As we continue on our quest to seek to know God and His will for our lives according to His Word. Would you please pray. Pray God would open your heart to see, know and understand His great love for each of us.
I would hope you have at some point in your life stopped to consider how much God loves you? The next logical question to me is what did the love of God motivate God to do for you? If you observe carefully you will see a noticeable difference between the behavior of people who know they are loved. And The behavior of those who do not feel love by anyone, let alone God.
As Paul writes to the believers living in Ephesus, before he ever discusses “how” they are to “walk”, how they are to live. He first makes sure they know two things.
First, How God views or sees them and second, what His purpose is for them not only collectively… but individually. The thoughts in these last two paragraphs are from are from Kay Arthur’s book “How Do You Walk the Walk You Talk”.
Simple yet profound thoughts, aren’t they? Thoughts most people have at sometime in their life been faced with. Let us dig in and see what God’s Word in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians has to say about God’s love and what His love moved and motivated God to for those of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
We will be observing Ephesians 1.3-14 this week. As we do, mark every reference to:
we, us, you, and your, with a circle. Place a cloud around “in Christ”, in Him, in the Beloved, Place a squiggly line under, “according to”. Place a heart around the word “love”. Look for and place an asterisk over the word “be”. Keep in mind that we are working on our observation skills.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would *be holy and blameless before Him. = *purpose and our position
5 In love = God’s motive the disposition of His heart to seek the welfare and meet the needs of others.
He predestined us to adoption as sons = the result sonship through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, =The goal… God’s glory, the ultimate goal of everything that exists is the glory of His grace. which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace
8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight
9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him
10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him
11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.
13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,
14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
The Word “Grace” is “charis” in the Greek. It means favor. When we talk about the grace of God and summarize the way God uses “grace” in His Word in reference to salvation, grace is often defined as: “Unmerited favor”. Favor that cannot be earned in any way… for any reason. Grace is something God freely lavished or bestows upon sinners who believe denoting trust in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Kay Arthur
One aspect of observation concerning Bible study are references to time. In verses 3-14 there are 3 aspects of time referred to. Did you see them. Past, present, and future. Look at verses 3- 6 notice it says “who has” referring to what God has done in the past. In verse 7 and 11 notice it says “we have” denoting present. In v 10 we see the future.
Here are a couple other insights from our text. V 3-6a focus on who? The Father.
V6b -12 focus on who? The Son. V13-14 focus on who? The Holy Spirit. All three persons of the Trinity are mentioned and involved.
Question: What insights did you gain from observing this text marking the words: We, us, you and your in verses 7 thru 14? What we will have when we are done is a list. Of what you ask? What we as believers have “in Christ”. Ready? Here we go. Beginning in 7a In Him we have redemption by way of the shed blood of Christ. In v7b we see the results of redemption and once again we will have a list. The first result of redemption is forgiveness of sins and this likewise has a means, according to the riches of God’s grace.
Take those thoughts and put them together. We have redemption through Christ blood by God’s grace.
In v8a we encounter the word Grace. Our text tells us God lavished or bestowed on us. Another way to say that is God made grace to abound towards us. We see here that God is the source of grace.
What do we see in 8B? the second result of redemption. “In all wisdom and insight”
Let’s take a closer look at this. Wisdom here equates to “Divine knowledge”, understanding of God, man, life, death, righteousness, sin, heaven, hell, eternity, and time. John MacArthur
Insight would be “Divine knowledge rightly applied”. Our Walk, our life, and the handling of all the affairs of our day to day life. This would be the practical application of God’s Word at work in our lives. This would be knowing God according to His Word and living accordingly.
As a result of redemption, we see God not only forgives us… and removes the sin that corrupts and distorts our lives. He by grace bestows on us wisdom and insight. God equips us with wisdom to understand Him and walk through each day in a way that reflects Him and is pleasing to Him and insight to know Him according to His Word, to know His Word and live in active obedience to His Word so we might fulfill the purpose for which He chose us. To “be” holy and blameless before Him. Thoughts from John MacArthur.
From v 9 we see who, made known what, to who, how. God made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention. What we are being told is God’s grace is given to us so we can understand His will. The mystery of His will being everything that God has purposed in Christ.
We have a huge task on our hands then. We have the great need to know God according to His Word and live accordingly and to know the mystery of God’s Will…. A lifelong quest.
A mystery is something formerly hidden…. Now an unveiled truth… God by His grace in all wisdom and insight has made known to us this mystery, He purposed in Him, Christ.
John MacArthur asks the question: Why has God done so much for us? Why has He Blessed us with every spiritual blessing, chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world, made us holy and blameless, predestined us as His children, redeemed us through Christ’s blood, and bestowed upon us forgiveness, wisdom and insight according to His infinite grace?
The answer, to gather everything unto Himself in Christ. The time of that gathering. The Millennial kingdom let’s look at verse 10…
In V10 we read, with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth.
V10 reveals God’s purpose in Christ to bring all things in heaven and on earth under His headship in the consummation or fullness of time.
A little extra, the words to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment are literally, “unto the dispensation of the fullness of the times.” The “dispensation” (oikonomia) is an arrangement or administration. This dispensation is the millennial kingdom when “the times” in God’s purposes will be completed (fulfilled), and all things both spiritual and material will be under Christ and His rule. K. Wuest
This speaks of the completion of history, the kingdom arrives, eternity begins again, and a new heaven and a new earth are established. Jesus Christ is the goal of history. At that time. Or perhaps a better way is to ask, when is that time? It’s when, “Every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2.10-11 … Col. 1:20). John MacArthur
Something to think about. Another nugget from John MacArthur. Apart from the wisdom and insight of God by His grace, and the active obedience of those chosen and called to be witnesses, disciples…there is no escape.
There’s no escape from sin and death apart from God. Just look at all that God has done and what motivated Him. Love. I hope you see the awesome responsibility of those chosen of God to “be” light and love to the lost. Let your light shine.
In v 7- 10 we see the results of redemption, the results of God’s love… of His bestowing grace on us. Redemption, the forgiveness of sins, wisdom and insight and knowledge of God’s Will.
Once again, at the end of v10 we have a transliteration issue. V10 ends “In Him”. In Him provides us with the foundation of a believer’s inheritance. Jesus Christ is the source of a believer’s inheritance.
The flow of thought in V 11a is, In Christ, by God’s love “we have” obtained an inheritance, v5 informs us, In love, God “having predestined “us” to adoption as Sons through Christ to Himself.
Concerning “we have obtained” The best Greek texts do not read “we have obtained an inheritance,” but rather “we were made an inheritance,” or, “we were designated as a heritage.” Thus, the saints are God’s heritage, His possession through the work of Christ on the Cross. K. Wuest
John MacArthur writes concerning the meaning of, “we have obtained an inheritance” translates as a single word in the Greek. When something in the future was so certain that it could not possible fail to happen, the Greeks would often speak of it as if it had already occurred. Here we see Paul convey this idea.
We, as sons we have obtained an inheritance. This is primarily future and Paul makes it known to be certain. We were elected or predestined, before the world began, we have been redeemed in this present age, and we will receive our inheritance in the future. This inheritance is ours in Christ and speaks of us being predestined as Christ’s inheritance and of the inheritance we have in Christ. Contextually we should not forget Paul has already informed us we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ. Our context for Ephesians 1.3-14 is a believer’s blessings in Christ.
In 11b we see what made our inheritance possible. God’s purpose, by His power. Remember v5? According to the kind intention of His will?
Who works all things after the counsel of His will? That’s not a question it’s a statement.
When we look at v 11, we should consider God’s perspective. God in His purpose works out what He plans, God does not leave things to chance, those whom God calls, God empowers to complete His purpose.
Believers perspective from V 12. Here we see that the hope we have in Christ, which is a result of faith is what brings God’s purpose to reality. Apart from the love of God and His grace bestowed upon us, apart from faith in Christ… we have no hope and our lives have no purpose. Apart from having active faith in Christ as Lord and Savior… there is no hope. Romans 10.17 “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ”.
Interesting contextual question for you from v 12. Who is we? We, refers to the apostles and first-generation Jewish believers who were the first to receive the Messiah by faith and have hope, “they” were to the praise of His glory, His Grace. That’s who we is in v 12. It’s the context.
Now moving to V 13a we read. In Christ, you also, this is on the heels of those who were the first to hope, you, refers to the Ephesians, to Gentiles, you also “NOW” have hope.
How did that happen? After listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. After that you heard the Good News that God has provided a way of salvation through the atoning work of His Son, Jesus Christ who is the Messiah. Having also believed meaning you also believed in Him, in Christ, in Messiah as the first to hope did. Here we see uniformity of faith in what they believed.
Having also believed. Ponder that thought. Faith in Christ is man’s response to God elective purpose. Faith is the means by which salvation is appropriated. John MacArthur
In v 13b we read, you were sealed in Him, In Chris with the Holy Spirit of promise.
Here we have assurance, guarantee.
As a means of guaranteeing His promises to those who have trusted in Christ.
God has sealed them, you in Christ with the Holy Spirit of God, the Spirit of Promise.
Acts 1.4-5,8 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem,
But to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from
Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Here’s what the Bible Knowledge Commentary says concerning this.
1:4. The promised gift from the Father, also anticipated in Luke 24:49, was quite obviously the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 1:5; John 14:16; 15:26; 16:7).
1:5. Indeed John had predicted a Spirit baptism by the Lord Jesus. The greatness of Christ was seen in the fact that John identified people with himself by water baptism; Christ Jesus would join His followers to Himself by the Holy Spirit. The word baptized, which normally means “dipped or immersed,” here has the idea of “uniting with” (cf. 1 Cor. 10:1–2). The Lord made the same prediction of Spirit baptism that John made (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; cf. Acts 11:16).
It is important to note that historically, the baptism of the Spirit took place in two stages: the Jewish believers were baptized at Pentecost, and the Gentiles were baptized and added to the body in the home of Cornelius (Acts 10:44–48; 11:15–17; and see Eph. 2:11–22). The Bible Knowledge Commentary
We have by God in Christ by the Holy Spirit been empowered and enabled to “be” witnesses to the world, of Jesus. We are God’s own possession in Christ. Our bodies are the temple of the indwelling Spirit of God.
1 Cor. 6.19
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?
and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. We have the very divine love of God dwelling in us!
This seal Paul speaks of is that of an official mark of identification.
Placed on an official document, letter, or contract. The seal was usually made from hot wax which was placed on the document and then an impressed with a signet ring which identified by whose authority the transaction was made. John MacArthur
Here we see the security we have in Christ. We see our citizenship/sonship, ownership as a purchased possession of God in Christ bought and paid for with the blood of Christ.
By the Lord Jesus authority those of faith in Christ are baptized by Christ into the body, into unity with Christ and equipped empowered and gifted by the Holy Spirit. This is not something man does this is a work of God.
In V 14a we see the Holy Spirit is a pledge of our inheritance.
Pledge here means down payment, earnest money given to secure a purchase. God’s Holy Spirit is His down payment of His promise of redemption and all that it is reserved for us in heaven. 1 Peter 1.3-4.
From the context of our text, to the individual the Holy Spirit is the promise of God of the fullness of spiritual blessings in heavenly place in Christ. Eph. 1.3
Someone said. To the Church the Holy Spirit is, like God’s Divine engagement ring to His Bride… an irrevocable pledge to never forsake or neglect her.
V 14b also contains the goal of our salvation, our inheritance and every blessing and the possessions, every promise and all the privileges we have in Christ are all… Bestowed with the intention of glorifying God.
In order that we might bear His image and likeness and conform to the image of Christ, To the praise of His glory. Realized at the believer’s future glorification.
What can we learn from observing Holy Spirit in v 13-14?
God seals believers with the Holy Spirit of promise in Christ, the Holy Spirit is given as a pledge of our inheritance.
Did you see the progression of events in Ephesians 1.13-14?
Listen to message of truth, the gospel, having believed, you were sealed with Holy Spirit of promise given by God as a pledge of our inheritance, marked as a purchased possession of God for His glory.
We began with the thought of what motivated God to do what He has done for us and we have looked at much.
Let’s look quickly at when, when did God first love us and chose us? V4 God chose us, in Christ, before the foundation of the world. Then we see what motivated God, v 5 In love, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Christ.
Romans 5.8 makes this even clearer, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
God’s ultimate goal, the goal of our inheritance is brought to our attention by Paul 2 times in v 6 and in v 12. God acted in and out of love to redeem us and restore us to fulfill His intended purpose. We were by God created “to bear the image of God” Genesis 1.26a-27. In the beginning we see man as God’s workmanship created in the image and likeness of God. Here we see God motivated by love has made possible, in Christ through His atoning sacrifice, redemption, forgiveness, wisdom and insight and all that God has prepared beforehand. Ii order that man can as God intended bring glory to God. And He did it in love.