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EPHESIANS

CHAPTER  THREE

3:1-13   The Purpose Of God Concerning Christ Mystical

(1) Paul Imprisonment for their sake
(2-4) The Secret Revealed and committed to Paul's stewardship
(5) The Secret Hidden before
(5,6) The Secret Now revealed to the church through the apostles and prophets by the Spirit
(7-9) The Secret Made known by Paul according to the stewardship committed to him
(9) The Secret Hidden before
(10-12) The Secret Made known through the church to heavenly beings by God
(13) Paul Tribulations for their sake
Eph 3:1-4
(1) For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
(2) If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to youward:
(3) How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
(4) Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
KJV

3:1

The words “for this cause” refer back to “the building together of the saints” of 2:20-22. That is, “seeing you are so builded together for a dwelling place of God” (Vincent). Then comes a parenthetical paragraph to verse 13, and the words, “for this cause” are resumed. The apostle began his prayer of 3:14-21 in verse one, but between 3:1 and 3:14, we have a digression, the purpose of which is to acquaint the Gentiles with their call and Paul’s knowledge of the mystery of Jew and Gentile in one body.

        The Prisoner
He is the prisoner of “the Christ Jesus,” the definite article appearing before Christ. Paul’s thought is, “the prisoner of the Messiah, who is now called Jesus.” The words are in the genitive case, probably, the genitive of originating cause, Paul was one made prisoner by Christ Jesus (Expositors). He is a prisoner “on behalf of you the Gentiles.” Not really the prisoner of Rome as the Romans would like to have thought. The same authority explains, “Paul was called especially to be a minister of Christ to the Gentiles (Acts 21:21,28; 22:21), and his preaching Christ as for the Gentiles equally with the Jews provoked the enmity of the Jews which led to his imprisonment. It was thus for the Gentiles that he was a prisoner; and there is probably also the further thought in the Huper Humon (on behalf of you) that Paul’s imprisonment was to be for their good, helpful to their Christian life, for the idea with which the paragraph closes is that his afflictions were their glory (v. 13).”         (Wuest)

3:2,3        Stewardship  -  The Responsibility

First It concerned the "Grace of God"
God's favor is given not, to be enjoyed as a private luxury, but to be shared with others.
Second It concerns the Gentile readers
Paul felt it was his special function to build the Gentile portion of the house of God.
Third This stewardship involved the great "mystery" of redemption.

The “if” is “ei  ge”. It is a supposition that is taken for granted. The idea is, “if, indeed, as I may assume” (Expositors). Alford translates “assuming that.” He says, “The Ephesians Had heard all this, and Paul was now delicately reminding them.”

The word “dispensation” is “Oikonomia,” made up of “oikos,” :a house” and “nomos,” (law) thus, “the law of the house.” The word speaks in general of the oversight, management, or administration one has over something. Paul was given the responsibility of having oversight or management over the grace of God in the sense that he was to administer it in its publicity. He was given the revelation of the grace of God and the responsibility of properly preaching and teaching it. This grace given Paul for the gentiles, he defines in verse 6.

Then Paul explains his knowledge of this particular grace. It was given him by revelation. The word is “apokalupsis,” “an uncovering, a laying bare                                                                                                    (Wuest)

Eph 3:5-6
(5) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
(6) That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
KJV

3:5        The Mystery

The mystery of the call of the Gentiles (of which Paul speaks here) was not unknown to the Old Testament prophets (Isaiah 56:6,7; 49:6). But they did not know it with the same explicit distinctness “as” it has been now known (Acts 10:19,20; 11:18-21). They probably did not know that the Gentiles were to be admitted without circumcision, or that they were to be on a level with the Jews in partaking of the grace of God. The gift of “the Spirit” in its fullness was reserved for the New Testament, that Christ might thereby be glorified. The epithet “holy,” marks the special consecration of the New Testament “prophets” (who are here meant) by the Spirit, compared with which even the Old Testament prophets were but “sons of men” (Ezekiel 2:3 and elsewhere)     (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown)

 
God's Habitation   Ephesians 2:20 - 22
Compare Rev 21

3:6

Paul now proceeds to make known the mystery. The contents of the mystery are a fact, not a purpose
The Gentiles are fellow-heirs with the Jews. They are “fellow-partakers of the promise.” 
The Gentiles inherit jointly with the Jews the blessings of salvation. 
They are fellow-members of the same body, the Mystical Body of Christ, which is a new creation in which the line of separation between Jew and Gentile is broken down.

The Scofield Bible has a valuable note: “that the Gentiles were to be saved was no mystery (Rom. 9:24-33; 10:19-21). The mystery ‘hid in God’ was the divine purpose to make of Jew and Gentile a wholly new thing -the Church, which is His (Christ’s) body,’ formed by the baptism with the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:12,13) and in which the earthly distinction of Jew and Gentile disappears (Eph. 2:14,15; Col. 3:10,11). The revelation of this mystery, which was foretold but not explained by Christ (Mt. 16:18), was committed to Paul.  In his writings alone we find the doctrine, position, walk, and destiny of the Church       (Wuest)

Paul was the one who really understood these but only because it was revealed to him (pp. 34).

Eph 3:7-10
(7) Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
(8) Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
(9) And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
(10) To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
KJV

3:7,8        The Gift

The gift of the apostleship was “according to the working of His power.” Vincent says: “The gift was bestowed in accordance with that efficiency which could transform Saul and persecutor into Paul the apostle to the Gentiles.” Expositors says: “The thought of the dignity of the office he had received at the cost of such grace and power at once evokes the sense of his own utter unworthiness, to which he gives stronger expression here than even in I Cor. 15:9, or II Cor. 12:11.” The words “less than the least” are ‘elachestoteros,’ a comparative formed on a superlative; literally, “more least” than all the saints.

        Unsearchable Riches
The word “unsearchable” is ‘anexichniaston,’ from ‘exichniazo,’ “to trace out,” and Alpha privative which negates the word, making it mean, “that which cannot be traced out.” The riches of Christ here “ are the riches that Christ has or which are in Him. The ‘ploutos’ (wealth) thus contained in Christ is the whole wealth of the salvation He bestows; and this in “unsearchable” not in the sense of ‘inexhaustible,’ but rather in that of unfathomable, “past finding out,” such as cannot be fully comprehended by men”   (Expositors).     (Wuest)

The word is exceedingly well chosen here: it refers to the Footsteps of God, the Plans He had formed, the Dispensations which He had published, and the innumerable providence’s which He had combined, to prepare, mature, and bring to full effect and view his miraculous designs in the salvation of a ruined world, by the incarnation, passion, death, and resurrection of his Son. There were in these schemes and providences such RICHES - such an abundance, such a variety, as could not be comprehended even by the naturally vast, and, through the Divine inspiration, unparalleled capacious mind of the apostle.

Yet he was to proclaim among the Gentiles these astonishing wonders and mysteries of grace; and as he proceeds in this great and glorious work, the Holy Spirit that dwelt in him opens to his mind more and more of those riches - leads him into those footsteps of the Almighty which could not be investigated by man nor angel, so that his preaching and epistles, taken all in their chronological order, will prove that his views brighten, and his discoveries become more numerous and more distinct in proportion as he advances. And had he lived, preached, and written to the present day, he had not exhausted the subject, nor fully declared to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ - the endless depths of wisdom and knowledge treasured up in him, and the infinity of saving acts and saving power displayed by him.         (Clarke)

3:9         His Power

God’s creation of the world and all things therein is the foundation of the rest of the “economy,” which is freely dispensed according to the universal power of God. As God created “the whole range of things” (so the Greek), physical and spiritual alike, He must have an absolute right to adjust all things as He will. Hence, we may see His right to keep the mystery of world-wide salvation in Christ “hidden in Himself,” till his own good time for revealing it.         (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown)

         His University

“Grace was given me to preach Christ and to enlighten men as to the long-hidden mystery of the admission of the Gentiles, in order that now, etc.” The principalities and powers are the holy angels. The Church thus becomes the university for angels, and each saint a professor. Only in the Church can the angels come to an adequate comprehension of the grace of God. They look at the Church to investigate the mysteries of redemption. I Peter 1:12 speaks of the things which the angels have a passionate desire to stoop down and look into, like the golden cherubim that overshadow the Mercy Seat, ever gazing upon the sprinkled blood that is upon it. The preposition ‘para,’ (beside) is prefixed to the verb “stoop down,” which speaks of the angels as spectators viewing the great plan of redemption from the side lines, not being participants in it.         (Wuest)

        His Theater
Who are these principalities and powers?

Some think evil angels are intended, because they are thus denominated, chapter 6:12.

Others think good angels are meant; for as these heavenly beings are curious to investigate the wondrous economy of the Gospel, though they are not its immediate objects (see I Pet. 1:12) it is quite consistent with the goodness of God to give them that satisfaction which they require. And in this discovery of the Gospel plan of salvation, which reconciles things in heaven and things on earth - both men and angels, these pure spirits are greatly interested, and their praises to the Divine Being rendered much more abundant.

Others imagine the Jewish rulers and Rabbis are intended, particularly those of them who were converted to Christianity, and who had now learned from the preaching of the Gospel what, as Jews, they could never have known. I have had several opportunities of showing that this sort of phraseology is frequent among the Jews, and indeed not seldom used in the New Testament.

Dr. MacKnight, whose mode of arguing against this opinion is not well chosen, supposes that “the different orders of angels in heaven are intended, whose knowledge of God’s dispensations must be as gradual as the dispensations themselves; consequently their knowledge of the manifold wisdom of God must have been greatly increased by the constitution of the Christian Church.” Of this there can be no doubt, whether the terms in the text refer to them or not.                    (Clarke)

I submit that regardless of what is meant by “principalities and powers,” the only way anyone can get even the slightest glimpse of God’s manifold wisdom is through Christ and the Church.               (Bower)

BY THE CHURCH - “by means of,” or “through the Church,” which is the “theatre” for the display of God’s manifold wisdom (I Cor. 4:9): “a spectacle (Greek - theatre) to angels.”     (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown)

        His Manifold Wisdom
THE MANIFOLD WISDOM OF GOD: ‘E  polnpoikilos sophia’ That multifarious and greatly diversified wisdom of God; laying great and infinite plans, and accomplishing them by endless means, through the whole lapse of ages; making every occurrence subservient to the purposes of his infinite mercy and goodness. God’s gracious design to save a lost world by Jesus Christ, could not be defeated by any cunning skill or malice of man or devils: whatever hindrances are thrown in the way, his wisdom and power can re remove; and his infinite wisdom can never want ways or means to effect its gracious designs.      (Clarke)

Eph 3:11-12
(11) According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
(12) In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.
KJV

3:11        The Eternal Purpose

ACCORDING TO THE ETERNAL PURPOSE:  “According to the purpose concerning the periods.” This seems to refer to the complete round of the Jewish system, and to that of the Gospel. I have often observed, that though the proper grammatical meaning of the word is “ever-during,” or “endless duration,” yet it is often applied to those systems, periods, governments, which have a complete duration, taking in the whole of them, from their commencement to their termination, leaving nothing of their duration unembarrassed. So, here, God purposed that the Jewish dispensation should commence at such a time, and terminate at such a time; that the Gospel dispensation should commence when the Jewish ended, and terminate only with life itself; and that the Results of both would be Endless. This is probably what is meant by the above phrase.

WHICH HE PURPOSED IN CHRIST JESUS: “which he made or constituted in or for Christ Jesus.” The manifestation of Christ, and the glory which should follow, were the grand objects which God kept in view in all his dispensations.     (Clarke)

3:12       Christ is the Center

IN WHOM WE HAVE BOLDNESS - By whom we, Gentiles, have ‘ten parresian,’ this liberty of speech; so that we may say any thing by prayer and supplication, and ‘ten prosagogen,’ this introduction, into the Divine presence by faith in Christ. “No other name given among men whereby we must be saved” It is only in His name we can pray to God, and it is only by Him that we can come to God; none can give us an introduction but Christ Jesus, and it is only for His sake that God will either hear or save us. It is on the ground of such scriptures as these that we conclude all our prayers in the Name, and for the Sake, of Jesus Christ our Lord.       (Clarke)

Eph 3:13-16
(13) Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
(14) For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
(15) Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
(16) That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
KJV

3:13       Tribulation  =  Glory

The word “wherefore” refers back to verses 1-12, where “the dignity of the office committed to Paul and its significance,” (Expositors) is spoken of. “Because the great trust of the apostleship among the Gentiles is what he has declared it to be for himself and for them, he puts this request before them…….Paul himself rejoiced in his tribulations (II Cor. 12:5,10; Col. 1:24)……but he might have cause enough to be apprehensive that these converts might not all view painful things as he did” (Expositors). The word “faint” is ‘egkakeo,’ “to lose courage, become faint of heart.” Paul’s tribulations were endured in their behalf, and were of value for them. The greater the office of the sufferer, the more did the afflictions which he was content to endure for them resounds to their honor; and the better this was understood by them, the less should they give way to weakness and discouragement.      (Wuest)

3:14,15        The Household

The words, “for this cause  go back to the same words in 3:1 which themselves go back to the thought of Jew and Gentile becoming one body in Christ, and this body growing into a holy inner sanctuary for the dwelling-place of God. On account of this, Paul says, “I bow my knees.” The Pharisee bowed to the will and wisdom of God concerning the Gentiles. Expositors says, “The thought of the new relations into which the Ephesians had been brought by grace toward God and toward the Jews - the reconciliation of the Cross, peace effected where once there was only enmity, the place given them in the household of God gave Paul cause for prayer in their behalf       (Wuest)

OF WHOM THE WHOLE FAMILY: Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ on earth, the spirits of just men made perfect in a separate state, and all the holy angels in heaven, make but one family, of which God is the Father and Head. Paul does not say, of whom the ‘families,’ as if each order formed a distinct household; but he says ‘family,’ because they are all one, and of one. And all this family is named - derives its origin and being, from God, as children derive their being and their holiness from God, and therefore his name is called upon them.     (Clarke)

3:16         The Measure

According to the measure of his own Eternal Fullness; God’s infinite mercy and goodness being the measure according to which we are to be saved. In giving alms it is a maxim that every one should act according to his ability. It would be a disgrace to a king or a nobleman to give no more than a tradesman or a peasant. God acts up to the dignity of his infinite perfection’s; he gives according to the riches of his glory.        (Clarke)

IN THE INNER MAN - In the soul. Every man is a compound being; he has a body and a soul. The outward man is that alone which is seen and considered by men; the inward man is that which stands particularly in reference to God and eternity. The outward man is strengthened by earthly food, the inward man, by spiritual and heavenly influences. Knowledge, love, peace, and holiness, are the food of the inward man; or rather Jesus Christ, that bread of life which came down from heaven: he that eateth this bread shall live and be strengthened by it. The soul must be as truly fed and nourished by Divine food as the body by natural food.       (Clarke)

The strengthening was to take effect by means of power imparted or infused, and this importation of power was to be made through the Spirit of God “into the inward man.” The ‘inward man’ is viewed here as the recipient, that into which the strengthening was to be poured, or the object towards which the gift was directed. The inward man refers here to the personal, rational self, the moral I, the essence of the man which is conscious of itself as a moral personality. Paul is here speaking of the fullness of the Holy Spirit.      (Wuest)

Eph 3:17-19
(17) That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
(18) May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
(19) And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.
KJV

3:17        The Dwelling Place

THAT CHRIST MAY DWELL IN YOUR HEARTS BY FAITH: In this as well as in many other passages, and particularly that in chapter 2:21, the apostle compares the Body or Church of true believers to a Temple, which, like that of Solomon, is built up to be a Habitation of God through the Spirit. Here, as Solomon did at the dedication of  the temple at Jerusalem, II Chron. 6:1., Paul, having considered the Church at Ephesus completely formed, as to every external thing, prays that God may come down and dwell in it. And as there could be no indwelling of God but by Christ, and no indwelling of Christ but  by Faith, he prays that they may have such faith in Christ, as shall keep them in constant possession of his love and presence. God, at the beginning, formed man to be his temple, and while in a state of purity he inhabited this temple; when the temple became defiled, God left it. In the order of his eternal mercy, Christ, the repairer of the breach, comes to purify the temple, that it may again become a fit habitation for the blessed God. This is what the apostle points out to the believing Ephesians, in praying that Christ might intensely and constantly dwell in their hearts by faith: for the man’s heart, which is not God’s house, must be a hold of every foul and unclean spirit; as Satan and his angels will endeavor to fill what God does not.

        The Double Metaphor     The Tree (Rooted)      The Building (Grounded)
THAT YE, BEING ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE
: Here is a double metaphor; one taken from Agriculture, the other, from Architecture. As trees, they are to be rooted in love - this is the soil in which their souls are to grow; into the infinite love of God their souls by faith are to strike their roots, and from this love derive all that nourishment which is essential for their full growth, till they have the mind in them that was in Jesus, or, as it is afterwards said, till they are filled with all the fullness of God. As a building, their foundation is to be laid in this love. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son……” Here is the ground on which alone the soul, and all its hopes and expectations, can be safely founded. This is a foundation that cannot be shaken; and it is from this alone that the doctrine of redemption flows to man, and from this alone has the soul its form and comeliness.  In this, as its proper soil, it grows. Love is the soil and foundation. On this, as its only foundation, it rests.     (Clarke)

3:18

MAY BE ABLE TO COMPREHEND WITH ALL SAINTS: These words are so exceedingly nervous and full of meaning, that it is almost impossible to translate them.  The first word, ‘exischasete,’ from ‘ex’ (intensive) and ‘ischeo’ (to be strong), signifies that they might be “thoroughly able,” by having been strengthened with might, by God’s power.  We would not, in ourselves, be able to bear it. The second word ‘katalabesthai,’ from ‘kata’ (intensive) and ‘lambano’ (to take, catch, or seize on) may be translated, “that ye may fully able to catch, take in, and comprehend this wonderful mystery of God.” The mind must be rendered apt, and the soul invigorated, to take in and comprehend these mysteries.

        The Incomparable Temple
WHAT IS THE BREADTH, AND LENGTH, AND DEPTH, AND HEIGHT
? We are to be conformed to the image of Christ. Here the apostle still keeps up the metaphor, comparing the Church of God to a building; and as, in order to rear a proper building, formed on scientific principles, a ground plan and specification must be previously made, according to which the building is to be constructed, the apostle refers to this; for this must be thoroughly understood, without which the building could not be formed. They were to be built up a heavenly house, a habitation of God through the Spirit; and this must have its Latitude or Breadth, its Longitude of Length, its Altitude or Height, and its Profundity or Depth.

It is supposed by some that the apostle is here alluding to the famous temple of Diana at Ephesus, which was reputed to be one of the wonders of the world, being in length 425 feet, in breadth 220; it was supported by 127 pillars, each 60 feet high; was built at the expense of all Asia; and was 220 years in being completed. I cannot, however, allow of this allusion while the apostle had a nobler model at hand, and one every way more worthy of being brought into the comparison. The temple at Jerusalem was that alone which he had in view; that alone could be filthy compared here; for that was built to be a habitation of God; that was His house, and that the place of His rest; so the Christian temple, and the believing heart, are to be the constant, the endless residence of God.

But what can the apostle mean by the breadth, length, depth, and height, of the love of God? See chart in Page      . Imagination can scarcely frame any satisfactory answer to this question. It takes in the eternity of God. God Is Love; and in that, an infinity of breadth, length, depth,  and height, is included; or rather all breadth, length, depth, and height, are lost in this immensity. It comprehends all that is Above, all that is Below, all that is Past, and all that is To Come. In reference to human beings, the Love of God, in its Breadth, is a girdle that encompasses the globe; its Length reaches from the eternal purpose of the mission of Christ, to the eternity of blessedness which is to be spent in His ineffable glories; its Depth reaches to the lowest fallen of the sons of Adam, and to the deepest depravity of the human heart; and its Height to the infinite dignities of the throne of Christ. “He that overcometh will I give to sit down with me upon my throne, as I have overcome and sat down with the Father upon his throne.” This is the height of the love of God, and the height to which that love raises the souls that believe in Christ Jesus!        (Clarke)

THAT INCOMPREHENSIBLE LOVE  -  EPHESIANS  3:18,19

THE  LOVE  OF  CHRIST
BREADTH LENGTH DEPTH HEIGHT
Latitude Longitude Profundity* Altitude
They include all that is past and all that is to come It includes all that is below It includes all that is above
It encompasses the globe It reaches from the eternal purpose of Christ to the eternity of His glories It reaches to the lowest, the deepest of the human heart It reaches to the infinite dignities of the throne of Christ

*Profundity: from the Latin “profundus” - “pro” (away) and “fundus” (bottom), or “bottomless, without a bottom, no end to the depth.”

 

Eph 3:20-21
(20) Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
(21) Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
KJV

3:20,21        Divine Ability

In this doxology, we have two descriptions of God, one, a general one, the other, one that is specific and has to do with believers.

The First    -   characterizes Him as One who is able to do “huper panta,” literally, “above all things,” thus, “in a measure exceeding all things, beyond all things  
The Second   -   speaks of Him as able to do ‘huperekperissou.” The word is made up of ‘perissos,’ “exceeding some number or measure, over and above, more than necessary,” ‘ek,’ which is perceptive in force here, intensifying the already existing idea in the verb, here adding the idea of exhaustlessness, and ‘huper,’ “aboveThe compound word is a superlative of superlatives in force. It speaks of the ability of God to do something, that ability having more than enough potential power, this power exhaustless, and then some on top of that. Thus, Paul says that God is able to do super-abundantly above and beyond what we ask or think, and then some on top of that. The word “ask” is ‘aiteo,’ “to ask that something be given”; it is a request of the will. The verb here is in the middle voice, “sto ask for one’s self or in one’s own interest.” “think” is ‘noeo,’ “to consider,” The power (dunamis) that is putting forth energy in us (energeo), is the operation of the Holy Spirit in His work of sanctification. God is able to do for us and answer our prayers according to the efficiency, richness, and power of the working of the Spirit in our lives. This latter is determined by the yieldedness of the believer to the Holy Spirit. Thus, the saint determines what God is able to do for him. In His inherent ability, there is no limit to what God can do in and through the saint. But the saint limits the working of God in and through him by the degree of his yieldedness to the spirit.

TRANSLATION: 

‘Now to the One who is able to do beyond all things, superabundantly beyond and over and above those things that we are asking for ourselves and considering, in the measure, of the power which is operative in us, to Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus into all the generations of the Age of the Ages. Amen        (Wuest)

        Endless Faith  =  Boundless Answer
With such portions of the word of God before us, how is it that we can be said conscientiously to credit the doctrines of Christianity, and live satisfied with such slender attainments in the divine life? Can any man that pleads for the necessary and degrading continuance of indwelling sin, believe what the apostle has written? Can we, who profess to believe it, be excusable, and live under the influence of any temper or passion that does not belong to the mind of Christ?

Will it be said in answer, that “this is only a Prayer of the apostle, and contains his Wish from the overflowing of his heart for the spiritual prosperity of the Ephesians?” Was the apostle inspired or not when he penned this prayer? If he were not inspired, the prayer makes no part of Divine revelation; if he were inspired, every petition is tantamount to a positive promise; for what God inspires the heart to pray for, that God purposes to bestow. Then it is His will that all these blessings should be enjoyed by his true followers, that Christ should inhabit their hearts, and that they should be filled with all the fullness of God; yea, and that God should do for them more abundantly than they can ask or think.

This necessarily implies that they should be saved from all sin, inward and outward, in this life*; that the thoughts of their hearts should be cleansed by the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, that they might perfectly love him, and worthily magnify his holy name.

As sin is the cause of the ruin of mankind, the Gospel system, which is its cure, is called Good News, or Glad Tidings; and it is Good News because it proclaims Him who saves His people from their sins. It would be dishonorable to the grace of Christ to suppose that sin had made wounds which that (grace) could not heal.    

*This statement involves the study on Sanctification. For further discussion, see the Appendix of this study.

   

End of Chapter 3

 


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