Brady Boyd from New Life Church, who replaced Ted Haggard, sent out a tweet for his congregation to start reading Ephesians 1 to prepare for an upcoming sermon. I don’t attend church there, but he is a great preacher so I decided to read it. I had to stop frequently in order to keep the information straight. Paul is a brilliant thinker, but it often seems like each chapter is one giant sentence. I had to slow down and just go verse by verse to help me try and understand what it is that Paul was saying. Here is what I got:
(1) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
Hey, it’s me Paul. I am an apostle because Jesus made me one not cause I wanted it. I am writing to all of those who are saved in Ephesus and who are faithful to Jesus. Why the distinction between the two?
(2) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Part of the greeting and a blessing. When I was reading this, it can be taken two ways. God our Father and Jesus Christ as two people or God who is our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,
Here we see God the Jesus and the Father of Jesus as one person. God has blessed us in Jesus with every spiritual blessing in heaven.
(4) even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love
One of the Calvinist / predestination verses. We were chosen before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless. This can be taken as those who are saved were chosen before the foundation of the world, thus you were saved and had no choice in the matter. I see it that God chose to put us into Jesus even before the foundation of the world so that we could be holy and blameless.
(5) he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
This follows on verse 4 with the result of the predestination. Either God chose some people to be adopted into His family or He created Adam and Eve in such away that even though He knew they would sin and the spirit aspect would die, that with Jesus, God’s own spirit would become our spirit and as sons, we take a place that Adam never was at. One reason I disagree with the Calvinist view on predestination is it limits God to choosing just a few people as opposed to knowing full well that Satan would temp and man would fall, but God had designed man so that after the “fall”, they would be able to ascend to a level that God couldn’t create them in originally.
(6) to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
Mankind doesn’t deserve to be one with God. His grace has allowed that to happen though. It happened because we were placed into Jesus, the Beloved.
(7) In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
In Jesus, we have redemption through His sacrifice. It can not be done by works, but only by being placed into Jesus. There is no other way to God but through Jesus, that being we are placed into Jesus. Not forgiveness for some of our trespasses, but for our trespasses. That is all of them. From now until final judgment, all trespasses have been forgiven. We are called to repent when we are in disobedience and we ask for forgiveness in the process, but that forgiveness has already been given. So we acknowledge what we are doing is wrong and repent or turn from it. Sometimes it takes several attempts to turn, but we are still forgiven. By His grace we are forgiven.
(8) which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
I like the language here. Lavished is such a descriptive word. We see given with abundance or generously and in excess. Not enough grace to get by, but an excessive amount of grace. More grace then we would ever need. He is not stingy with the grace but gives it willingly and in excess. What does that say about us and His view toward us? We are not mere creations to God, but something that He loves and He shows us His love in excess.
(9) making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
All wisdom and insight to make know the mystery of His will. He purposed or planned on making Himself known to us
(10) as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
This was planned from the beginning. God knew that Satan would rebel. He knew that Man would rebel. Even though He knew this, He still planned on how to redeem it. There is not plan B with God, just a plan so intricate that we can not fully understand it. In Him is in Jesus. All things are united in Jesus. Things in heaven things on earth are coming together so there is no longer the separation between the two. They come together in Jesus. The image of Jesus the man fades here and we see Jesus as a large holding container.
(11) In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of
Again, everything happens IN Jesus. God isn’t trying to change each person individually. He is trying to put the person into Jesus since that is where the change occurs. So we have obtained an inheritance. To obtain means we have possession of. It isn’t coming later, we already have it. We have an inheritance from God in our possession, but only while we remain in Jesus. The inheritance is IN Jesus. More predestined stuff. So either we have obtained it because we were predestined to get it or we focus on the IN HIM portion and know that this was the plan that God had predestined before the foundation of the world. Predestined according to the purpose of Jesus who does all things according to the instruction from the Father.
(12) so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
Continued from the inheritance in verse 11. IN JESUS we have the inheritance SO that we who were the first would be to His glory. Our salvation or inheritance is to the glory of Jesus. The “who were the first” part is interesting. It sounds like it is talking about those first Christians, but the promises hold true for current believers, so it implies that there will be another chance for people to hope in Christ. I have been wondering if that is what Jesus was alluding to when He was talking to Thomas.
(13) In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
In Jesus, we were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. Now when I think about to seal something, I think about putting a lid on a container. Here though it is to stamp, as in an official capacity. To protect with an official mark. We have the mark of God on us and are under His official protection. This happens when we have heard about Jesus and believed in Him. The process of salvation; to hear and to believe.
(14) who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance. In order to receive salvation, we have to be sealed with the Holy Spirit and that only happens once we are in Jesus and it is the Holy Spirit that places us there. You don’t accidentally walk into salvation. Until we acquire possession of the inheritance. Verse 11 says we have already obtained it, so what is up with the discrepancy? The Holy Spirit guarantees our salvation while present. As long as He is around, the promise of salvation is there waiting to be acquired. Once sealed, you obtain salvation, but not until sealed. Until then it is just something that is available that has yet to be accepted. When Jesus returns, the Holy Spirit will collect the Bride, who is the Church, and take them to Him. At that time, the Holy Spirit will no longer be available and the guarantee of salvation would have been removed. Until then, He guarantees whoever believes in Jesus will be saved. Believing is not just saying yeah there is a Jesus. It means to have faith in Jesus as our Savior and to entrust Him with our lives.
(15) For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,
The reason is that they have accepted the gift of salvation.
(16) I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,
Paul thanks God for other people being saved by remembering them in his prayers. We should be praying for the saints around the world as well as in our area of influence daily.
(17) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him,
Not just a general be nice to them and bless them prayer. No, it is a prayer for wisdom and revelation or growth in knowing God. Your relationship with God is continually moving. It is either moving forward in a deeper intimacy or it is moving away and decaying. This is for a spirit of wisdom and of revelation. This is not to make the person smarter or more wise. It is for divine wisdom and revelation. Only God can reveal Himself to a person. Without having the intimacy with God, you can not have the spirit of Him to know Him.
(18) having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,
God changes through the heart. I don’t think it is the actual muscle, but I think that the heart represents the spiritual center of a person. When we are saved, our spirit that was dead from Adam is now alive, but it is actually the spirit of God. We are now part of God. Our spiritual eyes are opened so we can be aware of the spirit, which is what God is. So we are becoming aware of God and his workings. We are being made to know what the hope, salvation, is and truly understand what our inheritance is. I have a concept of salvation, but that concept changes as I increase in understanding of what it is. I will never fully understand salvation until the Bride is called to Jesus.
(19) and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might
Immeasurable is a hard concept to comprehend. We are bound by limits. We are born and then we die. From a physical perspective, we are very finite. God is spirit and is not limited like that, so there is no real way we could understand how vast His greatness is except through His revelation to us. Maybe that is why people have such a hard time understanding with the concept of God. We, by default, assign Him human limitations. So this immeasurable greatness that we will never fully comprehend is directed toward those who are in Jesus. That is cool.
(20) that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,
This continues from verse 17. God, the Father, raised Christ from the dead and put Him in the place of honor and authority. Paul specifies that this is the Father raising up Jesus and not just God as Jesus is God. All things are under the authority of Jesus who was given authority by the Father. He did this by working in Christ and not around Him. This is not just a physical resurrection as we saw with Lazarus. The Father was in the Son and within the Son, He was raised from the dead.
(21) far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.
There is no one, save the Father, who is higher in authority and power and dominion than Christ. The Father put the Son in this place and no one but the Father could ever remove Him. He has power and dominion over all. This includes all evil forces. Satan has no power or authority over Christ, or those in Christ.
(22) And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,
All things are under His feet. It is not like walking in high grass, where a threat could be lurking. All things are under His feet. Nothing is even on the same level as a little toe. All things are beneath Him. How can Satan war against Christ when he is beneath His foot?
(23) which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
The church is the body of Christ. The body is part of Christ so those in the church are part of Christ. The church as a whole is the fullness of Christ. The church as a whole represents the power and majesty of Christ. Christ fills all in all. That is such an interesting statement. Christ fills all things. All things are not in Christ, but Christ fills all things. When all things fall away, only those in Christ will remain.