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In the Fullness of Time – Week 17 / April 23rd
The Book of Ephesians was written by Paul from prison in Rome. It is a book of great theological grandeur and reflects Paul’s inner meditations upon the mystical union between Jesus and His Church. Imprisoned by four walls Paul’s inner soul soared to height s of great blessing and truth.
The portion under consideration has three natural sections all punctuated by the phrase, “To the praise of His glory.” Note verses six, twelve and fourteen. This natural division of the passage also lays stress upon the Trinity and the peculiar work of Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the redemptive process.
The Father (V3-6)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the
heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him
before the foundation of the world, that we should be
holy and without blame before Him in love, having
predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to
Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to
the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made
us accepted in the Beloved.”
Here we are told that the Father chose us in Christ before the world began. God lives outside of time, Space and matter. He is transcendent from His creation although He has not abandoned it to the forces of chaos. He is the Alpha and the Omega or the First and the Last. Before time began, and with it creation, He saw us and chose us! Paul says the same thing in 2Timothy1:9. This is amazing and gives us a sense of dignity and specialness that is unique. We are not just “anybodies” lost in the crowd. No, not at all, God chose us in eternity to be with Him. This introduces the biblical idea of election that is noble and mysterious. It cannot be fully fathomed by human intellect and it is balanced by the idea that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2Peter 3:9)
This also tells us something about salvation and that is; that it is not a rescue plan but a predetermined plan. It began in eternity and thus time, space and matter became, and are, God’s opportunity to create us in His image. We could not become what He wanted apart from the fall. Our gift of self determination ensured this! Through the redemptive process in Christ we have chosen to serve God!
The Son (V7-12)
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the
forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom
and prudence, having made known to us the mystery
of His will, according to His good pleasure which He
purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the
fullness of the times He might gather together in one
all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which
are on earth-in Him. In Him we have obtained an inheri-
tance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him
Who works all things according to the counsel of His will,
that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise
of His glory.”
God’s great tool that He employs to present us, one day blameless before Him, is Jesus and His cross. Our sins offended God’s character and separated us from Him. Jesus purchased our forgiveness by His spilt blood. By His death He dealt with our sins but by His life living in us (resurrection) He deals with our sin. (Romans 5:10) Truly the power of sin, the desire to go the wrong way, has been broken in our lives and God, by Jesus, will one day out of time and in eternity, have the family He longed for before time began! Indeed we can say to the “praise of the glory of His grace.” We appropriate all this by faith. That is, we trust fully and only in Jesus. Just like sitting in a plane; we trust, and fully so, in a jet engine called General Electric! There is nothing that we can do to propel ourselves through the skies. In like manner Jesus is our support system and He will not fail us. Blessed be His name!
The Holy Spirit (V13-14)
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of
truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also,
having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit
of promise, Who is the guarantee of our inheritance
until the redemption of the purchased possession, to
the praise of His glory.”
Those destined for Heaven get a down payment or deposit of it before they get there. That is, by the power of the Holy Spirit we taste the power of the age to come. (Hebrews 6:5) This deposit of the future should impact those around us in the present. We must be different in all that we do and say so that when those who do not believe are around us they will “smell the fragrance of Heaven” upon our lives. (2Corinthians 2:12-16) This is the real challenge facing Christians who claim a Spirit filled testimony! In short, our lives should be to the praise of His glory!
©Malcolm Hedding Ministries