Summary: Chosen to be holy.

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Ephesians 1:3-14

In their original language, these verses constitute the longest sentence in the whole Bible. They form one long celebration of the Blessed One, who blesses us with blessings (Ephesians 1:3). The blessings begin with Him, bring blessing to His people, and redound to His glory in one great anthem of praise.

1. An infinite temporal dimension

The blessings celebrated here are “spiritual” in nature, and have their origin “in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). The expression “in Christ”, “in Him”, “in the Beloved” occurs repeatedly throughout the passage and locates us in the heavenly realm. There is an infinite temporal dimension running from “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4) to “the fullness of times” (Ephesians 1:10).

2. A limitless cosmic dimension

There is also a cosmic dimension to this passage, where He blesses us with “every” blessing (Ephesians 1:3), abounds toward us in “all” wisdom and practical care (Ephesians 1:8), and gathers together “everything” in heaven and earth in Christ (Ephesians 1:10).

3. Chosen to be holy

We are “chosen” for a purpose, and that is in order to be holy (Ephesians 1:4). The Apostle Peter endorses the same teaching (1 Peter 1:15-16). Christians are already “holy” in God’s eyes due to our consecration to Him, but we need to live up to our potential.

4. Love is a factor

Whether we are to “walk before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:4) - or rather that He has “in love predestined us unto the adoption of children” (Ephesians 1:4-5) - love is a factor. Perhaps both are true: “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). The whole transaction is wrapped up in the hitherto hidden mystery of the Father’s will (Ephesians 1:5; Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 1:11).

5. The baptism of Jesus

There are echoes here (Ephesians 1:5-6) of the baptism of Jesus (Mark 1:11; Matthew 3:17). The motifs of ‘Son’, ‘well pleased’ and ‘Beloved’ are echoed in “children”, “good pleasure” and “in the Beloved”. The good pleasure is that which He has purposed in Himself (Ephesians 1:9).

6. The praise of God’s glory

The Apostle celebrates the “praise of His glory” as he reflects upon various aspects of our destiny (Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 1:12; Ephesians 1:14). When we bless or praise God, we add nothing to Him: but there is healing power when we take stock of our blessings and honour Him. It does wonders for us and, like the Old Testament priest, we magnify Him before the people.

7. Redemption

Our redemption is “in” Jesus (the source), “through” His blood (the means). The product of this redemption is “the forgiveness of sins” (Ephesians 1:7). We are beneficiaries of the lavish super-abundance of God’s grace (Ephesians 1:7-8).

8. The seal of our inheritance

We have an inheritance (Ephesians 1:11), which is sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). Put another way, the Holy Spirit is given as the down payment of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:14). The benefits of this privilege are shared both by “those who first believed” (Ephesians 1:12), and those who would follow after (Ephesians 1:13) - including ourselves (if we believe).

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