Letter to the Ephesians: Commentary, Part 2 :: By Dr. Donald Whitchard

Ephesians, Chapter 1:7-23, NKJV

Proclaiming the Joy of Redemption (vv.7-12)

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth –in Him. 11 In Him, we also have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”

The unlimited riches of grace found in Jesus Christ has given us redemption through His blood and the forgiveness of sins (v.7).

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ abounds towards us (His unlimited love and desire for us to be freed from sin and death and to be with Him for eternity). He wants us to be aware of and always experience His love and grace and not sometime in the future (v.8).

It has pleased the Lord Jesus Christ to reveal to us His will in order that we may desire to conform to Him. He has given us the demonstration of His love and plan (v.9).

All things in heaven and on earth will be gathered to Him, and everything will come into His eternal rule (v.10).

It is through Christ that we have a sure and certain inheritance, and we will be formed to His will, which is fixed, eternal, and certain (v.11).

We are the glory of Christ. The Sovereign God became a man, lived a sinless life, took our sins upon Himself, died, and rose again for us (v.12).

This is a lot to take in, but it is also the LORD’S reminder for us that we who are in Christ, unworthy and undeserving as we are, have been made the heirs of a treasure not where it can be destroyed or confiscated by the wicked world, but in the courts of heaven where we will dwell with the LORD and our brethren for all eternity.

A Gentle Reminder for the Church (vv.13-14)

13 In Him you also trusted; after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who guarantees our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”

The Ephesians were living examples of the recipients of the wonderful grace of Christ. They heard the word of truth and believed, receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit (v.13).

It is the Holy Spirit who guarantees our spiritual heritage (refer to John’s gospel, Chapters 14-16) until we are redeemed fully by the Lord Jesus in His time, and we behold His full glory (v.14).

A Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom (v.15-22)

15 Therefore, I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:

17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of HIs power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills overall.”

The church at Ephesus had grown since Paul’s departure around three years beforehand, and their love for Jesus was strong as was their love for “all the saints.” (It should be noted that Ephesians was known as a “circular” letter, where the content was the same but addressed to different churches.) All of this gave the apostle reason to rejoice and thank God for what He had done in their lives (vv.15-16).

Paul’s prayer begins with thanksgiving to the LORD, and the request that He bestow wisdom upon them and a further revelation of His glory and guidance (spiritual maturity) (v.17).

The prayer continues (v.18) for the believer’s spiritual eyes to see further (enlightenment) and to understand the wealth, mercy, and love of God.

All who are in Christ are to be aware of the awesome power and majesty of the LORD, especially demonstrated in His ability to raise Jesus Christ from the dead and to seat Him at the Father’s right hand (vv.19-20).

Know that the Lord Jesus Christ is far above all earthly principalities, powers, and rulers – not just in this life, but the world to come. We serve a great and wondrous, all powerful, Almighty LORD and God. All things are under His rule, and nothing operates or exists outside His sovereign will. And He will have the final word in all events and situations, bringing all things to an end according to His plan. The history of humanity and the structure of this universe is not left to itself, but all things are under His command, which should give us comfort and assurance that all will be well and that He has the victory. And to that, we should shout, “Amen!” (vv.21-23).