Ephesians Chapter One
I. Content of the Chapter
The Introduction of the Epistle of Ephesians
A. The writer (v
B. The recipients (v.1b)
C. The blessing (v.2)
The Blessings of the Church Received in Christ
B. The redemption and inheritance of the Son (1:7-12)
C. The seal and earnest of the Spirit (1:13-14)
The Prayer of the Apostle for the Church ---- the Knowledge that We Should Have
A. To present thanksgiving for the church (v.15-16).
B. To ask for the power of knowledge (v
C. That the church should know God truly (v.17b)
D. That the church should know what is the hope
of his calling (v
E. That the church should know what the riches of the glory of the inheritance (v.18b)
F. That the church should know what the surpassing greatness of his power (v.19-22)
G. That the church should know what the church is (v.23)
II. Verse by Verse commentary
Eph. 1:1 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus
Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in
YLT: “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ through the
will of God, to the saints who are in
Meaning of Words: “Apostle”: a sent one, an apostle; “Paul”: small ; “saints”: those who are separated out unto God; “faithful”: trustworthy, one whose faith is firm, loyal to the end.
Background: some old manuscripts had
no the phrase “in
Literal Meaning: “by the will of God”, Paul, as an apostle, was not out of men, but out of the will of God.
“An apostle of Jesus Christ”, it indicated that: (1) he belonged to the Lord. (2) He was sent by the Lord. (3) he received the authority from the Lord to preach the truth. (4) Yet he was not proud, but ought to fulfill the commitment entrusted by the Lord faithfully.
“In Christ”, it means: (1) we have the relationship and union with Christ in life. (2) Christ is the source of our enjoyment and the focus of our life (Col. 2:6, “walk in Him” in the original).
“Who are”, it is the word “and” in the original. Therefore, some Bible commentators held that the “saints who are in
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The status of an evangelist is neither out of the biblical knowledge nor individual ability, but according to the will of God – according to the calling and sending of God.
2) If we do not know the will of God, we will be unworthy of being His workers.
3) Each servant of God should focus on the will of God instead of seeking his own pleasure. Therefore, he should seek the pleasure of God only in his service rather than be influenced by the likes or dislikes of himself or others.
4) The words of the one who has been sent should obey the commandment of the one who has sent him. What the Lord’s workers have preached should not be of himself, but be delivered to him by God Himself.
5) What a preacher shall introduce of himself is not his worldly status or title, but to manifest that he is truly a worker who speaks by the will of God.
6) Since one is the worker of the Lord by the will of God, he should believe that God is with him to help him in fulfilling this loyal commitment.
7) After the author was saved, he changed his name to “Paul,” which means “small” (the meaning in the original). A servant of God should humble himself to serve others rather than be puffed up (Matt. 20:26-28).
8) Writing epistles is also a kind of preaching – it serves God through words in written form. Unfortunately, the great majority of Christians today neglect the importance of writing service.
9) “Saints” represent those “who are separated out and are consecrated to God.” Unless we have realized that we are “saints” who have a honorable and important position in the Lord and who have the indispensable value that nobody can substitute, there will be no way to build the glorious Church.
10) When we believers walk in this world, we should not be associated with the worldly system, but keep ourselves in Christ so as to live a life that is befitting the title “saints”.
11) This epistle is also written to “the faithful in Christ Jesus”. All those who are faithful and loyal to the Lord shall well know God’s heart toward the church from the words of God in this book.
12) To the true believers, they not only regard the Lord as the object of their belief, but would also live a life that is in oneness with Him.
believer in Christ should have dual positions: according to flesh, we are on the earth (“to the saints which are in
14) A normal Christian should pay proper attention to both his physical life before man as well as his spiritual life before God.
15) Although we are walking on this earth today, we should actually live a heavenly life in Christ. There are many things that are right in the eyes of the world, yet we cannot do, for we are not merely on this earth, but we are also in Christ.
16) Believers in Christ should not neglect the individual responsibilities that we should take on the earth. However, we must also transcend the world and be free from the power of the world, thus living a life in Christ.
17) Concerning all those who live in Christ Jesus, whatever they do, they are doing for Christ. Therefore, one shall do every work diligently.
18) Life on this earth and the mundane things of this world cannot hinder us from drawing near to Christ or being joined unto Him.
19) Abiding in Christ is the secret for a believer to live a triumphant life on this earth.
Eph. 1:2 “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
YLT: “Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ!”
Literal Meaning: “grace”: it is given by God to man to enjoy freely. The greatest grace for men is that God let Himself be the possession and enjoyment for men.
“Peace”, it does not refer to the safe and smooth environment, but the inner peace and tranquility in one’s heart. In other words, peace is a kind of mood produced by such condition ---- when men have enjoyed the salvation of God, there is peace between men and God and among men themselves. Grace is the source of peace, and peace is the fruit of grace.
“From God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”, God is the God of all men, and He is also our Father. God, the source of grace and peace, shall be enjoyed by us through the redemption of the Lord (in Christ).
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Just as when the apostle Paul himself was imprisoned (Eph. 3:1), he was concerned with others. We shall also ask for grace and peace for others, even though we are suffering our own pains.
2) The meaning of “grace” in the original is “charisma”. The life of Christians must be characterized by its attracting features. The Christianity that has no attraction is not the true Christianity.
3) Grace is a gift. No one is worthy of receiving the grace of God by himself, so men can not obtain the grace through themselves.
4) “Grace” comes first, and “peace” follows afterwards ---- this is an order that should not be changed. It is impossible for men to gain peace without seeking the grace of God at first.
5) The “peace” enjoyed by Christians has nothing to do with the environment, nor is affected by the outward things of this world.
6) We should not seek for peace apart from God. There is only one source of peace, namely, God Himself.
7) All the spiritual blessings and benefits shall be received through Christ Jesus.
Eph. 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,”
YLT: “Blessed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who did bless us in every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,”
Meaning of Words: “blessed”: to bless, to eulogize, to give thanks, and praise.
Meaning: from this verse to the 14th verse is a long sentence in the original. The phrase “to the praise of His
glory” has appeared three times throughout
the whole paragraph. Therefore, some Bible scholars have divided the
sentence into 3 sections of praise: (1) praise to the Holy Father (v.1:4
“Blessed … blessed us … blessing”, the three words have the same etymon in Greek, i.e. “bless”, whose original meaning is “to eulogize” or “to speak well of”. The first of these three words is used towards God, while the other two words are towards men. “Blessed be God the Father”, for we are grateful to what He is and what He has done and we speak well of Him. God has “blessed us …”, for He accepts us in His beloved son and He bestows us. And “blessing” is the concrete expression of the essential content of God’s speaking well of us.
The blessing of God given to us has the following features: (1) source: “God”; (2) domain: “in the heavenly places”; (3) nature: “spiritual”; (4) sort: “every”; (5) channel: “in Christ”; (6) time: “has blessed us.”
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Believers may commonly seek to obtain blessing from God, but they have never thought that God Himself desires to gain some blessing (the original meaning of the word “blessed”) through our mouths.
2) We were unworthy of receiving any blessing of God, yet we have received “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”. Meanwhile, God is worthy of being blessed, yet He has rarely received the blessing “on the earth”.
3) The blessing that we render to God is often limited to the stage of what God has granted to us on the earth, yet we still do not fully know how to praise for the “spiritual blessing” that we have received.
4) God is the only source of every true blessing. Once a man has departed from God, he shall never receive any true blessing.
5) The blessing bestowed by God is of the heavenly places, which can not be found on the earth.
6) Men should have the spiritual insight in order to enjoy and appreciate such spiritual blessing.
7) Worldly blessing entices men to love the world but forsake God. Spiritual blessing causes us love God more and increase in our spiritual life.
8) Since the spiritual blessing we have received is of “every” kind, they shall be capable of meeting all kinds of needs in our environment.
9) The greatest gift God has given us is Christ Himself. He is the all-inclusive and all-encompassing One, in Whom are hid all the treasures ---- life, grace, blessing, glory, wisdom and knowledge. In short, if we have Christ, we have everything. We have no goodness apart from Christ.
10) Christ is the treasure-house and the content of all the spiritual blessings. All is empty and void apart from Christ.
11) We need not draw something out of Christ to nourish us, but just come into Christ and let what is in Christ flow into us.
12) We are not waiting for the blessing till the future, for they have already been given to us. The problem is that men often ignore to enjoy them.
13) Every believer has already enjoyed the first spiritual blessing through faith ---- he has been saved. Henceforth, he shall draw every spiritual blessing through faith.
14) God will afford us abundantly whatever we need in our spiritual life.
15) Today, some factors of uplifting man are mixed in a lot of praise. May all the praise be to God and all the glory be unto Him.
16) All the spiritual grace and authority are received in Christ. All our prayers and thanksgivings are also offered to God through Christ. There is no real spiritual activity apart from Christ.
Eph. 1:4 “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, ”
YLT: “according as He did choose us in him before the foundation of the world, for our being holy and unblemished before Him, in love,”
Meaning of Words: “foundation”: throw down, lay a foundation; “chose”: to choose, or select; “holy”: be consecrated, separate, separated out; “blame”: impurity, blemish, spot.
The Background: “without blame”, this phrase is used in the Old Testament concerning the offering of sacrifices. According to the Jewish law, before a certain animal was presented as a sacrificial animal, it had to be examined thoroughly. If there was any spot or even a tiny defect, it would be rejected and was unsuitable to be presented as a sacrificial animal for God.
Literal Meaning: there are four points concerning God’s selection: (1) Meaning ---- “selection,” not a “collection”. God had purposefully selected us out of this world and had separated us out ---- it was not an accidental act. (2) Time ---- God chose us “before the foundation of the world”. (3) Premise ---- we were chosen “in Christ”. (4) Purpose ---- that we may be “holy and without blame before Him in love”. It is the sanctification not only in the status, but also in life.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) It is not man that has chosen God, but God has chosen man. This indeed is most marvelous (see John 15:16).
2) God’s selection is based on His purposeful counsel, and is definitely not an accidental benefaction. In other words, our salvation is the actualization of what God had foreordained before the foundation of the earth.
3) God’s selection is that God executes His divine sovereignty on His own initiative. He chose men entirely according to His own insight, pleasure and need. Therefore, no one can change His selection.
4) God’s selection is neither blind nor devoid of a goal. God has chosen us so that He will receive praises from us (see v.6).
5) God does all things “in Christ”. God never works outside of Christ.
6) Christ is the only value and criterion of God’s selection. No matter how good it is, God will reject everything without Christ.
7) God’s work is not to attain to an anticipated ideal, but is the outworking of an accomplished goal.
8) Even though we are unclean and live in the unclean, God sees us in Christ as being holy and without blemish.
9) It is God’s special grace bestowed to us that we can draw nigh “before Him” and have fellowship with Him.
10) “That we should be holy” is not only in the position ---- to be saints, but also in our life – to live a holy life.
11) We shall not become “holy” according to our own efforts, for being sanctified can be entirely fulfilled by God’s grace.
12) “Holy” is the result of God’s selection, not the reason for our being selected.
13) Since the Lord’s love is the way leading us to the real sanctified life, so we should constantly keep ourselves in His love (Jude 21).
Eph. 1:5 “having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,”
YLT: “having foreordained us to the adoption of sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,”
Meaning of Words: “according to”: it shows what the basis is; “pleasure”: determination, intention; “predestined”: mark out ahead of time, predetermined before the boundary is cut; “adoption as sons”: to gain the sonship.
The Background: according to the ancient Greek custom, the father had absolute authority over his children. The children could not easily receive the inheritance of the father until they would have grown up and have owned the “sonship” after a procedure of establishing the sonship, and thus they could enjoy the full privileges of a son.
Literal Meaning: this verse touches upon four points concerning the predestination of God: (1) reason ---- God’s love toward us, or “in love”. (2) Premise ---- “according to the good pleasure of His will”, we are saved by grace, and this is not of ourselves, but of the good pleasure of the will of God. (3) Significance ---- “having predestinated us”. God had predestinated us before the foundation of the earth or had marked us out ahead of time. (4) Result ---- we should gain the “adoption as sons” or sonship. “Son” means that one has inherited the life, and “sonship” indicates that one is qualified to obtain the inheritance of God.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) God predestines all those who have been chosen by Him. His predestination proves that His selection is unchangeable, for He has already marked us out.
2) Since God’s predestination is out of His love and His love is the love unto the end (John. 13:1). Therefore, what God has predestined will not be given up halfway, and he will make us reach the goal.
3) All the blessings we have received from God are given to us out of His holy and unconditional love. All that we have done for the Lord today should be out of the pure love toward the Lord so that it will be of great value.
4) God’s predestination of us has not done with reluctance, but is “according to the good pleasure of His will.” That God has predestinated us is not because we are lovely or perfect, but He loves the loveless ones.
5) The will of God will neither be changed, nor be setback, but will surely be perfected. Therefore, what God has predestined in us will also be fully accomplished.
6) God had not predestined us to be His slaves, but to be adoption as sons to enjoy all the riches of God – this is the greatest blessing given by God.
7) God predestines us not only to be His sons and to receive His life, but also to receive the “sonship” so that we may obtain our heavenly inheritance.
Eph. 1:6 “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
YLT: “to the praise of the glory of His grace, in which He did make us accepted in the beloved,”
Literal Meaning: “gory”: the manifestation of God; once God’s glory is manifested, the whole universe will give praise to Him; “glory of His grace”: (as regards the meaning of “grace”, please refer to the notes in verse 2 of this chapter) men have been privileged to receive God Himself and even enjoy God Himself so that God is manifested in the flesh (which is the meaning of “glory”). In other words, God is manifested in His grace.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Verse six is a continuation of verse five ---- it means that as God has chosen us, predestinated us and made us receive the sonship, the ultimate result will be “to the praise of the glory of His grace”.
2) God places more importance on His grace and glory than on the good deeds of man. Man usually attempts to obtain the grace of God by doing good, but God wants us to simply receive His grace in order to manifest His glory.
3) We Christians are the objects of God’s grace. The more we enjoy God, the more we will manifest God, and thus glorifying Him. Thus, grace is the cause, and glory is the fruit.
4) When God has granted grace to us, we will enjoy Him. And when we have glorified God, He will find enjoyment from us. We have such a mutual enjoyment between God and man.
5) The more a man’s self has lost in God, the more he will let the glory of God be manifested.
6) Without Christ, there is only the gap caused by sin between God and us. We must receive the grace “in Christ”, and God shall also bestow grace only “in Christ”.
7) We must be in Christ so that we can be the objects of His grace. Christ is the purpose and significance of God’s grace. If it is not for Christ, God will unnecessarily give grace to man.
8) The grace of God is characterized by “glory”, for it not only manifests the glory of the grace-giver, but also makes the objects of His grace into glory.
9) In the works of God, nothing is for the sake of the glory of any man. If a certain service pleases God and opens the door for His work, it will definitely bring praise to His glory.
Eph. 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”
YLT: “in whom we have the redemption through his blood, the remission of the trespasses, according to the riches of His grace,”
Meaning of Words: “redemption”: redeemed out, pay the price, pays the ransom money to release the slave; “sins”: to stumble to the roadside; “forgiveness”: to dissolve, resolve, to clear and excuse, to cancel, to no longer take into consideration.
Background: at that time, the slave system
was prevailing in the
Literal Meaning: this verse tells us clearly of the redemption of Christ: (1)Price: “through the blood (of His beloved Son)” ---- the shedding of blood is the evidence of being chastised, indicating that the beloved Son of God had borne the penalty of sins for us. (2) Significance: “we have redemption” ---- it shows how God has redeemed us through the blood of the Lord Jesus from our former state of being condemned and being worthy of punishment. (3) Result: “the forgiveness of our sins.” The forgiveness for us is according to His redemption. Without His redemption there is no forgiveness. (4) Reason: “according to the riches of His grace” ---- The grace of God was so abundant that He prepares such redemption for us.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Christ whom God has given to us is not the one whom He disliked or wanted to discard, but the one who is His most beloved begotten Son and was sacrificed for us.
2) God had sacrificed His beloved Son to redeem us. And such redemption will save us to bear the likeness and the loveliness of His dear Son.
3) God’s “redemption” is the basis of our “forgiveness” ---- without “redemption” there is no “forgiveness”. “Forgiveness” is the effect of the work of “redemption” on sinners.
4) We have done nothing to exchange for forgiveness. We are redeemed in Christ “through the blood of Christ”. In other words, all that we have enjoyed are founded upon the foundation of the finished work of Christ.
5) The blood of the beloved Son has answered all of God’s righteous requirements. In other words, God’s redemption and forgiveness are based on His righteous principle. However, he who has received God’s redemption and forgiveness is according to “the riches of His grace.” God’s righteous penalty has fallen upon His beloved Son, yet we have enjoyed the blessing of His great grace.
Eph. 1:8 “which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, ”
YLT: “in which He did abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,”
Meaning of Words: “in all”: every kind, all; “made to abound”: caused to abound, caused to superabound or excel.
Literal Meaning: “in all wisdom and prudence”, “wisdom” refers to the intelligence of perceiving the reality of the things, stressing on the aspect of principles and counsels. “Prudence” is the intellectual insight to apply wisdom in actions, focusing on the aspect of detailed regulations and performances. When God’s grace came to us, it was not only prepared by His wisdom, but also arranged by His prudence.
There were many Bible commentators who thought that “wisdom and knowledge” were not the medium through which God granted His grace, but a kind of the grace that He had given to men, through which men might know the abundance of grace well.
“Which He made to abound toward us”, the grace given to us is like a great overflowing water.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The more you dig into the grace of God, the more mysterious it seems to be. The more you understand it, the more abundant you will feel.
2) What a pity that the grace of God that many Christians have received seems to be so little! The problem is not in God, but in us ---- we have not adequately enjoyed and apprehended His grace.
3) The grace that God has given us is the best, for He gives it to us in all His “wisdom and prudence”. He knows that what kind of grace is most suited to each one of us and He also knows what kind of situation is most appropriate to grant us the grace that we need.
4) Since God has given us His grace “in all wisdom and prudence,” we shall enjoy His grace through His wisdom and intellect ---- may God grant us the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Eph. 1:17).
Eph. 1:9 “having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, ”
YLT: “having made known to us the secret of His will, according to His good pleasure, that He purposed in Himself,”
Meaning of Words: “purposed”: prepared and established ahead of time; “good pleasure”: determination, good intention; “mystery”: hidden secret, long concealed matter.
Literal Meaning: “according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself”, God pleases that we have become the recipients of His grace in His beloved Son. For this reason, there is redemption which is purposed in Himself.
“The mystery of His will”: God has a will which has been a mystery hidden for times and generations. Such mystery is incomprehensible in men’s own reasoning and understanding, but now has been revealed to us.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) God does not like us to be unwise, He desires us to understand His will (Eph. 5:17).
2) God’s will can be known through men’s seeking, rather than be impossible to be known.
3) If we are willing to lay down our worldly
wisdom and pride and come with a humbled heart to seek the spiritual wisdom
(Matt. 11:25-27), we will surely gain the knowledge that is from above (
Eph. 1:10 “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. ”
YLT: “in regard to the dispensation of the fullness of the times, to bring into one the whole in the Christ, both the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth -- in him;”
Meaning of Words: “dispensation”: opportunity, time, a time period; “fullness”: maturity, completion, fullness, entirely finished; “gather together in one”: in the same guidance, gather together a row of numbers, to lead in uniting, to sum up, the original text has the meaning of “once more” or to “repeat.”
Literal Meaning: “the dispensation”, the administration of God who has made for the goodness of His people (Eph. 3:9).
“Of the fullness of times”: it refers to the time when the succession of times in God’s eternal purpose is completed – at the beginning of the new heaven and the new earth.
“All things” refer to all things that God had created.
“Gather together in one”: God will make all things in the universe be unified under His headship and become a system, as man’s body ---- this is what God has purposed throughout the generations.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) God works according to His predestinated schedule of time, accurately and precisely. Therefore, we shall wait for the time of God in all things.
2) The most basic principle of the oneness of believers is “in Christ”. Christ is the real center and factor of true oneness. Apart from Christ, all the devises, systems, and methodologies of men are of no avail.
3) Without Christ, no one and nothing can head up all things into oneness. Christ is the hope and the consummation of all things. Everything that God manages in the whole universe is all for Christ.
4) It is not possible for brothers and sisters to be absolutely the same. God also never expects His children to be of only one single form. However, He definitely wants us to be one in spite of our differences, namely, “gather together in one” – just like God Himself, being in three persons, and as inseparable as one body.
5) History has its meaning and purpose. All the history has been step by step approaching the glorious purpose of God and fulfilling His will.
6) That God has saved us is not only for us to enjoy His grace, but rather that we shall have a part in the fulfillment of His eternal purpose ---- we are entrusted with the commitment of gathering together all things in one in Christ.
Eph. 1:11 “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will,”
YLT: “in whom also we did obtain an inheritance, being foreordained according to the purpose of Him who the all things is working according to the counsel of His will,”
Meaning of Words: “inheritance”: things inherited, to become heirs, a lot, received as private possession; “purpose of Him”: His determination according to His will; “works all things”: operates, occurs; “counsel”: establishes in advance, a public demonstration, decides the direction of the will.
Literal Meaning: “in Him”: all the blessings of God have been given us in Christ.
“Were made an inheritance”: there are two possible meanings of this phrase: (1) God has prepared for us the inheritance in the heaven because we are His sons who shall inherit the inheritance. (2) Those who are redeemed have become (another meaning of the word “obtain” in the original) God’s inheritance – an inheritance that God enjoys.
“Works all things according to the counsel of His will”, all of God’s counsels have been through His careful thoughts and considerations.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) We are not redeemed by God’s casual, temporary plan, but through His careful and thorough counsel. Therefore, as the children of God, we shall not only take the inheritance as our only purpose, but rather be co-workers with God to fulfill his purpose in us.
2) We may not consider ourselves be important, but we are precious in the sight of God in Christ. He even desires to gain us to be His inheritance as well as His satisfaction and enjoyment.
3) Since we have become the inheritance of God, we are of God and He bears full responsibility for us ---- He has to protect, guide and take care of us till He has attained to the purpose in us.
4) God has redeemed us for the purpose of making us receive the inheritance in Christ. This inheritance refers to neither the deposit in the bank, nor the physical enjoyment, nor an inheritance of this world, but an inheritance that is the unfading, incorruptible, and eternally precious and incomparable glory!
5) That we can receive such an inheritance is entirely due to the fact that we have a deep relationship with Christ. Once we have been in Christ through faith and have a life relationship with Him, we have received this inheritance.
6) Since this inheritance is “in Christ”, we shall only enjoy and apprehend the riches of this inheritance by abiding in Christ.
7) Christ is the inheritance of God. All the divine wealth and resources are embodied in Him.
8) Our God is a God Who “works all things according to the counsel of His will.” All things are working together according to His will and for His good purpose (Rom. 8:28). Therefore, to know the will of God and walk accordingly are the prerequisite for us to enjoy the promise of “all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28).
Eph. 1:12 “that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. ”
YLT: “for our being to the praise of His glory, those who did first hope in the Christ,”
Literal Meaning: “we who first trusted in Christ”: it referred to the Christians who first believed in the Lord, including both the Jews and the Gentiles.
“Hope”, this blessing of hope does not refer to the spiritual hope in this age only, but also the redemption of our body, meeting the Lord face to face and entering into glory in the future.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) God grants us His grace with the purpose of our being to the praise of His glory (Eph. 1:6, 14). Obviously, Christians ought to seek the life that regards the glory of God as the centre. Believers who care for the glory of God are those with whom He is most pleased.
2) All those who are in Christ are those who have hope.
3) All the hope of glory of us is in Christ. Therefore, only when we have known the riches in Christ will we know this “hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
4) Those who “first trusted in Christ” shall take a greater responsibility before God, for God wants those who have first enjoyed the salvation to manifest His glory so that others will praise God when seeing such glory.
5) If we have not experienced God’s glory of grace, the true praise will not be out of us.
Eph. 1:13 “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, ”
YLT: “in whom ye also, having heard the word of the truth -- the good news of your salvation -- in whom also having believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of the promise,”
Meaning of Words: “seal”: stamp, seal up, brand, mark;
at that time, it represented the authority. The city of
Literal Meaning: “the word of truth”, the word “truth” is true in the original. In the universe, there is no truth apart from God. “The word of truth” is to bear witness of the truth of God in the universe so that men may see Him and receive Him.
“The gospel of our salvation”, all that man has gained on this earth is of vanity. Only when we have received God do we have the truth ---- this is the gospel of men’s salvation.
“Having received the promised of the Holy Spirit”, once we have believed, the Holy Spirit enters us. This is what the Holy Spirit has promised and what God has arranged. This is also a matter that is the most pleasant in the heart of God.
“Sealed with the Holy Spirit”, there are two meanings: (1) it is a symbol which shows that we belong to God, signifying that God takes care of us, protects, provides, governs and is in charge of us. (2) There were characters or patterns on the seal at the time of the apostle Paul, indicating the characters of its lord. The seal of the Holy Spirit signifies that we have the image of God and we are like Him, and people in the world can see God through us.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) We can see from this verse: (a) faith comes by hearing the words of truth (Rom. 10:17). (b) The word of the truth can save people. (c) Christ Himself is the word of truth. To believe the truth is to believe Christ. (d) We have received the Holy Spirit just when we believe into Christ. It is unnecessary for a man to wait for a period of time to receive the Holy Spirit after he has believed Christ.
2) Since we Christians have receive the seal of the Holy Spirit, we need to submit to the government, authority, domination and inspiration of the Spirit in all things as well as rely on the help, teaching and protection of the Holy Spirit.
3) “Hear” and “believe” refer to the responsibility of man in both preaching and receiving. The coordination of the objective aspect (the gospel) and the subjective aspect (faith) results in men’s being saved.
Eph. 1:14 “who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory. ”
YLT: “which is an earnest of our inheritance, to the redemption of the acquired possession, to the praise of His glory.”
Meaning of Words: “guarantee”: a promissory note, collateral, sample, down payment, the earnest money (used as a guarantee to pay for the remainder funds in the future). “Possession”: inheritance, something which was purchased, or preserved.
The Background: in the ancient Greek business contract, men often used the word “guarantee”. At that time if a man planed to buy a piece of land, he had to pass through two steps of procedures with the seller before clinching a deal. The first step: the buyer had to pay for the earnest money. After the seller had received the money, he would take a jar and fill it with the soil of the land that he would sell. Then, he sealed the jar tightly and marked the strip for sealing with his symbolic seal, and handed it to the buyer. The second step: on the day of the closure of the deal, the buyer would come to the seller and bring that jar, if he found the seal was all right after his examination, the buyer would pay for the money that had not been paid. Thus, the deal was officially finalized and closed. The jar, the sample soil, and the seal together were the “guarantee”. Therefore, this sample represents a foretaste of our inheritance in the future. Before the buyer obtained the land he had purchased, he had already obtained in his hand a sample of the property he would receive in the future.
Literal Meaning: “who (the Holy Spirit) is the guarantee of our inheritance”, there is much inheritance that God has prepared for us in the heaven, and He has granted the Holy Spirit to us as a guarantee ---- to provide us firstly the sample as well as the deposit.
“Until the redemption of the purchased possession”, we are the inheritance that God has purchased. Ever since we are saved, the Holy Spirit has been working in us in many ways until our soul is sanctified and our body is redeemed (Rom. 8:23).
“To the praise of His glory”, when we are fully filled with the glory of God and God’s glory has been manifested through us, it is when God’s glory shall be to the praise.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The indwelling Spirit has two major functions: on one hand, He is our seal, proving that we have been truly saved and are of God. On the other hand, He is our “earnest”, guaranteeing us that we will enjoy our inheritance.
2) The Holy Spirit is the collateral of us, which guarantees that we will enjoy all the riches of God. Originally, we are indebted to God, yet God actually uses a debtor’s compassion to limit Himself so that He cannot but pour out His riches upon us.
3) The Holy Spirit, the “guarantee” of us, is also like a sample that we will have a foretaste of our heavenly portion.
4) In God’s work, there is not any room for the glory of man. All that shall be to “the praise of His glory.”
Eph. 1:15 “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,”
YLT: “Because of this I also, having heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and the love to all the saints,”
Meaning: the saints in
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The Lord Jesus is the object as well as the source of our faith. The more we have known the Lord, the more will we grow in faith. At the same time, one can obtain the genuine faith only by abiding in the Lord.
2) A true Christian must be able to keep the balance – faith in the Lord and love for our fellow men.
3) This verse mentions faith first and love afterwards, because the true faith is the basis for the true love. If we do not have a living faith in our Lord, we will also not have a living love toward man.
4) Love is produced by faith, and faith is manifested by love. Faith is internal and invisible, yet it can be manifested through love.
5) Our love should begin with “love for all the saints,” then we can extend it to love for all men (2 Pet. 1:7).
6) If a believer has love only but lacks proper faith, whatever he does will be only regarded as something being merely stirred up by his emotion.
7) Paul used “all the saints” instead of “all believers”, indicating that all believers in the Lord Jesus are holy in the eyes of God.
Eph. 1:16 “do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: ”
YLT: “do not cease giving thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers,”
Meaning of Words: “do not cease”: unceasingly, relentlessly; “give thanks”: render gratefulness, offer of grace;
“Making mention of you”: remember you, have recollection of you;
Literal Meaning: “making mention of you (often)”, Paul often remembered the saints in his prayers. The word “often” indicated that the apostle Paul held a responsible and genuine attitude rather than a perfunctory one toward the intercessions for the saints. It is also out of his cordial love to them.
Enlightenment in the Word:
thanked the Lord for the healthy spiritual
situation of the church in
2) Men usually have a tendency to ask for grace more earnestly than giving thanks for grace. However, Paul’s thanks given to God was very geneuine.
3) “Do not cease” and “often” show that Paul’s thanksgiving and concern for the saints are of great sincerity.
4) Paul gave thanks for the spiritual gains of others, not for the goodness he had received of himself.
Eph. 1:17 “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, ”
YLT: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of the glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the recognition of him,”
Meaning of Words: “the knowledge of”: deep, full, right, thorough, and complete discernment;
The Background: the Jews dared not to call God directly, by called Him “Shekinah”, namely, the manifestation of God (Heb 9:5). Here, Paul called the Father “the glory of Father”.
Literal Meaning: “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ”, it meant that the work of God would be fulfilled by Christ. God also sent the Lord Jesus who came to be man and was incarnated to dwell in the world, so God had become His God.
“The Father of glory”, glory is the manifestation of God. The glory of God has been manifested from men through the risen life of the Lord, so God is the Father of glory.
“May give to you the spirit of wisdom”, “wisdom” is the ability of understanding given by the Spirit. “Revelation” means that the truth is revealed by the Spirit.
“Revelation in the knowledge of Him”, God has granted us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in order to let us fully and thoroughly know Him and His will, counsel and all that has mentioned above. “The knowledge of God” is not the knowledge in mind only, but the knowledge in heart and the experience in life.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Our understanding cannot understand the will of God, so we should pray for God to obtain the deeper knowledge.
2) The knowledge in mind is the knowledge that echoes what others have said or is a kind of hearsay ---- this is the second-hand knowledge. However, the Spirit will bring us to the first-hand knowledge.
3) Today, a lot of men search Christ and the church with brain, but seldom rely on the revelation of God in prayers.
4) The most valuable prayer is to ask God to make us fully know Christ and the church.
5) The full knowledge of Christ is complete out of the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation. It is not created by men, but given by God. Therefore, we have to only pray to God humbly.
6) We can receive the revelation of God only through “the spirit of wisdom and revelation”, and thus have the direct, personal and true knowledge of Christ.
7) Why the insight of most saints is shallow, the spirit is poor and the power is weak? It is more or less has something to do with the poverty of the spirit of wisdom and revelation.
8) God who gives men all the wisdom and revelation has only one central purpose ---- to make us know the fullness of Christ is the church.
9) The mystery of “the knowledge of Him” is not in the fleshly wisdom but in wisdom and revelation of the Spirit. Our God is so full and so amazing that we can not know and experience Him completely even with the whole life of us. Therefore, we are in need of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation granted by Him as well as the enlightenment of the eyes of our understanding.
10) To know Christ is the highest wisdom, for
all the wisdom, power and knowledge are hidden in Him (
11) Men cannot know the truth of God without the revelation of the Spirit.
12) In the prayer of Paul, he emphasized not only the content and attitude of prayer, but also more the object of prayer. Therefore, he said: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory”.
13) It is not sufficient to know that God is “the almighty God and merciful Father” only. When we know that He is “the Father of glory”, we shall know deeper of the glory of grace granted by Him. Therefore, the saints will not only be justified and shall receive glory, but also build up the glorious church with one accord to the praise of His glory.
14) A man who engages a certain career dares not to stop studying. He knows that he has to spare his efforts unceasingly so as to catch up with the new knowledge of times. Christians should be also like this. The life of Christians can be characterized by obtaining more knowledge of God everyday.
15) The more we know God, the more will we enjoy Him. We shall not only enjoy all the grace of God, but also enjoy God Himself.
YLT: “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, for your knowing what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,”
Literal Meaning: “the eyes of your understanding”, it refers to the mind, understanding and inner-consciousness of men.
“The hope of His calling”, the “calling” includes the deeds of the Father, the Son and the Spirit mentioned from verse three to fourteen. “Hope” speaks of the glory in the future and the enjoyment in the new heaven and the new earth, which is so great that we shall fully know when we enter into the glory.
“His inheritance in the saints”, God had sanctified us to bestow us the status of saints. God shall not only make us inherit the universe and make us be the inheritance of God as well.
“The riches of the glory”, God will manifest His glory in the universe through us. What a great glory!
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) Many Christians only “hear” the riches of the spiritual things, but hardly know the content of the riches of glory. Therefore, they usually be drawn by the things of the world and go to seek the material enjoyment, but turn to be indifferent to the spiritual things.
2) Man will truly know the spiritual things of God when his eyes of understanding are open and are enlightened by the Spirit, thus beginning to love and seek the spiritual things.
3) If we have truly seen that the calling of God is full of the hope of glory, our heart will be drawn near to love God who has called us and delivered us from the earthly bondage and domination.
4) The spiritual growth starts from seeing the inheritance given in Christ to seeing the inheritance that God has received in us. This is from self-centeredness to God-centeredness.
5) Mature Christians are Christians who have been delivered from themselves and seek the gains of God in them instead of seeking their own gains.
6) Since God has regarded us as His inheritance, He will take full responsibility to transform, glorify and perfect us, thus making us into fullness.
7) Paul firstly prayed to God for the “knowledge of Him” for believers (v.17), and then prayed for God to let them “know His” calling and inheritance. However, unfortunately, many believers take it out of order ---- they focus on “something of Him” rather than “God Himself”.
8) The condition of one’s physical eyes may greatly affect one’s footsteps. Likewise, the vision of one’s spiritual also exerts great influence over the spiritual way of him.
9) The revelation of God is in our spirit, and the light of God enlightens in our heart. When God has revealed in us, we may usually be slow to react. But when there is enlightenment, we will immediately understand what God has really revealed in mind.
YLT: “and what the exceeding greatness of His power to us who are believing, according to the working of the power of His might,”
Meaning of Words: “exceeding greatness”: surpassing greatness, exceeding magnitude;
Literal Meaning: “power”, power is subjective. Without power, the calling shall neither be fulfilled, nor the “inheritance” be glorified. The calling and inheritance are both apparent to be true because of power.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The power of God has been manifested in the Lord and will be manifested in those who believe in like manner.
2) Though the power of God is exceedingly great, it can be manifested in those who believe Him. Faith of man is the channel of the power of God. How much God’s power has been manifested is determined by how much one has believed.
3) According to the objective fact, we have already been raised up. However, as for the subjective experience, we still have to know the surpassing greatness of the risen power.
4) The spiritual power can not be added when it is run out of. Instead, one shall keep the fellowship with the fountain of power unceasingly. Whenever we are disconnected with the Lord, we will lose the power immediately.
YLT: “which He wrought in the Christ, having raised him out of the dead, and did set at His right hand in the heavenly,”
Meaning of Words: “work”: be active, be effectual;
Literal Meaning: “which He worked in Christ”, the power of God toward us is the same as the power working in Christ.
“According to the working of His mighty power, which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead”, the fact that God has raised Christ from the dead has manifested three kinds of power of Him: the mighty power of domination and overcoming, the power that can be released at any time as well as the working power.
“In the heavenly places”, God exalts Christ with the mighty power mentioned above and makes Him ascend in the heavenly places.
“Seated Him at His right hand”, it means that God the Father has places the Lord in the most honorable position which is of the greatest authority.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) If a man has authority but has no power, he can do nothing. However, if a man has both authority and power but does not act, it is still of no avail.
2) Today, if we are sure of the great power of ascension working in Christ, we will also be raised above all the people and things on the earth. We shall neither be bothered nor be bound by them, but shall dominate them.
YLT: “far above all principality, and authority, and might, and lordship, and every name named, not only in this age, but also in the coming one;”
Meaning of Words: “principality”: beginning, the first estate, magistrate, rule; “power”: authority, jurisdiction,; “might”: authority, mighty power; “dominion”: lordship, domination ; “every name that is named”: assign an appellation, call;
Literal Meaning: “far above all”, “all” includes all things; “far above all” means that the Lord transcends over all the creatures.
“Principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named”, broadly speaking, these words refer to various angels in different degrees. Narrowly speaking, they refer to the Satan and its angels who block the fulfillment of the will of God in the air (see Dan. 10:12-13). When the Lord ascended into the heavenly places, He had broken through the air and opened a way, thus overcoming all of them in the air.
“But also in that which is to come”, it is not only far above the space, but also the time.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) The authority that Christ has received is the authority transcending all things. The church holds the supreme power of domination over the universe with Christ. It is no wonder that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18).
2) The great power of resurrection has manifested the authority of God. Therefore, the risen Lord said: “All power has been given me in heaven and upon earth (Matt. 28:18).” If we have really seen this vision, we will not fear any enemy or any difficulty.
YLT: “and all things He did put under his feet, and did give him -- head over all things to the assembly,”
Meaning of Words: “under”: subdue;
Literal Meaning: “put all things under His feet”, God not only let Him be far above all things, but also put all things under His feet.
“Him to be head over all things to the church”, God gives Christ to the church as the head. Christ is the head of the church as well as the head of all things. Therefore, the church can be together with Christ to dominate all things.
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) God shall make Christ be head over all things, and He shall firstly make Christ be head over the church. The status of Christ in the universe in the future has something to do with the status of Him in the church today.
2) In regard to the matter of Christ’s being the head, God shall let Christ be head over in the church first. Therefore, that Christ be head over the church is a great matter.
3) Christ’s being head over all things is for the sake of making the church also partake in this status.
YLT: “which is his body, the fullness of Him who is filling the all in all,”
Meaning of Words: “Fill”: fill up, perfect, fulfill, complete; “fullness”: plentiful, perfect, satisfied, complete, grows into its full potential.
Literal Meaning: “which (the church) is His body”, the church is Christ’s body, through which the life of Christ shall be manifested. The life is in the church. The manifestation of Christ is also through the church.
“The fullness of Him who fills all in all”: Christ Himself is originally the One who fills all things ---- who is too great to be manifested by the incarnated Jesus only. It is through such a great church that Christ makes His fullness be filled in her. No matter concerning time or space, there is no other entity greater than the church. Therefore, the church is the fullness of Christ
Enlightenment in the Word:
1) If Christ does not have the church, then (a) there will be none other body that he can fill, because the church is the counterpart of Christ. (b) There will be none other way to manifest His fullness, because the church is the vessel for His fullness. (c) There will be no way to satisfy His fullness, because only the church can satisfy Him (Gen. 24:67). (d) There will be no means to fill all things, because the church is the means through which He fills all things. (e) There will be no way to make up the void of all things, because only when the church has manifested His fullness will the void of all things be filled (Rom. 8:19-21).
2) “The church is His body”. Therefore, the church is neither a church building, nor a social group. Instead, the church is the spiritual body of Christ, through which Christ takes all His actions. How all the acts of the body are governed by the head, so that all the acts of the church shall be completely governed by Christ.
3) “The church is His body”. It indicates that the outward appearance of the church is something concrete ---- there are acts and works in order to manifest the fullness within her.
4) “The church is the fullness of Christ”. It unveils that the inner content of the church is full of Christ and is purely spiritual. Such inner content is the resource and nature of all her outward activities.
5) The inner content of the church must be Christ, so that it can be called the fullness of Christ. In other words, the church must have the abundant life of Christ in order to manifest the fullness of Christ.
6) The church is not only the body of Christ, but also His fullness. Therefore, the church shall not just concentrate on the outward activities, nor merely seek to be spiritual inwardly. The two aspects should be coordinated and be balanced in order to satisfy the heart of God.
7) The Church should manifest Christ. A church that does not manifest Christ is outside of the testimony of the body of Christ.
8) Where there is the working of the risen power of God, there is the exaltation of Christ (v.20). Where Christ is exalted, there is the manifestation of His fullness. Where there is the manifestation of the fullness of Christ, there is the reality of the Church.
9) God is a God who is perfect. However, because of the rebellion of Satan and the fall of man, we fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Today, God will fill up this shortage with the church to perfectly manifest His perfection and fullness.
III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons
The Spiritual Blessings (v.3)
B. It is granted “in Christ”.
C. It “has already” been given.
D. It is “in the heavenly places”.
E. There is “every” blessing.
F. It is the “spiritual” blessing.
The Election of God (v.4)
A. Time: before the foundation of the world
B. Sphere: in Christ
C. Purpose: that we should be holy and without blame before Him
The Predestination of God (v.5)
A. Motive: the love of God
B. Basis: according to the will of God
C. Essence: it is pleasant to God
D. Premise: through Jesus Christ
E. Result: to give us the adoption as sons
The Redemption of Christ (v.7)
A. Cost: through the blood of the beloved Son
B. Result: obtain the redemption and the forgiveness of sins
C. Reason: according to the riches of His grace
Seven Sorts of Blessings in Christ
A. Who are faithful in Christ Jesus (v.1)
B. The enjoyment in Christ (v.3)
C. Be elected in Christ (v.4)
D. To praise His grace in Christ (v.6-8)
E. To be headed up in Christ (v.10)
F. To obtain the inheritance in Christ (v.11)
G. To obtain the hope in Christ (v.12)
The Will of God Toward the Church
1. The source of the spiritual blessings (v.3-6)
2. How the spiritual blessings have been given (v.7-9)
3. The sphere of the spiritual blessings (v.10-14)
B. The Spiritual Knowledge:
1. The knowledge of God (v.17)
2. The knowledge of the hope of the calling (v.18)
3. The knowledge of the riches of the inheritance (v.19)
C. The Spiritual Power:
1. The risen power (v.20)
2. The power that is far above all (v.21-22)
3. The power of filling all in all (v.23)
The Blessings in Christ
A. The channel of the blessings ---- Paul (v.1)
1. By the will of God ---- the origin
2. An apostle of Jesus Christ ---- the channel
B. The object of the blessings ---- the saints (v.1)
1. In Christ ---- the sphere
2. Who are faithful
C. The basis of the blessings ---- the written words (v.1-2)
D. The content of the blessings (v.3-14)
1. The election of God
2. The redemption of Jesus
3. The seal of the Spirit
A. The origin of the revelation (v.17)
1. Jesus Christ
2. The Father of glory
3. The Spirit of wisdom
B. The way of the revelation (v.16-17)
1. The knowledge of Him
2. The enlightenment of the eyes of our understanding
D. The content of the revelation (v.17)
1. To know Christ ---- the head of the church (v.18-22)
a.To know what is the hope of His calling
b.To what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance
c. To what is the exceeding greatness of His power
2. To know the church ---- the body of Christ (v.23)
Six “Have”s in the First Chapter of the Epistle of Ephesians
1. Have the adoption as sons (v.5)
2. Have redemption (v.7)
3. Have an inheritance (v.11)
B. Three “Have”s of God
1. Be to the praise of His glory (v.12)
2. Be to the praise of His glory (v.14)
3. Have His inheritance (v.18)
The General Principles of the Main Knowledge of the Christianity
B. The truth of the predestinated redemption (v.5-6)
C. The truth of grace (v.6-8)
D. The truth of the riches of grace (v.9)
E. The truth of the mystery of the will of God (v.9-10)
F. The truth of obtaining the inheritance (v.11-14)
G. The truth of the Spirit (v.13-14)
H. The truth of the people of God’s elect (v.14)
── Caleb Huang《Christian Digest Bible Commentary Series》
Translated by Overcomer Wu & Mary Zhou