Ephesians 1** This epistle was written when St. Paul was a prisoner atRome. The design appears to be to strengthen the Ephesians inthe faith of Christ, and to give exalted views of the love ofGod, and of the dignity and excellence of Christ, fortifyingtheir minds against the scandal of the cross. He shows that theywere saved by grace, and that however wretched they once were,they now had equal privileges with the Jews. He encourages themto persevere in their Christian calling, and urges them to walkin a manner becoming their profession, faithfully dischargingthe general and common duties of religion, and the specialduties of particular relations. * A salutation, and an account of saving blessings, as preparedin God's eternal election, as purchased by Christ's blood. (1-8)And as conveyed in effectual calling: this is applied to thebelieving Jews, and to the believing Gentiles. (9-14) Theapostle thanks God for their faith and love, and prays for thecontinuance of their knowledge and hope, with respect to theheavenly inheritance, and to God's powerful working in them.(15-23) #1,2. All Christians must be saints; if they come not under thatcharacter on earth, they will never be saints in glory. Thoseare not saints, who are not faithful, believing in Christ, andtrue to the profession they make of relation to their Lord. Bygrace, understand the free and undeserved love and favour ofGod, and those graces of the Spirit which come from it; bypeace, all other blessings, spiritual and temporal, the fruitsof the former. No peace without grace. No peace, nor grace, butfrom God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ; and thebest saints need fresh supplies of the graces of the Spirit, anddesire to grow.3-8 Spiritual and heavenly blessings are the best blessings;with which we cannot be miserable, and without which we cannotbut be so. This was from the choice of them in Christ, beforethe foundation of the world, that they should be made holy byseparation from sin, being set apart to God, and sanctified bythe Holy Spirit, in consequence of their election in Christ. Allwho are chosen to happiness as the end, are chosen to holinessas the means. In love they were predestinated, or fore-ordained,to be adopted as children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, andto be openly admitted to the privileges of that high relation tohimself. The reconciled and adopted believer, the pardonedsinner, gives all the praise of his salvation to his graciousFather. His love appointed this method of redemption, spared nothis own Son, and brought believers to hear and embrace thissalvation. It was rich grace to provide such a surety as his ownSon, and freely to deliver him up. This method of grace gives noencouragement to evil, but shows sin in all its hatefulness, andhow it deserves vengeance. The believer's actions, as well ashis words, declare the praises of Divine mercy. 9-14 Blessings were made known to believers, by the Lord'sshowing to them the mystery of his sovereign will, and themethod of redemption and salvation. But these must have been forever hidden from us, if God had not made them known by hiswritten word, preached gospel, and Spirit of truth. Christunited the two differing parties, God and man, in his ownperson, and satisfied for that wrong which caused theseparation. He wrought, by his Spirit, those graces of faith andlove, whereby we are made one with God, and among ourselves. Hedispenses all his blessings, according to his good pleasure. HisDivine teaching led whom he pleased to see the glory of thosetruths, which others were left to blaspheme. What a graciouspromise that is, which secures the gift of the Holy Ghost tothose who ask him! The sanctifying and comforting influences ofthe Holy Spirit seal believers as the children of God, and heirsof heaven. These are the first-fruits of holy happiness. Forthis we were made, and for this we were redeemed; this is thegreat design of God in all that he has done for us; let all beascribed unto the praise of his glory. 15-23 God has laid up spiritual blessings for us in his Son theLord Jesus; but requires us to draw them out and fetch them inby prayer. Even the best Christians need to be prayed for: andwhile we hear of the welfare of Christian friends, we shouldpray for them. Even true believers greatly want heavenly wisdom.Are not the best of us unwilling to come under God's yoke,though there is no other way to find rest for the soul? Do wenot for a little pleasure often part with our peace? And if wedispute less, and prayed more with and for each other, we shoulddaily see more and more what is the hope of our calling, and theriches of the Divine glory in this inheritance. It is desirableto feel the mighty power of Divine grace, beginning and carryingon the work of faith in our souls. But it is difficult to bringa soul to believe fully in Christ, and to venture its all, andthe hope of eternal life, upon his righteousness. Nothing lessthan Almighty power will work this in us. Here is signified thatit is Christ the Saviour, who supplies all the necessities ofthose who trust in him, and gives them all blessings in therichest abundance. And by being partakers of Christ himself, wecome to be filled with the fulness of grace and glory in him.How then do those forget themselves who seek for righteousnessout of him! This teaches us to come to Christ. And did we knowwhat we are called to, and what we might find in him, surely weshould come and be suitors to him. When feeling our weakness andthe power of our enemies, we most perceive the greatness of thatmighty power which effects the conversion of the believer, andis engaged to perfect his salvation. Surely this will constrainus by love to live to our Redeemer's glory.
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