The Divine Foundation for Human Existence
Scripture: Ephesians 1:3-14
Theme: The foundation of the Christian life.
Focus: The triune God as revealed in the passage.
Point: Knowing the role of the ministries of the triune God enables the believer to understand the impact of God in their life.
Illustration: An engineer designs and builds a structure based on his blueprints. God is the great architect of all creation. He uses Himself as the pattern for His design. The operational aspects of that design are built into the object of His design. To develop an understanding of the individual, we must begin with the biblical teaching relating to God Himself.
Ephesians 1:3-14 is the clearest descriptive statement of the divine trinity in the Bible.
The English word “trinity” is not used in the English Bible, but the concept is used.
The concept of the “trinity” is the foundation for understanding human life.
The teaching of this foundation has not been developed in Christian theology and biblical psychology and counseling. Why?
The Christian community criticizes secular psychology and secular counseling because it starts and builds upon human behavior. Yet, at the same time that is where Christian psychology and Christian counseling start. The starting place for a Christian psychology and counseling is the ministries of the triune God and their impact on the individual.
1. The Ministry and Work of the Father vv 3-6a
God is identified as the Father of Jesus Christ v 3a
He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing v 3b; 2 Peter 1:2-4
In the heavenly realm v 3c
In Christ v 3d
Father chose us in Christ v 4a
Before (time) the foundation of the world v 4b
We should be holy and without blame before Him in love v 4c
Predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself v 5a
According to the good pleasure of His will v 5b
To the praise of the glory of His grace v 6a; 1:12b and 1:14c
This concludes the work of the Father.
By which He made us accepted in the Beloved v 6b
This is the work of the Father through His Son Jesus Christ on behalf of us.
2. The Ministry and Work of Jesus Christ vv 6b-13a
The Beloved v 6c The voice of the Father in the earthly life of Jesus
In Him we have redemption v 7a
Through His blood v 7b
The forgiveness of sins v 7c
According to the riches of His grace v 7d
Which grace He made to abound toward us v 8a
In all wisdom and understanding v 8b
Having made known to us the mystery of His will v 9a
According to His good pleasure which he purposed in Himself v 9b
In the dispensation of the fullness of the times v 10a
He might gather together in one all things in Christ v 10b
Both which are in heaven and on earth – in Him v 10c
In Him we have also obtained an inheritance v 11a
Being predestined according to the purpose of Him v 11b
Who works all things according to the counsel of His will v 11c
We who first hoped in Christ v 12a
Should be to the praise of His glory v 12b; 1:6a and 1:14c
This concludes the work of the Son.
This is the work of Jesus Christ on behalf of us.
3. The Ministry and Work of the Believer
In Him you also trusted v 13a
After you heard the truth, the gospel of your salvation v 13b
In whom also having believed v 13c
This concludes the work of the Believer
This is the work of the Believer that God requires for Him to work in us.
4. The Ministry and Work of the Holy Spirit vv 13b-14
You were sealed with the Holy Spirit v 13d
Of promise v 13e
Who is the guarantee of our inheritance v 14a
Until the redemption of the purchased possession v 14b
To the praise of His glory v 14c; 1:6a and 1:12b
This concludes the work of the Holy Spirit.
This is the work of the Holy Spirit on behalf of us.
This divine foundation is what Christian theology and psychology should be built upon. The Father plans our life. The Son makes it happen. The Holy Spirit brings life into the plans to make it happen. It is all played out in the heart and life of the believer.
The triune God of the Bible is the pattern for creation, the pattern of the ontological structure and functionality of the structure of the believer, the pattern for the construction of the tabernacle/temple/house of God, and the rebuilding of the temple/house of God. Those entities are the typologies for the real thing that is to come in this life, the life of the believer.
This same pattern is seen throughout the Bible, especially in the New Testament. One place where the trinitarian pattern is seen in the NT is the gifts of the Father (Romans 12:3-8); the gifts of Christ (Ephesians 4:7-16); and the gifts of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Another place is in three major teachings in the NT: glorification is the ministry of the Father (Romans 8:30); justification is the ministry of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:21-26); and sanctification is the ministry of the Holy Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13). There appears to be some overlapping in these ministries.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus made a number of statements that identify the ministries of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as distinct ministries for each person of the triune God (John 14:19-21; 25-31; 15:1-16; 26; 16:7-15; 17:4-5, 20-26).
The writers of the NT do not attempt to write out a systematic theology of the trinity. However, the concept is scattered throughout the writings profusely in short statements so that a systematic theology can be written on the subject..