the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.”
God’s intervention in history for establishing a New Covenant, and His effort to maintain it are both manifestations of His grace. Therefore, grace is at the same time the cause and the effect of the saving work of Jesus Christ, John 3:16, 36. The main gifts we receive because of the grace of God are the forgiveness of sins, fellowship with God, and eternal life, (i.e., Positional, Experiential, and Ultimate Sanctification), Rom 3:24 f.; 5:1f.; Eph 2:5 f.
Grace forms the basis for fellowship with God and the forgiveness of sins experientially, 1 John 1:6 ff, just as faith worked hand in hand with grace to see that forgiveness was realized positionally, resulting in your salvation.
Being a Christian means one is a “partaker” of grace, Phil 1:7, and it is in this grace that believers “stand,” Rom 5:2. Therefore, grace is the sphere of existence for believers, Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3; Col 1:2, and we live every aspect of our lives in light of His grace. We are, as Paul said in Rom 6:14, “under grace.” As we noted in Gal 5:4, although we “stand” in grace, we may “fall” from it in regard to temporal loss of our Experiential Sanctification.
Therefore, the Bible speaks of different levels of grace.
1. God’s grace is made manifest through the gifts, (charismata), given and distributed by the Holy Spirit, Rom 12:6; Eph 4:7.
Rom 12:6, “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith.”
2. Believers can be strong or weak in their faith in the Grace of God, 2 Tim 2:1; cf. John 1:16; 2 Peter 3:18. So the effects of grace take place on multiple levels.
As such, the various gifts of grace and demonstrations of grace are all manifestations of the one grace; the grace of God in Christ Jesus. It instructs us in holy living and provides the impetus for our sanctification, cf. 2 Tim 2:1; Titus 2:11-12.
Titus 2:11-12, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.”
Having understood the first aspect of Paul’s greeting, “grace,” which is God’s unmerited favor and love expressed towards mankind, we now explore the second aspect which is “peace,” the Greek noun EIRENE, εἰρήνη. As noted above, “peace” is the result of God’s grace applied towards the believer that contains the idea of enjoying inner tranquility undisturbed by external circumstances. It is simply a synonym for blessing.
In our passage, both grace and peace are given to us by “God our Father,” APO THEOS PATER, who has a marvelous plan for all believers, “and the Lord Jesus Christ,” KURIOS IESOUS CHRISTOS, who by His grace purchased our peace upon the Cross. “Lord” or KURIOS is used for the deity of Christ, the second person of the Trinity, the One by whom we understand God and His grace and peace.
The Greek word for “peace,” EIRENE, literally means, “a state of concord, peace or harmony,” and by implication, “welfare or a state of well-being,” including “security and prosperity.” The Hebrew equivalent is SHALOM, שָׁלוֹם, which also means “peace, welfare, security, safety, or prosperity.”
Joseph Thayer says EIRENE is used in the New Testament for:
- A state of national tranquility.
- Peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord.
- Security, safety, prosperity.
- The way that leads to peace (salvation).
- The tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ and so fearing nothing from God being content with its earthly lot of whatsoever sort that it is.
- The blessed state of believers after death.
As believers we have two main categories of Peace, Positional and Experiential.
Due to the believer’s irrevocable salvation, positionally the believer is at peace with God, i.e., reconciled to God. That is, we have a direct relationship with Him. There is nothing dividing us or keeping us apart.
The peace between God and the believer was achieved by the completed work of Jesus Christ on the Cross where He broke down the barrier between God and man by paying the penalty for our sins and the sins of the unbeliever, 1 John 2:2, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”
Because the unbeliever has not accepted His saving work on their behalf, (i.e. believed in Him), the barrier remains between them and God, and there is no peace for them positionally or experientially.
But for the believer there is peace.
Rom 5:1-2, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”
Eph 2:12-18, “Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances (that which told of what sin was), so that in Himself He might make the two (Jew and Gentile) into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the Cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Italic mine.)
“Peace” and “reconciliation,” KATALLASSO, are synonymous terms in this passage and Eph 4:3; 6:15; Col 1:20. All believers are reconciled to God the moment they believe in Christ, but the work of reconciliation actually took place on the Cross.
2 Cor 5:18-19, “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
Peace or reconciliation between God and man must be ratified in every individual case through personal faith in Jesus Christ. The means of ratification is personal faith in Jesus Christ.
Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved; and if anyone in your household believes in Christ, they too will be saved.”
Our personal sins were imputed to Jesus Christ on the Cross and were judged by God the Father. The imputation of our sins to Christ is the major factor in the removal of all barriers between us and God.
Peace is not only a synonym for reconciliation but is the only way to completely understand what God did for us and that there was nothing we could do for salvation.
Peace is a synonym for reconciliation, since being reconciled to God through faith in Christ establishes peace between God and the believer.
Peace means that we have His righteousness and His life.
Col 1:19-22, “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. 21And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, 22yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”
Peace or reconciliation was portrayed in the Levitical offerings. All Old Testament teaching is related to the ritual Plan of God for the Dispensation of Israel, in that the peace offering taught reconciliation, Lev 3; 6:37-38; 8:15.
In Lev 2:13, eating salt represented peace between two enemies. God eating salt is a picture of propitiation. Man eating salt is a picture of reconciliation.
Finally, peace with God or Reconciliation was prophesied in Isa 57:17‑21, which was fulfilled by Jesus Christ on the Cross. Jesus Christ, being judged for our sins on the Cross, removed the barrier between God and man, and provided for man’s reconciliation to God through faith in Him.
Therefore, by application, reconciliation is the means of peace and unity between God and man, and as we will see, the means of preserving unity among the brethren. In Positional Sanctification, the baptism of the Holy Spirit removes all barriers between believer and believer, “the two have been made into one.” In Experiential Sanctification, the spiritual skills become the means of the unity among believers post salvation modus operandi.
Experientially, we have the peace of Jesus Christ by having His Word resident within our souls and by being filled with the Holy Spirit, as a result of rebounding – 1 John 1:9, John 14:23, 25-27; Rom 8:6; 14:17; Phil 4:9.
John 14:25, “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
Rom 8:6, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Rom 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
Phil 4:9, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
As we have noted, the Greek word EIRENE means, “benefit, prosperity welfare, peace, tranquility, harmony, health, etc.”
- In regard to benefit, the believer is benefited by the intake of Bible doctrine.
- In regard to prosperity, the believer becomes prosperous through the intake of Bible doctrine.
- In regard to welfare in the true Biblical sense, not in the communist sense, the believer’s welfare is directly related to the amount of doctrine which he absorbs into his soul.
With these first three you have tranquility, which is based upon Bible doctrine being resident within your soul. Therefore, we have peace accruing within our souls through the daily function of the Grace Apparatus for Perception (GAP), which in effect is the subject of the Ephesians epistle, cf. Psa 119:165; Prov 3:13-18.
Prov 3:13, “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding. 14For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. 15She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. 16Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 17Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace. 18She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast.”
Psa 119:165, “Those who love Your law (Bible Doctrine) have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.”
There are times in life when your peace is based simply on your own ignorance; “ignorance is bliss” they say. “Turning a blind eye,” or “putting your head in the sand,” does not make problems and difficulties go away, you are only avoiding the inevitable, which many times gives the believer a false sense of peace. But when we are awakened to the realities of life, true inner peace is impossible unless it is received from Jesus Himself. That is why grace and peace go hand in hand. When the grace of God comes into your life, you can handle the realities of life and as a result have God’s peace within your soul.
Rom 16:20, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”
Psa 55:18, “He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me, for they are many who strive with me.”
2 Thes 3:16, “Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!”
Col 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
When our Lord speaks peace, He creates peace, because the words that He speaks are always “spirit, and they are life”, John 6:63. Therefore, by learning and apply His Word in faith, you will experience His peace.
1 Cor 14:33, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”
Rom 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing (Faith-Rest), so that you will abound in hope (confidence) by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Psa 4:8, “In peace (shalom) I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.”
Psa 29:11, “The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.”
To have God’s peace experientially also means we must consistently apply faith in our prayers, 1 John 5:14-15.
1 John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
Your prayer life enters you into His peace experientially, not only by rebounding, 1 John 1:9, but by turning all your needs, cares, and worries over to the Father and faith-resting that He hears and answers those prayer, Phil 4:6-7.
Phil 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Peace is also a part of our Divine Good Production, i.e., the Fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22-23.
Gal 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
Post-salvation peace is the result of the “fruit of the Spirit,” which is a source of great inner happiness and peace of the spiritual life.
Rom 2:10, “Glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
When you are walking in the peace of God, you are producing Divine good, cf. John 14:27; 15:1-11, which results in triple-compound everlasting rewards, “gold, silver and precious gems,” 1 Cor 3:12-14.
So we have seen that relationship with the integrity of God, (His righteousness and justice), first means salvation, then fellowship with God, and finally blessing from God as mature believers. Through adjustment in the mentality of our souls to the justice and righteousness of God, we will have His peace within our souls and will walk in that peace.
2 Peter 3:14, “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.”
Heb 13:20, “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
The “Way of Peace” is always relationship with the Integrity of God, which relationship is established through adjustment to the justice and righteousness of God under three categories.
1. Salvation adjustment to the justice of God by faith in Christ; thereby, freeing God to give us His perfect righteousness, which permits Him to declare us justified.
2. Rebound adjustment to the justice of God by acknowledgment of our personal sins to God the Father, 1 John 1:9, which permits God to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness experientially. This is strictly a post-salvation adjustment to the justice of God for the believer only. The unbeliever must first believe on Jesus Christ for salvation.
3. Maturity adjustment to the justice of God by the daily metabolization and application of Bible doctrine, which results in spiritual growth to the point of spiritual maturity and Divine Good Production, resulting in blessing from the justice of God.
Therefore, at the moment of our salvation, we are positionally at Peace with God, point #1, and from there we need to continue to exploit our relationship with God so that we can experience His peace on a daily basis, points #2 and #3, experiential adjustment.
Phil 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (His Word).”
We also note that a distinguishing feature of the child of God is his role as a “peacemaker” in the world, Mat 5:9. It suggests an active effort to bring about peace and salvation in the lives of others.
Mat 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
“Peacemakers,” is the Adjective EIRENOPOIOS, εἰρηνοποιός made up of EIRENE plus POIEO that means, “to make.” This is the only time this word is used in all of Scripture. It means that we should endeavor to reconcile people who have disagreements; thereby, making peace. It is not about being a passively peaceful person but an active reconciler of people.
Rom 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”
Col 3:14-15, “Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”
Rom 12:18, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”
Prov 12:20, “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy (inner happiness).”
Yet, this is not simply one who makes peace between two parties, but one who spreads the good news of the peace of and with God, which he has experienced.
Heb 12:14, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.”
Isa 52:7, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns”!”
The believer who has received the peace of God in his own heart should bring that same peace to others as he witnesses to them the gospel of Jesus Christ.
James 3:18, “And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
The “peacemaker” shows others how to have inward peace with God and how to be an instrument of peace in this world, by desiring and possessing God’s righteousness.
Because of the peacemaker’s faith-rest in God, he exerts a Relaxed Mental Attitude, (RMA), in the storms of life and provides others with the same opportunity for peace the way he received it, through the Gospel message.
Rom 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing (Faith-Rest), so that you will abound in hope (confidence) by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Therefore, the peace-receivers become transformed into peace-diffusers, and God is thus seen reflected in you. By the family likeness, these peacemakers are recognized as children of God, just as God’s Son was called the “Prince of Peace,” Isa 9:6-7, so ultimately, peacemakers will be recognized as members of the Royal Family of God. And it is out of love for God and man that we do all possible good to all men.
Eph 4:3, “Being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
The experience of peace with God enables you to seek the cessation of your hostilities with people. While the gospel itself may offend some people and lead to hostility, Mat10:34, you actively seek harmonious relationships with others. In this age of individual, ethnic, and national aggression, Jesus reminds us that there is a time for war and righteous indignation, but peacemakers, not warmongers, have God’s approval.
Eccl 3:8, “A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.”
Finally, we note that at the Second Advent of Christ, He will introduce the millennial reign with perfect environment and peace on the earth for 1,000 years. All of creation on earth will be at peace. As a result, the whole world will be at peace and rejoice in Him.
Isa 55:12, “For you will go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
In summary, when, as a believer in Jesus Christ, you have been faithful in the reception, retention and recall of Bible doctrine and have advanced to spiritual maturity, you are not only a strong person but you have great inner happiness. You then take the peace of God with you wherever you go. It is not dependent on environment, associations, or circumstances of prosperity or adversity; it depends on none of these things. It is a part of God’s grace policy to believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. And as you live in that peace, your life will be a witness of the peace of God that is found in Christ Jesus, and many will come to be saved.
2 Tim 2:22, “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
2 Cor 13:11, “Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”
II. The Doctrinal/Theological Portion of the Epistle.
The Wealth and Calling of the Church; God’s Purpose for the Church: Eph 1:3 through Chapter 3:21.
Chapter 1, Section II – Outline.
A. Praise for Redemption, Eph 1:4-14. The seven elements of the believer’s position.
- Chosen by the Father, Predestination in Christ, Eph 1:3-6a.
- Redemption by the Son, Redemption in Christ, Eph 1:6b-12.
- Sealed with the Spirit, Inheritance in Christ, Eph 1:13-14.
B. Prayer for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Power, Our Resources in Christ, Eph 1:15-23.
- The Cause of the Prayer, Eph 1:15-18a.
- The Content of the Prayer, Christ Exalted to be the Head of His Body, the Church, Eph 1:18b-23.
As we begin this section there are two things to point out:
1) Vs. 3-14, are called “The long sentence.” It is one long sentence that describes our “spiritual blessings,” which provides for our Positional Sanctification, the relationship that we have with the Trinity. Because these verses are one complete sentence in the Greek, the passage should be treated as one complete thought. Some Bible scholars believe this passage was used as a hymn sung in the Early Church in praise to God.
2) In Vs 15-23, we have the first apostolic prayer, which describes the dynamics of our relationship with the Trinity.
Given that both subsections speak about the Trinity, as did the opening salutation, we are reminded that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are three persons that make up One God. Their oneness is based on sharing equally, infinitely, and eternal the exact same essence, made up of various attributes, as depicted below. Trinity is a theological word which is not found in the Bible that comes from “tri” meaning three, plus “unity” meaning one. So from tri unity we have the word Trinity to describe The God as three persons in one.
Eph 1:3, “Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ.”
In many of his epistles, Paul gradually built up to his major thesis, but in this letter, he begins with one of the most important of all theological truths: God’s purpose for the New Testament Church. The position of the believer is “in the heavenlies in Christ.” This describes the sphere and the nature of our spiritual experiences. “In Christ” or its equivalent can be found 10 times in vs. 3-13 of this first chapter, and the preposition “in” EN is used approximately 120 times in the 6 chapters of Ephesians.
“In Christ,” describes our position with God through Christ, as well as our union with Jesus Christ. As such, vs. 3 is a key verse in this section. It establishes the key thought in this chapter which is “the wealth of blessings we have as Christians;” spiritual blessings that are ours because we are “in Christ.”
Paul tells us that each Person of the Godhead has blessed us, vs. 1-14, and then he prays that we might understand these blessings and the power they can be in our lives in vs. 15-23, as we will note.
“Blessed” and “blessing” are both based on the root word EULOGEO, εὐλογέω, which is a verb that means, “speak well of, praise, extol, or bless.” It is where we get our English word from “eulogy.” It is distinguished from MAKARIOS that also means “blessed or favor,” but it has the connotation of happiness because of possessing the favor of God, marked by fullness from God.
EULOGEO means we have received something from God; He has distinguished us with favor, as He acts in our lives and accomplishes His purposes in us, instead of allowing us to have our own way.
The first use in this sentence is in regard to God. He is the one we speak well of, praise, and glorify. The second use is what God has done for us. And the third use is the noun EULOGIA that speaks of the things that God has given to us. Therefore, this verse tells us that:
1) We have been blessed by God the Father.
2) The blessings are all encompassing and complete.
3) God the Father has blessed us from His throne room in Heaven, (which also alludes to prehistoric times, as does the verbal usage of the Aorist tense in this verse).
4) The blessings are based on the finished work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross here on earth.
5) These are grace blessings from God, provided by God in eternity past, and therefore exclude human works.
6) These blessings become a reality in your life through cognizance and inculcation of Bible doctrine.
As such, we are the recipients of Escrow blessings from eternity past before we were born, before man existed, before angels existed. Therefore, grace blessings preexisted all grace recipients; all believers. The blessings of grace were provided before the beneficiaries of grace, i.e., all believers.
The blessings came first. Therefore, you had nothing to do with the blessings; neither salvation nor anything after salvation. Since the blessings of the believer existed before the believer, it is impossible for such blessings to be based on human merit or human ability. Therefore, they are all from the GRACE of God!
God provides benefits for you on the basis of who and what He is and who and what He was in eternity past, and He is the same today as He ever was. They are not based on who or what you are or do. That is GRACE!
These benefits that we have received are “spiritual blessing,” PNEUMATIKOS, πνευματικός blessings. Since God is Spirit, everything He does is spiritual. So this refers to the very character of God, not only His essence. His character is spiritual. Therefore, anything that comes from God is πνευματικός. These blessings include materialistic, as well as, traditional spiritual blessings. Any blessing that is from the source of God the Father is a spiritual blessing. It can be a right man or right woman, monetary, Bible doctrine, your salvation, etc. Your position in Christ is a spiritual blessing and is the source of all your blessings. So this does not describe the essence of the benefit, it describes the essence of the Giver/Provider, God the Father.
God the Father has blessed us with these spiritual blessings “in the heavenly places/ realms,” EN TOIS EPOURANIOS, ἐπουράνιος in the Plural, Local Dative of Place/Sphere. EPOURANIOS is from the root word HOURANOS, οὐρανός that means, “heaven.”
This phrase occurs five times in Ephesians. It is generally translated “in heavenly places” which is not bad, but we should simplify this by saying, “in the heavenlies.”
The five uses include:
1) The sphere and source of Divine blessing, Eph 1:3.
2) The sphere of Christ’s power, Eph 1:20.
3) The sphere of the Christian life, Eph 2:6.
4) The sphere of angelic activity, Eph 3:10.
5) The sphere of spiritual conflict, Eph 6:12.
And finally, as mentioned above, these blessings from the heavenlies are based on our position “in Christ”, EN CHRISTOS, which reminds us of the doctrine of Positional Truth, our Positional Sanctification, and union with Jesus Christ, as a result of the blessings we receive at the moment of our faith in Jesus Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and session.
In regard to your salvation, these “spiritual blessings” are in fact one of the 40+ things you received at the moment of your salvation. Fourteen of the 40 things are listed in the Book of Ephesians, most of them in Chapter 1. The following is the list of the fourteen for your reference as we study this Chapter and book.
Some of the 40+ things we receive at salvation:
1. The unique Pre-designed Protocol Plan of God. Eph 1:3-4.
2. Another is that we are Recipients of Escrow blessings. Eph 1:3
3. Another is that we have the asset of Election. Rom 8:33; Eph 1:4; Col 3:12; 1 Thes 1:4; 2 Thes 2:13; 2 Tim 2: 10; 1 Peter 2:9; 5:13.
4. Another is that we have Positional Sanctification, being “in Christ.” Rom 6:2; 1 Cor 1:2, 30; 6:11; Eph 1:3; 2 Thes 2:13; Heb 2:11; 10:10, 14
5. Another is that we have the asset of Predestination. Rom 8:29; Eph 1:5; 1 Peter 1:2
6. Another is that we have been entered into the Royal Family of God via adoption forever. Eph 1:5; 1 Peter 2:9
7. Another is that we are the beneficiaries of redemption. Rom 3:24; 1 Cor 1:30; Gal 3:13; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14; Titus 2:14; Heb 9:12-15; 1 Peter 1:18-19
8. Another is that we receive Efficacious Grace, (God the Holy Spirit makes our faith effective for salvation). Eph 1:13
9. Another is that we receive the sealing ministry of God the Holy Spirit. Eph 1:13-14, 4:30; 2 Cor 1:22
10. Another is that we receive an eternal inheritance. Rom 8:17; Gal 3:29, 4:6-7; Eph 1:14, 18; 3:6; Heb 9:15
11. Another is that we are given access to God. At the moment we believe in Christ, we have access to God (in prayer). Rom 5:2; Eph 2:18; Heb 4:14, 16; 10:19-20
12. Another is that we are on a secure foundation. 1 Cor 3:11, 10:4; Eph 2:20
13. Another is the filling of the Holy Spirit. Eph 5:18; Gal 5:16; John 4:24; Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 6:3, 5; 7:55; 9:17; 13:9; 11:24; 13:52; Luke 1:15, 41, 67; 4:1; 1 John 1:7; 2 Cor 3:3; 2 Peter 1:4
14. Another is that we are related to God the Son by nine Biblical analogies.
- The last Adam and the New Creation, 1 Cor 15:45; 2 Cor 5:17a.
- The Head and the Body, Col 1:18a.
- The Great Shepherd and the Sheep, Heb 13:20.
- The True Vine and the Branches, John 15:5a.
- The Chief Cornerstone and the Stones in the building, Eph 2:20; 1 Peter 2:5-6.
- The Great High Priest and members of the Royal Priesthood, Heb 4:14a; 1 Peter 2:9a.
- The Groom and the Bride, our wedding occurs at the Second Advent, Rev 19:7.
- The Husband and Wife, Eph 5:23-24, 29, 32.
- The King of kings and the Royal Family of God, Rev 19:14-16.
Eph 1:4, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him, in love.”
In our outline, we noted that there are “seven elements of the believer’s position” that are part of our “spiritual blessings in the heavenlies,” Eph 1:3-14. Those seven begin here with “being chosen” or elected into the family and Royal Family of God. The list of seven includes:
1) Your Election, vs. 4.
2) Being made holy and blameless (sanctified), vs. 4.
3) Predestination, vs. 5, 11.
4) Adopted as “sons of God,” vs. 5.
5) Redemption, we have been redeemed from sin, vs. 7, 14.
6) We have an eternal inheritance, vs. 11, 13.
7) We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit, vs. 13.
In vs. 4 we first see that we have been “chosen” by God into His Royal Family for the Church Age. The verb “chose” is the Aorist tense, Middle voice and Indicative mood of the verb EKLEGO, ἐκλέγω that means, “choose, select, or elect” which is EKLEGOMAI, ἐκλέγομαι. It is derived from the preposition EK, “from,” plus the verb LEGO, “say.”
In the Middle voice, the word denotes “to choose or pick (for oneself).” Therefore, God chose us for Himself.
“In Him” is synonymous with “in Christ” of vs. 3, and indicates that all of God’s blessings come to people “In Christ,” literally “in the sphere of Christ,” and our election into the Royal Family of God is one of those spiritual blessings.
“Before the foundation of the world,” tells us that our election was provided for us by God before the creation of the world; in eternity past.
“That we would be holy and blameless before Him”, uses the words HAGIOS for “holy” and AMOMOS ἄμωμος for “blameless.”
This “holy” is your Experiential Sanctification. In vs. 1, HAGIOS represented your Positional Sanctification as “saints” before God. Here it is our Experiential Sanctification that we are able walk in because of our Position in Christ. As such, your election, even though related to your position in Christ, has to do with the experiential part of God’s plan for your life. Holiness has to do with separation unto God, here it is separation from sin and the world experientially for the execution of the Plan of God for your life.
“Blameless before Him” uses the Adjective AMOMOS ἄμωμος that uses the prefix of negation “A,” plus the Noun MOMOS that means, “blame, fault, blemish, spot, etc. Therefore, AMOMOS means, “without blemish,” which although speaks to your Positional and Experiential Sanctification is actually a reference to Ultimate Sanctification in the eternal state.
Holiness and blamelessness are imputed to the individual at the time of his election. That is the doctrine of Positional Sanctification, which we noted previously in vs. 1, as we are HAGIOS, “saints, holy, pure, clean,” positionally before God from the moment of our salvation.
“Before” is the Genitive Preposition katenōpion κατενώπιον that is a marker of a position relative to someone (i.e., God) who is viewed as having jurisdiction, whether visibly present or not. Here it means, “before, in the presence of, or in the sight of our Sovereign God.”
Therefore, as saints, holy and blameless, we are able to stand before God pure, clean, spotless, and without blemish positionally, experientially, and ultimately, which is all made possible because of our “election” into the Royal Family of God.
So this verse acts as a headline, along with vs. 1, for the three phases of our sanctification, which are explained further in vs. 5-14. Nevertheless, all three phases are made possible because of our “election” into the Royal Family of God. Therefore, we will discuss what our elections means.
In its simplest definition, election refers to the intention, process, and result of making a choice. In regard to God and the Church, it is an act of the Divine will of God.
In Henry Thiessen’s Introductory Lectures in Systematic Theology, pg. 344, he states, “By election we mean that sovereign act of God in grace whereby He chose in Christ Jesus for salvation all those whom He foreknew would accept Him. This is redemption in its elective aspect.”
Our election is the prehistoric, pre-creative recognition by God of those who would believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior in time. Because of God’s omniscient foreknowledge of your faith in Christ Jesus, God in eternity past was able to elect you into His family and gave you salvation in time. Therefore, election is the expression of the sovereign will of God in eternity past before the universe existed and before mankind lived on the earth. It is the sovereign right of God over His creation.
God is under no obligation to elect anyone, since we all were lost in Adam, (sin). Election is wholly of God’s grace apart from human merit.
2 Tim 1:9, “Who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.” Our works have no relation to our historical impact.
In grace God chose to provide salvation for man through Christ, and election is only applicable to those who are “in Christ.” In other words, God chose man on the merits of Christ, not on the merits of man. As such, God looked down the corridor of time and in His foreknowledge saw who would non-meritoriously accept Christ as their Savior and then elected them to salvation.
Under God’s Divine Decree, His Sovereign Plan for mankind, He elected those who are in Christ into His family. The Biblical order of God’s Decree is as follows:
- Decree to create all Men
- Decree to permit man to fall
- Decree to provide salvation for men, unlimited atonement
- Decree to elect those who believe and leave in just condemnation all who do not believe
- Decree to apply salvation to those who believe
Election emphasizes God’s free choice of individuals to salvation. As Paul uses the verb EKLEGO in the middle voice, he is indicating that God’s choice was made freely and for His own purposes, cf. 1 Cor 1:27-28; with Eph 1:4.
1 Cor 1:27, “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong.”
We were chosen before the foundation of the world to live godly lives, Col 3:12; 2 Peter 1:10.
2 Peter 1:10, “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.”
Col 3:12, “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”
Finally, Election is a term used for the believer only and never for the unbeliever. Therefore, God does not “elect” the unbeliever to go to Hell.
Next in Part II, we will study:
The Doctrine of Predestination
Principles of RedemptionPrinciples of The Blood of Jesus Christ.