How rich is God? What are the “exceeding riches” of His grace? We will never know this side of Heaven, and then it will take all eternity for Him to show it all to us: “That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7). However, here in Ephesians Chapter One, we have a list of some of the “golden nuggets” found in God’s Grace Gold Mine.
1. God has “chosen us” (1:4a). This is the Doctrine of Election (eklego—Gk.). Believers in this Dispensation of Grace are both individually and corporately “chosen.” This election is the work of a sovereign God. We will never understand all the mechanics of election and must be content to know that election begins and ends with God.
God’s “choice” is not divorced from purpose. Even as the Twelve Apostles were chosen to the purpose of apostleship (Jn. 15:16), so the Body of Christ, as an agency for the execution of the plan of God (Eph. 3:10-11) is chosen to:
(1) Privilege = Union with Christ
(2) Position = enthronement with Christ (2:6)
(3) Purpose = to the praise of His grace and glory (1:6, 12)
2. Grace has “sanctified us” (1:4b). This is the result of God the Father having imputed, to the believer’s account, the very righteousness of Christ (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 3:21-22). For this reason alone, we have received a new standing and a sacred trust:
(1) Our Standing: “holy and without blame” – cf., 5:27. We were set apart to be enthroned with Christ and occupy the privilege, position, and purpose that was forfeited by Satan and the angelic Cosmos Rulers (kosmoskrateros—Gk.) who fell with him (cf., Ezek. 28:11-19).
(2) Our Sacred Trust: “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye were called” – i.e., to “guard / keep the unity of the Spirit” (Eph. 4:1-6).
3. Grace has “predestinated us” (1:5a). This is a claim to be made only by the person who is “in Christ” (proorizo—Gk. / to mark out beforehand). Christ is the only one to ever have a pre-determined destiny. The believer “in Christ” shares his destiny.
Predestination is spoken of only three times in the New Testament. As such, the believer is:
(1) To be placed in the family of God as an adult son, with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities. There are no second-class Christians: “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:5).
(2) To receive an eternal inheritance: “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” (Eph. 1:11).
(3) To be conformed into the image of Christ: “For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many children” (Rom. 8:29).
4. Grace has “adopted us” – (1:5). God has no children that are not born to Him (Titus 3:5-6). God’s children are placed in the family as adults (huiothesia—Gk.) – once so placed, it was impossible to be disowned.
This is illustrated by the “adoption” custom and culture of the ancient Romans, not by our current laws and customs.
5. Grace has “accepted us” – (1:6). There are no losers here in God’s family. God has embraced us in grace. We will never be more completely acceptable to God than we are right now!
6. Grace has “redeemed us” – (1:7a). We, former slaves to sin, self and the Devil, have been set free from the slave market (apolutrosis—Gk.). The purchase price has been paid (Col. 1:14; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). The sin debt was cancelled (Col. 2:14), and salvation is received as a gift by faith (Rom. 3:25).
7. Grace has “forgiven us” – (1:7b). The immediate result of our redemption is complete forgiveness (Rom. 8:1). The Old Testament teaching of the “scapegoat” symbolically represents the removal of our sins into the “wilderness” of God’s forgiveness. Our sins are not just forgotten, they are completely G O N E!
8. Grace has “enlightened us” – (1:8-10). This is inside information that has been hidden from the saints in the past concerning what God is doing in this dispensation. Here we learn how we fit into the overall plan of God, and how it all relates to the yet future Dispensation of “The Fulness of Times.” It is this information that keeps us from thinking and acting like slaves. How wonderful it is to be both free and informed.
9. Grace has “enriched us” – (1:11-12). God desires to share His riches with those who believe. We can only speculate what this future “inheritance” is. We do know that members of the Body of Christ shall inherit it jointly with the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:17; Eph. 3:6).
10. Grace has “sealed us” – (1:13-14). This seal confirms ownership and safe arrival of the object to which it is attached. This “sealing” is a wonderful pledge from God that we belong to Him, and both we and our inheritance are assured in Heaven.