Ephesians 1:1-14
  • Register

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. - Ephesians 1:1-2


These first verses of Ephesians is often overlooked but it's crucial to understanding the context of what follows. Paul who was not only a Jew but a well known, high-ranking Jew, known by Jews and Gentiles alike, is now, contrary to his previous zeal, writing a message of grace and peace to the church of Ephesus which is not a Jewish synagogue but rather a church outside Jewish territory composed of Gentiles. The audience Paul has in minds are the "saints" who are "faithful in Christ Jesus". In otherwords, Paul has in mind gentiles who believed. The fact that a Jew is calling a gentile a saint (rightfully) is a big deal. Up until Christ incarnate the Jews were God's chosen people..sort of, God always had a plan for the gentiles but the culture did not view it as such. For Paul, a Jew, to be greeting a gentile church addressing them as saints is a BIG deal. It's a big deal to the Jews causing many of them hard feelings and it's a big deal to the gentiles letting them know they are included inasmuch as the Jews were considered to be. Even more so Paul now begins to list all the blessings for those who are in Christ giving new revelation to spiritual blessings in heavenly places for us in who are in Christ according to our faith.


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, - Ephesians 1:3


What amazing word for us who believe. What hope such a blessed message gives to us! Notice "every spiritual blessing", let that sink in, God is so gracious! But let me take a moment to also point out the condition for said blessing, that is "in Christ". This is the condition this blessing and the many that follow require of us in order to be partakers of it. At least 10 times we see "in Him", "in Christ", "in the Beloved", and the like as Paul lists such wonderful, gracious, and amazing things in store for those in Christ!


just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love - Ephesians 1:4


This is where many have to be careful not to add their presuppositions into the text. It does NOT say "just as He chose us to be in Him..." Rather it's talking specifically to those of us who are "in Him" and speaks of them with such an esteemed position as being chosen before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him.


5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. - Ephesians 1:5-6


Question: Do you believe in predestination?


I hope you answered yes as the bible here and many other places teaches it! Unfortunately many look at this word, this verse with the wrong lens. They see the word predestined or predestination and liken it to God choosing who will be saved and who will not be and in misquoting this passage, claim that such choices were made before the world was. That is NOT what is being said here.


Yes I believe in predestination but not as many do today who misrepresent what the bible teaches. Remember Paul is writing to Christians, to "saints...who are faithful in Christ Jesus" (v1). He is saying to believers, to those who are "in the Beloved" that such persons, because of the condition of being "in Christ" are therefore predestined to "every spiritual blessing" that God chose before the foundation of the world for all those who are in Christ.


For example. We have some friends who are cruise ship junkies. My wife and I have considered it many times but have never gone. Many times we've been excited about what our friends shared about the benefits of these cruise ships and their amazing itineraries. On those itineraries is everything that cruise ship is predestined to do. The ship will stop at this tropical place and that, this foreign country, that island, this theme park, that port, and so on and so on. All of which the cruise ship boasts about hoping you will decide to buy a ticket. The cruise ship promises all these blessings on all of those who board the vessel. God promises all the blessings on all those who are in Christ. Does the cruise ship pick and choose who will board? No, but they have a condition - purchase a ticket. Does God pick and choose who will be in Christ? No but He has a condition - faith (Rom. 4:16, Heb. 11:6). Both invite and will bestow their blessing on whosoever will come (Matt. 11:28, 22:9, Rev. 22:17).


In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight - Ephesians 1:7-8


"Redemption", "forgiveness", "adoption", don't get so hung up on verse 4 as many do debating predestination that you fail to see the love letter God is sending you through this entire section. It's beautiful. The enemy would not want your heart touched by the beautiful amazing blessings God so desires not only to to give you in the time to come but wants to tell you about it in the time now. This is a love letter to you, from Him. God loves you and He wants you to know that. Not only was this demonstrated for you on the cross (Rom. 5:8) but He continues to lavish (accurate use of that word) the gifts of His grace on us for all eternity! Why do you think Paul so easily gave up all his status, prestige, his reputation, his money, his health, his well being..everything? I'll tell you why! Nope, I'll have Paul tell you why:


although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, - Philippians 3:4-8


When you properly know what it means to be in Christ you find it much easier to count the rest of life as rubbish. Even hard sufferings do not compare to the value of Christ. As one missionary, Jim Elliot said "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."


He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him - Ephesians 1:9


"Mystery of His will" the Gospel, the good news, the revelation of Jesus Christ! (Eph 6:19; Ro 16:25; Col 1:26, 27). "...kind intention which He purposed in Him". Paul alluded to something similar already at the end of verse 5 and will again at the end of verse 11. These blessings God does because He wants too. Not out of obligation, nor out of us earning them or meriting them in anyway, but because God purposed it in Himself to do so because He is a kind God and therefore it pleased Him too.


10 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 - Ephesians 1:10


"summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth". The plan from before the world began was focused on Christ. Christ is the Chosen One (Matt. 12:18) in whom all things would be summed up in. As Paul also wrote to the Galatians and explained how the old testament promise of God was not to Abraham's seeds (plural) but rather it was to Abraham's Seed (singular) meaning Christ (Gal. 3:16).


11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. - Ephesians 1:11-12


Again that word predestined is referring to a predetermined plan by God that all in Christ are predestined to these blessings (including being conformed to the image of His Son, Rom. 8:29) which are and have always been according to God's purpose who works these out on the basis of Himself, the condition of His kindness and therefore are according to the counsel of His will. Blessing for those in Christ  who existed in ages past, ages present, and in future times which was known before the foundation of the world but put into action now (1 Pet. 1:20-21).


13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 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. - Ephesians 1:13-14


This is the order of salvation. Number one, "after listening" (cf Rom. 10:17). Number two "having also believed" (past tense), and Number three, "sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit" (the present), and number four, "inheritance" (the future). Number four is yet to transpire but as Peter says, God is not slow about His promise but is patient toward us not wishing any to perish but that all would come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). If you are a Christian, the first three have transpired and you are hoping for that which you do not see (Rom. 8:24-25) recognizing that the Holy Spirit in you is your pledge--God's promise of what He predestined for you in Him ages ago! This should propel us to worship Christ. The promise was made to Him and to those in Him by the sole purpose of His kindness by the sole reason of His pleasure. That's good news. You neither earned it by works, nor can you lose it by works! In Christ, it's yours, period. Which should equal to the praise of His glory!


In the next section we'll expand on "God's own possession".


Book Studies

Theological Studies

Study Series

The Gospel of Salvation



Drop Me a Line

Have some feedback, insight, questions, comments, prayer requests, etc? Maybe you just want to share what God is doing in your life (I love praise reports), or maybe you can relate to some of the things here and need an ear. I'd love to hear from you!