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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Ephesians 1

 

 

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Verse 1

Ephesians 1:1-2. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

He wishes them grace, first, and peace afterwards, which is the right and natural order. There is no lasting peace without grace. There is no peace worth having which does not spring from a work of grace in the soul. “Grace be to you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Ephesians 1:3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

How dear the Father is when we view him in association with the Redeemer. Never do the saints seem to delight so much in God as when they behold him in the person of Jesus Christ. Then is he inexpressibly lovely to us, and we preach him with joy and delight. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Ephesians 1:3. Who have blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

“Blessed,” says he, “be God, who hath blessed us.” Well may we bless him with our feeble thanks who has blest us with his might; mercies. Nothing makes a man bless God like God’s blessing him. “He has blessed us,” says the apostle, “with all spiritual blessings.” The children of God have not only some blessings, but all they want. They are all theirs — all for time and all for eternity, but they are all in Christ. There is no blessing out of Christ. All the fullness of blessing dwells in Jesus, and in him only. And if thou wouldest be blessed, thou must come to Christ for a blessing. He has “blest us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.”

Ephesians 1:4. 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:

The first great blessing of the covenant of grace is our election. We were chosen, but chosen in Christ — chosen not because we were holy, but chosen that we should be holy. The great object of the divine choice is our holiness. And let no man say that he is chosen of God unless God is working in him to this divine end, namely, holiness of character.

Ephesians 1:5. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

After election comes adoption. Men are not by nature the children of God but they are heirs of wrath. And this is very clear, because a man never adopts his own children. But adoption in itself proves that by nature we are not the children of God, but he adopts us. “Then are ye begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Happy they who know their adoption — who feel in themselves the spirit of children, and can cry, “Abba, Father,” as they look up to God tonight. This is in Christ Jesus, for nothing comes to us except by him.

Ephesians 1:6. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Christ is so acceptable to God that that acceptance is sufficient to spread over all those who are in him. And tonight every believer here is accepted before God, but it is through Jesus Christ. Do notice that. Nothing comes but by that silver pipe. “He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.”

Ephesians 1:7. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Redemption by Christ, forgiveness by Christ, still everything through the Crucified. Those dear wounds of his are the five sacred founts from which a world of blessing flows to bless poor needy sinners. Well may we say, “None but Christ,” for, indeed, there is none but Christ who can bless us.

Ephesians 1:8-10. Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness 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:

All the things that are in Christ are to be gathered together — believing Jews no longer to be divided from believing Gentiles. Today the Church of God is separated — disfigured and weakened by divers sects and parties, but it shall not be always so. There is a gathering under the Christ, and he will in the fullness of time perfectly accomplish it.

Ephesians 1:11-12. In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

Some people are dreadfully frightened at that word “predestination.” I am always astonished when members of the Church of England are so, for if they will turn to their own articles, they will find that the high end comfortable doctrine of predestination is there taught. It is to be wisely handled, but it is not to be gagged and sent into a corner, as it is by some. Are there truths in Scripture that are not to be taught? If any say so then I charge him with being like the Jesuit, who hides a part of what he believes. Nay, the whole of God’s truth is to be declared, and whatsoever we find in this book, that are we to state, and the keeping back of precious truth will be required of such as are guilty of it at the last great day.

Ephesians 1:13 to Ephesians 2:1. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power. Which he wrought in Christ, when be raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the 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: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all. And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

So that what he did for Christ he has done for you. He raised him and he has raised you, and, having begun thus to quicken you, he will go on to lift you up and to exalt you till you sit with him upon his throne. The only question, dear friends, is this. Do we belong to these of whom Paul here speaks? We look to the first verse to see who they are, and we find he is addressing the faithful in Christ Jesus; that is, those who are believing in Christ Jesus. If we are believing in him, then all the privileges, which are mentioned in this Chapter belong to us, and we are quickened and we shall be exalted even as Christ is, at the Father’s right hand. So be it, gracious Lord.


Verses 1-14

In this chapter, we see what Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has to say about the possessions and privileges of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:1-2. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Brethren and sisters in Christ, this is a benediction for you as well as for the saints at Ephesus; it is for all “the faithful in Christ Jesus.” May you all have grace without measure, and may you all have “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,” to “keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”! Grace and peace are both to be had by believing in Jesus.

Ephesians 1:3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

It is right that we should bless God as he has so richly blessed us. Blessed be the Heavenly Father who has so abundantly blessed his children. How has he blessed us? “With all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (or, things) in Christ.”

Ephesians 1:4. According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,

That is the commencement of all the blessing, God’s electing love. This is the fountain from which the living waters flow. There would have been no stream of blessing to us at all if it had not been for this first primeval choice of us by God, even as Jesus said to his disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.”

Ephesians 1:4. That we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Here is the blessing of sanctification; we are chosen that we may be made holy. To what nobler end could we have been elected? Is not this the very highest of our heart’s desires, — “that we should be holy and without blame before him in love”?

Ephesians 1:5. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

Oh, what a blessing this is, altogether inconceivable in its results!

“Behold what wondrous grace,

The Father hath bestow’d

On sinners of a mortal race,

To call them sons of God!”

Ephesians 1:6. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

There is music for you: “accepted in the Beloved.” Are there grander words in any language than those four? Oh, the joy of being beloved, adopted, accepted by God the Father because of his beloved Son! Now comes something more: —

Ephesians 1:7. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

Redemption from destruction, the forgiveness of our sins, — we have all this through “the riches of his grace.”

Ephesians 1:8-14. Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness 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: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: that we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

There is no end to the blessing which God gives to his chosen. He is always blessing us with blessings upon blessings, grace upon grace, and then there will be glory to crown it all. Blessed be his holy name forever and ever.


Verses 1-23

Ephesians 1:1. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,

He was not made an apostle by man, neither did he take the office upon himself, but he was made an apostle by the will of God.

Ephesians 1:1. To the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

The saints in Ephesus, the saints where they cried, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians,” had to bear an earnest witness against idolatry. And, dear friends, today saints in London will not have a very easy time of it if they are faithful to their Lord, for there is much to protest against in this evil generation; but as there were holy ones in Ephesus, God grant that there may be many such in London.

Ephesians 1:2. Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul would have us peaceful, restful, quiet. That peace must be based upon grace, He does not pray that we may have peace apart from grace, but “Grace be to you, and peace.”

Ephesians 1:3-4. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,

The high mystery of election is taught in the Word of God, but some are afraid to speak of it. Not so our Apostle. He brings it out very clearly and distinctly, and so should we, only taking care to keep it in the proportion of other doctrines.

Ephesians 1:4-5. That we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.

You hear much about the free will of man, hear a little about the free will of God. You would think, from the talk of some, that God was man’s debtor and must needs do according to the will of man. But it is not so. He is a sovereign, and gives his grace where he chooses, and he would have us know that it is according to the good pleasure of his will.

Ephesians 1:6. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Are there four words in any language which contain choicer meaning than these, “Accepted in the Beloved”? Oh! if you can say that, if you can feel it to be true, you are among the happiest of men and women. “Accepted in the Beloved.” You can never be accepted apart from Christ, the Father’s best Beloved. But there is merit enough in him to overflow and cover all our sins, and we are accepted in the Beloved.

Ephesians 1:7. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace:

Notice how the Apostle keeps on insisting that we have everything in Christ. He says, times out of number, “in him,” “in Christ.” We have redemption. We are free. We are under bonds no longer. What is the price? “Through his blood.” What is the result? “Forgiveness of sins.” What is the measure of our liberty? “According to the riches of his grace.”

Ephesians 1:8. Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

Not drowning us with floods of his grace, but handing it out to us as we are able to take it. The riches of his grace we have, but he uses wisdom and prudence, teaching us little by little as we are able to bear it, and raising us up by degrees from one stage of grace to another, according as our poor frames can endure the joy.

Ephesians 1:9-10. Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fullness 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:

There are things in Christ in heaven: there the things in Christ on earth; but all the things in Christ shall be gathered together. All the redeemed shall come as one great host to bow before the throne of the infinite Majesty.

Ephesians 1:11. In whom also

Notice those words.

Ephesians 1:11. We have obtained an inheritance,

We have got the inheritance. Even now we have entered upon possession of the kingdom of grace.

Ephesians 1:11-12. Being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will; That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

The first saints led the way in the front of the army, and they are to the praise of God’s glory to this day. We thank God for the apostles and martyrs who went before us. We will follow them as they followed Christ.

Ephesians 1:13. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.

After faith, the Holy Spirit is given to dwell in the soul. That is the seal. It is not that the Holy Spirit brings a seal with him. He is the seal. Where he dwells, he is the seal of God’s love to that man.

Ephesians 1:14. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

The Holy Ghost is first the seal, and next the earnest. We all know what an earnest is. It is different from a pledge. A pledge is given, and then it is taken back again when the stipulation is carried out, but an earnest is part of what is to be received ultimately. The man who receives an earnest of his wage gets a few shillings, say, on Thursday, instead of taking all on Saturday. He never returns that. It is a part of his wage. And so the Holy Ghost is a part of him. When we have got him, we have got Christ.

“Thou art the earnest of his love,

The pledge of joys to come;

And thy soft wings, Celestial Dove,

Shall safe convey me home.”

Ephesians 1:15-16. Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

Is that the way that we pray? Do we make mention of people in our prayers? It is well to do so. It is a good plan to keep a list of persons for whom we ought to pray, and to put it before us when we draw near to God, and go over the names. I knew one man of God who has kept a debtor and creditor list with God for many years. He puts his requests down in the book, and when they are answered he writes that down. If they are not answered he repeats them. It is a very wonderful book. I think that he told me that there is a name down there of a person for whom he has prayed, and that he is not converted yet. Out of several for whom he began to pray, he is the only one who is not converted, and is the only one that is left alive. The others were brought to Christ, and died in the faith, and he, not yet brought to Christ, still lives. He prays on with as great a confidence of the conversion of that man as I have that Christmas will come in due time. I wish that we did business with God in some such fashion as that, but our prayers are shadowy, unreal. God teach us how to pray!

Ephesians 1:17-18. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling,

You see he gave thanks to God for their faith and for their love. But there are three divine sisters that must never be separated — faith, hope, and love, and so the Apostle prays, “that ye may know what is the hope of his calling.”

Ephesians 1:18-21. And what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to he working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the 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:

See how high Christ is raised! The same power that brought Christ from the dead, and set him on high, works in the salvation of every believer. Nothing less than omnipotence can save a soul; and omnipotence at its very best in the glorification of Christ is none too great for the salvation of a sinner.

Ephesians 1:22-23. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.

May God bless to us the reading of that chapter.

This exposition consisted of readings from 1 Corinthians 13; Ephesians 1.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Ephesians 1:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/ephesians-1.html. 2011.


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Sunday, November 19th, 2017
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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