Notes by Dr Don Hender.
Introduction. Paul wrote this letter from his imprisonment in Rome, plus Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. The date was most likely AD 61, probably Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome, lasting 2 years, AD 61-62. See Acts 28:30-31.
Ephesus was one of Asia’s great religious, political and commercial centres. It was the fourth largest city in the Roman Empire, with a population of about 300,000. The famous temple of Diana, one of the seven wonders of the world, was situated in Ephesus, taking 200 years to build, the centre of Diana-worship. See Acts 19:23-41.
When Paul wrote this letter he would show the saints that in the invisible Church they had a temple, not made with human hands, far more glorious that Diana’s temple. Worshippers of Diana gathered from all over the Roman Empire, believing that their image of Diana had fallen from heaven. (Acts 19:35). Ephesus was a hot-bed of cults and superstitions, and false doctrines. This is seen in many places in the letter. 1Timothy 1:3. Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to correct false doctrine. Silver images of Diana were made, magical arts were practiced (Acts 18:19; 19:8), even Jews had a synagogue there. The power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached there and a Church was formed. The pagan metropolis was sent in turmoil as a result, resulting in Satan’s opposition to the Gospel.
“So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed”. Acts 19:20.
The Acts of the Apostles tells us a lot about what happened at Ephesus. Perhaps converts from the day of Pentecost came from Ephesus. It is likely that the Gospel was preached there before Paul arrived. For further details of the background to the Gospel and Church formed in Ephesus see Acts 18:18 through to ch.20:38.
Read pages 313 – 324 inclusive in Jensen’s Survey of the N.T. Excellent presentation.
Ephesians is easily divided into 2 parts:
Chapters 1-3, ‘Calling and Doctrine of the Church’.
Chapters 3-6, ‘Conduct and Duty of the Church’.
The calling of the Church is to be an ‘organism’ – a ‘Body’. The conduct of the Church is to be an organisation – a Building (temple with Christ as Foundation, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets – that Foundation is Christ).
Charles Erdman wrote of ch.1:3-14, ‘a hymn of praise consisting of three sections.
(1). Relating to the past: God the Father is the subject, ending with “To the praise of the Glory of His Grace” (1:6). THE PLAN OF THE FATHER (vs.3-6).
(2). Relating to the present: God the Son is the subject, ending with “to the praise of His Glory” (1:12). THE PROVISION OF THE SON (vs. 7-12).
(3). Relates to the future: God the Holy Spirit is the subject, ending with “to the praise of His Glory” (1:14). THE PLEDGE OF THE SPIRIT (vs. 13-14). Future inheritance.
These sections are bound together by recurring references to Christ: “in the Beloved”, “in Christ”, “in Whom” are ‘Inexhaustible riches’ and ‘Inextinguishable love’.
Believers enjoy the “Riches of God’s Grace” (1:7). “Riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (1:18). “Exceeding riches of His Grace in His kindness towards us” (2:7). “Riches of His Glory” (3:16). The true Church are the ‘recipients of God’s Grace’.
The word ‘saint’ in v.1 can also be translated ‘holy ones’ or ‘holy’in v.4. A saint is one who is God’s delight. Ps.16:3. Heb: ‘gidosh’ gives the understanding of being separated unto God. In ch.1:1` the word for saint is ‘hagios’ (Gk.). Same meaning, but something added – a ‘washing’ or ‘cleansing’ of something. A saint in the NT is a person who has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. The Gk. word ‘hagios’ has a common root with another Gk.word ‘hagnos’, which means pure or chaste. See 2 Cor.11:2. God delights in the faithful saints, in Christ Jesus v.1
The word ‘beloved’: Gk. ‘agapetois’. It is the word which means to be loved with the highest form of love ever known to man – Divine love. The word ‘hagios’ for saints or holy ones is found in vs. 1,4,13,15,18; Ch.2 vs. 19 and 21; Ch.3 vs. 5,8,18; Ch.4 vs. 12 and 30; Ch.5 vs. 3 and 27; Ch.6:18. God’s holiness is inherent, ours is imputed. He gives us the opportunity to be partakers in God’s holiness. 2 Peter 1:3-4. When a person receives salvation through Christ, responding to the Gospel, the Holy Spirit comes in, gives new life to the human spirit – new birth and our spirit is united with the Holy Spirit. That person is set apart, cleansed, washed, belonging to the Lord by right of purchase with His blood. The Holy Spirit manifests the presence of Jesus in our lives and He bears the fruit of His character and quality in our life as we grow towards His likeness and eventually be transformed into His image and likeness. These will be Divine holy characteristics as sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty, owned by the Father and given by Him to the Son, to be His Bride. As a family of God the Father we have responsibility towards each other, saintly saints are sensitive to each other’s needs. Romans 12:9 and 13.That is why this letter is balanced and divided into doctrine and duty, three chapters each! Saints have a high standard by the way they minister. See Romans 16:2. ‘Receive others in a manner worthy of the saints’. Measure up to the Divine standard of being a saint. Saintly saints do things right. See 3 John 5-6.
The Gk.word for faithful is ‘pistos’. It is used to describe saintly saints. It comes from the word ‘peitho’ which means to win over, to persuade. ‘Peitho’ is translated ‘to obey’ in Hebrews. It gives the understanding of someone who has been totally persuaded to the point of willingness to obey. Are you a faithful saint – faithful in the little things confronting you? The word faithful in Christ Jesus defines the character of the servant of God. See Hebrews 3:5. Faithfulness, on our part, does not mean perfection. In chs. 4 to 6 Paul has to instruct,exhort and encourage the Ephesian believers. Faithfulness is a measure of a believer’s character.
Note the last two words of v.1. The words are ‘Christ Jesus’, not just ‘Jesus’. That is important. Why? Jesus was His earthly name, before His resurrection. After the resurrection it was changed to Christ. See Acts 2:36; Romans 1:4; Eph.1:19-21. It was His resurrected power administered by the Holy Spirit that enables us to be faithful and dependable in Christ Jesus.
The believers at Ephesus were faithful and saintly saints, great Christians because they were faithful in Christ Jesus. In Eph.1 Paul wants them to be enlightened about some essential truths. In. ch.2 Paul wants them to remember some truths. In ch.3 he wants them to understand and grasp great blessings which come from the Lord. In chs. 4 to 6 Paul gives instruction and encouragement that saints may keep on living as the saintly saints God wants them to be.
In verse 2 the word “grace”, ‘xaris’ in the Gk., comes from the word ‘xairo’, which means to rejoice. When we understand grace, we can rejoice! The first time the word for ‘grace’ is used, is in the Hebrew, in Genesis ch.6, when God decided to covenant with Noah. God saw gross sin, but Noah found ‘grace’ (favour) in the sight of the Lord’. He spared and saved Noah and his family, simply because God decided to renew the earth through Noah following judgment destruction upon the earth and mankind, God making a Covenant with Noah – by and through Grace – undeserved.
In Eph.2:8, we have an excellent explanation of Grace. Jesus paid the price, a debt that He didn’t owe when we owed a debt we couldn’t pay.
Verses 3 to 14 comprise one long sentence. Here we have a picture of the Church, how it was redeemed and the rewards for the Church one day in God’s time. The whole Trinity is involved. For the true Church it is a ‘Call to Praise’.
If you look at v.18, this is the theme of the chapter, understand and be enlightened.
Verse 3. Who is the One to be blessed? The Father.
Who are the ones who have been blessed? The true Church.
What is the blessing, the blessed possess? Spiritual blessings in the heavenly places.
There are three terms for “bless” in v.3. The first one is ‘eulogetos’. It comes from two Gk. words. ‘Eu’ means well or good. The word ‘logeo’ means to speak. So, the Father is to be spoken well of – to be praised. Speak well of Him. To bless the Lord is to worship and praise Him on ‘bended knee’ from the Hebrew in the Psalms. He is worthy of our praise. Not only because He is our Father, but also because He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Secondly, v3 says, ‘blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us.’ Here is the verb ‘eulogeo’. It refers to the act of blessing, to have God act on one’s life on their behalf, to do good for them. Here eulogeo is an aorist active participle. First, in the aorist tense, the act has already been done – a completed action. Do not ask God to bless you – he already has, in Christ. Come before Him and thank Him because he has already blessed you. The ‘active voice’, in Gk., means that the Father is the One who has done the blessing. He deserves eternal praise – He has blessed us in Christ. The ones who are blessed are saints, beloved of God, faithful in Christ Jesus in Ephesus. Paul wants them to know the blessings the Father has already given them in Christ to all of us. Understand and be enlightened regarding what the Father has blessed us in Christ Jesus. What a prayer here in vs.3-14. It is already done – understanding will bring light – Pail has prayed for us to receive this. Appropriate what the Father has done for us – grasp the Truth.
Thirdly, look at the blessings that the blessed possess – every spiritual blessing. Some believers look for the external blessings through the gifts of the Holy Spirit they claim to express. People who are not particularly spiritually minded are not seeking after God Himself. Rather, they are seeking after His gifts, rather than the Lord for Himself. The word used here is ‘pneumotikos’, referring to that which is communicated or imparted already by the Holy Spirit. Believers already are given what the Father has for us, imparted to us by the Spirit, perhaps not so much in your realization, but you have spiritual blessings already in Christ Jesus, simply because you are in Christ Jesus! He says, ‘every spiritual blessing’. Now here is the third word for blessing – they are all in the same family of words. Eulogia, in the phrase, ‘with every spiritual blessing’. The word, a noun, means a favour, a gift, but two better meanings, one is ‘benefit’, the other is ‘advantage, spiritual advantage’. Every spiritual advantage and benefit is ours in Christ.
Where are they located? “In heavenly places”. The Gk word is ‘epouranios’ referring to that which is pertaining to heaven. It is the opposite to ‘epigeios’, which pertains to earthly things. These spiritual blessing never change. They are not subject to time or space. Their source is Christ. They are pure, perfect and exactly what the saints need. Blessings are free by Grace- we cannot earn them. Blessings are a sign of God’s graciousness towards us. We can never deserve them.
Spiritual blessings are delivered to the saints by the Holy Spirit, because the saints are ‘in Christ’ and are thus eligible and especially the faithful in Christ Jesus. See Col.3:1; Phil.2:21; Eph.2:6 “in the heavenlies”. God has selected a people to be His holy habitation. Same applied to Israel. God’s whole aim is summed up in ch.5:25-27. His ultimate purpose is our sanctification and likeness to Christ, of which initial salvation finally results in full salvation when we become like Him – when we will be with Him in new bodies where He is. See ch.1:5. Predestinated = foreordained (ASV) = determine beforehand. Adoption is the future act of “son-placing”. Romans ch. 8:23. Now we have the Spirit of adoption. Romans 8:15. It is not ‘son-making’ – the believer is already a son by right of redemption. We are being prepared for “son-placing” by the Spirit of Adoption.
Colossians 2:10 says “we are complete in Him”. We have every spiritual blessing in and through Christ.
Verse 4 says that God the Father chose us. The Gk. is eklego coming from two words: ‘ek’ meaning ‘out of’ and ‘lego’ which means to choose or to select for oneself. It implies a relationship between the one choosing and the one chosen. The word means to be ‘chosen out from among’. See Phil 3:11, implying a selection of some (all believers) for resurrection out from among the dead, leaving the rest (unbelievers) remaining in death, until summoned to the Great White Throne, for condemnation.
The word ‘eklego’ is an aorist middle verb. Aorist tense means at a specific time. Middle voice means He chose for Himself of His own will. The same Father who has blessed us in Christ is the same Father who chose us in Christ Jesus. Kindness in the Grace of the one choosing is implied in the verb ‘eklego’. You are blessed in Christ and chosen in Christ Jesus. See John 6:44. The little Gk. word ‘hepguo’ means it has the idea of being irresistably drawn. Those chosen will come to Him and are drawn to Him. He will not therefore cast out. The wonderful thing about being accepted in the beloved is to know that God chose us. Even though we must acknowledge human responsibility, all this is a mystery and we must leave it with the Lord and live by the understanding the Greek given to us by way of explanation. Incredible as it may sound and seem, we were ‘chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world’.
When Peter wrote to the persecuted believers in Asia he told them that the height of rejection is persecution, but the height of acceptance is being chosen. So we need to live a life of praise to the Father – our Father! Believers are identified with Christ. We are in Him. We have been chosen in Christ and been given to Him by the Father as a gift. He is our Saviour, Lord, Head and coming Bridegroom. Think of that!
It is not just understanding this, but also appropriating it in our daily living. It is the mark of the blood of Jesus and the mark upon us of the Spirit of God that should be manifesting the differences in our lives. If I am not walking in obedience to Him, I have forgotten the blessings which are mine from Him and in Him!
Verse 4 continues to teach us that He has chosen us in order that we should be holy and blameless before Him. Our holiness has got to be imputed to us – put to our account. Positionally I am secure in Christ The word ‘blameless’ has to do with being without spot or blemish. The Gk word is ‘amomos’. Because of the finished work of Christ and what He imputed and implanted into our hearts, we can never, ever be rejected. We have been cleansed by the accepted sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, in our place as a substitute bearing responsibility for our sin and put to the death of the cross. We are free from any condemnation now and have imputed blamelessnes to our account. We are no longer accused and condemned for our sins. So we must live in the light and the good of that sacrifice – called unto holiness and blameless living. God says we are eternally holy and blameless before Him – that is our position in His sight. Praise the Father! See Romans 8:1,33-39. The phrase is also found in Eph.5:27. It is the purpose of God for His people. See Col. 1:22.
Those who have been declared worthy are to walk in a manner worthy of what God has done for us. So says Eph. 4:1. We are called to be so. Eph. 2:10 says we should walk in the works that God has prepared for us to walk in. Walk the way, walk the works.
Read Romans 8:29. Positionally this is so, but the practice is a struggle against the old nature which rears its ugly head at times. We are in a battle. We are to be holy and blameless before Him. READ 2Cor. 4:1-2 and 1Thess. 3:11-13. It is our privilege to serve and please the Lord.
Verse 5. ‘He predestined us’. Gk. words ‘pro horizo’. ‘Pro means beforehand, ‘horizo’: determine. Something was determined beforehand, i.e. being chosen, predestined, called by God the Father’s choice. ‘Horizo’ is used about 8 times in the N.T. Of these, Luke uses it 6 times. Luke 22:22. The cross was predetermined. Same from Acts 2:23; Ch.10:42 ‘appointed’. Ch.11:29; Ch.17:26-27 and 31. Hebrews 4:7, ‘fixes the day’.
The word ‘prohorizo’ is found 5 times, meaning ‘to determine something beforehand based on something that you know beforehand’. A decision was made by the counsel of the Trinity before the foundation of the world, based on what they already knew. Romans 8:28 tells us of predetermined decision, foreplanned. Also 1Cor.2:7. Eph.1:11 is the last time prohorizo is used, other than our text. Out of love God predestined us. Secondly, He predestined us to adoption as sons. ‘Adopted as sons’ is one word in Gk ‘’huiothesia’. Huios means ‘son’, particularly ‘mature son. We are meant to grow up into Christ to maturity.The second part is ‘from the word ‘tithemi’, which means to place – i.e. to place a son, or adopt. See Romans 8:17. We all know that all this, including adoption, is all by Grace.
The words ‘ to Himself’, in v.5 is the Gk phrase ‘eis auton’, meaning to motion into or towards a place. God embraces us and says, ‘I want to draw you to myself’.
Verses 6 to 10. Verses 1 to 5 have said so much to us. Now in v.6 we have a momentous quick summary of what we ought to express from our hearts, because ‘He has made us accepted in the beloved – to the praise of the glory of His Grace’.
Paul wants us to know of the overflowing abundance and unmerited love that is inexhaustible and inextinguishable in God the Father, freely accessible in Christ. He calls it ‘the riches of His Grace’, in verse 7. A frequent term in this letter. See v.18. Ch.2:4 and 7; Ch. 3:8 and 16. See 2Cor.3:18. Ch.4:6. READ Ch.8:9 and Rev.2:9.
What are the riches of His Grace?
(1). Forgiveness. The Gk. is aphesis, meaning to be sent away. Think of the scapegoat sacrifice in Lev. Ch.16. God sent away our sins and removed them as far as the east is from the west. Christ took our sins upon Himself.
Verse 7 says all this is ‘according to the riches of His Grace’. This does not mean ‘out of’. God’s riches are not reduced in any way. His riches never get any less when he gives and pours it out to us. Eph.2:4 indicates that God is ‘rich in mercy’.
(2). We have the riches of His wisdom. See vs. 8-9. God the Father has given us the necessary endowment of His wisdom to understand Him and to walk through this world day by day pleasing Him. The Holy Spirit lives in us and God has given us wisdom. Wisdom gives us understanding of how to apply the knowledge that we get. That is wisdom for life. See 1Cor. 2:6-7 and 12. We have the ability to understand the nature of God. You understand what is going on this world, because He has given you His word and the Holy Spirit to give you understanding. Only the true Believer has this capacity. Also, the Father has ‘given us the mind of Christ’ so that we can understand what is happening and what will happen, knowing how to live and apply what we know to be right and pleasing to the Lord, all due to the riches of His Grace. James tells us to ask God for wisdom if we lack it.
(3). The riches of insight, or prudence/wisdom. Verse 8. Gk. is ‘phronesis’, from the word ‘phroneo’, which means to be able to think and to have good judgment – the ability to govern one’s own life wisely. In modern Greek today it means ‘brakes’, in other words, the ability to know ‘when to put the brakes on’. I have freedom in Christ. I need to know when to use it and when to put the brakes on! That is phroneo. It is not just insight. Such a person knows how to use knowledge wisely and apply it in daily life, having sound judgment. The opposite of that is ‘aphrosune’ which means to be without any sense at all.
Thus it is true to say that God has allowed us to understand the mystery of His will. Explain the word ‘mystery’. God reveals His Truth and Plans to His children but not to the world. That makes us rich indeed!
What is His will He is talking about here? See v.10. The words ‘summing up’ means to ‘bring under one head’. God the Father is bringing everything together in Christ Jesus, His Son. The Christian Believer can understand that, but the world thinks everything is falling apart.
Everything is working according to a Divine Plan. The word ‘dispensation’, in v.10 is ‘administration’ from the Gk. ‘oikonomia’. Christians know what God the Father is working towards. We have the wisdom and insight lavished upon us, though Grace. We have lavished upon us God’s willingness to reveal to us the Plan that He is bringing together everything under the headship of Christ. See 1Cor.1:19-21; 26-31. Ch.2:12-16.
Verses 11 and 12. ‘We have obtained an unheritance’ from the Gk. literally means ‘by lot it has befallen us’ – to be heirs with Him. The Gk. is in the ‘aorist passive indicative’. ‘Aorist’ means it occurred in one point in time. Passive means we did nothing to contribute to this, in order to receive this. It is the ‘aorist passive indicative’ of the word ‘kleroo’. In classical Greek it has to do with casting a lot, meaning to allot a portion to someone. V.11 continues ‘having predestined according to His purpose’. The word ‘purpose’ is ‘prothesis’. It means to make up your mind to do something and then pursue it with all diligence. The word ‘counsel’ in v.11 is the Gk. word ‘boule’. It means a conference or discussion in the Trinity. The decision was made after the counsel in the Trinity. Even the enemies of Jesus took counsel together how to destroy Him. They got into an unholy huddle. The opposite was true in the Trinity, for us, on our behalf, for our benefit.
Verses 13 – 15. ‘The word of THE truth’. Definite article in front of ‘truth’, Gk. ‘logos’. ‘We have heard THE Word of THE Truth’. Note the order here in v.13. Word of Truth,Gospel, trusted, salvation. After you believed, you were sealed.
To summarise – we have been selected by the Father – verses 4 to 6, through the sacrifice of the Son- verses 7 to 12, and sealed by the Spirit – verses 13 and 14. This was the determined counsel of the Trinity. There is a wonderful parallel between the experience of the Hebrews led by Joshua into their earthly inheritance, recorded in the book of Joshua, and the true Church being led into the spiritual blessings in Christ into the heavenly places (Eph.1:3) as our spiritual inheritance under our heavenly Joshua-Jesus. Joshua and Jeshua means ‘Jehovah the Saviour’. The book of Joshua in the O.T. is what the letter to the Ephesians is in the N.T.
1Peter 1:22 tells us that the Word of God is a seed. It is the Truth of God. V.23 says that we have been ‘born again, not of perishable seed, but imperishable seed’ – the Word of the living God, which remains for ever.
The word for ‘believe’ in v.13 is ‘pisteuo’, coming from the word ‘pistis’ which means ‘faith’. We have put our trust, our faith, our total reliance upon Christ, leaning dependently upon Him. Now, ‘pistis’ comes from the word ‘peitho, which means to be firmly persuaded to the point that we are willing to abandon and surrender and obey that which we have heard. (Rom. 10:14).
In v.13 we have the word ‘sealed’. In the Gk. it is ‘sphragizo’, in the aorist passive. The process of sealing has three basic meanings.
(1). It was done to confirm that something was genuine. When God seals, it is proven to be genuine.
(2). It means to mark as one’s own property. A seal was stamped upon it. The king would put his royal seal upon something, marking out that it belonged to him, it was his property and his possession. (Story in Ephesus harbour here).
(3). The sealing made something secure – the sealing by the Holy Spirit of promise.(Story of Jeremiah property and later the New Covenant for Israel nation. Jer. ch.31; Ezekiel 11:19. The Heb: ‘Chadash’ means ‘brand new, never before understood nor seen’.)
The word ‘seal’ proves that we are genuine believers. What is the mark upon the true believer? It is the Holy Spirit of God being in his life. We are God’s possession. He is the proof of that. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. He is there to secure us, to make sure we are kept. See Eph. 4:30.
Security of our Redemption. (vs.13-15). This is marked by His seal upon us,the Holy Spirit of Promise, the pledge, the earnest or downpayment of our inheritance, v.14. The thought here is of the engagement ring as a pledge of the future marriage to come. We are sealed until the final part of our redemption comes. The rest and the best is yet to come. 2Cor.1:21-22. The Holy Spirit is given to us as God’s way of assuring us that we will receive the ‘full payment’ later on. Only God could keep us secure in our redemption (kept by the power of God 2Peter ch.1.) until the final day of our completeness in the new body with Christ.
The New and better Covenant is based on better promises (Hebrews). Ephesians 2:11-22 tells us we were brought near by the blood of Christ, the means of our redemption. We are also sealed by His blood into the New Covenant. Eph.4:30. This is our security.
When we first received the Lord Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit came into our lives. We are released from the penalty of sin. We are now being released from the power of sin as we let the Holy Spirit dominate our lives – where the Spirit is Lord there is liberty. However, one day we shall be finally released from the presence of sin – on that final day of redemption. All this is to the ‘praise of His glory’, v.14.
Verse 15 comments on Paul hearing of the faith of the Ephesian believers. Paul unceasingly gives thanks for that evident fact. When you cannot see God’s hand in an aspect of your life, trust His heart towards you! That is what faith is! Coincidence is when God decides to remain anonymous. The result of faith is a changed lifestyle. Faith also trusts Christ when He allows difficult issues to come into our lives. Then our faith ‘finds a resting place’, as the hymn says. I will not trust the strongest frame but wholly lean on Jesus Name. All other ground is sinking sand! Let us stand on the solid rock of depending upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
The word ‘Lord’ in v.15 is the word ‘kurios’. It refers to someone who exercises authority to do good, with concern for what is right and moral in a person’s life, under his authority. Jeremiah 32:40 says, “I will not turn away from them to do them good”. We know Romans 8:28. James 1:2 says, ‘consider it all joy…when you encounter various trials’. The word ‘encounter’ means to ‘stumble into’. We do not plan them, but we do encounter them. Walking by faith trusts God’s motives for what He is doing- transforming us into Christ’s likeness, not allowing the world to squeeze us into its mould. One other aspect to consider – the way we treat others is going to have a lot to do with how much we are walking with the Lord. Show me a person who is walking with the Lord and I will show you a person who is easy to get on with! See John 13:35. My attitude towards others reflects what I think is God’s attitude towards me. If I am judgmental, then I think God is always out to catch me and judge me. This is a wrong view of my heavenly Father, unless my lifestyle betrays me!
Verses 16 and 17. The Ephesian believers, and us, know what God has done for us, but now they and we need to know God in a deeper and more intimate way. Paul is praying that they and we will get to know God in our walk. Paul prays that we might have a deeper understanding of God Himself and some of His attributes which comes later in the prayer. Our focus is on v17.
Remember, when you are talking about ‘Jesus’, you are using the earthly Name of the Son of God. When you speak of ‘Christ’, you are speaking of His resurrected Name, the Anointed Name, the role He came to fulfil in our lives and on the earth. When you speak of ‘Lord’ you are speaking of His authority as a benevolent ruler over us and all of life here and in heaven. Colossians 1:19 speaks of Jesus as the fullness of the Godhead bodily. He is God. Col.2:9 explains it well. In John 5:18 we read that Jesus was calling God His Father. The Lord Jesus Christ is God, the Son, equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He came to reveal the Father to us. The Father is the God of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son. See Hebrews 1:1-3. The same nature and Glory that is the Father’s is also that of the Son, for they are equal in Deity.
In v.17, the verse should read, ‘God will give you a spirit, small ‘s’. The Holy Spirit is God. There is no definite article ‘the’ there. Believers already have the Holy Spirit living in them. We need the wisdom and revelation which the Holy Spirit alone gives, it is true. (NASV brings out ‘a spirit’). The word for ‘knowledge’ in v.17 is ‘epignosis’, meaning a deeper knowledge, the ‘fullness of knowledge’ We should understand the knowledge and facts which we know of as truth. James says that all wisdom comes from God. The Holy Spirit gives this to us, giving us the wisdom to know God, His person and His ways with us through life’s experiences. How is wisdom received? By revelation given to us by the Holy Spirit.
The Ephesian believers were influenced by the Greek thinking of that day that said that everything you do you have to do yourself. You have to intellectualize. You have to figure things out by yourself. Paul says, Oh no, you can’t do it that way. I’m praying that God will give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation concerning the knowledge of Him. See Col.1:9-11. A similar letter to a Church needing similar instruction. Only the Holy Spirit can take the Scriptures and make you wise as to your salvation, giving you understanding of what God wants to do, sometimes why, who He is and how to relate to Him. In Col.1:10 Paul uses some present participles. Present tense means while you are working on something, God is doing something else, its going on at the same time. The knowledge we need does not come from our mental reasoning faculties, but God the Holy Spirit uses my mind to transform what He is doing, to my understanding. Then I begin to bear fruit in my life, upwards and horizontally. Bow before God in submission, willing to listen and learn, co-operating with God and surrendering to His word in obedience regarding what it says to me. The Holy Spirit of God imparts wisdom by revealing it to you as He wills and when He wills it, in His own way. It must be by revelation. You cannot mentally work issues out. If God has hidden something, you cannot find it out by human wisdom 1Cor. 1:19-25.
A deeper understanding of God does not come by intellect (that would give favour to some), it comes by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Yes, intellect is needed because God gives understanding, but He gives to the humble and meek of spirit, willing learners and true disciples, not to the proud and haughty with arrogance. 1Cor.2:11 says, ‘for what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of a man which is in him?, even so things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God.’ Verse 12 goes on to say, ‘now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God.’ Even today, we come out from a Greek thinking culture and mentality. Do not fall into the trap mentioned above. We need renewed minds. Then the Holy Spirit will give us wisdom by revealing to us the deep things of God. The renewing of our mind by the regenerating and saving application of the Holy Spirit is needed and we have a brand new disposition and attitude of openness to God’s Spirit, so that He can inform and transform our lives, reigning and ruling, planting the Truth into our lives. The Word needs to be engrafted into us so that it becomes part of us. Verse 18 relates to this also.
Verse 18. See also Ch.4:1. ‘Walk (live) in a manner worthy of your calling’. 2Thess.1:11 determines whether our walk is worthy. God alone determines whether we are worthy of our calling. See 2Timothy 1:9 tells us it is a holy calling, not based on man’s works, but on God’s Grace. Hebrews 3:1 tells us that is also a heavenly calling. 2Peter 1:10 tells us to give all diligence (carefulness) to make our calling and election sure. We have to walk in the light and truth of the word and will of God for our lives, then we have full assurance of what we know to be true, namely our salvation. Keep ourselves in the love of God, Jude 21. We do have responsibility to co-operate with God. All this is wrapped up in the destiny and glory of the believer, in the coming Kingdom and Heaven itself.
We need to be reminded that we are bought with such an awesome price, God’s property by right of being a purchased possession. We have a calling. We have responded to His invitation and we know that God is doing a work in our lives. He chose us, blessed us, adopted us, redeemed us and we cannot live in this world without His power to keep us. This calling therefore involves a walk with Him in harmony of purpose and co-operation with Him in His purposes for our lives, for His Glory alone, but it results in our tremendous blessing because we belong to Him and we are the Father’s children.
“So that you may know what are the riches of the Glory of His inheritance in the saints”. “You may know”, the word in Gk. is ‘eido’ know – not so much by experience, but by intuition, perception, being aware of that understanding, the intuitive knowledge that only the Holy Spirit of God can give. Paul prays for a deeper understanding of these riches….etc. Consider the word ‘know’ mentioned about 17 times in John’s first letters.
Look at Romans 8:16-17 – heirs of God, fellow heirs with Jesus Christ.The saints are God’s inheritance. He lives in them! Israel is God’s inheritance too. Deut.32:9. 1Peter 2:9 tells us we are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession”. Bear in mind this is of particular relevance and importance to the Jewish believers Peter is writing to. See 1Cor 2:9. Many unknown things God has prepared for those who love Him. Perhaps some of the things we are pursuing down here are not worth the time of day or even thinking about in the light of eternity.
We can never figure all these glorious truths out by human reason. The Holy Spirit will by revelation give us the wisdom and understanding. Over time, it will sink deep down inside of us with greater significance, giving us the true motivation to walk worthy of Him and our calling.
Col.1:12 wants you to know that you have been qualified for that inheritance.
1Cor.15:19 says that if our hope in Christ is only for this life we are miserable people. The word ‘hope’ speaks of earnest expectation. Look upward and forward and not downward. The context of Ch.15 is the resurrection truth. We have a glorious future in the new body, by Rapture or Resurrection. All this lies ahead of us – what a GOAL TO AIM FOR and WHAT GLORY IS AHEAD! 2Cor.3:18 tells us that we are being transformed into the same glorious image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. We shall behold the Glory of the Lord.The Holy Spirit reveals to us what is coming! Enjoy the downpayment, earnest, engagement ring now, full ‘payment’ is coming that eye has not seen nor ear heard. This should motivate your walk like nothing else will. Look forward with eager anticipation of what is to come, it will put a new spring in your step. Our inheritance is guaranteed.
The Lord is transforming and conforming us to the image of Christ. 2Peter 1:2-3 says that ‘according (not out of) His Divine power He has given us all things that relate to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who has called us to glory and virtue (excellence)’. When we understand the hope of our calling we understand that life works for us. Rom. 8:28. He that began a work within us will perfect it or perform it, to its completion when Christ comes. Phil 1:6
There are three words in verse 19 in relation to v.18.
(1). His power is unsurpassed – ‘the working of His strength with might’. Romans 1:4 says that ‘Jesus Christ is declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead’. Death could not hold Christ. Acts 2:24.The Father raised the Son with the power of the Spirit of God. Here is the Trinity in action again.
(2). His strength is unchallenged, therefore. The Gk. word ‘ischus’ refers to the inherent strength of someone. The power is the manifestation of that strength. Whatever strength I have, I turn it towards loving Him. Consider Phil. 4:13. ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens (ischus) me’.
His power is unsurpassed. His strength is unchallenged.
(3). His might is unparalleled. Three words here in v.19 ‘power’, ‘strength’ and ‘might’. The third Gk. word here is ‘kratos’ meaning ‘manifested dominion’. According to Col.1:11 we are ‘strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.’ Steadfastness is the ability to bear up under all circumstances, no matter how difficult they are. We are seated in the heavenly places, above our circumstances, not under them! Patience is allied to longsuffering.
See Rev.1:8.. The word for ‘Almighty’ there is ‘pantokrator’. This is a form of krator
but it has ‘panto’, which means ‘all or everything’. In Matt.28 Jesus said that all power was given to Him,in heaven and in earth go therefore….Behind every one of God’s purposes there is the power, strength and might of God Himself to accomplish whatever God said to do or to do Himself entirely without us.
God uses these three words again in Eph.6:10. Referring to spiritual warfare we are to be ‘strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might’.
The Grace of God turns on the power of God, according to His strength, according the His might in your life.
Are you experiencing God’s resurrection power in your life? Is he transforming you daily? Is He the one transforming you to the image of Christ Jesus? Is there something different about your life today? Are you growing up into Christ? If so, that is the resurrection power of Christ working in your life. So – are you walking and living as a living letter read of all men, that you are a ‘Christ’s one’?
Verses 20 – 23. Verse 20 tells that Christ is seated in the highest place of authority. Thus, Paul moves from the might of Christ to the majesty of Christ. Christ is ruler of the universe, but He is also Head of His Body, the true Church.
There are three things we need to look at concerning Christ as the Head of the True Church.
1). He sets the course for the Church. See v.22. Matt.16:18 says he is the designer and builder of the Church.
2). In Acts 20:26 we see He is the sole owner of the Church. He holds the title deed. He purchased the Church ‘with His own blood’. Eph.5:25 and 29 says he loves and cherishes the Church. In Rev. chs 2 and 3 we know He is Lord and Master of His Church, standing in the midst, holding them in His hands. He is the Source inside His Church. He is Head, Designer, Builder and sole owner, the only true administrator and instructor. It is His Church, bought at such a high price.
See ch.3:6; 4:4, 11 and 12; ch.5:23 and v.30 says we are ‘members of His Body’. He brings His Fulness to fill all in all, v.23. He controls all. He completes us and will complete the Church. Colossians 2:10.
Christ is at the ‘right hand’ of the Father. The phrase ‘right hand’ is found 138 times in the New Testament. 70% of the time it refers to the ‘right hand of God’.
1). It is at the ‘right hand’ where you find the power of God – Father and Son.
2). The ‘right hand’ is associated with joy. At His right hand are pleasures for evermore – fulness of joy – up there, not down here. The Lord gives inward joy, nevertheless.
3). His ‘right hand’ is associated with His righteousness. See Isaiah 41:10 and 13.
4). He is our security because He has all power at His ‘right hand’.
Verse 21 says that He is far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name, in this age and the one to come. Mat.28:18 says that ‘all authority has been given to Me (Christ) in heaven and on earth’. The word for ‘dominion’ is only used here, it is the word ‘kuriotes’ and means ‘lordship’- somebody who exercises their power. So, He is in the highest place of lordship. All things are in subjection to Him, under His feet, v.22, all things – all powers.
In the Bible the term “under His feet” refers to the place of total defeat. Joshua made his defeated enemies lie flat on the ground while he put his feet upon their necks. His enemies submitted to Joshua’s total victory, being in total defeat and subjection. So, the Lord Jesus Christ is totally supreme, far above all things, powers, whether spiritual or physical, all are under His domination and control. 1Cor.ch.15 tells us that He must reign until all His enemies are conquered. Death is the last enemy to be destroyed. Christ has not yet manifested all His domination or His powers. Gentile powers will also be destroyed at His coming again.
The Apostle Paul here may be beginning to set the stage for the truth in chapter 6 which reminds us that Satan is a defeated foe. As far as we are concerned in His right arm, in His right hand,is the power to do whatever He assigns in our life. Do not be discouraged or defeated. He may not change your circumstances very often, but He will change you in the midst of your circumstances. JESUS CHRIST IS LORD. Amen!
Verses 3 to 14 tell us that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. He is the one who makes up His Church. We have been chosen before the foundation of the world. We have been predestined to the adoption of sons through Jesus Christ. We have been redeemed by His blood, forgiven of our sins and sealed with the Holy Spirit. We heard the word of Truth, the Gospel of salvation, believed it, are saved and sealed. Believers make up the True Church.