One prominent silversmith, Demetrius, who made implements for the worship of Artemis, found his business suffering greatly because people were converting to Christianity. The ensuing near-riot led Paul to leave the city, but only after the apostle had done much to stabilize and grow the Christian community there. Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians sometime in AD 60—61, around the same time he wrote Colossians and Philemon, as he sent all three letters by the hand of Tychicus, accompanied by Onesimus Ephesians ; Colossians —9; Philemon — It was during this time that Paul sat in Rome undergoing his first Roman imprisonment Ephesians ; , making Ephesians one of the four epistles commonly known as the Prison Epistles.
The others are Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.
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Second Corinthians and Galatians abound with personal touches from Paul, either about his own life or that of the recipients. While Galatians offers instructions particularly important for those churches overrun with legalism, Ephesians deals with topics at the very core of what it means to be a Christian—both in faith and in practice—regardless of any particular problem in the community.
Paul divided his letter to the Ephesians into two clear segments; applying the truths of the first makes possible the actions and lifestyle of the second.
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The members of this community have been chosen by God through the work of Christ, adopted as sons and daughters of God, and brought near to the Father through faith in His Son. All people with this faith—Jews and Gentiles alike—were dead in their transgressions and sins but have been made alive because of the person and work of Jesus Christ. While Paul was not responding to a particular theological or moral problem, he wanted to protect against future problems by encouraging the Ephesians to mature in their faith.
So after laying out profound theological truths in the first half of the book, Paul made his purpose clear: he expected that this community of faith would walk in accordance with its heavenly calling Ephesians The actual birth or existence of the Church with all its privileges, to the atoning grace and merit of the Son.
The transformation of the Church, the realization of its end or purpose, in its final holiness and glory, to the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit. This throws light on the expression, "every blessing;" it includes 1 all that the Father can bestow; 2 all that the Son can provide; 3 all that the Spirit can apply. The resources of all the three Persons thus conspire to bless the Church.
In the verses that follow, the First Person is prominent in vers. But all through the First Person is the great directing Power. 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:. Verse 4.
The Father chose the heirs of salvation, selected those who were to be quickened from the dead Ephesians and saved, they chose them in Christ - in connection with his work and office as Mediator, giving them to him to be re-decreed John , 12 ; not after man was created, nor after man had fallen, but "before the foundation of the world. Before even the world was founded, mankind presented themselves to God as lost; the work of redemption was planned and its details arranged from all eternity.
Before such a mystery it becomes us to put the shoes from off our feet, and bow reverently before him whose "judgments are unsearchable and his ways past finding out. God did not choose some because he foresaw their holiness, but in order that they might become "holy and without blame. The terms do not denote justification, but a condition of sanctification which implies justification already bestowed, but goes beyond it; our justification is a step towards our complete final sanctification.
This renewal being "before him," must be such as to bear the scrutiny of his eye; therefore not external or superficial merely, but reaching to the very heart and center of our nature 1 Samuel The expression further denotes how it is of the very nature and glory of the new life to be spent in God's presence, our souls flourishing in the precious sunshine which ever beams out there from.
For, when thus renewed, we do not fly from his presence like Adam Genesis , but delight in it Psalm ; Psalm Fear is changed to love 1 John ; the loving relation between us and God is restored. We never could come to be holy and without blemish before God unless the loving relations between us were restored comp.
Ephesians , "Rooted and grounded in love". The spirit of love, trust, admiration, directed to God helps our complete sanctification - changes us into the same image 2 Corinthians Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,.
Verse 5. Both denote the exercise of Divine sovereignty. In ver. The apostle's reason for speaking of adoption in this place, and of justification afterwards, is that be bad just referred to the restoration of a relation of lore between us and God as connected with our ultimate complete sanctification; thus it was natural for him to bring in our adoption as the preordained act in which this loving relation is formed. Our obedience is not the forced obedience of servants, but the loving obedience of sons. Adoption implies more than sentiment - a real legal relation to God as his sons Romans The adoption is "by Jesus Christ:" "As many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God" John According to the good pleasure of his will.
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The spring or motive to the selection is solely in God, not in man. It is an act of sovereignty. It has been disputed whether "the good pleasure of his will" is equivalent to benevolentia or to bene placitum. Parallel passages like Matthew and Luke lead us to prefer the latter. The idea of kindness is not excluded, but it is not what is affirmed. Kindness is always involved in the Divine will; but the point here is simply that it pleased God to choose and ordain the Ephesian believers to the privilege of adoption through Jesus Christ.
This is presented as a ground of praise, a reason for their blessing God. The Divine sovereignty is not presented in Scripture to seekers , but to finders. It is apt to embarrass those that seek; and accordingly the aspect of God's character presented to them is his good will to men, his free offer of mercy: "Look unto me, and be ye saved;" "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out. What an interest he must have had in them, and how thoroughly they may rely on his finishing the work he has begun!
Divine sovereignty, human responsibility, and the free and universal offer of mercy are all found in Scripture, and, though we are unable to harmonize them by our logic, ought all to have a place in our minds. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Verse 6. The purpose of grace quoad man, is to make him perfectly holy; quoad God, is to give to the universe a right conception of his grace, and draw forth corresponding tributes of praise. It is to show that Divine grace is not a limp, shallow attribute, but one of glorious riches, deserving infinite praise.
The idea of the richness, fullness, abundance, of God's grace is prominent throughout the Epistle. God desires to draw attention, not only to this attribute, but to the boundlessness of it - thus to draw the love and confidence of his creatures to himself and inspire them with the desire to imitate him comp. Matthew Wherein he abounded toward us in the Beloved. Two slight difficulties are found here - one in the text, the other in the interpretation.
The former is more in accordance with New Testament usage Alford and with the tenor of the passage. The glory of the grace of which God desires to create a true impression is not an abstraction, not a glory hidden away in stone inaccessible region, but a revealed glory, a communicated glory; it is revealed in the grace wherein he abounded to us, or which he freely bestowed on us, in the Beloved. The grace bestowed on believers exemplifies the glorious quality of the attribute - its glorious riches.
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The connection of God with Christ in the bestowal of this grace, and of believers in the reception of it, is again noted by the remarkable term, "in the Beloved. His having constituted the Beloved One the Kinsman and Mediator of sinners shows the riches of the glory of his grace. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;. Verse 7. Some of the blessings referred to in ver.
The article makes it emphatic - the great redemption, the real redemption, compared to which all ether redemptions are but shadows. It is a redemption through blood , therefore a proper propitiation or expiation, blood being always the emblem of explanation, In Christ, or in union to Christ, we have or are having this blessing; it is not merely in existence, it is ours, we being in him by faith: not a privilege of the future merely, but of the present as well.
Even the forgiveness of our sins. The completeness of the forgiveness, its ready bestowal now, the security of its being continued in the future, and such like qualities show the richness of his grace comp. Matthew ; Luke , Verse 8. This rendering of the R.
The wisdom and prudence refer to God; he has not made his grace abound to us in a random manner, but in a carefully regulated manner. This is more fully explained afterwards, in reference to God's concealment for a time of the universality of his grace, but manifestation of it now. Romans , "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:.
Verse 9. The wide extent of God's grace was a mystery , i. The thing hidden and now revealed was not the gospel, but God's purpose with reference to its limits or sphere see Ephesians According to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself. The whole phraseology denotes that, in this transaction, God was not influenced by any external considerations; the whole reason for it sprang from within. The threefold expression brings this out: 1 according to his good pleasure see ver.
enter 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:.