Closer look at Promises in Eph. 2

-God has great love for us (v.4). Because he Loves us so much…..
-God has rich mercy and grace for us (v.4). These are so great that no one can imagine it!
-We are dead in our trespass (v.5).
          We once were dead and in disobedience.
-Saints have a future in things to come which are rich in mercy and in grace.
-What Christ did has an enormous impact on the present and the future.
– The union with Christ is very deep.
             The main verb comes in verse 5b, “he made (us) alive together,” followed by two more                  verbs (verse 6), “and he raised (us) up together and seated (us) together” (all three                          compound verbs in Greek with the preposition “with,” that is, with Christ). Verse 7 gives                the purpose of God’s action. The sentence ends at the end of verse 7; in verses 8–10 (two              sentences) the writer stresses the fact that all of this is the result of God’s grace, not of                    human achievement  It may be useful to introduce this as a simile for example, “it is just                as though God brought us back to life together with Christ.” It is important that the                        translation not have an expression which means “he (God) made us live with                                  Christ.”(Bratcher & Nida, 1993).
– Salvation can only come from God alone-His love/grace, there is nothing man can do to save himself (v.8).
-In salvation, we are created by God to have union with Christ (v.6)! We belong to Christ. God’s grace was manifested or shown to us by the way in which Christ Jesus loved us.
-Now, since we do have new life in Christ and since we are joined together with Christ, we are now called to a life of good deeds.
                 We “have been created, to create.”  Because of our union in Christ we are the                                instrument and  the means of a life of good deeds. Better yet, He had already prepared                  for us to do these deeds! (Bratcher & Nida, 1993).
-He made us for good deeds, it is a consequence of our salvation, our union with Christ.
-The blood of Christ brings people near Him and to salvation!

Verses 8 and 9:
It is not easy to distinguish between the cause of salvation, that is, by God’s grace, and the means, namely, through faith. It is God’s grace which produces the salvation, but it is the faith of people which makes this possible. Faith therefore may be described technically as “contributing circumstances,” for without faith on man’s part God will not impose his grace and salvation. The statement it is by God’s grace that you have been saved may be expressed as “because God is so kind, you have been saved” or “because God is so kind, he has saved you.” The final phrase through faith may be expressed as “this was possible because you trusted.” In this way one can state the necessary circumstances which involve faith, but one can avoid making faith the ultimate means for salvation. If it is necessary to supply an object for the verb “trusted” or “had faith,” here it probably is better to have God as the object: “you trusted him” or “you had faith in him” (Bratcher & Nida, 1993).

 Verses. 11,12:
  We did not belong to God’s chosen people, we are foreigners. Even, strangers to the covenants of promise which were based on God’s promises to his people (Israel).
We had no part in the covenants (or, agreements) which God made with his people and which were based on his promises to them. We lived without being able to imagine that any good would come to us because we are not His chosen people. We were far away, but now we are in close union with Christ Jesus, we have been brought near, because Christ shed his blood for us! Amen!

                                                                     Reference:

Bratcher, R. G., & Nida, E. A. (1993). A handbook on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. UBS Handbook Series (pp. 44–54). New York: United Bible Societies.

"In Christ" in Ephesians Chapter Two

 Ephesians 2:4-13

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,     
even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him (Christ), and seated us with Him (Christ) in the heavenly places in Christ Jesusso that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His (God) grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For we are His (God’s) workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

There continues some themes:
-God has great love for us.
-God has rich mercy and grace.
-Saints have a future in things to come which are rich in mercy and in grace.
-What Christ did has an enormous impact on the present and the future.
– The union with Christ is very deep. We are made alive, raised up from the dead and seated in the heavenly places all (because of) and with Christ! Wow.
-In salvation, we are created by God to have union with Christ!
-Now, since we do have new life in Christ and since we are joined together with Christ, we are now called to a life of good deeds.
-He made us for good deeds, it is a consequence of our salvation.
-The blood of Christ brings people near Him and to salvation!

Eph. 1:18

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His (God) calling, what are the riches of the glory of His (God) inheritance in the saints, 

I gave this verse and the promise another look this morning, and I just love this statement. 
There is a hope attached to His calling. Let’s think of it this way, God “calls” people, this “call” promises or produces hope in them, and this emotion of hope is directed toward something or someone (Bratcher & Nida, 1993).

It is the next bold statement that is even more confusing. Even Bratcher & Nida are uncertain of which exact understanding of the phrase is most accurate. They offer three possible understandings. 

The compound genitive phrase “the wealth of the glory of his inheritance” may be (a) the glorious wealth of his inheritance, or (b) the wealth of his glorious inheritance, or (c) his rich and glorious inheritance (1993). 
In any case there clearly is a strong rhetorical effect with the entire phrase. 

This is not the only time this phrase appears. We see in   Eph. 3:16, “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man…”

And Col. 1:27, ” to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 

It may be better in some languages to use a term such as “wonderful” and employ an attributive so as to emphasize the importance of grandeur of the secret, “how truly wonderful is the message which has not previously been known” (Bratcher & Nida, 1993).

Going back to our promises:
-God offers riches of glory in His inheritance
-God has surpassing greatness in His power, this power He sends towards us

God has wonderful things for us (the saints) in our inheritance. We do not even know all of the glorious and wonderful things that are to come that God has been preparing for us! That is really exciting news.




Bratcher, R. G., &; Nida, E. A. (1993). A handbook on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. UBS Handbook Series (p. 32). New York: United Bible Societies.

"In Christ"

Eph 1:18–21  (NASB)

18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His (God) calling, what are the riches of the glory of His (God) inheritance in the saints, 
   19       and what is the surpassing greatness of His (God) power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His (God) might 
   20       which He (God) brought about in Christ, when He (God) raised Him (Christ) from the dead and seated Him (Christ) at His (God) right hand in the heavenly places, 
   21       far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 

The Promises from God in here are many also:
-God provides hope in His calling.
-God offers riches of glory in His inheritance
-God has surpassing greatness in His power, this power He sends towards us
-It is only by the strength of God’s might that brought Christ out of the grave
-It is by God’s authority that Christ is seated next to Him
-This authority is greater than any other authority or strength, forever!  Amen!

Examining some of the promises of our union "In Christ"

In the previous post I examined Ephesians 1:9-14 (NASB). Through observation, I found some exciting promises from the passage regarding our union with Christ. I wanted to examine and further break down each of these promises in this post.

-God has purposed kind intentions in our union with Christ (v.5, 9).
What is this “kind intention?”
The Greek Word is εὐδοκία (eudokía).
It is the good pleasure, purpose, and benevolence of God (Zodhiates, 2000).
Many experts phrase it this way, “God desired or wanted to make this known.” He had full intention and a plan.God worked this plan through Jesus Christ. Christ made it possible (Bratcher & Nida, 1993)!
-God has promised an “administration suitable to the fullness of times” both in Heaven and on earth!
The Greek Word follows that this is “administration” equates to a divine stewardship or ownership. All things have a divine purpose in His administration (Zodhiates, 2000). Another promise from this section would be “God will take care of everything, according to His purpose, when the time is right (Bratcher & Nida, 1993).”

-In Christ, we have a promised inheritance.
The Greek word used in Eph. 1:11 for “inheritance” is only used this one time in the New Testament. Although, it comes from the word that means ‘lot’ and is closely related to the words for ‘inheritance’ and ‘heir.’

The idea expressed here is that Christians have become heirs of God due to the fact that God predestined them according to His purpose. In a manner of speaking, the “lot” fell to believers not by chance but solely because of the gracious and sovereign decision of God–Almighty to select them to be His heirs (Zodhiates, 2000).
-God has predestined our purposes according to His will. That is stress relief there! 
Whether you are Calvinistic or not, verse 11 is pretty straight-forward. The Greek word for “predestined” means “To determine or decree beforehand” (Zodhiates, 2000).

Let’s examine Eph. 1:11 again:”having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,”
If it was not enough that God had administrated order (from the previous verse) and predestined in verse 11, Paul goes ahead and uses three more strong words to make clear that God is in charge:
Purpose- to purpose or plan, a setting forth, presentation, an exposition, determination, plan, or will
Counsel- Will, purpose, intention
Will- to will. Used to designate what God Himself does of His own good pleasure (Zodhiates, 2000).
Make it simple: God chose us to be his own people in union with Christ (Bratcher & Nida, 1993).
-Those who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His (God) glory.
In the full context, it is really God who did the choosing. “We were made God’s portion/lot.” The:emphasis is that the initiative and action are God’s alone: He made us His people.

The word “hope” means “to look forward with patience to something good.” Verse 12 may then be translated as “we who were the first to look forward to Christ should praise God’s glory” (Bratcher & Nida, 1993).
-Christ is the true message and hope of our salvation (v. 13)! 

-One of my favorite promises, is that we are sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit. 
I have posted my position on this verse in a previous post and may explore this more later. I imagine I could spend a lot of time on this. In this context, the point is even stronger!
Christians whom God attests and confirms by the gift of the Holy Spirit as the earnest, pledge, or seal of their election to salvation (Zodhiates, 2000).
Here the “seal” is “the Holy Spirit of promise.” The Holy Spirit is God’s stamp of ownership, the certification that they belong to Him. Another way of saying this would be “In order to show that you belonged to him, God marked you by giving you the Holy Spirit he had promised” (Bratcher & Nida, 1993).


                                                 References:

Bratcher, R. G., & Nida, E. A. (1993). A handbook on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. UBS Handbook Series (p. 19). New York: United Bible Societies.

Zodhiates, S. (2000).The complete word study dictionary: New Testament. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

Eph. 1:9-14

Ephesians 1:9-14 (NASB):
He (God) made known to us the mystery of His (God) will, according to His (God) kind intention which He (God) purposed in Him (Christ) with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him (Christ) also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His (God) purpose who works all things after the counsel of His (God) will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His (God) glory. In Him (Christ), you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him (Christ) with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

Just take a moment to realize all of the promises we have “In Christ:”

-God has purposed kind intentions in our union with Christ.

-God has promised an “administration suitable to the fullness of times” both in Heaven and on earth!

-In Christ, we have a promised inheritance.

-God has predestined our purposes according to His will. That is stress relief there!

-Those who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His (God) glory.

-Christ is the true message and hope of our salvation!

-One of my favorite promises, is that we are sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit.

Amen. These are wonderful and I will be digging a little deeper into these in the next post.

"In Christ" in Eph. 1:3,4

Ephesians 1:3, 4 (NASB)
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, just as He (God) chose us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.

As discussed in the previous post, the phrase “in Christ”, refers to our union with Christ. A way of reading to understand this section may be “God Blesses Our Spirit Because of Our Relation to (or Union with) Christ.”

A breakdown of Ephesians 1:3 looks like this:

“Let us praise God, who is the God of our Lord Jesus and also his Father. For as we are united with Christ, God has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world.”
Then verse four:
“God had already chosen us to belong to him by means of our being united with Christ, as God would want us to be.”

The way God wants us to be is holy, pure, blameless, clean….to break it down simply, it is without sin!
When we are in union with Christ, our life is lived in His sight and His presence! We are open to His scrutiny.


                                                  Reference:

Bratcher, R. G., & Nida, E. A. (1993). A handbook on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. UBS Handbook Series (pp. 8–13). New York: United Bible Societies.