In preparation for the next chapter of Ephesians, I have put together a quick overview of chapter one. We have come along way since March 12th. Lots of ground covered in a short time. However, what has been discussed on the podcast and blog is merely scratching the surface of what can be gleaned from the book.
We started with the Apostle Paul writing to the Christians in Ephesus. He conveys grace and peace to the readers from God. He then begins a section of exalting God as he describes the blessings God has given to His people.
Verse three ends with a thematic element that can be traced throughout the book being "in Christ." The most prevalent use of this idea is in chapter one, but the other five chapters have variations on this theme. The apostle conveys the importance of the idea by how much space he gives to understanding being "in Christ."
A) Blessed with every Spiritual blessing in Christ (3b)
The first theological item Paul shares with his readers is that they have access to every spiritual blessing in Christ. Everything that He has we have. Everything we need to grow in our walk with God, He has given to us. More than giving us spiritual blessings, God connects us with our eternal home from the beginning of our life in Christ.
B) Chosen by God to be holy and blameless (4)
His purposes for those whom he chooses, is to make them holy and blameless. This choosing was done before the foundation of the world. We are made holy and blameless at salvation and He continues to work in us to maintain this state through our earthly life as we faithfully walk with Him.
C) Predestined to be adopted (5)
He also adopts us as His sons. We are heirs along side Christ. We become part of His family and Heirs to His promises. We are connected to God, not by our choice, but by His choosing and securing us by sealing with His Holy Spirit.
D) Redemption through Jesus blood (7)
We are redeemed by His blood. He gave up His blood willingly on the cross and presents it on our behalf as the price of redemption. God does this for us according to His wisdom and insight (8).
E) All things summed up in Christ (10)
Everything in the universe will be placed under the rule of Christ. Heavens and earth will willingly come under His dominion. The curse of sin will be done taken away. We will know a universe like the one originally created, unmarked by the curse of sin.
F) Predestined for His purpose and given and inheritance (11)
Another reason for our being predestined by God is that we are to receive an inheritance. We are adopted as heirs, heirs receive an inheritance from their Father. He has chosen to give us this inheritance based on His own counsel. He is the only advisor that can give insight into the decision making process. He has chosen to bestow an inheritance on His followers. The inheritance falls into the category of "every spiritual blessing."
G) Sealed with Holy Spirit as a pledge of our inheritance (13b)
After hearing the message of truth, the Ephesians responded to His call in the gospel. Upon receiving this message they are sealed by His Holy Spirit of promise. He is given to them as a pledge of all His promises. They can rely on receiving all He has promised, because all His promises are based on who He is. His character and history gives hope for the future as everything is based on Him. By extension we have this same opportunity to respond and be sealed until redemption is completed in eternity future.
H) Because of your faith in Christ and love for the saints I pray for you (15-16)
Paul tells the Ephesians that he has heard of their faith and the love for the saints. Their lives have inspired him to pray for them. He knows these people and their character. He understands their needs and his prayers for them are what we should be praying for all believers. He is asking that they continue to grow. Interesting that he is not praying that they repent, but grow. Praying for believers is the proper reaction for those who want to encourage godly living in the church.
I) Pray for enlightened eyes, hope of calling, and glory of inheritance, great power (18-19)
He is very specific for what he prays. He wants them to have eyes that are enlightened to the things of God. He wants them to know that their calling gives hope now and in the future. Paul wants them to know that the inheritance they are promised is glorious and sure. He reminds that they are not alone in this calling. The inheritance is in "in the saints," they have others around them that are part of the plan of God. And finally, God shows His great power toward those who follow Him.
J) Christ exalted , everything placed under His feet (19b-23)
All of the things in this chapter have been brought about "in Christ." He is the focus of all these things. He provides salvation by His sacrifice and resurrection. And all things are placed under His authority.
K) Head of the church (23)
Jesus is the Head of the church. He provides guidance, leadership, and salvation for those who call on Him.
In this chapter we can see much of the theology surrounding our faith in Christ. We see what God has done for us and glimpses of what He has planned for us in the future. We are secure in Christ and we are sealed in this relationship that bring redemption to us and hope for now and the future.
As we move to chapter 2, Paul will continue to remind the Ephesians who they are in Christ and how salvation changes everything they once thought they knew to be true.