Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ephesians 1:3 - 1:6

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Ephesians 1:3 - 1:6

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Doxology to God for the blessings of His love and grace:

v. 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;

v. 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;

v. 5. having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

v. 6. to the praise of the glory of His grace.

Few passages in the Bible surpass these verses in lofty and sustained solemnity. The apostle's words are arrayed in stately grandeur: Blessed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. That is the attitude of the believers at all times, that God is to be praised, that He is worthy of all praise and honor for the manifold manifestations of His redeeming love in Jesus Christ. For it is of God as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ that we and all believers think. See Rom_15:6; 2Co_1:3; 1Pe_1:3. Through Jesus Christ, the God-man and Redeemer of mankind, God has entered into the relation of Father to us and to all believers: in Jesus, who was born from eternity out of the essence of the Father, who Himself is therefore true God, we have free access to the heart of the Father. We praise and bless God because He has blessed us, His blessings, however, not consisting in words of good, but in deeds of grace, not in a mere pious wish, but in a transmission of heavenly benefits. With every spiritual blessing God has remembered us, with blessing that agrees in kind with the Spirit of God, that is divine and heavenly. The spiritual blessings of the Christians are in the heavens, have their origin in heaven, as the dwelling-place of God. The blessings of the higher, of the perfect, of the future world are ours in Christ; Christ, as the Mediator between God and the lost world, has brought us the benefits and gifts which the Father intended for us in Him, through Him, on His account, by reason of His perfect merit. "In Him lay the cause that God blessed us with every spiritual blessing, since His act of redemption is the meritorious cause of this divine bestowal of blessing. " (Meyer.)

Of the wonderful blessings of God in Christ Jesus the apostle now enumerates those of the eternal election of grace: Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. God chose us, He picked us out, He selected us, He set us aside for Himself; it was a free act on His part. It was, however, not an act of God's absolute power, but He chose us in Christ. The spiritual blessings have been appropriated to us on the basis of Christ's work, but the election took place before the foundation of the world. It was an act which was done before the beginning of time, before the world was called into existence. "Before we were in existence, even before the foundation of the world was laid, God thought of us in grace; in His thoughts, in His counsel and determination He took us out of the lost and condemned generation of men (out of the total mass of men for whom the redemption of Christ was made); He firmly decided that we should be His own forever and live with Him in eternity. " For the object of his choosing was: That we should be holy and without reproach before Him in love. By virtue of our relation to God, into which we have entered in consequence of His call, we should he found in the state of sanctification before Him, pure and blameless, set aside from all impurity. Holiness, moral purity, and love are the fundamental characteristics of the Christian life. That is the interest which God has in us, that is the object for which He set us apart.

This aim of God includes still more: By determining us in advance for sonship through Jesus Christ toward Himself. The counsel and determination of God existed before the persons were created that were to become the recipients of His bounty. The counsel of election includes the predetermination to the relation of children to God by adoption, Rom_8:15-16. This sonship was actually brought about by Jesus Christ, whose work of atonement changed us from children of wrath to children of grace and mercy. This is our new relation to God, by virtue of which we have something of the manner, of the mind of the heavenly Father in ourselves, God's holiness and love being reflected in our lives. And God's only motive in this predetermination unto the sonship was: According to the good pleasure of His will. It was a resolution of God's gracious will. "God's fore-ordination of us unto adoption is not due to any desert in us or anything outside God Himself, but is an act of His own pure goodness, originating only and wholly in the freedom of His own thoughts and loving counsel. " And its final end is: To the praise of the glory of His grace. See vv. 12 and 14. In the blessedness of His elect the blessedness of God is enhanced. As His wonderful design is manifested to the astonished eyes of the Christians, they recognize His grace with grateful adoration, and they laud and magnify His name because of this revelation of His grace.