Full Text for Sermon Study on Ephesians 1:3-14 (Text)

306 Sermon Study on Eph. 1: 3-14 2: 10), viewed as one act, to accomplish the hallowing of His name. It is the reply to the question: How did the Father answer this Petition among us last Sunday? In the meantime He caused His name to be hallowed somewhere in the midst of bloody battle, somewhere by His judgments, somewhere by His grace, somewhere by a miracle, wherever He has recorded His name, in the church, in the school, in the sickroom, in the office. God's all-glorious name from one point of view cannot be hal~ lowed, that is, it cannot be made more holy than it is, but in our attempts to hallow it there can be progress -in greater frequency and extent, in our hearts, in our life, in our office, in the degree in which we believe, testify, live, through His mercy and grace. We preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified. His name is The Lord Our Righteousness. God's name is hallowed among us only by the name of Jesus, which is HbovC' C'vPrY ot.hpr name. God's eternal wrath will strike the impenitent, loud-mouthed blasphemer who shocks us by his vain use of th2 precious name of Jesus Christ. His grace will bless those who adore the holy name of Jesus. w "" ~or a. He tha sent H' Son, even as they honor " ie Father, :: honoreth not the Father ~~ ___ ~ ____ 'l (To be continued) G.H.~ .y on Eph. 1:3-14 ! for Trinity Sunday This lesson is one of the sedes for the doctrine of election, or predestination. This doctrine is a doctrine for Christians, and its purpose is to strengthen the child of God in his faith and his assurance of eternal salvation. If we fear that our supply of water might run short, we go to the wellspring, and seeing the water gush forth in unabated abundance, we go home satisfied, care­free, happy. If doubts as to our final salvation, as to our endurance in faith harass us, we go with the Apostle to that inexhaustible fountain of grace which from eternity issues forth from that God in whom there is no change and who has called us by His Gospel, and drink deeply from this fountain and return to our daily work with the full assurance that there is plenteous grace for our sal­vation and with the firm determination by this grace to remain faithful lL."lto the end, knowing who it is that has called us. V.3: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed 'Us with an spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Ch1'ist." Sermon Study on Eph.l:3-14 307 Blessed be He that hath blessed us with all blessings. EUAOYEffi means to speak well, speak good things. The Apostle exhorts his readers to speak good things of God, to praise Him, to publish aloud His marvelous works. The very fact that God is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient reason for mag­nifying His holy name. Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega of the Christian's life. Phil. 1: 21; Gal. 2: 20. What would we be without our Lord, the Anointed Savior? Eph. 2: 12 gives the answer. Of this Jesus Christ, God is the God. So Christ Himself as a true human being calls Him, both in His humiliation, Matt. 27: 46, and in His exaltation, John 20:17; cpo Eph. 1:17; Rev. 2:7; 3:12. What a glorious God must He be whom Jesus, our Lord, worships as His God! Blessed be He! This God is also the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and because of this fact Jesus Christ is our Lord in the fullest sense of the term, our Jehovah, Jer. 23: 6. Jesus, our Savior, is that Christ, that Anointed One, Ps. 2: 2, set as God's King upon God's holy hill of Zion, to whom God has said: Ps. 2: 7. Our Lord Jesus Christ is God's own Son, begotten in eternity; He is like the Father the one eternal I Am; cpo John 8:58. With this Christ Jesus we are united in faith, Eph. 1: 1, and therefore the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is also our Father, v.2. Blessed be He! This God has blessed us, has spoken well of us. When God speaks, it is done, Ps. 33: 9. He speaks not empty words, but realities, actualities. His words give and impart to us what they say. Num. 6: 23-27. If He blesses, we are blessed, 1 Chron.17: 27. God has blessed us in every "spiritual blessing." 'Ev denotes the sphere or area of His blessing. The Apostle has in mind not material and temporal gifts, but gifts that pertain to the spiritual nature of the Christians, that nature engendered by the Holy Spirit; cpo v. 13. This blessing includes everything that has been given to the believer by the Spirit of Christ and of God, and is described in great detail in this letter and particularly in the epistle lesson for Trinity Sunday, chap. 1: 3-14. It includes, of course, the first and greatest blessing granted to the readers when they heard for the first time the voice of God speaking good things to them in the Gospel and when by this Gospel they were brought to faith in the Christ, the Author of their salvation; cpo v. 13. "In heavenly places." 'EJ'touQavLu in this letter always refers to a locality; not the visible heavens, however, but the super­mundane heavens, the dwelling place of God and the angels, 1: 20; 2: 6; 3: 10; also of the evil spirits, 6: 12. The blessings bestowed upon the Christians are such as pertain to heaven, as originate in heaven and are of the nature of heaven, bring heaven into their 308 Sermon Study on Eph. 1: 3-14 hearts and lives. God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places, withholding nothing, not even Himself; cp.2: 18; 4: 6. "In Christ." All these blessings are connected in­timately and inseparably with Christ, so that without Him not one of these blessings exists and in Him every one of these blessings is rooted. "In Christ" is not to be connected with "us," as if the Apostle stressed the fact that we are united with Christ, con­nected with Christ. While he addresses only believers in Christ, he emphasizes here that all their blessings originate in Christ. V.4: "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." "According as," XU{}OO<;, is used here in a causal or explanatory sense, stating the reason why God has blessed us. On this usage cpo 1 Cor. 1: 6; Phil. 1: 7; John 13: 34. God has blessed us in keeping with, in conformity with, another act of His. The blessing takes place in time, but that is not a haphazard matter, an arbitrary act. No; it is in keeping with another act of God that took place "before the foundation of the world," before the beginning of time, Gen. 1: 1, in eternity. He "hath chosen us." 'EXAEYW means to select, or pick, f..Eyw, out of, EX. Hence it presupposes a number of objects, an aggregate, a mass, out of which some are chosen; cpo Luke G: 13; Acts 6: 2-5. The aggregate out of which the Christians were chosen is not named here. Christ calls it "the world," John 15: 16, 19. By birth and nature there is no difference between men. All men are born flesh of the flesh; all men belong to the "massa perdita." Out of this mass God has chosen, elected, picked us, says the Apostle, including himself with those whom he had called saints, v. 1, whom He has blessed, v. 3. The middle E;EAE;u'to designates this election as one in which He was personally interested, not a haphazard picking by blind chance. This election is described by XU{}OO<; as the basic act in conformity with which God blessed the Christians with every spiritual gift they possess; hence also with the gift of faith which united them with Christ. The xu{}oo<; therefore does not only place the election before the granting of faith so that the foreseen faith might have influenced or motivated the election, but this term designates our election as that act in conformity with which God brought us to faith. Hence the phrase "in Christ" cannot be connected with "us" in the sense that God chose us as being in connection with Christ. This construction is not only ungrammatical, since it would have to read oV'tu<; EV ul!'t0 or 'Dltu<; 'tOU\; EV Ull't0; it is also contrary to the text and context, which stresses throughout that in His election God was not moved by anything in us, but solely and wholly by His grace, and explicitly states that every blessing experienced by the Christian (and that Sermon Study on Eph.1: 3-14 30D includes faith in Christ) came to them in conformity with, as a result of, their election by grace. Why, then, does the Apostle add "in Christ"? In order to stress from the very beginning that this election was based on the redemptive work of Christ. In Christ and in His work alone God's gracious election of some to eternal salvation and to faith in that Christ is rooted. Without Christ no election and no elect. There is no arbitrary election just as little as there is an election to eternal damnation. "That we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." With the Authorized Version, Luther, the Vulgate, and other interpreters we connect "in love" with v. 4, and not with "having predestinated," v. 5. The latter connection is less satis­factory, for (1) "it is Paul's usual, if not constant, habit to place EV UYMll after the clause it qualifies, Eph. 4: 2,15,16; 5: 2; Col. 2: 2; 1 Thess. 5: 13" (Exp. Gr. N. T.); (2) the idea of God's love as the source of His predestination is fully brought out in vv. 5 and 6, so that there would be no necessity for this unique placement of "in love" before the sentence; (3) none of the clauses in this entire section begins with a prepositional phrase. Connecting "in love" with v.4 makes sanctification the purpose of God's election which Paul has in mind here. Love is all that God requires in His Law, love toward God and toward man, Deut. 6: 5; 10: 12,13; Lev. 19: 18; Matt. 22: 37 -39; Rom. 13: 8-10. In this love we are to be "holy," separate from sin, and "without blame," perfect, flawless; even as God, before whom we are to be perfect, not only before men, is holy and perfect, Matt. 5: 48; 1 Pet. 1: 14-16. This perfection in love, in Christian sanctification, is one of the purposes of our election. It was God's intention that in the midst of this crooked and perverse nation, out of which God chose us, His holy eyes might see holy people, unblamable in love. Blessed be God, who so honored us! Let His election to this exalted position of shining as lights in the world of sin and darkness be to us a constant incentive to walk in holy and unblamable love before Him. V. 5: "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will." "Having predestinated," nQooQLcrw;, determined beforehand, foreordained. This points back to v. 4: "before the foundation of the world." Before we were born, even in eternity, God has fore­ordained us to the adoption of children. YLOl'tccrLU is the term for the legal adoption of children, the itEcrLU stressing the fact that the child is not a child %U"(;(X QJUcrLV, by nature or birth, and the uto designating this adopted child as one enjoying all the rights and privileges of a true child. By nature we were children of wrath, 310 Sermon Study on Eph.1: 3-14 but already from eternity God had predetermined to adopt us as His children. The JtQOOQL