Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ephesians 1:11 - 1:14

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ephesians 1:11 - 1:14

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

How the plan of God is carried out in the individual cases is nest shown by the apostle:

v. 11. 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;

v. 12. that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.

v. 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,

v. 14. which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.

In Christ God has brought together the sum total of all believers, united them under the one Head. And now the apostle continues: In Him, in whom we have been allotted (chosen), having been foreordained according to the purpose of Him who effectively works all things after the counsel of His will. In Christ, according to the Greek word here used, an allotment was made by God, and since the special idea of determining by lot does not accord with the context, we may use "choose" or "elect" as a synonym. Incidentally, the thought that we were chosen for God's inheritance, that we are heirs of eternal life, cannot be said to be foreign to the connection. We are chosen in being foreordained according to the purpose or previous determination of God; in God, in His design, in His will, our election unto faith and eternal life rests, not in any merit in ourselves. And God's designs do not fail, His purpose is operative in all things after the counsel of His will. In all things, in the history of nations as well as in the life of individuals, His power directs and shapes all affairs, not according to arbitrary fancies, but according to a well-planned counsel; the determination to carry out the plan was preceded by mature deliberation.

The object of God in making this choice was: To the end that we should be unto the praise of His glory. The whole life of the Christians should serve for the praise of the glory of God. God wanted to be glorified in us, primarily through His grace and mercy, but then also through His might and power. See Isa_43:21. This purpose of God was realized first in the believing Jews, represented by Paul and the Jewish Christians in general: We who have aforetime (before this) put our hope in Christ. The true Israelites in the Jewish nation put their trust in the Messiah even before He appeared in the flesh, and many Jews accepted Him as their Savior before He gave the command to bring the Gospel-message to the Gentiles. In these people God actually carried out His eternal counsel, or election.

But God's plan is not confined to the Jews: in whom also you, having heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation, in whom also, having believed, you were sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. In the case of the Gentiles also, as Paul here shows in addressing the Ephesian congregation, which consisted largely of Gentile Christians, God's eternal purpose was realized. They have been brought to faith in Christ by accepting the Word of Truth, the message which testifies of the divine truth, the Gospel which tells them of the salvation gained by the Savior. In this way they have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. When working faith, the Holy Ghost comes into the heart of man, dwells in him, becomes a seal of his faith, gives him the divine certainty that he belongs to God and will remain His own in time and eternity. Preservation in the true faith is a work of the Holy Ghost, who, as Luther has it, called us by the Gospel, enlightened us with His gifts, sanctified and kept us in the true faith.

The result therefore is: Who is the earnest of our inheritance for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory. In Christ we have the redemption in His blood, the forgiveness of sins. This fact the Holy Spirit has impressed upon us by faith. And therefore He Himself is our earnest-money, our guarantee and assurance, that our final redemption from all evils of body and soul, of property and honor, will come, that we, the redeemed of the Lord, His own peculiar people, shall enter upon the possession and enjoyment of our inheritance in heaven. And with this consummation of our hopes the praise of the glory of God will also reach the state of perfection; then we shall exalt Him and all that He has done for us, world without end. Note: The election of grace always refers to the entire plan of God with reference to the chosen. It is not an absolute decree, but was made in Christ and is founded in the divine promises. Its acceptance is done by the certainty of faith.