Eph_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.”
Eph_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.”
Eph_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.”
Eph_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.
Eph_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.
Eph_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.”
Eph_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.
Eph_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.
Eph_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.
Eph_1:13 to Eph_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.