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1:1-23 A LIFE OF FULNESS THROUGH CHRIST
Praise for blessings in Christ (1:1-14)
In introducing himself, Paul reminds his readers that they are saints, God’s holy people, who live their lives in union with Jesus Christ (1:1-2). He then offers praise to the triune God: in verses 3-6 on account of the Father who planned salvation; in verses 7-12 on account of the Son who made this salvation a reality; and in verses 13-14 on account of the Holy Spirit who guarantees salvation.
God’s blessings, which believers receive because of their union with Christ, are not limited to the things of this world. They lift the lives of believers above everyday things so that now, in the present world, they can enjoy the spiritual blessings of the heavenly world (3). God planned his purposes for his people before the universe was created. In his love he chose them to be his children, his aim being that they should be holy and blameless, and so bring praise to him (4-6).
Through Paul, God now makes known more of his eternal plan. By calling it a mystery, Paul does not mean that he is going to tell people something to confuse or puzzle them. He means that he is going to tell them something they would not know unless God revealed it to them. God has, so to speak, a ‘secret plan’ (GNB), which he now reveals. Believers already know that people have forgiveness only through the grace of God and the blood of Christ, but a further truth is now made known. This truth is that one day all the rebellion and confusion throughout the universe will cease, and unity between God and his creation will at last be restored through Christ. The universe will find its full meaning in him (7-10).
In choosing Jewish and Gentile believers to be united in one church as his people, God shows that he is already fulfilling his purposes for harmony and unity (11). Paul was a Jew, and his words ‘we who first hoped in Christ’ refer to the Jewish people who had waited for the coming of Christ for centuries. But most of Paul’s readers were Gentiles. In the next sentence he therefore addresses them with the words ‘you also’, to emphasize that they too are now God’s people, because of their response to the gospel. God gives the Holy Spirit to Jews and Gentiles without distinction. The Spirit is the guarantee that they are God’s people now, and that one day they will receive all that God has promised them (12-14).
A prayer for understanding (1:15-23)
Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians combines thanksgiving and praise with requests offered in true faith. Paul knows they are converts from paganism, but he expects them to develop a mature understanding of Christianity. He is not content that they should have a few basic Christian beliefs. He wants them to have true wisdom, based on a proper knowledge of God and a clear understanding of all the riches that are theirs through Christ, both in this world and in the next (15-18).
In addition Paul wants these converts to know the real power of God in their lives. This power is unlimited, as God has clearly shown by raising Jesus from the dead and placing him in the position of highest authority and honour. He is above all things, material and spiritual, now and for ever (19-21). As the head has control over the body, so Christ has authority over the church. At the same time he is inseparably united with it, for Christ and his church make up one complete whole. Because he fills the universe, Christ gives completeness to all things everywhere (22-23).
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Ephesians 1". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week of Advent