January 4, 2011 by Dwight Bernier
This is the third post in the series called “Hearing from Jesus this year”. I am using Ephesians 1 as the text to answer the questions we are coming across.
In the previous post, I laid out the first question we should ask as we are seeking to hear from Jesus in His Word – ‘Who is God in this passage’? We saw numerous attributes of God and what God actually says about Himself. This seems to be an important point to catch as we live in the “I think” era, where everything is derived from the basis of one’s own thought. In order not to create a 2-dimensional God, we must hear all of who God says He is. We don’t just get to pick and choose the features we want like God is an iphone and we get to choose the apps.
The second question in this process is what we will talk about in this post – ‘What has God done and/or what will God do’? As we look at this question, we must also look at what is implied in the writing as well. For example, when Paul writes ‘to the saints’ in Ephesians 1:1, we can understand that to mean that God has made them saints. We understand that from a larger context of Scripture. But the caution is also not to bring into the text what is not there. So there must be a balance/tension as we make observations and name them as I just did. As I warned in the last post, we don’t want to perform eisegesis, where we read things into the text. Rather, we want to perform exegesis, and get from the text what God is telling us.
So, now we will ask the question to Ephesians 1 – What has God done or will He do according to the text?
- Made saints in Christ Jesus (v. 1)
- Gives the saints grace (v. 2)
- Gives the saints peace (v. 2)
- Gives the saints hope in Christ (v. 12)
- Blessed the saints in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (v. 3)
- Chose the saints in Christ before the foundation of the world (v. 4)
- Will make the saints holy & blameless before Him (v. 4)
- Loved us (v. 4)
- Has given the saints love (v. 15)
- Predestined the saints for adoption as sons through Christ (v. 5)
- Predestined the saints according to God’s purpose (v. 11)
- Is working out the purpose of His will (v. 5)
- Made known to us His will in Christ (v. 9)
- Works all things according to His will (v. 11)
- Blessed the saints in Christ with His glorious grace (v. 6)
- Redeemed the saints through His blood by grace (v. 7)
- Forgiven the saint’s trespasses by grace (v. 7)
- Lavished upon the saints His grace in all wisdom & insight (vv. 7, 8 )
- Will unite all things in Christ, things in heaven & on earth (v. 10)
- Has given an inheritance to the saints (v. 11)
- Caused the saints to hear & believe the gospel (v. 13)
- Sealed the saints with the Holy Spirit (v. 13)
- Has kept His promise (v. 13)
- Gave a guarantee/down-payment of the saints’ inheritance (v. 14)
- Has given the saints faith (v. 15)
- Gives the saints a spirit of wisdom & revelation in knowledge of Him (v. 17)
- Called the saints (v. 18 )
- Raised Christ from the dead (v. 20)
- Seated Christ at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule & authority & power & dominion & above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come (vv. 20-21)
- Put all things under Christ’s feet & gave Him as head over all things to the church (v. 22)
What God does is incredible! It is so important to make sure we see who God is & what He has done before we try to find ourselves in Scripture. So often we quickly run to find some application for our day. But Christ is our application. His righteousness has been applied to our account so that we no longer stand in our trespasses, sin, iniquity & transgressions. Instead, we are “in Christ”.
Tomorrow we will look at the question: “Who am I as a result of what God has done?” In other words, what is my identity?
May we be slow to work through Scripture to hear from Jesus about Himself & what He has done.
Question: Did you notice all the mentions of “in Christ” & “by grace”? What else did you notice new on the second run-through of Ephesians 1?