Online Bible Commentary
A Spiritual Blessing
Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. (NKJV)
The book of Ephesians is part of what is known as the Prison Epistles. The writings, themselves, affirm that the epistles were written by the Apostle Paul from prison.
There are differing opinions as to during which of Paul’s prison confinements the epistles were written. There are many sources that discuss this subject fully. For our purposes, we will go along with the thought of most scholars that Paul wrote the prison epistles during his house arrest in Rome.
Paul was under house arrest in Rome for two years, probably AD 60-62. Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon were likely written during the first part of Paul’s stay, while Philippians was likely written towards the end of Paul’s house arrest. Philippians was more optimistic concerning an impending release, which leads most scholars to think that it was the last Prison Epistle written.
The book of Ephesians can be divided into two halves. The first half, the first three chapters, is concerned with the positional; doctrine outlining our position in Christ. The second half, the last three chapters, is concerned with the practical; how we work out our position in the practical living of our Christian life. This is similar to the breakdown of the book of Romans.
The epistle was written to the house churches in Ephesus, Asia. The idea was that this authoritative letter would be passed along to other churches in Asia Minor.
Paul begins the letter with his usual introduction. He writes “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (vv. 1-2).
Paul continues, through his amanuensis, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 3a). He blesses God the Father, the Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Our Father has “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (v. 3b). Christians have been blessed with blessings from Heaven, blessings that only God can give us.
Next, Paul identifies one such blessing. Paul writes that Our Father “chose us in Him” (v. 4a). The Father chose us to be “in Him”, in Christ.
Every person on earth is born “in Adam”, one with mankind, under the control of Satan and destined for Hell. When we become a Christian, positionally we are “in Christ”, one with Him, under His control and destined for Heaven.
Then, Paul writes that God the Father chose us “before the foundation of the world” (v. 4b). God chose us before the creation, before we were even born.
The Father chose us to be a Christian before we were born, but not before he knew us. For He knew us before that.
Paul previously wrote “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. (Romans 8:29-30).
God foreknew everything about us, everything we are and everything we have done and will do, before we were ever born. Then he chose us, He predestined us, with that knowledge.
He chose us “that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (v. 4c). Positionally, as Christians, we are seen as holy and blameless in the eyes of God. These are the doctrines of sanctification and justification, respectively.
Paul wrote “having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ” (v. 5a). The Father chose us to be adopted as His sons and daughters to be in Christ, to be Christians.
The Father chose us “according to the good pleasure of His will” (v. 5b). It was the will of God that He chose us to be Christians. It was by His grace, and not by any favor we could do for Him.
Paul closes this passage by writing “to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved” (v. 6). The Father chose us so that He would be glorified through accepting us in Christ, the Beloved, by the grace of God.
So, as Christians we have been given the spiritual blessing of being chosen by God to be His adopted child. And what a wonderful blessing that is.