Ephesians 1:5

Having predestinated us to the adoption of sons by Jesus Christ to himself. "Adoption" in Scripture expresses more than a change of relation - it includes the change of nature as well as the change of relation. It thus combines the blessings of justification and sanctification, or represents the complex condition of the believer as at once the subject of both. In a word, it presents the new creature in his new relations. This passage teaches -

I. THAT ADOPTION ORIGINATES IN THE FREE GRACE OF GOD; for we are predestinated thereunto. By nature we have no claim to it. "It is not a natural but a constituted relationship." The idea is not of sonship merely, but of sonship by adoption. None can adopt into the family of God but God himself, and therefore it may be regarded as an act of pure grace and love. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!" (1 John 3:1). He may ask the question, "How shall I put thee among the children?" but he has answered it graciously in the line of covenant promise: "I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord" (2 Corinthians 6:18).

II. THAT ADOPTION IS IN CONNECTION WITH THE PERSON AND MEDIATION OF CHRIST. He is not merely the Pattern of sonship to which we are to be conformed, but the adoption is "by Jesus Christ." The apostle declares elsewhere that "we are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26), and that "God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Galatians 4:4, 5). It is evident from these passages that we do not receive the adoption merely in virtue of Christ's incarnation. Some modern divines hold that the adoption springs, not from the death, but from the birth of Christ; that its benefits are conferred upon every member of the human race by virtue of the Incarnation; that Christ being one with every man, the Root and Archetype of humanity, all men are in him adopted and saved, and that nothing remains for faith but to discern this oneness and his salvation as already belonging to us.

1. This theory makes Christ, and not Adam, the Head of humanity. Yet Scripture makes Adam the true head of humanity, and Christ the Head of the redeemed. Christ is no doubt called "the Head of every man" (1 Corinthians 11:9), in so far as he is "the Firstborn of every creature," and as "all things were created" by him and for him; but the allusion is not to the Incarnation at all, but to the pre-existent state of the Son, and to the fact that, according to the original state of things, the world was constituted in him. But the whole race of man is represented as in Adam (Romans 5:12). How else can we understand the parallel between the two Adams? "That was not first which was spiritual, but that which was natural." "The first man was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." Is it proper to regard Christ as the Archetype of fallen humanity alienated from God, and needing to be created anew in the Divine image (Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24)?

2. This theory is inconsistent with Scripture, which makes the Incarnation and the cross inseparable. They are both means to an end: the expiation of sin, the vindication of Divine justice - the meritorious obedience to be rendered to the Law. Jesus was born that he might die. The event of Golgotha not only explains but completes the event of Bethlehem. Our Savior came to save the lost (Matthew 18:11); he came to give his life a ransom (Matthew 20:28); he came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15); he took part of flesh and blood to destroy death (Hebrews 2:14); he was manifested to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8); it was on the cross he triumphed over principalities and powers (Colossians 2:15). There are a hundred passages in Scripture which ascribe our salvation to his death to one passage ascribing it to his birth. It is a suggestive circumstance that he should have appointed a festival to commemorate his death - the Lord's Supper - and should have appointed no similar festival to commemorate his birth. The effect, if not the design, of this theory is to destroy the necessity for the atonement, and thus to avoid the offence of the cross. The Incarnation is presented to us as a remedial arrangement by virtue of its connection with the cross, and the connection of man with Christ is represented as corrective of his connection with Adam. Our primary connection is with the first Adam, and we only attain to connection with Christ by regeneration.

III. THAT ADOPTION IS FOR THOSE WHO ARE UNITED TO CHRIST BY FAITH. Scripture is exceedingly plain in its testimony upon this point. "Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26); "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his Name" (John 1:12); "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). Yet it is said that faith does not make the sonship, but discerns it as already ours. The proper office of faith, however, is not to recognize the blessing of adoption as ours, but "to receive and rest upon Christ alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel." The blessings of salvation are not conferred on all men prior to their faith or without their faith. The union between Christ and believers, of which the Scripture is so full, is not accomplished by our Lord's assumption of our common nature, but is only realized through an appropriating faith wrought in each of us by the grace of God.

IV. THAT THE ISSUE OF THE ADOPTION' IS TO BRING BELIEVERS AT LAST INTO COMMUNION WITH GOD HIMSELF. "Ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." We are brought into the Divine family - "the family in heaven and in earth" (Ephesians 3:15) - of which God is the Father; for "adoption finds its ultimate enjoyment and blessing in God." If we are thus brought to God and belong to God in virtue of our adoption, ought we not with a profound earnestness to aim at a high and spiritual tone of living? - T.C.

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.
I. THE BENEFIT ITSELF. "Having predestinated."

1. God first loves us to life before the means bringing us to life are decreed.

2. God has not only chosen some, but ordained effectual means to bring them to the end to which they are chosen.

II. THE PERSONS WHO ARE PREDESTINATED. Those who have believed and are sanctified — of them we may say that they have been predestinated, and shall be glorified. A chain of four links, two of which are kept with God in heaven, and two let down to earth; this chain is so coupled, that whoever are within these mid]inks are within the two others also. How precious then is this faith which purifies the heart, and enables us even to read our names in God's register of life.

III. THE THING TO WHICH GOD HAS PREDESTINATED US. "Unto the adoption of children."

1. The dignity of being sons of God.

2. The inheritance of light, or a Divine nature.

3. All the glory we look for in heaven is included.

IV. THE CAUSE. "Through Jesus Christ."

V. THE MANNER. "To Himself," i.e., "according to the good pleasure of His will."

1. Sending His Word.

2. Working by it with His Spirit.

VI. THE END. "To the praise of the glory of His grace."

(Paul Bayne.)

If the thing itself be right, it must be right that God intended to do the thing; if you find no fault with facts, as you see them in providence, you have no ground to complain of decrees as you find them in predestination, for the decrees and the facts are just the counterparts one of the other. I cannot see, if the fact itself is agreeable, why the decree should be objectionable. I can see no reason why you should find fault with God's foreordination, if you do not find fault with what does actually happen as the effect of it. Let a man but agree to acknowledge an act of providence, and I want to know how he can, except he runs in the very teeth of providence, find any fault with the predestination or intention that God made concerning that providence. Will you blame me for preaching this morning? Suppose you answer, No. Then can you blame me that I formed a resolution last night that I would preach? Will you blame me for preaching on this particular subject? Do, if you please, then, and find me guilty for intending to do so; but if you say I am perfectly right in selecting such a subject, how can you say I was not perfectly right in intending to preach upon it? Assuredly you cannot find fault with God's predestination, if you do not find fault with the effects that immediately spring from it. Now, we are taught in Scripture, I affirm again, that all things that God choseth to do in time were most certainly intended by Him to be done in eternity, and He predestined such things should be done. If I am called, I believe God intended before all worlds that I should be called; if in His mercy He has regenerated me, I believe that from all eternity He intended to regenerate me; and if, in His loving kindness, He shall at last perfect me and carry me to heaven, I believe it always was His intention to do so. If you cannot find fault with the thing itself that God does, in the name of reason, common sense, and Scripture, how dare you find fault with God's intention to do it?

I. ADOPTION — THE GRACE OF IT. No man can ever have a right in himself to become adopted. If a king should adopt any into his family, it would likely be the son of one of his lords — at any rate, some child of respectable parentage; he would scarce take the son of some common felon, or some gipsy child, to adopt him into his family; but God, in this case, has taken the very worst to be His children. The saints of God all confess that they are the last persons they should ever have dreamed He would have chosen. Again, let us think not only of our original lineage, but of our personal character. He who knows himself will never think that he had much to recommend him to God. In other cases of adoption there usually is some recommendation. A man, when he adopts a child, sometimes is moved thereto by its extraordinary beauty, or at other times by its intelligent manners and winning disposition. But no; He found a rebellious child, a filthy, frightful, ugly child; He took it to His bosom. I was passing lately by the seat of a nobleman, and someone in the railway carriage observed that he had no children, and he would give any price in the world if he could find someone who would renounce all claim to any son he might have, and the child was never to speak to his parents any more, nor to be acknowledged, and this lord would adopt him as his son, and leave him the whole of his estates, but that he had found great difficulty in procuring any parents who would forswear their relationship, and entirely give up their child. Whether this was correct or not, I cannot tell; but certainly this was not the case with God. His only-begotten and well-beloved Son was quite enough for Him; and, if He had needed a family, there were the angels, and His own omnipotence was adequate enough to have created a race of beings far superior to us; He stood in no need whatever of any to be His darlings. It was then, an act of simple, pure, gratuitous grace, and of nothing else, because He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and because He delights to show the marvellous character of His condescension.


1. We are taken out of the family of Satan. The prince of this world has no more claim upon us.

2. We have God's name put upon us.

3. We have the spirit as well as the name of children.

4. Access to the throne.

5. We are pitied by God. He pities thee, and that pity of God is one of the comforts that flow into thine heart by thine adoption.

6. In the next place, He protects thee. No father will allow his son to die without making some attempt to resist the adversary who would slay him, and God will never allow His children to perish while His omnipotence is able to guard them.

7. Once again, there is provision as well as protection. Every father will take care to the utmost of his ability to provide for his children.

8. And then you shall likewise have education. God will educate all His children till He makes them perfect men in Christ Jesus.

9. There is one thing perhaps you sometimes forget, which you are sure to have in the course of discipline if you are God's sons, and that is, God's rod.

10. Lastly, so sure as we are the children of God by adoption, we must inherit the promise that pertains to it — "If children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ." "If we suffer with Him, we shall also be glorified together."

III. THERE ARE SOME DUTIES WHICH ARE CONNECTED WITH ADOPTION. When the believer is adopted into the Lord's family, there are many relationships which are broken off. The relationship with old Adam and the law ceases at once; but then he is under a new law, the law of grace — under new rules, and under a new covenant. And now I beg to admonish you of duties, children of God. It is this — if God be thy father, and thou art His son, thou art bound to trust Him. Oh! if He were only thy Master, and thou ever so poor a servant, thou wouldst be bound to trust Him. But, when thou knowest that He is thy Father, wilt thou ever doubt Him?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

After the battle of Austerlitz, Napoleon immediately adopted all the children of the soldiers who had fallen. They were supported and educated by the State, and, as belonging to the family of the emperor, they were permitted to attach the name of Napoleon to their own.

It was at Vienna, in the year 1805, that Haydn, then seventy-three years of age, first met Cherubini, who, though not a young man, still must have appeared so to the veteran composer, being thirty years his junior, and not having then composed many of those works which have since made his name so famous. Bat the very fact of his own seniority was made use of by the old man to utter one of the most graceful compliments which could have been spoken for the encouragement of a younger worker. Handing to Cherubini one of his latest compositions, Haydn said, "Permit me to style myself your musical father, and to call you my son," words which made such an impression on Cherubini that he could not keep back the tears when he parted with the aged Haydn.


1. We must not so conceive of God's election, and the influence of His grace, as to set aside our free agency and final accountableness.

2. Nor must we so explain away God's sovereignty and grace as to exalt man to a state of independence.

II. THEY WERE CHOSEN TO BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLAME, BEFORE HIM, IN LOVE. Holiness consists in the conformity of the soul to the Divine nature and will, and is opposed to all moral evil. In fallen creatures it begins in the renovation of the mind after the image of God. Love is a main branch of holiness.


1. Adoption implies a state of freedom, in opposition to bondage.

2. Adoption brings us under the peculiar care of God's providence.

3. Adoption includes a title to a glorious resurrection from the dead, and to an eternal inheritance in the heavens.


V. THE SEASON OF GOD'S CHOOSING BELIEVERS IN CHRIST, AND PREDESTINATING THEM TO ADOPTION, IS THE GOOD PLEASURE OF HIS WILL. The original plan of salvation is from Him, not from us. The gospel is a Divine gift, not a human discovery; and our being in circumstances to enjoy it is not the effect of our previous choice, but of God's sovereign goodness.

VI. THE GREAT PURPOSE FOR WHICH GOD HAS CHOSEN AND CALLED US IS THE PRAISE OF THE GLORY OF HIS GRACE. Goodness is the glory of the Divine character; grace is the glory of the Divine goodness; the plan of salvation for sinners by Jesus Christ is the glory of Divine grace.

(J. Lathrop, D. D.)

I. CHRIST IS THE UNIQUE SON OF GOD. From what we know of our Lord as He lived among men, nothing so perfectly represents the impression which His character, spirit, and history produce upon us as the title which describes Him as the Son of God. Other men had been God's servants; He, too, was "born under the law;" but to speak of Him as a servant does not tell half the truth. He is a servant, and something more. There is an ease, a freedom, a grace about His doing of the will of God, which can belong only to a Son. About the Father's love for Him He has never any doubt; and there is no sign that His perfect faith is the result of discipline, or that it had ever been less secure and tranquil than it was in the maturity of His strength. When He speaks of the glory which is to come to Him after His death and resurrection, He is still a Son anticipating the honour to which the Father has always destined Him, and which indeed had always been His.

II. CHRISTIANS ARE THE ADOPTED SONS OF GOD. If we are "in Christ" we, according to God's eternal purpose, have become God's sons. The eternal relationship between Christ and the Father cannot belong to us; but all who are one with Christ share the blessedness, the security, and the honour of that relationship; and the life of Christ, which has its eternal fountains in the life of God, is theirs.

III. CHRISTIANS ARE MADE SONS OF GOD BY A NEW AND SUPERNATURAL BIRTH. Regeneration is sometimes described as though it were merely a change in a man's principles of conduct, character, taste, habits. If so, we should have to speak of a man as being more or less regenerate according to the extent of his moral reformation, which would be contrary to the idiom of New Testament thought. The simplest and most obvious account of regeneration is the truest. When a man is regenerated he receives a new life, and receives it from God. A higher nature comes to him than that which he inherited from his human parents; he is "begotten of God," "born of the Spirit."

IV. THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST EFFECTS OUR ADOPTION AND REGENERATION. The capacity for receiving the Divine life is native to us, but the actual realization of our sonship is possible only through Christ. Not until the Son of God became Man could men, either in this world or in worlds unseen, become the sons of God. The Incarnation raised human nature to a loftier level, lifted it nearer to God, fulfilled in a new and nobler manner the Divine idea of humanity.

V. THESE BLESSINGS ARE TO BE ASCRIBED SOLELY TO GOD'S INFINITE LOVE. We had no claim upon Him for gifts like these. Nor, in conferring them, did He act under the constraint of any law of His own nature which imposed upon Him either a necessity or an obligation to raise us to the dignity of Divine sonship. It is all the result of His free, unforced, spontaneous kindliness. What He has done for us is "to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed upon us in the Beloved."

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

1. Wherein does the predestination of the fifth verse differ from the election of the fourth? Election only, and always, refers to the Church; predestination refers to the Church, and the world, and the whole universe. It is a general, all-embracing principle. He elected us that we should be holy, and to accomplish this He predestined us to the adoption of sons. Election is a mere passive preference of some rather than others, while predestination is active, and includes the ideas of ordering, defining, and controlling all things according to a settled purpose and plan. Election is the foundation of a Church, and predestination is the basis of providence.

2. But what is this adoption to which we are predestinated? It is the very first of the privileges which Paul ascribes to the Jewish nation — "To whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law and the promises; whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed forever" (Romans 9:4, 5). In a wide sense, the Jews were nationally the children of God, and the principle of adoption was in their polity; for the Son of God, the Messiah, was the hope of the nation. They were His peculiar people (Deuteronomy 14:2). But the adoption is the peculiar privilege and glory of the New Testament Church, in which the incorruptible seed remains, because they are born of God.

3. This adoption into the family of God is by or through Jesus Christ.

4. The two words "unto Himself" has occasioned the commentators some trouble, and their sentiments are very various. But surely, looked at simply, the most common understanding can see no difficulty in this idea — "God has predestinated us unto the adoption of children to or for Himself." Is it not a Scriptural idea that the Church is the peculiar treasure and property of God? (See Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 14:2; Psalm 135:4; Titus 2:14)

5. Note here, also, that this predestination and adoption are according to the good pleasure of His will. This is the mode and the measure of His working.

6. We see here the purpose in which all His working, before time and in time, ends — "That we might be to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved" (ver. 6). The phrase "glory of His grace" is a Hebraism which our translators have rendered literally, but which means "His glorious grace." (For similar forms see Colossians 1:27; 2 Thessalonians 1:9) The purpose of electing and redeeming love is to form from among the sinners of mankind a people to the praise and glory of God. The glorious grace of God shines forth in the struggling, wrestling Church more than anywhere else in the creation; for it is there put to the severest tests, and, like the rainbow in clouds and storms, it is enhanced by the contrast. As sure, and so far as God is the Ruler and Governor of the world, the great end of every creature must be His glory; and as grace is the form in which His glory has shone forth most brightly on this earth, the highest aim of the redeemed creature — in all states and conditions of being — should ever be "to the praise of His glorious grace."

(W. Graham, D. D.)

I. THE ADOPTION OF CHILDREN TO HIMSELF, unto which we are said to be predestinated. The adoption of children necessarily implies that those admitted or chosen to this honour are not naturally or legally children, but become so only by the will and act of Him who adopts them.

1. The "adoption of children" is the permanent restitution of sinners unto the favour, love, and enjoyment of God.

2. There is implied or included in this a participation in the Divine Glory, through the gift of the Holy Spirit. The third person in the Trinity receives the peculiar name of the "Spirit of Adoption."

3. In "the adoption of children," all is included whatsoever is embraced in the "inheritance of the saints in light." "It doth not yet appear what we shall be." "The half hath not yet been told us" concerning the dignity and blessedness of heaven.

II. God hath PREDESTINATED US UNTO THE ADOPTION OF CHILDREN. Now this predestination stands connected with the election spoken of in the previous verse. In respect of the purpose or design of God, it is not to be distinguished from that election — as if the one preceded the other in the order of time. When He elected or chose us in His love, He also predestinated us in His wisdom and power, and when He predestinated us He also in love chose us. But the term election has respect more to the affection of the Divine Heart, so to speak; whereas the term predestination has respect more to the plan and purpose of the Divine Mind. It leads us to consider a certain definite end, purposed, determined, and secured — which in the present case is the adoption of children to Himself. Infinite wisdom, and infinite power, can infallibly carry out the designs of infinite sovereignty; and He who hath chosen us out of love can easily, in His sovereign wisdom and power, bring us into the possession of all that infinite love would have us to enjoy.

III. THE GROUND OF THIS PREDESTINATION, viz., "According to the good pleasure of His will." The expression is to be understood of that sovereign will of God which acknowledges no superior beyond itself, and no cause whatsoever moving it from without.

IV. THAT GOD'S PREDESTINATION AND THE GOOD PLEASURE OF HIS WILL ARE CARRIED OUT BY JESUS CHRIST — the Beloved — in whom we are accepted. The mystery of salvation is not perceived at all until we bring into account the necessity of such an atonement as could be effected only by the Son of God Himself.

V. THE FINAL END WHICH GOD HATH PROPOSED IN THE SALVATION OF THE CHURCH IS "the praise of the glory of His grace." "He hath predestinated us unto the adoption of children...to the praise of the glory of His grace." God can accomplish no higher or better end than the manifestation of His own glory. Since, in and of Himself, He is infinitely and eternally blessed, therefore it was an act of pure goodness on the part of God to create a race of intelligent beings, who being endowed with freedom of will, might, in the right exercise of their powers and faculties, find their happiness in contemplating His glory and sharing His favour. This freedom having been abused by all, in departing from the true object of delight and satisfaction, it becomes an act of grace on the part of God to renew to any the favours of His love and friendship. Contemplating sinners lying in their guilt and pollution and misery, God found the highest motive for extending to them His goodness entirely in Himself. "I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own name's sake."

(W. Alves, M. A.)

When the Crusaders heard the voice of Peter the Hermit, as he bade them go to Jerusalem to take it from the hands of the invaders, they cried out at once, "Deus vult; God wills it; God wills it"; and every man plucked his sword from its scabbard, and set out to reach the holy sepulchre, for God willed it. So come and drink, sinner; God wills it. Trust Jesus; God wills it. "Father, Thy will be done on earth even as it is in heaven."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Adoption is that act of God whereby men who were by nature the children of wrath even as others, are, entirely of the pure grace of God, translated out of the evil and black family of Satan, and brought actually and virtually into the family of God, so that they take His Name, share the privileges of sons, and are to all intents and purposes the actual offspring and children of God. Did you ever think what a high honour it is to be called a son of God? Suppose a judge of the land should have before him some traitor who was about to be condemned to die. Suppose that equity and law demanded this, but suppose it were possible for the judge to step from his throne and to say, "Rebel as thou air, I have found out a way whereby I can forgive thy rebellions. Man, thou art pardoned!" There is a flush of joy upon his cheek. "Man, thou art made rich; see, there is wealth!" Another smile passes over the countenance. "Man, thou art made so strong that; thou shalt be able to resist all thine enemies!" He rejoices again. "Man," saith the judge at last, "thou art adopted into the Royal Family, and thou shalt one day wear a crown! Thou art now as much the Son of God as thou art the son of thine own father." You can conceive the poor creature fainting with joy at such a thought.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Ephesians, Paul
Accordance, Adopted, Adoption, Beforehand, Christ, Designed, Desire, Destined, Foreordained, Gracious, Intention, Kind, Love, Marked, Pleasure, Position, Predestinated, Predestined, Pre-destined, Purpose, Sons
1. After Paul's salutation,
3. and thanksgiving for the Ephesians,
4. he treats of our election,
6. and adoption by grace;
11. which is the true and proper fountain of man's salvation.
13. And because the height of this mystery cannot be easily attained unto,
16. he prays that they may come to the full knowledge and possession thereof in Christ.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Ephesians 1:5

     2424   gospel, promises
     5682   family, significance
     5918   pleasure
     7115   children of God
     7142   people of God, NT

Ephesians 1:3-6

     6609   adoption

Ephesians 1:3-7

     1315   God, as redeemer

Ephesians 1:3-8

     6668   grace, and Christ
     6710   privileges

Ephesians 1:3-11

     9122   eternity, and God

Ephesians 1:3-14

     1513   Trinity, mission of
     5110   Paul, teaching of
     6639   election, to salvation
     6708   predestination
     6756   union with Christ, significance
     8412   decisions

Ephesians 1:4-5

     4065   orderliness
     6708   predestination
     7950   mission, of Christ

Ephesians 1:4-6

     1115   God, purpose of
     1355   providence
     6688   mercy, demonstration of God's

Ephesians 1:4-11

     6745   sanctification, nature and basis

Ephesians 1:4-13

     7125   elect, the

Ephesians 1:5-6

     1512   Trinity, equality of
     2078   Christ, sonship of
     7027   church, purpose

Ephesians 1:5-7

     1055   God, grace and mercy

Ephesians 1:5-10

     6512   salvation, necessity and basis

The True Christian Life
TEXT: "My beloved is mine, and I am his."--Sol. Song 2:16. "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine."--Sol. Song 6:3. "I am my beloved's and his desire is toward me."--Sol. Song 7:10. These three texts should be read together, and the significant change found in each text as the thought unfolds should be studied carefully. They remind one of three mountain peaks one rising higher than the other until the third is lifted into the very heavens. Indeed, if one should live in the spirit of this
J. Wilbur Chapman—And Judas Iscariot

Saints and Faithful
'The saints which are at Ephesus and the faithful in Christ Jesus.'--Eph. i. 1. That is Paul's way of describing a church. There were plenty of very imperfect Christians in the community at Ephesus and in the other Asiatic churches to which this letter went. As we know, there were heretics amongst them, and many others to whom the designation of 'holy' seemed inapplicable. But Paul classes them all under one category, and describes the whole body of believing people by these two words, which must
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Earnest and the Inheritance
'The earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession.'--Eph. i. 14. I have dealt with a portion of this verse in conjunction with the fragment of another in this chapter. I tried to show you how much the idea of the mutual possession of God by the believing soul, and of the believing soul by God, was present to the Apostle's thoughts in this context. These two ideas are brought into close juxtaposition in the verse before us, for, as you will see if you use the Revised
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Hope of the Calling
'That ye may know what is the hope of His calling.'--Eph. i. 18. A man's prayers for others are a very fair thermometer of his own religious condition. What he asks for them will largely indicate what he thinks best for himself; and how he asks it will show the firmness of his own faith and the fervour of his own feeling. There is nothing colder than the intercession of a cold Christian; and, on the other hand, in no part of the fervid Apostle Paul's writings do his words come more winged and fast,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

God's Inheritance in the Saints
'That ye may know what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.'--Eph. i. 18. The misery of Hope is that it so often owes its materials to the strength of our desires or to the activity of our imagination. But when mere wishes or fancies spin the thread, Hope cannot weave a lasting fabric. And so one of the old prophets, in speaking of the delusive hopes of man, says that they are like 'spiders' webs,' and 'shall not become garments.' Paul, then, having been asking for these
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

'All Spiritual Blessings'
'Blessed be God ... who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.'--Eph. i. 3. It is very characteristic of Paul's impetuous fervour and exuberant faith that he begins this letter with a doxology, and plunges at once into the very heart of his theme. Colder natures reach such heights by slow degrees. He gains them at a bound, or rather, he dwells there always. Put a pen into his hand, and it is like tapping a blast furnace; and out rushes a fiery stream at white
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

'According To' --II.
'According to the riches of His grace.'--Eph. i. 7. We have seen, in a previous sermon, that a characteristic note of this letter is the frequent occurrence of that phrase 'according to.' I also then pointed out that it was employed in two different directions. One class of passages, with which I then tried to deal, used it to compare the divine purpose in our salvation with the historical process of the salvation. The type of that class of reference is found in a verse just before my text, 'according
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

God's Inheritance and Ours
'In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, ... the earnest of our inheritance.'--Eph. i. 11, 14. A dewdrop twinkles into green and gold as the sunlight falls on it. A diamond flashes many colours as its facets catch the light. So, in this context, the Apostle seems to be haunted with that thought of 'inheriting' and 'inheritance,' and he recurs to it several times, but sets it at different angles, and it flashes back different beauties of radiance. For the words, which I have wrenched from their
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

The Measure of Immeasurable Power
That ye may know ... what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ.'--Eph. i. 19, 20. 'The riches of the glory of the inheritance' will sometimes quench rather than stimulate hope. He can have little depth of religion who has not often felt that the transcendent glory of that promised future sharpens the doubt--'and can I ever hope to reach it?' Our paths are strewn with battlefields where we were defeated;
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

'According To' --I.
'According to the good pleasure of His will, ... According to the riches of His grace.'--Eph. i. 5, 7. That phrase, 'according to,' is one of the key-words of this profound epistle, which occurs over and over again, like a refrain. I reckon twelve instances of it in three chapters of the letter, and they all introduce one or other of the two thoughts which appear in the two fragments that I have taken for my text. They either point out how the great blessings of Christ's mission have underlying
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John

Twenty-Fifth Day. Holy and Blameless.
Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe.--The Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His holy ones.'--1 Thess. ii. 10, iii. 12, 13. 'He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish before Him
Andrew Murray—Holy in Christ

A Sight of the Crowned Christ
(Revelation, Chapter i.) "Since mine eyes were fixed on Jesus, I've lost sight of all beside, So enchained my spirit's vision, Looking at the Crucified." "The Lord Christ passed my humble cot: I knew him, yet I knew him not; But as I oft had done before, I hurried through my narrow door To touch His garment's hem. "He drew me to a place apart From curious crowd and noisy mart; And as I sat there at His feet I caught the thrill of His heart-beat Beyond His garment's hem. "Rare was the bread He broke
by S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks on the Crowned Christ of Revelation

Redemption through Blood, the Gracious Forgiveness of Sins
READ THE CHAPTER, and carefully note how the apostle goes to the back of everything, and commences with those primeval blessings which were ours before time began. He dwells on the divine love of old, and the predestination which came out of it; and all that blessed purpose of making us holy and without blame before him in love, which was comprehended in the covenant of grace. It does us good to get back to these antiquities--to these eternal things. You shake off something of the dust of time, as
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 37: 1891

Blessing for Blessing
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ: 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."--Ephesians 1:3, 4. God blesses us; let us bless him. I pray that every heart here may take its own part in this service of praise. "O thou, my soul, bless God the Lord, And all that in me is, Be stirred up his holy name To magnify
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 38: 1892

The Treasure of Grace
There are no ministers who contend so fully and so unflinchingly for free, sovereign, unconditional grace, as those who before their conversion have revelled in gross and outrageous sin. Your gentleman preachers who have been piously brought up, and sent from their cradle to school, from school to college, and from college to the pulpit, without encountering much temptation, or being rescued from the haunts of profanity--they know comparatively little, and speak with little emphasis of free grace.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 6: 1860

Wisdom and Revelation.
"Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness
W. H. Griffith Thomas—The Prayers of St. Paul

Of Predestination
Rom. ix. 22.--"What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction." Eph. i. 11.--"In 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." We are now upon a high subject; high indeed for an eminent apostle, much more above our reach. The very consideration of God's infinite wisdom might alone suffice to restrain
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

The Instruction Given Us, However, is not that Every Individual in Particular is to Call...
The instruction given us, however, is not that every individual in particular is to call him Father, but rather that we are all in common to call him Our Father. By this we are reminded how strong the feeling of brotherly love between us ought to be, since we are all alike, by the same mercy and free kindness, the children of such a Father. For if He from whom we all obtain whatever is good is our common Father (Matth. 23:9), everything which has been distributed to us we should be prepared to communicate
John Calvin—Of Prayer--A Perpetual Exercise of Faith

The Work of God in Our Work.
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ."--1 Thess. v. 23. The difference between sanctification and good works should be well understood. Many confound the two, and believe that sanctification means to lead an honorable and virtuous life; and, since this is equal to good works, sanctification, without which no man shall see God, is made to consist in the earnest and diligent
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Concerning God's Purpose
1. God's purpose is the cause of salvation. THE third and last thing in the text, which I shall but briefly glance at, is the ground and origin of our effectual calling, in these words, "according to his purpose" (Eph. i. 11). Anselm renders it, According to his good will. Peter Martyr reads it, According to His decree. This purpose, or decree of God, is the fountainhead of our spiritual blessings. It is the impulsive cause of our vocation, justification, glorification. It is the highest link in
Thomas Watson—A Divine Cordial

Brought Nigh
"Riches of His grace."--Eph. i. 7. "Riches of His glory."--Eph. iii. 16. W. R. tr., Emma Frances Bevan, 1899 Rich, our God, art Thou in mercy, Dead in sins were we, When Thy great love rested on us, Sinners, dear to Thee. Blessed path of grace that led us From the depths of death To the fair eternal mansions Quickened by Thy breath. Riches of Thy grace have brought us There, in Christ, to Thee; Riches of Thy glory make us Thy delight to be. Not alone the stream that cleansed us Flowed from Jesus
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen and Others (Second Series)

Prolegomena. Section i. --The Life.
S. Gregory Nazianzen, called by the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus "The Great," and universally known as "The Theologian" or "The Divine," a title which he shares with S. John the Evangelist alone among the Fathers of the Church, was, like the great Basil of Cæsarea and his brother Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, by birth a Cappadocian. He was born at Arianzus, a country estate belonging to his father, in the neighbourhood of Nazianzus. This latter, sometimes called Nazianzum, is a place quite unknown
St. Cyril of Jerusalem—Lectures of S. Cyril of Jerusalem

Introductory Notice.
[From Vol. VII., p. 515 of the Ante-Nicene Fathers.] The first certain reference which is made by any early writer to this so-called Epistle of Clement is found in these words of Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., iii. 38): "We must know that there is also a second Epistle of Clement. But we do not regard it as being equally notable with the former, since we know of none of the ancients that have made use of it." Several critics in modern times have endeavoured to vindicate the authenticity of this epistle.
Rev. John Keith, D.D.—The Epistles of Clement

"From Heaven He came and sought her To be His Holy Bride, With His own Blood He bought her, And for her life He died." "The Kingdom of Heaven," what is it? It is the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of Christ. It is that Kingdom which was prophetically set forth by our Lord in His parables; that Kingdom, the subjects of which were described in His teaching, and redeemed by His Blood to be His own "purchased possession" (Eph. i. 14); that Kingdom which was founded through the coming of the Holy
Edward Burbidge—The Kingdom of Heaven; What is it?

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