June 6, 2012
The first fourteen verses lay out the spiritual blessings that we have in Christ. We can’t overstress the importance of “in Christ” because our position “in Him” is the point of the whole book. All of these spiritual blessings are based on this…even our predestination. Look back at verse five:
5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will
We’re adopted by (or through) Jesus Christ to God.
Think of baptism. It symbolizes our death with him. It’s not just that he died for us, but that we’re considered to have been there with him.
Christ is God’s elect. We’re one with Christ. When Christ died, we died. When Christ was raised, we were raised. As He lives, so we live even now with Him.
Look at the next chapter:
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (Eph. 2:4-7)
Do you see our union with Christ? Look at the verb tenses: He “hath” quickened us together with Christ. He “hath” raised us up together with Him. He has already made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
Paul’s whole point is to show the Ephesians that we have an unshakable hope because we’re united to Christ as a husband is united to his wife. All of His success is counted as ours. His inheritance is our inheritance. His life is our life.
And to help them understand this, Paul tells them about his prayer for them:
Paul prays for the saints to better understand God, His purpose, and His power (:15-19)
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; 17That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ,
I understand this to be in reference to Jesus’s humanity when He came to do the will of His Father (Jn. 20:17),
the Father of glory,
Or the glorious Father. I take this as a comfort knowing that Jesus’s Father will give Him everything He promised. There won’t be a single good thing left out of His inheritance,
may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
This first thing is that the Ephesians would have knowledge of God. It’s more than just saving knowledge because they already have that. Paul asks that they’ll have a spirit of wisdom; he prays that they’ll have revelation. He wants them to see God sort of like how we might see a flower as it unfolds into full bloom. He says, “I pray that God will give you a spirit of wisdom so that you can understand the revelation He gives you as He shows you more of Himself.”
This is sort of the milk-to-meat principle. We know more and more about God, and the more we know the more we want to know.
He prays also that,
18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling,
Your understanding is your way of thinking. “I pray that the eyes of your understanding (the way you think) will be enlightened as you know more about God so that you may know what is the hope of His calling.” If God has called us then we can be sure He’ll see us through. His word always accomplishes what He sets it out to do (Is. 55:11), and He always brings His work to completion (Phil. 1:6).
and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
How can we love the world if we know the riches of the glory of His inheritance? It’s not hard to see ourselves as pilgrims if we’re looking for the city He has made.
Death isn’t really all that scary when we know we have eternal life.
19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe,
Now don’t miss this. Verse nineteen leads us into the verses that finish up the chapter. He prays that God will cause us to see the exceeding greatness of His power. The Greek word for “exceed” doesn’t just mean a large portion—it means something that goes beyond. God’s power is exceedingly great. It can’t be measured or even comprehended. This is the one who spoke light into existence. The lightning responds to His command.