The first thing to do to interpret Ephesians 1:3-14 is to break it into three sections. Vs. 3 is a general statement of the blessing that we have because we are in Jesus Christ. Each of the three sections end in the phrase to the praise of His glory.
Although the word glory is sometimes used to speak of praising God, here, it is a reference to God’s divine glory. When we read of the brightness of His glory (Heb 1:4), the brightness is not His glory. In 2Thess 2:8 His brightness will destroy Satan. In Rev 1:14 white is from the word for light; the whiteness/brightness of His head and hair is not His glory. God consists of glory. The brightness comes from His glory.
Glory, here, is not just a synonym for praise; otherwise, it would be redundant to say to the praise of His praise. Just as Jesus had a glorious body in His resurrection, we will share that glory in the resurrection because we are in Him.
The three sections describe the ministry and plan of the Trinity in securing our glorious resurrection.
Eph 1:3-14 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
|The ministry of the Father:
Create the plan
4According 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:
5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
|The ministry of the Son:
Execute the plan
7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
|The ministry of the Spirit:
Guarantee the plan
13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
The ministry of the Spirit: Guarantee the plan
The easiest way to analyze this passage is to start with the work of the Holy Spirit in vs. 13-14. The Holy Spirit is given as a down payment guaranteeing future performance. What is guaranteed is our inheritance. The word inheritance is probably usually understood as all of heaven and earth in their purified state in eternity. In Ephesians, it is used to speak of a particular part of the inheritance – our personal inheritance. The redemption of the purchased possession that has to be completed in our inheritance is the resurrected body. This is amply evident from 1Cor 15 –
1Cor 15:35-54 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?
36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:
37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:
38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.
39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.
40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.
41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:
43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:
44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.
49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
The Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence is the guarantee, or the security, for our future glorious resurrection state which will be to the praise of God’s glorious nature reflected in our new body.
The ministry of the Son: Execute the plan
In vs. 7-12 we read of how Jesus executed the plan of the Father to secure our inheritance. Vs. 10 speaks of the restoration of all things in a general sense, but then vs. 11 in a particular sense. Because we are in Jesus, we will be resurrected.
John 11:23-25 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Jesus is the resurrection. It is not as though we have our own resurrection, but that we participate in His resurrection. We are joint heirs and glorified together with Christ and He is the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8:17,29). By shedding His blood, we have been redeemed and justified (Rom 3:24), but that justification is completed by His resurrection:
Rom 4:24-25 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
The plan of God was to sacrifice Jesus Christ on the cross to give us redemption (vs. 7) so that in the end we might receive our inheritance in the resurrection (vs. 10,11). This future glorious resurrection state will be to the praise of God’s glorious nature reflected in our new body.
The ministry of the Father: Create the plan
Since the inheritance of vs. 13-14 refer to the resurrection and the inheritance of vs. 7-12 refers to the resurrection, it would be reasonable to expect some reference to the resurrection in vs. 4-6. Our predestined adoption is a reference to God’s plan for us to receive the resurrection.
It is here that many commentators miss the significance of the adoption. They commit an etymological error by assuming the root of the word adoption, to make a son, refers to becoming a child of God by the new birth. Paul defines the adoption in Rom 8, a related passage.
Rom 8:22-23 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
The adoption is the resurrection. Gal 4:5-7 speaks of the early installment of our resurrection in the spirit. This is how having the presence of the Holy Spirit in our spirit, He is the earnest of the rest of the body being raised in the resurrection.
God has predestined, or planned, our resurrection which will be to the praise of His glorious nature reflected in our new body.
Because we are in Christ (vs. 3), The Father has predestined (planned) our resurrection (vs. 4-6), the Son has paid for us so we can receive our resurrection (vs. 7-12), and the Holy Spirit is the earnest that seals us until the rest of the purchased possession is redeemed (vs. 13-15). What this passage does not teach is that some were predestined to become saved, but that once we are saved (in Him), our resurrection is predetermined.