Three times in verses 6 – 14 we find the phrase, “to the praise of his glory…” and dealing especially with His grace. First is it is written, “To the praise of the glory of his grace…” (v. 6), then we find; “…we should be to the praise of his glory…” (v. 12); and lastly; “…unto the praise of his glory.” (v. 14). It should not come as a great surprise to the Christian that we are for the purpose of His glory.
Knowing this should thrill our hearts and souls. To know that we are for the purpose of His glory ought to cause us, by the power of His Spirit within, to live lives that are scented with the fragrances of heaven.
THE PURPOSE OF OUR CALLING (v. 6; Romans 3:23). Before there was Jesus Christ on earth as man we were in condemnation. We were walking in ourselves, self-willed, without self-control, rebellious, and enemies of God. That’s right! I said, “Enemies of God” (James 4:4). That was my estate before Christ, and the estate of everyone before they have faith in Him.
God’s purpose in calling us to Himself is for His glory, and to redeem a people unto Himself. He loves us, and sent His Son Jesus to be the propitiation – the recipient of God’s wrath in our behalf. By this one glorious event we now have fellowship, restored likeness with God our Creator. We are accepted in His sight. That our lives might be for the purpose of His glory, and the magnification of His grace.
BE THANKFUL FOR YOUR REDEMPTION THAT IS BY THE BLOOD OF JESUS (v. 7). It is only through the blood of Jesus that we have redemption (1 Peter 1:18-19). Because of sin the law requires death. The blood is life for the sacrifice of sin (Leviticus 17:11).
By the shedding of blood God is just in forgiving our sins (Hebrews 9:22).
Slaves were bought and sold by millions in Rome of Paul’s day. We were slaves of sin. Jesus purchased us from sin’s bondage, by the shedding of His own blood, and set us free.
This price was not paid because you and I deserve it, but because of the riches of His grace.
THE GRACE AND THE INHERITANCE PROVIDED US THROUGH OUR LORD JESUS (vv. 8-12). This grace of God is far more abundant than we can ever imagine. He has over supplied it – (grace abounded) fully supplied – for us in making known to us “the mystery of His will”. Mystery sometimes excites us. By something being a mystery does not mean something spooky, eerie, or of which to fear. Mystery causes mankind to be curious. The mystery of His will was not fully revealed until Jesus came, died on the cross, was buried carrying the guilt, shame, and condemnation of sin away, was risen, and ascended into the clouds; and through the apostles; including Paul. It is still mysterious how that God could become man, bleed, die, then rise again bodily from the grave. Some things God reveals, we must trust rather than understand.
By coming to the Lord Jesus we are place into God’s “Inner circle” and He reveals, to those who are His, His will concerning reconciliation of men to God, man to man, man to creation, Jew to Gentile, and earth to Heaven.
For verse eleven it has been translated to read, “In Him we were also made His inheritance…” (HCSB). There is no real problem with that since we are told in the Psalms, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Psalms 2:8 (KJV). We Gentiles who are in Christ are His possession, and inheritance in Him. We have also received our inheritance in Him. In the gospel of John Jesus mentions, at least six times, “…Those whom You have given Me” (John 17).
For the second time the apostle uses the term predestination. As God’s children He has completed the work or plan for our lives in His Son Jesus Christ. He has a predetermined purpose for our lives and brings them about, “after the counsel of His own will”. We must remember that God does not have one plan for when everything goes well in our lives; and another for when things don’t go so well. He only has one plan for Christians, and that is a completed salvation. As Paul wrote to the Philippians, “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ…” Philippians 1:6 (KJV). His plan will not fail.
These verses end with doxology. Words of praise and adoration. A life lived in praise and adoration of His is what He desires. This is a great part of our inheritance – to praise, adore, magnify, and glorify our Lord. By the Holy Spirit within we are equipped to live such a life.
“Who first trusted in Christ” is most likely a reference to the Jews who began the first church of Jerusalem. No matter to whom it may refer; it is the calling of all followers, believers of Jesus Christ, “To be to the praise of His glory”.
THE SEALING OF THE SPIRIT AND THE EARNEST UNTIL OUR REDEMPTION (vv. 13-14). Paul has written “…To the Jew first…” meaning that to them the gospel came first of all. Jews were the first to hear and first to believe; though the numbers were very few. Now the gospel has come to Ephesus – Gentiles. This same Jesus of whom a few Jews had trusted was also the One in whom the Ephesians were trusting.
How did this transpire?
1. They heard the gospel which was preached unto them;
2. They believed the gospel – that is they put it to work in their lives;
3. They were then “sealed” or baptized into Jesus by the Holy Spirit.
* Water had nothing to do with this “sealing” nor the “baptism” (1 Corinthians 12:13).
This “sealing” is one that speaks of and guarantees several things. First, it is a promise, from God, of a finished transaction. The full price of sin was paid. When we believe on Christ and His finished work we become Christ’s inheritance and He becomes ours. It is as good as done.
Secondly, this seal implies ownership. We are marked by God, bearing His mark on us throughout the rest of our lives and into eternity. “For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20). He is our owner. We have no rights of our own. We are branded/marked by the cross of Jesus Christ.
In the third place, the seal means security and protection. There is nothing you or I can do to break off this seal. It is eternal. We are protected and secured from Satan, and all his forces, as well as protected from ourselves.
Fourthly, the seal is one of authenticity. It takes more than a profession of the lips, religious activity, good works, etc.. If there is no witness of the Holy Spirit in the professor’s life, that is where Christ is not (Romans 8:9). “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17). The Holy Spirit is the mark of an authentic Christian.
Finally, the seal can be an engagement ring. The promise of a full and meaningful relationship, in the Christian example, for all eternity.
The Holy Spirit is the guarantee from God to the Christian that God will come and redeem the body of the man as well as his soul.
From verse three through verse fourteen there has been three doxologies. The first speaks of the Father. Why has He chosen, adopted and accepted us? “To the praise of the glory of His grace” (v. 6). The second speaks of the Son. Why has the Son redeemed us, forgiven us, and revealed God’s will to us and blessed us with His inheritance? “To the praise of His glory” (v. 12). The third speaks of the Holy Spirit. Why has God the Spirit sealed us and become the guarantee of future hope and blessing? “unto the praise of His glory” (v. 14).
In conclusion God has blessed us with “all spiritual blessings… in Christ Jesus”. The gifts and riches of Christ are far beyond what we deserve. Yet, they are ours when we trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
All of heaven is yours and mine in Christ. Jesus died, shed his blood, that you might be renewed to the place God intended you to be. Believe Jesus. Trust His Word, and you shall be saved eternally.
-Tim A. Blankenship