Ephesians 1

** This epistle was written when St. Paul was a prisoner at

Rome. The design appears to be to strengthen the Ephesians in

the faith of Christ, and to give exalted views of the love of

God, and of the dignity and excellence of Christ, fortifying

their minds against the scandal of the cross. He shows that they

were saved by grace, and that however wretched they once were,

they now had equal privileges with the Jews. He encourages them

to persevere in their Christian calling, and urges them to walk

in a manner becoming their profession, faithfully discharging

the general and common duties of religion, and the special

duties of particular relations.

* A salutation, and an account of saving blessings, as prepared

in God's eternal election, as purchased by Christ's blood. (1-8)

And as conveyed in effectual calling: this is applied to the

believing Jews, and to the believing Gentiles. (9-14) The

apostle thanks God for their faith and love, and prays for the

continuance of their knowledge and hope, with respect to the

heavenly inheritance, and to God's powerful working in them.

(15-23)

#1,2. All Christians must be saints; if they come not under that

character on earth, they will never be saints in glory. Those

are not saints, who are not faithful, believing in Christ, and

true to the profession they make of relation to their Lord. By

grace, understand the free and undeserved love and favour of

God, and those graces of the Spirit which come from it; by

peace, all other blessings, spiritual and temporal, the fruits

of the former. No peace without grace. No peace, nor grace, but

from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ; and the

best saints need fresh supplies of the graces of the Spirit, and

desire to grow.3-8 Spiritual and heavenly blessings are the best blessings;

with which we cannot be miserable, and without which we cannot

but be so. This was from the choice of them in Christ, before

the foundation of the world, that they should be made holy by

separation from sin, being set apart to God, and sanctified by

the Holy Spirit, in consequence of their election in Christ. All

who are chosen to happiness as the end, are chosen to holiness

as the means. In love they were predestinated, or fore-ordained,

to be adopted as children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, and

to be openly admitted to the privileges of that high relation to

himself. The reconciled and adopted believer, the pardoned

sinner, gives all the praise of his salvation to his gracious

Father. His love appointed this method of redemption, spared not

his own Son, and brought believers to hear and embrace this

salvation. It was rich grace to provide such a surety as his own

Son, and freely to deliver him up. This method of grace gives no

encouragement to evil, but shows sin in all its hatefulness, and

how it deserves vengeance. The believer's actions, as well as

his words, declare the praises of Divine mercy.
9-14 Blessings were made known to believers, by the Lord's

showing to them the mystery of his sovereign will, and the

method of redemption and salvation. But these must have been for

ever hidden from us, if God had not made them known by his

written word, preached gospel, and Spirit of truth. Christ

united the two differing parties, God and man, in his own

person, and satisfied for that wrong which caused the

separation. He wrought, by his Spirit, those graces of faith and

love, whereby we are made one with God, and among ourselves. He

dispenses all his blessings, according to his good pleasure. His

Divine teaching led whom he pleased to see the glory of those

truths, which others were left to blaspheme. What a gracious

promise that is, which secures the gift of the Holy Ghost to

those who ask him! The sanctifying and comforting influences of

the Holy Spirit seal believers as the children of God, and heirs

of heaven. These are the first-fruits of holy happiness. For

this we were made, and for this we were redeemed; this is the

great design of God in all that he has done for us; let all be

ascribed unto the praise of his glory.
15-23 God has laid up spiritual blessings for us in his Son the

Lord Jesus; but requires us to draw them out and fetch them in

by prayer. Even the best Christians need to be prayed for: and

while we hear of the welfare of Christian friends, we should

pray 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 we

not for a little pleasure often part with our peace? And if we

dispute less, and prayed more with and for each other, we should

daily see more and more what is the hope of our calling, and the

riches of the Divine glory in this inheritance. It is desirable

to feel the mighty power of Divine grace, beginning and carrying

on the work of faith in our souls. But it is difficult to bring

a soul to believe fully in Christ, and to venture its all, and

the hope of eternal life, upon his righteousness. Nothing less

than Almighty power will work this in us. Here is signified that

it is Christ the Saviour, who supplies all the necessities of

those who trust in him, and gives them all blessings in the

richest abundance. And by being partakers of Christ himself, we

come to be filled with the fulness of grace and glory in him.

How then do those forget themselves who seek for righteousness

out of him! This teaches us to come to Christ. And did we know

what we are called to, and what we might find in him, surely we

should come and be suitors to him. When feeling our weakness and

the power of our enemies, we most perceive the greatness of that

mighty power which effects the conversion of the believer, and

is engaged to perfect his salvation. Surely this will constrain

us by love to live to our Redeemer's glory.

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