Lesson 2


Paul's Letter to the Ephesians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

1:6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved, 1:7 in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 1:8 which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 1:9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him 1:10 to an administration of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, in him; 1:11 in whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his will; 1:12 to the end that we should be to the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ: 1:13 in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, -- in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 1:14 who is a pledge of our inheritance, to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of his glory.


Today's Lesson

If we are to understand the means by which God reveals an aspect of His nature (His grace), this process will take place through the agency of "the Beloved". The Beloved is quite obviously the Son, Jesus of Nazareth. In Him, we have redemption. Paul's concept of redemption is an interesting one. Redemption in this sense is the paying of a ransom. It is the freeing of someone from a debt or obligation to which they are powerless to pay themselves.

 

This redemption comes "through his blood." It was at the cost of His life that the Beloved redeemed us. His death was required for "the forgiveness of our trespasses" because as the book of Hebrews tells us, "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." (Heb. 9:22) God was willing to pay our ransom with the blood of the Beloved Son. His willingness to sacrifice Himself to pay our ransom is the measure of the "riches of his grace".

 

His grace has abounded to us in all wisdom and prudence. These two things may at first glance appear to be the same thing. The terms used mean two distinct things, however. Wisdom here means higher concepts of understanding, the deep things of God. Prudence is opposed to it as being practical, common sense. Paul wants us to know that in deep wisdom and in clear, common prudence, God is revealing His grace through Christ so that the simple and the profound can all understand.

 

The "mystery of his will" is that portion of His will that God is revealing now for the first time. A mystery is something that has always been true, but was previously unknown. What is being revealed is that when the time is right ("an administration of the fullness of times") God will "sum up all things", bring all things together, in Christ. In Jesus Christ, God will bring all of His plans for creation together. He is the goal and purpose of creation. And we have been given "a heritage", an inheritance in Him. Because we are "in Christ", we are given a share of His glory and honor.

 

This is the will of God. Those who hope in Christ and place their faith in the sacrifice of His blood for their sins will receive the inheritance of the Beloved Son. The initial payment on our inheritance is the Holy Spirit, who is God, Himself. When we are placed in Christ, we are "sealed with the Holy Spirit". He becomes a part of us and we become a part of Him. We become "God's own possession." We are His people, His children.

 

This is the gospel (good news) of our salvation. Through faith in the blood of the Beloved, the ransom is paid for our transgressions. We are adopted into the family of the Father. We are promised an inheritance that we will fully receive in the heavenly realms. For now, we are given a portion, the down payment, of that inheritance in the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. God accomplishes this plan in order to reveal His grace and to express His love for us and for the Beloved.

 

May all praise and glory be given to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit through whose plan and by whose power, we are saved!

 

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