The Epistle To The Ephesians --Part 4

The Epistle To The Ephesians
Part 4

John Reid Sr.

Spiritual Blessings And Divine Purpose — Chapter 1

The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation. The Apostle’s prayer shows how he realized that the Ephesians needed divine help if they were to know and be affected by the things God had for them. One of his requests was that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father (source) of glory, who had purposed these blessings for them, and made it possible to grant them, would give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; the eyes of their understanding (heart) being enlightened. Such a request lets us know that the mere knowledge of terms will not suffice to bring us into “the full-knowledge of God” (for full-knowledge is the word here), God revealed in the grace of His heart and in the counsels of Eternity. For this the eyes of our “heart” have to be opened; the eyes of the very citadel of our being, whence are “the issues of life.” And we may be sure that God would readily grant His people what the Apostle prayed for, there being no hindrance on His part. Any hindrance must come from ourselves. How often we let earthly things fill our vision, taking away the desire for an appreciation of heavenly things! Someone has said that in this way we really “connive” at what deprives us of the full-knowledge of God,” the knowledge that builds up and never puffs up.

The Hope Of His Calling. Such a hope implies that we are to know the attractiveness of what we have been called to in the Gospel. This is shown in another way by the Apostle Peter. He tells us that God “has called us by glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3 Margin), the glory attracting us where Christ is, this being accompanied by “virtue” (the soldier’s virtue), the courage that supports us as we respond to the heavenly call. The calling is variously styled. It is taught that we have part in a “heavenly calling” (Heb. 3:1); Paul telling the Ephesians that it is “your calling” (Eph. 4:4); as well as that it is “His calling” (1:18), for God is the source of it. The “hope” of it is to be with Christ in Heaven. This will involve present exercise of heart as to the “things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1), the things we should “seek” to know better every day.

His Inheritance and Ours. The inheritance belongs to God, but He inherits it “in the saints” (1:18). This statement is not suggesting that the saints are His inheritance. We may find an example of the thought expressed if we remember that of old God had said to Israel: “The land is Mine” (Lev. 25:23), but He took possession of it in His people whom he authorized to go in and take hold of it. As to the inheritance of “all things in Heaven and on earth” we known that Christ inherits it as Creator, but on that basis we could have no part in it. However, it has become “the purchased possession” (1:14), which He is going to take over in great power at the appointed time; He will do so as Kinsman-Redeemer. On that basis we can and will possess it as co-heirs with Him. God has devised this way of putting us in possession of it, as fellow-heirs with His Son, thus exemplifying His tender words: “Not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27), words which the poet interprets thus:

“That love that gives not as the world, but shares
All it possesses with its loved coheirs.”

In the meantime He has ascended “far above all heavens, that He might fill all things” (4:10) with His glory, even His own workmanship, all of it revealing His skilful hand in ways descriptive of His character.

The Exceeding Greatness of Divine Power. The power which God wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places, 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,” is really the surpassing greatness of “His power to us-ward who believe,” power that has wrought in us, and has given us the place that is ours in Christ. Thus we know Christ in exaltation, the One under whose feet God “hath put all things”. His position at the right hand of God proclaims Him as the Ruler of the universe. But His triumphant session in glory involves details to be worked out and made visible to sight and sense. For it is written: “But now we see not yet all things put under Him” (Heb. 2:8), language that implies that we shall in due time “see” the things under His government. Nevertheless it is added: “But we see Jesus… crowned with glory and honour” (V. 9). That is our vision of Him by faith, as we envision Him in heavenly exaltation. As such God “gave Him to be Head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all.” Thus as Head He associates the Church with Himself, and in the day of His administration of all things, as His body and fulness, she will be found adequate to express His mind and effect His will. Today she occupies that position in testimony to what is unseen, as truly as in that day she will function suitably during His visible reign.

Learning Christ

To learn of Christ implies what all learning does, growth, the making of mistakes and the correcting of them. It implies a strong, even although slow progress upward toward an ideal as that is personified in the Lord Jesus.

To subscribe to the truth that Christ is the central figure of all history, the divider of the eras; to accept Him as the embodiment of all virtue; to agree that He was the ideal man, the perfect moralist, commits no one to anything. To believe that Jesus Christ is Lord of both the dead and the living (Rom. 14:9) requires an unreserved commitment to all He teaches and an unhesitant submission to all He claims.