ORIGIN OF THE
CHURCH IN THE
COUNSEL, AND THE
IT BY THE
CHRIST TOWARDS THE
1. by--rather, "through the will of God": called to the apostleship
through that same "will" which originated the Church
(Eph 1:5, 9, 11;
which are at Ephesus--(See
to the saints . . . and to the faithful--The same persons are referred
to by both designations, as the Greek proves: "to those who are saints,
and faithful in Christ Jesus." The sanctification by God is here put
before man's faith. The twofold aspect of salvation is thus presented,
God's grace in the first instance sanctifying us, (that is, setting
us apart in His eternal purposes as holy unto Himself); and our faith,
by God's gift, laying hold of salvation
3. The doxologies in almost all the Epistles imply the real sense of
grace experienced by the writers and their readers
sets forth summarily the Gospel of the grace of God: the FATHER'S work of love,
(choosing us to holiness,
knowledge of the mystery of His will,
the HOLY SPIRIT'S,
giving an earnest of the inheritance,
the God and Father of . . . Christ--and so the God and Father of us who
are in Him
God is "the God" of the man Jesus, and "the Father" of the
Divine Word. The Greek is, "Blessed us," not "hath
blessed us"; referring to the past original counsel of God. As in
so in redemption
Mt 5:3-11; 25:34)
God "blesses" His children; and that not in mere words, but in
blessings--Greek, "blessing." "All," that is, "every possible blessing for time and eternity, which the Spirit has to bestow" (so
"spiritual" means; not "spiritual," as the term is now used, as opposed
in heavenly places--a phrase five times found in this Epistle, and
Eph 2:6; 3:10; 6:12);
Greek, "in the heavenly places." Christ's ascension is
the means of introducing us into the heavenly places, which by our sin
were barred against us. Compare the change made by Christ
While Christ in the flesh was in the form of a servant, God's
people could not realize fully their heavenly privileges as sons. Now
"our citizenship (Greek) is in heaven"
where our High Priest is ever "blessing" us. Our "treasures" are there
(Mt 6:20, 21);
our aims and affections
(Col 3:1, 2);
The gift of the Spirit itself, the source of the "spiritual blessing,"
is by virtue of Jesus having ascended thither
in Christ--the center and source of all blessing to us.
4. hath chosen us--Greek, "chose us out for
Himself" (namely, out of the world,
referring to His original choice, spoken of as past.
in him--The repetition of the idea, "in Christ"
implies the paramount importance of the truth that it is in Him,
and by virtue of union to Him, the Second Adam, the Restorer ordained
for us from everlasting, the Head of redeemed humanity, believers have
all their blessings
before the foundation of the world--This assumes the eternity of the
Son of God
(Joh 17:5, 24),
as of the election of believers in Him
that we should be holy--positively
before him--It is to Him the believer looks, walking as in His
presence, before whom he looks to be accepted in the judgment
in love--joined by BENGEL and others with
"in love having predestinated us," &c. But English Version is
better. The words qualify the whole clause, "that we should be holy
. . . before Him." Love, lost to man by the fall, but
restored by redemption, is the root and fruit and sum of all holiness
1Th 3:12, 13).
5. predestinated--more special in respect to the end and precise
means, than "chosen" or elected. We are "chosen"
out of the rest of the world; "predestinated"
to all things that secure the inheritance for us
by Jesus--Greek, "through Jesus."
to himself--the Father
ALFORD explains, "adoption . . .
into Himself," that is, so that we should be partakers of the
LACHMANN reads, "unto Him." The context
favors the explanation of CALVIN: God has regard
to Himself and the glory of His grace
(Eph 1:6, 12, 14)
as His ultimate end. He had one only-begotten Son, and He was pleased
for His own glory, to choose out of a lost world many to become
His adopted sons. Translate, "unto Himself."
the good pleasure of his will--So the Greek
We cannot go beyond "the good pleasure of His will" in searching into
the causes of our salvation, or of any of His works
Why needest thou philosophize about an imaginary world of optimism? Thy
concern is to take heed that thou be not bad. There was nothing in us
which deserved His love
(Eph 1:1, 9, 11)
(Eph 1:7, 17, 18).
The end aimed at
that is, that the glory of His grace may be praised by all His
creatures, men and angels.
wherein--Some of the oldest manuscripts read, "which." Then
translate, "which He graciously bestowed on us." But English Version is supported by good manuscripts and the oldest versions.
us accepted--a kindred Greek word to "grace":
charitos, echaritosen: translate, "graciously accepted"; "made us
subjects of His grace"; "embraced us in the arms of His grace"
(Ro 3:24; 5:15).
in the beloved--pre-eminently so called
(Mt 3:17; 17:5;
Greek, "Son of His love." It is only "IN
HIS BELOVED" that He loves us
1Jo 4:9, 10).
7. In whom--"the Beloved"
we have--as a present possession.
redemption--Greek, "our (literally, 'the')
redemption"; THE redemption which is the grand
subject of all revelation, and especially of the New Testament
namely, from the power, guilt, and penal consequences of sin
If a man were unable to redeem himself from being a bond-servant, his
kinsman might redeem him
Hence, antitypically the Son of God became the Son of man, that as our
kinsman He might redeem us
Another "redemption" follows, namely, that "of the purchased possession"
through his blood--
as the instrument; the propitiation, that is, the consideration
(devised by His own love) for which He, who was justly angry
becomes propitious to us; the expiation, the price paid to divine
justice for our sin
1Pe 1:18, 19).
the forgiveness of sins--Greek, "the remission of our
transgressions": not merely "pretermission," as the
ought to be translated. This "remission," being the explanation of
"redemption," includes not only deliverance from sin's penalty, but
from its pollution and enslaving power, negatively; and the
reconciliation of an offended God, and a satisfaction unto a just God,
riches of his grace--
"the exceeding riches of His grace." Compare
"according to the riches of His glory": so that "grace" is His
8. Rather, "which He made to abound towards us."
all wisdom and prudence--"wisdom" in devising the plan of redeeming
mankind; "prudence" in executing it by the means, and in making all the
necessary arrangements of Providence for that purpose. Paul attributes
to the Gospel of God's grace "all" possible "wisdom and prudence," in
opposition to the boasts of wisdom and prudence which the unbelieving
Jews and heathen philosophers and false apostles arrogated for their
teachings. Christ crucified, though esteemed "foolishness" by the world,
is "the wisdom of God"
"the manifold wisdom of God."
9. "He hath abounded," or "made (grace) to abound toward us"
in that He made known to us, namely, experimentally, in our
the mystery--God's purpose of redemption hidden heretofore in His
counsels, but now revealed
Col 1:26, 27).
This "mystery" is not like the heathen mysteries, which were imparted
only to the initiated few. All Christians are the initiated. Only
unbelievers are the uninitiated.
according to his good pleasure--showing the cause why "He hath made
known to us the mystery," namely, His own loving "good pleasure" toward
us; also the time and manner of His doing so, are according to
His good pleasure.
in himself--God the Father.
BENGEL takes it, "in Him," that is,
Christ, as in
Eph 1:3, 4.
But the proper name, "in Christ,"
immediately after, is inconsistent with His being here meant by the
10. Translate, "Unto the dispensation of the fulness of
the times," that is, "which He purposed in Himself"
with a view to the economy of (the gracious administration
belonging to) the fulness of the times (Greek, "fit times,"
"seasons"). More comprehensive than "the fulness of the time"
The whole of the Gospel times (plural) is meant, with the
benefits to the Church dispensed in them severally and
successively. Compare "the ages to come"
"The ends of the ages" (Greek,
"the times (same Greek as here, 'the seasons,' or 'fitly
appointed times') of the Gentiles"
"the seasons which the Father hath put in His own power"
"the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the
prophets since the world began"
(Ac 3:20, 21).
The coming of Jesus at the first advent, "in the fulness of time," was
one of these "times." The descent of the Holy Ghost, "when
Pentecost was fully come"