*Follow along in a Bible to see the verses
1:1- “Paul” is the first word of every epistle he authored. Often, Paul defended his position of apostleship early in the majority of his epistles. Here in this epistle, the pattern is reciprocated.
The pattern is of particular importance because of the constant scrutiny of false teachers and the distinctness of his ministry to the Gentiles.
A “saint” is anyone who has faith in Christ for their salvation. The term means “Sanctified in Christ”. This is synonymous with the “faithful in Christ”.
Paul’s ministry at Ephesus is detailed in Acts 18:19-19:41. The ministry he began continued throughout his departure and he has even heard reports of it (v.15).
Pastor David Osteen reasons, “The faithful in Christ Jesus” is specifically mentioned because Paul is writing to the Spiritual saints versus the carnal saints at Corinth (1 Corinthians 2:1-8).
1:2- We receive grace and peace follows. Grace and peace transcends from the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Grace was included in all of Paul’s salutations for its importance within his message and also the cultural ties. “Grace” being a more common salutation of the Gentiles and “peace” being common for the Jews.
1:3- Paul offers a blessing to God for blessing us with all Spiritual blessings. This is another pattern we should reciprocate (1 Corinthians 11:1). A lot of times, I hear of people desperately seeking blessings as if we do not already possess all of them. Verses 3-14 highlights quite a few of these blessings. These blessings are from the Father, through Christ, by the Holy Spirit who abides in us. Remember [Will~Father; Work~Son; Witness~Spirit].
We are blessed with all Spiritual blessings at the moment of salvation and rely on the hope and trust that they are in “Heavenly places”, not on Earth.
These blessings are based on our position in Christ.
1:4- We are chosen in Christ. God’s will is for all to be saved and blameless in Christ (1 Timothy 2:4). All are chosen, but the prize needs to be accepted. When we believe in Christ’s finished work, there is a position change. From the 1st Adam (Originated in Adam’s sin) to the 2nd Adam (Righteousness offered by Christ) (Romans 5:12-18).
The chosen in Christ has nothing to do with being predestined to salvation, but rather the saints being predestined unto glory when they believe in the Gospel. We have the will to believe in His Gospel.
Providentially, God has chosen life for all before the foundation of the World. The nature of the 1st Adam works to oppose this plan.
Not only the 1st Adam (flesh) opposes this plan, but the dark rulers of the world, particularly, the Devil (Ephesians 6:11-12).
1:5- [Predestined] Check note 1:4
Adoption in this sense, has a lot more to do with standing, than in what is often being interpreted. It is often interpreted in the sense of displacement from one situation into another family. This does happen upon salvation and we do become part of the family of God. Our adoption has a lot to do with position and the fullness of our sonship in Christ. This position comes with many privileges and responsibilities (Ephesians 1:3-14; Galatians 4:1-7).
One more note regarding predestination. Predestination is to God and the act of His pre chosen of all humanity is truly only by His graciousness. His grace made this act be done “according to the good pleasure of His will” (v.5).
1:6- It is by God’s grace that we are accepted . The “Beloved” noted in this verse is God’s beloved son, Jesus Christ.
We are accepted because of Christ, because being in Christ is our standing.
Praise God for this beautiful will and the “glory of His grace”.
1:7- Redemption (Redeeming) is when something has been bought with a price. God redeemed us from our sins with the high price of the blood of His son Jesus Christ. Without Christ’s perfect sacrifice and blood, redemption from our past, present, and future sins (Colossians 2:13), would not be possible.
In verse 6, Paul refers to the “glory of His grace”. In verse 7, Paul refers to the “riches of His grace”. Being identified and positioned in Christ, gives us access to the glory and wealth of God’s grace (Ephesians 3:8).
1:8 to 10- *Due to the importance of concept, I would like to work through these verses briefly, as a whole. As a dispensationalist, we may have varying contrary views regarding these verses. However, please hear me out and digest what I have to say.
The mystery is not an “off-the-cuff” concept formulated by God. It was hid by Him, in Him, and although components of it was prophesied, to what extensiveness God had in stored was unknown.
Romans 16:25 exemplifies the mystery being kept since the world began by God.
Knowing the mystery is one of the Spiritual blessings mentioned within the list created in Ephesians 1:3-14. This mystery is concerning “the dispensation of the fulness of times. The Bible explains that through the fall of the Jews, salvation came of the Gentiles (You and I) (Romans 11:11-15).
Through this fall, we live in the “Dispensation (Age) of Grace (God)” (Ephesians 3:2-13). With this Dispensation, Paul carried the special office of minister to the Gentile, who by revelation of God was able to deliver the mystery (Romans 11:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-9; Colossians 1:25).
The mystery was kept a mystery until unveiled in God’s perfect time and will. That Christ would come, die, be buried, and rise again, to ascend, only to come back down in the Holy Spirit to dwell in man (Colossians 1:27) in the Dispensation of Grace.
This changes our position from the 1st Adam to the 2nd Adam (In Christ), no longer needing the circumcision of the Jewish faith to join the family of God.
*This will be discussed more particularly in the study on Ephesians 3 with the fellowship of the mystery.
1:11- Prior to the Dispensation of Grace, the glorious inheritance that the Jews possessed from God was foreign to the Gentiles. Now every member of the Body of Christ has a Heavenly inheritance (Colossians 3:24). This is all in God’s perfect will.
1:12- Humanities’ purpose of living is to glorify God. When believing in Christ and depending on His finished work and Gospel, we reflect Christ’s evident glory. From here, our lives are sacrifice and praise of Him (Romans 12:1-2).
1:13- Our salvation is in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). When we believe, we are justified. When justified we are sealed in the “Holy Spirit of promise”. Belief comes with an aspect of trust in our salvation and this sealing is our eternal security.
At the moment of salvation a few things happen:
- Circumcision (of the heart, blameless)(Colossians 2:13)
- Regenerates (Titus 3:5)
- Baptizes (Colossians 2:12)
- Indwells (1 Corinthians 3:16)
- Seals (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30)
*This will be discussed further in future studies.
1:14- The first fruits of the Spirit is the life we are living in Christ (Romans 8:23) and the earnestness of our inheritance is life in Christ until the redemption of our glorified bodies in Heaven! Once again, being all for His glory.