In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed…
I. We are to consider THE INTERESTING LIGHT IN WHICH THE GOSPEL IS REPRESENTED IN THE TEXT.
1. It is described as the word of truth. And it is thus designated, because it is not the word of man, but in truth the Word of God.
2. It is the gospel of your salvation. The best explanation of the word gospel, perhaps, is that given by the angel to the shepherds, when he announced to them the birth of the Saviour in these words, "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy," etc.
(1) It is the gospel of our salvation, in the first place, because it acquaints us with our need of salvation. It does not take for granted that all is well with us. It does not flatter our pride, by giving us a lofty description of the dignity of human nature, or by furnishing us with a favourable account of our spiritual condition, Like a faithful friend, it lays before us a true, though a painful statement of our case. Like a skilful physician, it probes our wound to the bottom.
(2) But while it thus acquaints us with our disease, it does not leave us in the dark as to a remedy — a suitable and efficacious remedy. It does not, like the priest and the Levite in the parable, leave us to perish unpitied by the wayside. Like the good Samaritan, it has compassion on us, and binds up our wounds, pouring in oil and wine. It reveals to us a new and living way, opened by the obedience and death of God's incarnate Son, through which we may not only escape the dreadful consequences of our sins, but secure to ourselves the possession of a glorious and eternal inheritance.
3. Moreover, the gospel, when accompanied with the influence of the Holy Spirit, is itself the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.
II. THE BIASSED EFFECT WHICH THE HEARING OF THIS GOSPEL IS STATED TO HAVE HAD ON THE EPHESIANS. "In whom," that is, in Christ, "ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation." Christ is the sum and substance of the gospel. All the rays of its Divine light meet in Him as in their common centre. But it may be asked, What is meant by trusting in Christ? — or, What does the expression imply?
1. It implies that we have faith in His power or ability to save; faith in the all-cleansing virtue of His blood, in the perfection of His righteousness, in the prevailing efficacy of His intercession, in the all-sufficiency of His grace, in the everlasting strength of His arm, in His providential care and protection. Such a faith as this, it is plain, is absolutely necessary in order to our having anything like trust or confidence in Him. We must be fully persuaded that He can help us.
2. That trusting in Christ implies that we have faith in His mercy and grace, no less than faith in His power. It is not a persuasion of ability alone that can inspire confidence in the applicant for Divine aid. He must be equally convinced that sympathy and benevolence are connected with it; in other words, he must believe that there is in Christ a disposition to exert His almighty power for his relief.
3. Trust in Christ implies a simplicity of dependence upon Him for salvation.
4. Trust in the Lord, when steadfast and immovable, such as we may suppose that of the Ephesians to have been, implies a lively hope and expectation of receiving from Him all things that appertain unto life and godliness. A child, while he is conscious of being under the care and protection of a kind and affectionate father, fears nothing; but looks up to him with confidence for a due supply of all his wants. That parental love, tenderness, and care, of which he has constantly received the most pleasing and substantial proofs, leave him no room to doubt his father's disposition to succour and provide for him, but beget and cherish in his bosom the most lively hopes and expectations. Similar, then, are the feelings which those who trust in Christ manifest towards Him.
Parallel VersesKJV: In 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,