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Bible Commentaries

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament
Ephesians 1

 

 

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Verse 1

1. “Apostle” is a Greek word, and means “sent forth.” We see here that Christ sends the apostle, through the will of God.


Verse 3-4

ARGUMENT 1

THE HEAVENLIES AND SANCTIFICATION

3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us in all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies.The Greek word is an adjective noun, and very infelicitously translated heavenly places. You see “places” is italicized in the English, showing that it is not in the original. Men always make a mistake when they undertake to help out God, as he does not need any help. Hence, in reading your English Bible, you would get better sense out of it if you omit all of the italicized words. Here we see what a limitation the added word “places” puts on the inspired word “heavenly,” restricting it to mere location; whereas it has a glorious, infinitesimal signification. It means heavenly peace, rest, comfort, happiness, submission, obedience, faith, joy, and victory. We are here in the kingdom of omnipotent grace, preparatory to a world of ineffable glory. This Greek word, heavenlies, occurs repeatedly in this epistle, ringing out the glorious battle-cry. Hence, it is the great salient truth of this wonderful letter, exhibiting the highest type of spirituality in the New Testament, a logical sequence from the glorious foundation laid by Paul in the sanctification of the twelve charter members whom he found on his arrival. Only the people having Heaven in them will ever pass the pearly portals. Equally true that the inmates of Hell all take their hell with them into the regions of endless woe. These heavenly graces are not reached in justification, but sanctification. Our Savior is the paragon Exemplar of Christian saintship. He never enjoyed the peace of pardon, from the simple fact that he had no sins to be pardoned. But he always enjoyed the peace of purity. Hence we must reach entire sanctification in order to enjoy our Savior’s peace, rest, submission, faith, obedience, joy, happiness, love, and victory. These constitute the heavenly experiences, only attainable in entire sanctification, and indispensable to our admission into heaven.


Verses 5-8

5-8. In love having predestinated us unto sonship in himself through Jesus Christ.Here is a beautiful allusion to the Father’s love, which moved him to interpose the wonderful redemptive scheme.

O for this love let rocks and hills Their lasting silence break, And all harmonious human tongues Their Savior’s praises speak.

Angels, assist our mighty joys; Strike all your harps of gold;

But when you reach your highest notes, His love can ne’er be told.


Verses 10-12

ARGUMENT 2

ALL THINGS REHEADED IN CHRIST

10. In the dispensation of the fullness of the seasons, to rehead all things in Christ, those things in the heavens and those things upon the earth.Where the English says, “gather together,” the Greek is anakephalaiosasthai, from ana, again, and kephalaion, the head. Hence, it means to rehead all things in Christ, both in the heavens and upon the earth. When God created this world, he constituted Adam and Eve the united head. When the devil succeeded in their abduction, he cut the head off of the world, thus leaving the poor, fallen world without a head. In the glorious restitution, Christ is going to glorify humanity, and restore him back to the headship of the world. In the fall, Satan destroyed spiritual life in humanity, thus cutting man’s head off. All the senses are in the head. Hence man, without a head, has no eyes to see hell open before him, no ears to hear the hideous groans of the damned and the dismal drumbeat of his own perdition, no nose to smell the brimstone, no tongue to taste the devil’s filthy tobacco which would nauseate a dog, and no nerves to feel the awful trepidation inspired by an eternity of woe. This is the reason why the millions of this poor, lost world are rushing at racehorse speed into hell. In regeneration the Lord restores back your head, which you lost in the fall; in sanctification radically exterminating the counterfeit head, which the devil has put on all sinners. Christ will also, in due time, rehead this fallen world, restoring its Edenic glory, sanctifying by fire and transforming it into a heaven, committing it to the glorified saints and unfallen angels, to shine and shout through all eternity. The English word, heaven, is heavens in the Greek, corroborating astronomy in the infinite multiplicity of celestial worlds, all of which were more or less affected by the fall of this world. (Hebrews 9:23.) Hence, the work of Christ will not only restore this world to its perfect celestial loyalty, but so confirm all other worlds as to effectually fortify them against the liability of future apostasy.

11,12. Here, again, we have a beautiful allusion to the predestination of the saints in harmony with the sweet will of God, who, beforehand, had hope in Christ.This is a beautiful allusion to the glorious millennial harvest, of which the saints, in the gospel dispensation, are the first fruits.


Verse 13

ARGUMENT 3

THE LETTER SEALED

13. In which you also, having heard the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.Paul (2 Corinthians 3:3) tells us that we are God’s letters,

“written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.” Hence, we see that regeneration transforms us into God’s letters, to be read by this wicked world, who will not read the Bible. Hence God’s plan is to save the world through his saints. When a letter is written, the seeing becomes indispensable, in order to secure the contents against theft, as Satan is a great rogue, and is certain to steal out the letter and the money. Hence, you see by these beautiful similes that regeneration writes the letter, and sanctification seals it. When the letter is written, and sent out into this thievish world unsealed, it will not long retain its contents. Some thieving demon will surely spoliate it soon or late, leaving nothing but the old, empty envelope.

The ordinary Church member of the present day has nothing but an old, dirty envelope, carrying it round, a laughing-stock for devils, tickled over his silly delusion, thinking he has a letter of introduction to heaven, when he has nothing but an old, empty envelope. Now, reader, be sure that the Holy Ghost writes you a good letter in regeneration, and then seals it in sanctification.


Verses 14-21

ARGUMENT 4

THE HOLY GHOST AND REDEMPTION

14. Who is the earnest of our inheritance unto the redemption of the possession, unto the praise of His glory.

The Holy Ghost, personally received in sanctification, is the first installment of the heavenly fruition, destined to sweep on with ever- increasing delight and eternally accumulating rapture through the flight of the heavenly ages. The indwelling God, in the person of the Holy Ghost, is the secret of heavenly bliss. We receive him as an indwelling Comforter in the experience of entire sanctification to abide forever.

The “redemption” in this passage is the glorification of mind and spirit, and the transfiguration of the body at the second coming of Christ, transforming the saints of the bridehood into the similitude of his own glorious body, to shine and shout forever.


Verse 15

15. Therefore I, hearing the faith with you in the Lord Jesus, and the Divine love toward all the saints,


Verse 16

16. Do not cease giving thanks in your behalf, making mention of you in my prayers.The globe of salvation contains two hemispheres; i.e., faith, which is the human side; and love, the Divine. Faith is the only human condition of salvation; it is the only hand competent to receive the things of God, — repentance on the part of the sinner, to put him on believing ground for justification by faith, while entire consecration is the sine qua non indispensable to put the Christian on believing ground, where he can be sanctified by faith. The sinner can not exercise faith for pardon unless he is on believing ground, which is the utter and eternal abnegation of all his sins; while it is equally true that no Christian can be sanctified by faith till he gets on believing ground, which is a radical and unequivocal consecration of all to God for time and eternity. “Love” here is agape, divine love, in contradistinction to philia, human love, which is peculiar to fallen humanity, and destitute of saving grace. The rich man had it in hell; so he wanted to send a missionary to his brothers, to keep them out of that awful doom. This love is the Divine nature (1 John 4:16), and is only native in the heart of God, transmitted to us by the Holy Ghost by regeneration. (Romans 5:5.) Hence this love is exotic in the human heart, while the philia is indigenous. Popular religion stops with this human love, which is utterly destitute of salvation, and lets the people fall into hell like Dives. It is utterly impossible for any one to possess this Divine love till the Holy Ghost pours it out in the heart.


Verse 18

18. The eyes of your heart having been enlightened.Man is a Trinity, consisting of spirit, soul, or heart, all of which are synonymous, and used interchangeably in common parlance. The rank and file of the preachers at the present day are dichotomists; i.e., advocates of the two natures in humanity, confounding and identifying spirit and mind, and consequently preaching mentalities for spiritualities, and utterly heretical so far as gospel truth is concerned. The Bible everywhere teaches trichotomy; i.e., the three natures of humanity, spirit, mind, and body. The spirit is the man himself, consisting of the conscience, the will, and the affections. The conscience survived the fall, and still rings out the voice of God in the soul. The will is the king of humanity, adroitly manipulated by Satan for the damnation of the sinner, but completely wrested out of his hands, and turned over to God by the Holy Ghost in regeneration. Still, a world survives in the profound regions of the affections till utterly eradicated and expurgated by the cleansing blood, applied through the Holy Ghost in the second work of grace; i.e., entire sanctification.

The heart has all the senses; i.e., sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch, like the body. But though a dead man have all these organs, he is utterly destitute of sensation. So it is with the heart of the sinner till quickened into life by the Holy Spirit. The human soul in the fall was utterly bereft of life. Hence total depravity applies only to the spiritual nature; the mental and physical suffering only partial depravity. Hence the wholesale delusion of the dualistic theology, which winks at the pure spirituality of humanity, substituting intellectualism, thus building up pompous Churches on the mental and physical elements, intermitting the spiritual, and thus letting the souls of their people slip through their fingers into hell. The Christian religion is not materialism nor intellectualism, but pure spirituality, inwrought by the Holy Ghost.

19,20,21. Placing Him on his right hand in the heavenlies above all the government, authority, power, and lordship, and every name named not only in this age, but in that which is to come.The Greek aion, erroneously translated “world,” means age. Hence, we see that this is not the last age of this world, but it is to be followed by the glorious millennium, and afterward by the illimitable heavenly ages, sweeping on through all eternity.


Verse 22-23

ARGUMENT 5

THE CHURCH THE CLIMAX OF CREATION

22,23. And He hath subordinated all things beneath his feet, and gave him head over all things to the Church, which is his body, the fullness of him who filleth all in all.

We learn in the Pauline epistles that the personal Son created all the worlds throughout the celestial universe, as well as all the angels, archangels, cherubim, and seraphim. Hence, we find that Omnipotence becomes creative in the person of the Son. Ekklesia, from ek, out, and kaleo, to call, means Church throughout the Greek Testament. If you do not remember that definition, you will fall into utter bewilderment on the Church idea, led astray by the Churchism of the present day, which is utterly variant from, and antagonistical to the New Testament ekklesia, which consisted only of the souls called out of the world, and separated unto God. Hence all worldly Churches are simply Satan’s counterfeits. This Divine Ekklesia, the New Testament Church, is here affirmed to be the climax of all creation, the highest conception of the Divine mind, and the grandest culmination of all the stupendous works wrought by Omnipotence throughout the celestial universe, towering transcendently in the Divine estimation, not only above all the stupendous worlds that speed their precipitate flight through the void immense, chasing each other around the effulgent Throne, but actually transcending all the heavenly hierarchies, that flame and radiate through millions of immortal worlds. O the unutterable glory which God has in reservation for the Church of the First-born! The infinite possibilities in reservation for redeemed humanity beggar the flight of the most stalwart imagination! Glory to God in the highest!

 


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Bibliography Information
Godbey, William. "Commentary on Ephesians 1:4". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/ephesians-1.html.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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