EPHESIANS 1

An epistle written in prison
The epistle to the Ephesians is one of Paul’s prison epistles, written in Rome whilst he was awaiting trial before Caesar.  Nonetheless he does not describe himself as the prisoner of Caesar, who claimed the title lord, but rather of the Lord of lords, Jesus Christ, see 4:1.  Far from thinking of his imprisonment as a restriction imposed on him, he saw it as an opportunity to express his captivity to Christ’s interests.  Writing another prison epistle, the Philippians, he stated that he had learned, in whatsoever state or situation he was, to be content, Philippians 4:11.  Again, he said to the Philippians, who were worried lest his imprisonment hindered his service, that as a result of being in prison, many of Caesar’s soldiers had heard the gospel, 1:12,13.

A twin epistle
Ephesians and Colossians are twin epistles, both written in prison, and both having similar structure.  In Colossians the emphasis is on the person of Christ as Head of the body, the church, whereas in Ephesians the emphasis is on the church itself, and Christ’s ministry towards it.  In Colossians we read, “In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him”, 2:9,10.  Whereas in Ephesians the apostle tells us that the church is “the fulness of Him that filleth all in all”, 1:23.  In the former statement we learn that Christ is the one who completes us, whereas in the latter, it is the church who, in a sense, completes Him. 

The use of the word spirit
There is only one use of the word spirit in Colossians, 1:8, and this reference may not be to the Holy Spirit at all, but rather to the spirit of the believer.  Ephesians is markedly different, for there are several references to the Spirit throughout the epistle.  Clearly if the church is to complete Christ in the Ephesians 1:23 sense, then the power of the Spirit of God is needed to do this.  Christ does not need the help of the Spirit to fulfil His role as Head and completer of the church, but of course the Son of God and the Spirit of God are at all times in harmony, and as Persons of the Godhead, do not act independently of one another.  “The Son can do nothing of Himself”, John 5:19.

Progression in Paul’s epistles
There is a progression to be noted in Paul’s epistles.  In Galatians the believer is standing by an occupied cross, and self and the world are the further side, see Galatians 2:20, 6:14.  In Romans the believer is standing beside an empty tomb, associated with Christ in His resurrection, 6:1-11, etc.  In Colossians the believer is standing on earth looking heavenwards to a filled throne, 3:1,2.  In Ephesians the believer is first of all seen as seated in heavenly places in Christ, 2:6, then walking in harmony with that heavenly position, 4:1, and then warring against spirit-wickedness in the heavenly places, who try to prevent the enjoyment of the heavenly inheritance.

SUMMARY OF THE EPISTLE
In chapter one we are introduced to wealth from God.  And then the sort of things the apostle prayed for in that connection.  (Not his actual prayer, but the desires behind his prayer for them).
In chapter two we have the work of God.  And this is in contrast to our sinful pre-conversion works, 2:1,5, our vain attempts to please God by our own efforts, 2:9, and also to our works now, which have been prepared for us to do from all eternity, 2:10.  How solemn to think that God planned things for us to do before the world was made!  Are we doing them?  God works in us so that we have the desire to do His will, and also the power to do it, see Philippians 2:13- we have no excuse!
In chapter three we have one aspect of the wisdom of God made known.  That which was hid from ages and generations and hid in God, (not even in His word), but which is now made known by the apostle.
In chapters four and five and six up to verse 9, we have our walk before God.  Those works which God has prepared for us to walk in are detailed for us.  We are to walk worthy of the vocation, 4:1; walk not as other Gentiles walk, but walk like Christ did, 4:17,20,21; walk in love, 5:1; walk as children of light, 5:8; walk circumspectly, 5:15.
In chapter six verse ten onwards we have weapons from God.  These need to be put on, and taken up, in order that we may withstand the onslaughts of the enemy.

INTRODUCTION
The epistle to the Ephesians corresponds to the book of Joshua.  Just as Israel at last reached the land that God had promised to Abraham long before, so the believers of this present age are entered into a goodly inheritance in heavenly places, promised to them in Christ before the foundation of the world.
It is interesting to notice that when Paul first went to Ephesus, Luke tells us first of all of the disciples of John that he met.  These had not heard that the Holy Spirit had come at Pentecost, Acts 19:2.  At this point the apostle spoke to them of Christ Jesus, the one who, although crucified on a cross, is risen from the dead and glorified in heaven.  This is the first use of this title, and it very significant that it should be mentioned first here, because these disciples had been immersed into Jordan by John, but they had progressed no further.  We do not read of John bringing those he baptised out of the water.  He did, of course, but Scripture only says he baptised them into Jordan.  However, when he baptised the Lord Jesus, we specifically read that He “went up straightway out of the water”, Matthew 3:16. So not only is there the mention of emergence from the waters of Jordan, but also the coming up straightway, a foretaste of the fact that the the Lord Jesus would rise quickly from the grave, for it was not possible for Him to be held by it.  And He came to introduce the idea of resurrection, hence His coming up out of the water is specially mentioned.
So the disciples of John were baptised again, in the consciousness that Christ was risen, and He may appropriately be called Christ Jesus, the risen and exalted man.  All this would give character to the assembly at Ephesus, and the epistle we are about to consider builds on these truths.

STRUCTURE OF CHAPTER 1

(a) Verses 1,2 Greetings from the apostle.
(b) Verses 3-14 Blessings sanctioned by God the Father, secured by Christ, and sealed by the Spirit.
(c) Verses 15-23 Prayer of the apostle that these things might be  appreciated.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS CHAPTER 1, VERSES 1 AND 2:

1:1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

1:2  Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

(a)    Verses 1,2    Greetings from the apostle.

1:1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Paul- his identity.  The epistle begins as all epistles of the day did, but it was very different to ordinary epistles in that it was inspired of the Holy Spirit.  The apostle was guided into the truth by the Holy Spirit, as the Lord Jesus had promised would happen with the words, “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth”, John 16:13.  The thoughts that come into the mind of the apostle were then transmitted to the parchment by the use of words that accurately convey that truth.  The apostle called this “comparing spiritual things with spiritual”, 1 Corinthians 2:13.  So the thoughts were spiritual and so were the words, even though the latter were the words in everyday use.  This letter was written around 64AD, and the apostle John lived, (very probably at Ephesus, if church history is to be believed), until around the year 100AD.  He would be able to verify that the epistle was genuine, and as such was binding on believers.
An apostle of Jesus Christ- his authority.  Paul was saved as a result of seeing Christ in heavenly glory, and he was “not disobedient to the heavenly vision”, Acts 26:19.  It is appropriate, then, that he should be the one used to tell us of our heavenly inheritance in Christ.  We should ever recognise the full apostleship of Paul, and not disparage him as some have done in recent times.  Failure to listen to Paul meant near disaster for the seamen in Acts 27:21, and falling asleep to Paul’s ministry had a dramatic effect on Eutychus, Acts 20.9.  We should learn from their mistakes, and acknowledge that the things he wrote were the commandments of the Lord, 1 Corinthians 14:37.
By the will of God- his activity.  Before he was saved the apostle was “a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious”, 1 Timothy 1:13,  and as such asserted his own will strongly.  Now his will is surrendered to Christ, as expressed in his first prayer, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do”, Acts 9:6.  Because he is writing from within the confines of the will of God as an inspired apostle, we may trust that his words come from God.  He may be limited physically by the walls of a secure room, if not a prison cell, yet his spirit ranged over the heavenly inheritance believers have in Christ.
To the saints- their sanctity.  The word saint has been extracted from its original setting by the Holy Spirit, and sanctified for His use.  To an unsaved person in Ephesus, a saint was one who was dedicated to the gods, and that there were many “saints” like that in Ephesus is seen in Acts 19:34.  Now, however, the word means one who is dedicated to God because set apart for Him.  The Ephesians, like the Thessalonians, had “turned to God from idols”, 1 Thessalonians 1:9.  They had not become disillusioned with their idols and then turned to God as a last resort.  They had positively and deliberately turned to God because of Who He revealed Himself to be in Christ, and just as positively, and as a consequence, turned from their idols.  All believers are saints now, for it is their calling in life, 1 Corinthians 1:2.  The only question is whether they are saintly in practice.
Which are at Ephesus- their responsibility.  They were saints at or in Ephesus, for they had not been separated physically from their former surroundings, but rather, had been changed in heart so as to live a life which was changed in practice.  We should not confuse separation with isolation.  The Lord Jesus was “separate from sinners”, Hebrews 7:26, yet did not distance Himself from them.
And to the faithful- their fidelity.  This is another description of the saints at Ephesus.  Steadfastness and dependability are integral to faith.  When Abraham believed God, he in effect declared that what God had just said to him was reliable.  Reliability on the part of the those who believe is the logical outcome of their faith, because it is an expression of the character of the one they believe.  Those who believe pledge themselves to unswerving loyalty to the Lord.  We see this in Lydia, who although only saved a short time before, invited Paul and Silas to stay with her, “If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord”, Acts 16:15.  In other words, if you have judged my faith to be genuine.  Indeed, the very fact that she was now disposed towards the apostles, was an indication of the genuineness of her faith, for true believers are happy to hear apostles, 1 John 4:6.
In Christ Jesus- their security and dignity. The scriptures are very precise in their terminology.  Christ Jesus is not a title we shall find in the gospels.  In fact, as we have already noticed, its first use is in Acts 19:4 when Paul is speaking to the disciples of John at Ephesus.  It emphasises the fact that Christ is risen and ascended.  Paul was converted through Christ ascended appearing to Him, and then he came to appreciate the beauty of His life as Jesus.  Paul often had Luke for his companion, so the third gospel, telling of Jesus, is the fit companion for Paul’s epistles, telling of a risen and ascended Christ.

1:2    Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace be unto you- Paul’s desire and prayer for them is that they may know Divine grace, to enable them to appreciate the truths he is about to expound to them.  We need the grace of God constantly to enable us to appreciate the things of God aright; we cannot do it in our own strength.
And peace- Paul desires that the end result of understanding and appreciating Divine things will be peace of heart, and confidence in God.  The opponents of the truths expressed here cannot take away this peace, any more than they know the grace.  When Gentiles greeted one another, they said “charis”, grace.  When Jews saluted one another, they said “shalom”, peace.  In the church there is no distinction of culture or background.  Gentiles believers know peace and grace, Jewish believers know grace and peace.  This greeting from the apostle is no formality, but is the normal polite salutation, (which when used by sinners is no more than a hope), transformed into a prayer, showing his earnest desires for them.  By gaining an appreciation of God’s grace, they will advance in the knowledge of God Himself.  By gaining an appreciation of Divine peace in their souls, they will be better fitted to live at peace with one another.
From God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ- note that these Divine blessings come equally from the Father and the Son, a testimony to the Deity of Christ.  From verse 3 we shall learn that our blessings are sure to us because they depend upon the relationship between the Son and the Father, for Paul will bless the God and Father of Christ there.  Here the fact that He is our Father is emphasised, (telling us He is kindly disposed towards us), and the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord.  Not just that He is our Lord, but that He is Lord absolutely, so no enemy can deprive us of Divine favours, for Christ is in control.  He has led captivity captive, and thus is supreme over all the forces of evil, 4:8.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS CHAPTER 1, VERSES 3 TO 14:

1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

1:4  According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:

1:5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

1:6  To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.

1:7  In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace;

1:8  Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

1:9  Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself:

1:10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him:

1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will:

1:12  That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.

1:13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

1:14  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.

 

(b)    Verses 3-14    Blessings sanctioned by God the Father, secured by Christ, and sealed by the Spirit.

1:3    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ- notice the apostle does not speak of our Father, even though he has just used those very words.  He is ascribing blessing to God as the Father of the Lord Jesus; in other words he is blessing God because of what comes to believers because of the Father’s relationship to the Son.  As we have already noted, the blessings believers know are firmly rooted in the relationship that exists between Divine Persons.  Only in a secondary sense do those blessings come to us because He is our Father.  He is also the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, for when He came into manhood Christ subjected Himself to His Fathers will.  See Psalm 22:10.  These are relationships that are unique to Christ, but yet He told His own that He was going to ascend to His Father and their Father, His God and their God, John 20:17.  Although the relationships are spoken of in the same terms, they are distinct, for He did not say “Our Father”, or “Our God”.  Christ is Firstborn among many brethren, Romans 8:29, yet He is also Only begotten, so His Sonship is not simply a question of degree, as if He were simply a better Son than believers, but of kind, He being eternally the Son, as 1 John 1:2 would indicate, amongst other scriptures.
Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ- the apostle first of all blesses God for what He is in Himself, and in His relationship to His Son, and then begins to describe the blessings He has granted to believers so that they might appreciate Him more.  We tell what God is like by how He manifests Himself.  We also address God by the way He manifests Himself, so here the apostle addresses God as God and Father.  When God appeared to Abraham in the land of Canaan, He appeared as Lord to him.  So it is that Abraham responded by building an altar, and calling upon the name of the Lord who appeared to him, Genesis 12:7.  The worship was in harmony with the revelation.  Since the Son of God has come and given us an understanding to know Him that is true, 1 John 5:20, we should respond to Him in line with that.  It is the Father that seeks worshippers, John 4:23.
Note that the blessings are “in Christ”, that is, who Christ is gives character to the blessings.  The preposition “en”, if it does not denote physical location, indicates either power or character, in this case the latter.  So as we go through the passage we shall see that God’s choice is “in Christ”, verse 4; our acceptance is “in the Beloved”, verse 6; redemption is “in Him”, verse 7; all things will be headed up “in Him”, verse 10; an inheritance is obtained “in Him”, 11; and the receiving of the Spirit is “in Him”, verse 13.  The blessings are not natural, physical or sensual, but heavenly.  Israel were promised earthly, physical blessing in an earthly place, the land of promise.  They were promised these things in Abraham, but we are promised spiritual blessings in Christ.
How glad we should be that the blessings are not “in us”; in other words, because of what we are, for then they would not be secure.  God would not bless in that way.  On the other hand, “For all the promises of God in Him,  are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us”, 2 Corinthians 1:20.
We may summarise by saying that as to source, the blessings are from God the Father; as to scope, they are all blessings; as to their sort, they are spiritual; as to their situation, they are in heaven; as to security, they are in Christ; as to their seal, they are guaranteed by the Spirit, verse 13,14.

We could look at the following verses as structured according to the following plan:

The blessing He hath chosen us
The basis in Him before the foundation of the world,
The purpose that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:
 The blessing  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children
The basis by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
The purpose To the praise of the glory of His grace,
   
The blessing wherein He hath made us accepted
The basis in the Beloved. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace;
The purpose Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
   
The blessing Having made known unto us the mystery of His will,
The basis according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself:
The purpose That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him:
The blessing In whom also we have obtained an inheritance,
The basis being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will:
The purpose That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.
   
The blessing In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
The basis until the redemption of the purchased possession,
The purpose unto the praise of His glory.

1:4  According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:

According as- “in relation to which fact”.  The apostle now begins to review some of the Divine blessings we have been granted.  He looks at them in three categories.  Firstly in relation to the Father in verses 4-5, then in relation to the Son in verses 6-12, then in relation to the Spirit in verses 13 and 14.
He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world- it is worth remembering that Christ is God’s Elect One.  This immediately alerts us to the fact that deliverance from hell is not in view in the term.  After all, Judas was chosen too, but he was the son of perdition, John 6:70.  In Isaiah 42:1 the Messiah is God’s elect servant, chosen out from a nation that had failed to serve Him as they should.  He is God’s faithful servant, and the pleasure of the Lord prospers in His hand, Isaiah 53:10.  Having served God in life and death, He was chosen again, this time out of the tomb.  If there were none in Israel suited to the title of elect, there were certainly none in the grave either, so He was raised from among the dead by the glory of the Father, and as such is chosen of God and precious, 1 Peter 2:4.  It is because of who Christ is that God has chosen His people for a position before Him.  So His choice is not arbitrary or maverick, but is based on what His Son is to Him.  This choice was before the foundation of the world, which is another way of saying “in eternity”, since time began when the earth was founded.  That is when events started to happen, and time is the distance between two events.  The foundation of the world is mentioned, perhaps, to highlight the contrast with Israel, whose inheritance is from the foundation of the world, being an earthly inheritance, see Matthew 25:34; Hebrews 4:3.  Since our blessings are purposed in eternity, the events of time cannot spoil them, and they shall endure eternally also.
That we should be holy and without blame before Him in love- the apostle now tells us what the choice of God was for.  It was not to save from hell, but rather to secure those saved from hell a position before Himself.  His determination to do this is grounded in His love for Christ, whom He wishes to see surrounded by those who are like Him and for Him.  Those who are before God must be fitted for the position, hence we are described as holy and without blame.  As those who are positively holy, and have been delivered from all blame for sins, we are fitted by God for His very presence.  The expression “before Him” literally means “under His very eye”, so close is the relationship.

1:5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

Having predestinated us- it is important to notice that verses 3 to 6 are all one sentence.  It is good to study individual words in detail, but context is vital.  Remember the first three rules of Bible interpretation are as follows- First, context; second, context; third, context.  The word predestinate literally means “to set the boundaries beforehand”.  We immediately contrast and compare this with what happened to Israel after they entered the land of promise, for the boundaries of their tribal territories were marked out by God.  So with believers; the boundaries of their position before God have been marked out by Him.  There is this difference, however, in that whereas the land of promise was divided up between the sons of Jacob, so that each had a part, in the case of the heavenly inheritance every son has all of the inheritance in Christ.  God not only marks out the boundaries, but fills the space marked out with His sons.
We can easily see, therefore, that this predestination is worlds apart from the way that Augustine, and after him the leaders of the Reformation, used the term.  They thought of predestination as determining whether a man went to heaven or hell, and by the use of the worldly logic they had learned from Plato and Aristotle made deductions which led them into error.  Having set out upon that course, and in order to perpetuate their faulty view of the sovereignty of God, they, to be consistent with their system, had to teach that Christ only died for the elect.  Thus it was that a theory that was put forward by a ninth century monk, which in its time was met with gasps of disbelief, was now adopted as orthodox theology.  The theory that Christ died only for the elect is dishonouring to Christ and to God, and should not be countenanced in any shape or form. 

It might be salutary to quote the words of Milton, in his poem Paradise Lost:
“Others apart sat on a hill retired,
In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned high
Of providence, foreknowledge, will, and fate,
Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute,
And found no end, in wandering mazes lost.”
Milton; Paradise Lost; Book 2; Page 121.

Unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself- having set the boundaries, the apostle now describes those who occupy the prescribed position.  They are God’s sons, made so through the redemptive work of Calvary.  “Adoption of children” is literally “placing as sons”, and is a position of nearness as expressed in the phrase “unto Himself”.  The work of Calvary was needed to bring believers into sonship.  A reference to the passages that deal with this subject, namely Galatians 3:1-5:26, and Romans 8, will show that sonship has to do with liberty, dignity, intimacy, maturity and glory.  Clearly, those who inherit must be in a right relationship with the one granting the inheritance, and this believers are, but only because the one who is God’s eternal Son has acted to bring them into it.
According to the good pleasure of His will- that which seems right to God, and which He wills to perform, has ensured that His people are before Him in the place of privilege.  It is not at all a question of their merit, for they have none, but entirely the will of God, which centres in His Son.  There are two main words used for the will of God in the New Testament, and in this passage the word for “will” in verses 5, 9, 11, is “thelema”.  The following is an extract from Girdlestone’s Synonyms of the Old Testament- “Thelema, (equivalent to the Hebrew ratson) is that which God decides to have done because it is pleasing to Him.  The course of action gives real pleasure to Him.  Boule, (Hebrew chaphets), marks the disposition rather than the counsel or purpose.  The word implies not so much that there has been a consideration of the circumstances which call for action, as that they are in accordance with the nature and attributes of God”.

1:6  To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.

To the praise of the glory of His grace- continuing his sentence, the apostle reveals that God’s sons, in the place of God’s determining, are a sure sign of the effectiveness of God’s dealings in grace with His people.  His grace in all its manifestations is glorious, (because those manifestations bring out what God is in Himself, glory being “the display of intrinsic excellence”), and His people, by the position He has granted them, cause that grace to be celebrated.
Wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved- not content with granting sonship and privilege to His people, He makes them to be attractive to Himself.  (We recall how Nebuchadnezzar selected those who were choice young men to attend at his court, Daniel 1:4).  He cannot do this by bringing out anything from within them, for they have no merit of their own.  What He can and does do is grace them with all those features which He finds so pleasurable in His Son, His Beloved.  We do not use the word grace as a verb very often, but we do say that a beautiful display of flowers graces the table.  The idea is of beautifying and making pleasing.  God is well-pleased with His Son, and that good pleasure is found in His sons now also. 

1:7  In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace;

In whom we have redemption through His blood- if in verses 4-6 there is emphasis on the activity of the Father, now the apostle concentrates on how the Son has been, and will be active.  Verses 7 and 8 speak of a present effect of a past work, whereas verses 9-12 speak of Christ’s future work.  The one tells of suffering, the other of reigning; the one sees Christ on a cross, the other, Christ on a throne.  How touching to read that it is in the Beloved that we have redemption, especially considering that, as we sing sometimes, “costly was our ransom, once paid in blood by Thee”.  As another hymn says, “In His own majesty arrayed, He spake, and built the universe, but to redeem us He was made a dying outcast and a curse”.  There was no love in the slave-market of old; just cold calculation, and hard bargaining.  But God has introduced the principle of love into the slave-market of sin, and sent His beloved Son to pay the price that the slaves might be freed.  Notice that the redemption of sinners is when they believe, not when Christ died.  He gave Himself for our sins, that he might deliver” (at a future date, when sinners believe), see Galatians 1:4.  It is a mistake to speak of Christ saving sinners when He died.  The work of Calvary accomplished is one thing, the work of Calvary applied is another, although of course connected.  It was not a bowl of lamb’s blood that delivered from the destroying angel, but the blood from that bowl sprinkled over the door.  “Through faith he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of blood”, Hebrews 11:28.
The apostle needs to define what redemption is, for there were those in his day and there are those in ours who insist on using Bible words in non-Bible ways.  This redemption is not some gnostic notion of the freeing of the soul from the hindrances of the body, but rather the setting free of those who are the slaves of sin.  Sinners are slaves to various things, as the following scriptures show- John 8:34, (sin); Titus 2:14, (all iniquity); 1 Peter 1:18, (former conversation).  We are reminded in 1 Corinthians 6:20 that we are bought with a price, and therefore, being transferred to the ownership of Another, have the responsibility of glorifying Him in the body and spirit He has purchased.
The forgiveness of sins- but what of the sinful deeds committed by the slaves when they were still in bondage?  The work of Christ deals with these also.  Just as the slave has been let go from his master, so his sins have been let go from him, such being the meaning of the word forgive.  With a new master, and a clean record, the one-time slave, now become a son, is free to be, and to act, to God’s glory.
According to the riches of His grace- out of the wealth of His favour towards men, God gave His Son, who in turn gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, 1 Timothy 2:6.  There was no merit in us, but it is all of God’s grace, so rich and free. 

1:8  Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence- those delivered from their slave-state, and released from their slave-sins, find themselves under the ownership of One who is all-wise.  One, moreover, who imparts that wisdom to His sons.  God’s grace in all its richness is not content with delivering slaves, but intends to make those slaves His wise and prudent sons, and give them positions of responsibility and honour.  Wisdom may be defined as “insight into the true nature of things”.  God, of course, is the fountainhead of all wisdom, being the “the only wise God”, 1 Timothy 1:17, and He imparts, not grudgingly, but abundantly, (“abounded towards us”) His insights to His people.  We need prudence, too, to enable us to handle this wisdom, and apply it in practice.  Perhaps the wisdom is more for now, whereas the prudence is more for when we reign with Christ. 

1:9  Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself:

Having made known unto us the mystery of His will- of course God is inscrutable, so the understanding of the immensity of His sovereign will is totally beyond finite minds to grasp, Romans 11:33-36.   The apostle, however, is not speaking of God’s will in general, but rather one aspect of it which in old time was not revealed, but now is.  This is the essence of a biblical mystery, namely something hidden before, but now revealed to those who are to be granted understanding in it.  It is a mystery no longer to those who know it.  God had plans which He did not disclose to His Old Testament prophets, or indeed any believer in old time.  We shall find reference to four mysteries in the epistle, 1:9-12; 3:1-13; 5:22-33; 6:19,20. and they each repay detailed study.
According to the good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself- we have already come across God’s good pleasure, as He positioned His people before Him, verse 5, and now we have it again, this time in regard to the future.  His purpose is purposed in Himself, for it is not a reaction to outside influences, not forced upon Him by events, nor an emergency measure, but His settled intention from all eternity, but only disclosed now. 

1:10  That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him:

That in the dispensation of the fulness of the times- a dispensation is not a period of time, but is what happens during a particular period of time.  In everyday life it had to do with the arrangement of household affairs. Certain things are going to be dispensed, or administered, during the coming kingdom age, (otherwise known as the millenium, because it will last in its initial phase for a thousand years).  This administering is called here a dispensation.  God has been working out His plan during each of the ages of time, and that process will end with the rule of this earth under Christ.  He must reign, for several reasons, not least to vindicate God for His decision to put the earth under subjection to man at the beginning, Psalm 8.  The first man failed miserably, but Christ will “restore that which He took not away”, Psalm 69:4, and administer for God, as Hebrews 2:5-8 indicates, quoting Psalm 8.  His sacrifice at Calvary was necessary preparation for this, so Hebrews describes Him coming “once in the end of the world”, or literally, “once for all on the completion of the ages”, to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, Hebrews 9:26.  As far as God is concerned, all the ages of time found their completion when Christ died, even those that were still future. The sacrifice completed is the ground for the kingdom to be set up, with the interval between occupied by the church age which is a parenthesis in God’s earthly dealings.  The cross is the guarantee of the crown; the purple cloth covers the altar, Numbers 4:13; those given a preview of the kingdom speak of His decease, Luke 9:27-31.
The millenium is mentioned six times in Revelation chapter 20, and it is clear that it cannot be running its course now, for the following reasons:
1.   The events of the latter part of chapter 19 have not yet taken place, for Christ has not yet come out  from heaven to defeat His earthly foes, and to consign Antichrist to the abyss.
2.   Satan has not yet been bound, 20:2,3, for he still goes about, 1 Peter 5:8, and blinds men’s minds, 2 Corinthians 4:4.
3.   Those who will refuse to worship the Beast, and will be martyred for it, are not yet raised to reign with Christ.  The “but” of verse 5 indicates there is a difference between those of verse 4, and those of verse 5, the difference simply being that one company is raised before the 1000 years, and one after.
4.   If the first resurrection mentioned here is figurative, as some teach, then to be consistent, we must say the second resurrection is, which is clearly unscriptural.
5.   The millenium cannot be now, because the first resurrection is before it, and the first resurrection has not yet taken place.
6.   The millenium cannot be a figure for eternity because the second resurrection is after it. 

He might gather together in one all things in Christ- this is the heart of the mystery the apostle is explaining, that Christ, the Messiah, will not only head up all things on earth, (which the Old Testament saints knew about), but in heaven as well.  Israel had no idea that their Messiah would have control in heaven as well as on earth, for the prophets only spoke of an earthly kingdom, replacing the kingdoms of the Gentiles, as Daniel chapter 7 details.  The words “gather together in one” mean that God, acting in His own interests, (for the verb is in the Middle Voice, signifying something done for the benefit of the one doing it), intends to bring together into one all things, and He will do this by uniting them in Christ.  In other words, Christ will be the bond between all things and God.  The basis of this is Christ’s work at Calvary, for God will reconcile all things to Himself by the cross, as Colossians 1:20 states.  The result will be that things in the heavens and on earth will be righteously brought back into harmony with God.  The things in the heavens, (for the word is in the plural in the verse just quoted), would include the stellar heavens, and also the precincts of heaven the abode of God.  We perhaps little appreciate the far-reaching consequences of the fall of Adam, as a result of which the whole creation, not just the earth, was made subject to vanity, Romans 8:20, so that even the stars are not pure in God’s sight, Job 25:5.  The better sacrifice of Christ, however, has availed to purify all of defiled creation, including the heavenly things themselves, Hebrews 9:23.  Only the Son of God, as God’s Firstborn, pre-eminent over God’s creation, Colossians 1:20, is great enough to achieve this, and only His sacrifice is great enough to establish it.  He purified heaven so as to serve as priest there, and He will purify the earth so that He can reign over it.
Even in Him- the apostle reiterates that it is through the Messiah that this will be done, because the truth he sets out is so breathtaking in its scope that the Ephesians might have reservations about accepting it.

1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will:

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance- Romans 8:17 speaks of believers as heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.  As God’s sons, they have a part alongside of Christ in this great and Divine purpose.  Indeed, the signal that God is about to deliver creation from its groaning, and bring it into liberty from its bondage, will be the appearance with Christ when He comes in glory of myriads of saints who have been conformed to the image of His Son, Romans 8:19.  If He can deliver rebellious and wilful sinners from their slavery, He can certainly deliver creation.
Being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will- no wonder the apostle began the passage by speaking of God placing His people as sons before Him, and gracing them in Christ, for they are to come with Him, and in that day He will be “glorified in His saints, and admired in all them that believe”, 2 Thessalonians 1:10.  God does not need to consult with any about this matter, for His own will, and the work of Christ which is contained within that will, (see Acts 2:23) gives Him the right to act in this way.

1:12  That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.

That we should be to the praise of His glory- in verse 6 believers are to the praise of the glory of His grace, but in a day to come the glory will be to the fore, and God’s saints will glorify Him as they take their place with Christ over a reconciled creation.
Who first trusted in Christ- the apostle now speaks of two categories, first those, like himself, saved out of the nation of Israel, then in verses 13 and 14, those saved from the Gentiles.  This is why he uses a word for hope which means to hope or trust beforehand.  The nation of Israel will come into the good of Calvary when they see the one they pierced coming in the clouds with great glory.  They will weep for Him, and repent of their sins, see Revelation 1:7; Romans 11:26; Zechariah 12:10. But there have been many Jews who have anticipated that day, and have come to Christ already.

1:13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

In whom ye also trusted- it cannot be said that the Gentiles fore-hoped in Christ, because they did not have a hope of Messianic blessing as Israel did, being apart from Christ, cut off from Him, 2:12, and hence hopeless and godless.
After that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation- as to its content, the gospel consists of spoken truth, hence the apostle exhorts Timothy to preach the word, 2 Timothy 4:2, and in the parable of the sower the seed is the word of God.  Peter, too, declares that the word of the Lord which liveth and abideth for ever is preached through the gospel, 1 Peter 1:25.  It is by the proclaiming of the scriptures that the Father draws souls to Himself, John 6:45.  No amount of human ingenuity can replace this Divinely ordained means of reaching the souls of men.  If the content of the gospel is truth, then the result of the gospel is salvation, when it is believed.  Salvation is essentially association with Christ in His risen and ascended glory, as chapter two of this epistle makes clear.  We should beware of speaking as if being a Christian is simply following Jesus; it is far more than that, and the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ should be set forth in plain terms, so that men may hear and believe to the salvation of their souls.
In whom, after that ye believed- this expression is capable of being misunderstood, because it seems to leave room for a gap between initial faith and the reception of the Spirit.  This is not the case, however, for it is the same construction as is found in Romans 13:11, “now is our salvation nearer than when we believed”, indicating a definite point in time.  The scriptures make clear that the Spirit of God takes up residence permanently in the believer the very moment he first believes.  Galatians 3:2 asks the rhetorical question, “Received ye the Spirit by the works of law, or by the hearing of faith?” The answer is clear- at the moment when the gospel was heard with faith.  Romans 8:9 is very definite on this point, for if a person does not have the Spirit of God, he does not belong to Christ, and is therefore not a believer.  Having said that, we should remember that there were some believers at Ephesus who had been John the Baptist’s disciples, and only when they had been baptised and Paul had laid hands on them did they receive the Holy Spirit, Acts 19:1-7.  But these are an exception.  The normal sequence is that a person believes and is immediately and permanently indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
Ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise- a seal was placed on a valuable item in ancient times to clearly indicate who owned it.  The saints are precious to God, and He has marked them with His seal, none less that the Spirit of God Himself.  The expression “of promise” may be looked at in two ways.  Either it is a reference to the promise that the Lord Jesus gave to His own in the upper room as to the giving of the Spirit, which promise was realised at Pentecost, John 14:16; Acts 2:33.  Or it refers to the fact that all that is promised for the future, is guaranteed by the presence of the Holy Spirit within.  Clearly, the fact that Christ has made good His promise in the past, assures that all that is future will come to pass, too.  Those who were “strangers from the covenants of promise”, 2:12, now have bright prospects before them.

1:14  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Which is the earnest of our inheritance- the Holy Spirit is not only God’s mark of ownership on us, but also is the guarantee that the full participation in the inheritance with Christ will be entered into.  The word is used nowadays of an engagement ring, the pledge that a man makes that he will marry the girl.  So God has given to us the pledge or sign that he will carry out what He has promised to do.
Until the redemption of the purchased possession- the believer’s body has been bought by Christ, but it is not yet redeemed.  It is his last link with a fallen creation.  The day will come when Christ changes our bodies, so that they are like His body of glory.  Then shall the slavery of our bodies to the bondage of corruption be for ever over.  Set free from every hindrance, we shall be able to enter into the inheritance with Christ, and serve His interests in the way of His appointing in an unfettered way.
Unto the praise of His glory- just as Jewish believers will commend God’s glory when they are glorified with Christ, so Gentile believers will too, for they have been united together in the body of Christ, and have one hope before them, 4:4.

(c)    Verses 15-23    Prayer of the apostle that these things might be appreciated.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS CHAPTER 1, VERSES 15 TO 23:

1:15  Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

1:16  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

1:17  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him:

1:18  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

1:19  And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power,

1:20  Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places,

1:21  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

1:22  And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church,

1:23  Which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.

 

In Ephesians 1:15-23 the apostle tells us the three things he prayed for in relation to the Ephesian believers:

In verses 15-17, that they might know the ministry of the Spirit of God in His capacity as the One who imparts wisdom and understanding. 

In verse 18, that they might know the way God had made them His inheritance.

In verses 19-23, that they might appreciate the power that God put forward to raise Christ from the dead, and lift Him up to the place of highest honour in heaven.

1:15  Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

Wherefore I also- as well as blessing God, he prays for blessing for the believers, that they might make progress in spiritual things.  We should pray like this too.  Our main object in this life should be to get on in heavenly things.  Notice that neither here nor in 3:14-21 are we given the actual words of the apostle’s prayers.  Rather, we are told the desires behind the prayers.
After I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus- this is not just their faith initially, but continually, for he addressed them in verse 1 as those who were faithful.
And love unto all the saints- this is a sign that they loved God, and were therefore true believers.  The apostle John wrote, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of Him”, 1 John 5:1.  He went on to write, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments”, verse 2.  In other words, we love fellow-believers best when we keep God’s commands.  We do not show love to them by compromising on the matter of Divine truth.

1:16  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers- the apostle appreciated that believers are under constant threat from the world, the flesh and the Devil.  They need to pray for themselves, and for others.

1:17  That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him:

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ- it is appropriate to speak of God in this way, since He has put forth His power as God to raise and exalt Christ, as the apostle will soon show.  This title also indicates that the one through whom we know God is the one who is “our” Lord Jesus Christ by faith.  This sort of God is the ground of our confidence as we pray.
The Father of glory- He is the source and maintainer of all that glorifies Himself.  This being the case, the answer to this prayer will glorify God.
May give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him- Paul is not praying that they might receive the Spirit of God, for he has just written that they were sealed with the Holy Spirit when they believed, verse 13, and that sealing is effective until the day of redemption, when the Lord comes, verse 14.  What he is praying is that they might know the Spirit in His capacity as the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, who delights to impart the knowledge of Christ in increasing measure to those He indwells.  In the matter of knowing Christ, the Spirit of God is indispensable.

1:18  The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened- when film cameras were in use, light would enter the “eye”, or lens of the camera, and fall upon the sensitive film at the back, and would translate into an image of the object that had reflected the light.  So here, the apostle is praying that the light of the knowledge of Christ might fall upon our understanding, so that an indelible impression would be formed of Him.
That ye may know what is the hope of His calling- this is the first thing the apostle wants us to know, and about which the Spirit will impart wisdom and understanding.  It has to do with the prospects that open up to believers as a result of God calling them in the gospel.  The whole of the truth of the epistle to the Ephesians really has to do with this hope.
And what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints- it was said of Israel that “the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance”, Deuteronomy 32:9.  So it is also true that God has a rich and glorious heritage in His people, not because of what they are in themselves, but because of what He has made them in Christ.  After all, verse 6 has spoken of them as being “accepted in the Beloved”.  So everything that God the Father finds attractive about His Beloved Son is attributed to His people.  No wonder that inheritance is glorious, for He is glorious.  Paul desires that we appreciate something of the riches that God finds in Christ.

1:19  And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power,

And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power- not content with speaking of “His power”, or even “the greatness of His power”, he goes further, and speaks of “the exceeding greatness of His power”.  The apostle uses three different words for power in this expression, to emphasise the immensity of the work that God performed when He raised and exalted Christ.
“Working” means energy, involving efficient operation.
“Power” means inherent power.
“Mighty” means superior force.
The phrase is literally “the energy of the strength of His might”, which is best understood by working backwards from the end.  The might of God, His superior force, derives its effectiveness from the fact that it is what He possesses because He is God.  It is not acquired power, but inherent, part of His very being.  When that superior, inherent power is put forth, it is put forth with energy, for God does nothing half-heartedly.
When Job spoke of God’s creation he said, “Lo, these are parts of His ways: But how little a portion is heard of Him?  But the thunder of His power, who shall understand?” Job 26:14. The resurrection and ascension of Christ is the greatest display of power there ever will be, and represents the thunder of God’s power.  Whereas Job wondered whether anyone could understand it, Paul prays that the believers might indeed do so, once the eyes of their understanding were enlightened by the Spirit of God.

1:20  Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places,

Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised him from the dead- this is His vindication after all the treatment He received at the hands of men.  He was raised “from among” the dead.  The resurrection of Christ introduces a new dimension into resurrection.  The Jews were familiar with the idea of a resurrection of believers, leaving unbelievers in the grave, (for they correctly interpreted Daniel 12:2 like this).  As He approached the cross, the Lord Jesus moved less publicly, lest He arouse the hostility of the authorities to such a point that they moved to arrest Him before His hour had come.  So it is that He charged His disciples to “tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of Man were risen from the dead”, Mark 9:9.  Now what puzzled the disciples was the preposition He had used in the phrase “risen from the dead”.  It was the preposition “ek”, which literally means “out of”.  It can either be translated like this, or as “out from among”, depending on the context.  Now since the word dead is a plural noun, it means dead persons.  Clearly therefore the phrase does not mean “out of dead persons”, but rather, “out from among dead persons”.  This is what perplexed the disciples, for they were expecting all the just dead to rise at the same time, in accordance with their right understanding of Daniel 12:2, yet here was the resurrection of one just person, leaving other just persons in the grave.
This is a new concept, but it is one which marks God’s dealings with His people of this age, for Christ is “the first that should rise from (among) the dead”, Acts 26:23, implying that there are others who shall follow. And this is also implied in the words, “Who is the beginning, the firstborn from (among) the dead; that in all things He might the pre-eminence”, Colossians 1:18.
And set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places- this is His exaltation after His self-humbling to come to earth.  His own words were, “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted”, Luke 14:11.  Isaiah had prophesied that “He shall be exalted, and extolled, and be very high”, Isaiah 52:13.  In Hebrews 1:3 Christ sits Himself down at the right hand of God, (for this is the force of the verb “sat down” in the Middle Voice).  Here He is made to sit by the power of God.  The place of supreme power as the one administering for God, (for the right hand of the Father is the place of the Firstborn, the one charged with the task of administering for the Father).  Not only has He been raised to the right hand of God, but “by the right hand of God”, Acts 2:33.  This is the fact that gives character to the whole epistle, for the emphasis throughout is on the place Christ has in heaven, and the way in which believers are associated with Him there.

1:21  Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

Far above all principality- a rank of angel indicating he had first place in the administering of God’s affairs.  Now it is Christ who has the pre-eminence, Colossians 1:18.
And power- every angel with authority must give way now to the supreme authority of Christ.  They must defer to the one who said, “All power (authority) is given unto Me in heaven and in earth”, Matthew 28:18.
And might- those who have been given immense ability to act are now subservient to the one who was crucified through weakness, 2 Corinthians 13:4.  He was made lower than angels, (who are greater in power and might than men, 2 Peter 2:11), yet now, as man, is elevated higher than the greatest of them.
And dominion- He is Lord of all, and those who had dominion and lordship before, must now bow to Him.  Not that they did not do this before He came to earth, but now they do it to Him as a man.
And every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come- not only is He set over angels, but He is set over men too, whatever their reputation, (for name is equivalent to reputation).  Those who have reputation as sinners among sinners in this world, (the word is “age”), or those who will have reputation as saints among saints in the age to come, all must defer to Him, for His name (reputation) is above every name. 

1:22  And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church,

And hath put all things under His feet- there is no higher place that Christ can go, so all things must be under Him; He is in total control, whatever men might think.  Adam’s dominion only extended to sheep, oxen, birds and fish, Psalm 8:6-8, but there is no limit to Christ’s control.  Even death itself shall give way to Him at last, 1 Corinthians 15:25,26, (notice the quotation from Psalm 8 in that passage).
And gave Him to be the head over all things to the church- as Head, He is in the place of authority, with none to contradict Him.  The idea of headship first comes in reference to God, when David said, “Thou art exalted as head above all”, 1 Chronicles 29:11.  Here, as man, Christ is given the title that belongs to God, a testimony to His Deity.  Notice that the headship is over all things, and it is the church that recognises it.  The world will know this in the age to come, but it is only believers who acknowledge Christ as head at the present time.  He has been given to be head, for it is an honour bestowed upon Him by God the Father as recompense for the trials of earth, and in response to His self-humbling, Philippians 2:9.

1:23  Which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.

Which is His body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all- so His headship is not merely one of administration, as when we speak of “the head of a corporation”, who might be detached and inaccessible.  Christ’s headship is like that which the head of the human body exercises over the rest of the body.  As head, He in every way and in every particular is the one who makes things complete.  And yet, such is the high dignity granted to the saints, they are said here to be His fulness.  It is as if He is not complete without the church.  Just as it was not good for man to be alone, so God made Adam a help, meet or suitable for him, so here, Christ’s joy would not be complete unless He had His people with Him.
So the headship of Christ is exercised from His place at God’s right hand.  The question is, how is that relevant to believers?  The answer is found in the next verses, as the apostle traces, not the exaltation of Christ now, but that of believers in association with Him.  He had hinted at this in verse 19 when he wrote that the power that God used to raise Christ is “to usward who believe”.  In other words, the same power that lifted Christ, lifts believers.  Now this is not a reference to the future, for when it happened to Christ, in God’s mind and purpose it happened to believers.  So it is that in 2:5-6 we are said to be quickened together with Christ, raised up together, and seated together in Him in heavenly places.

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