Si-1098732538Ephesians 1 – Christ in the Heavenly Places

“Nowhere is the Spirit of revelation more evident than in this letter. Charles Hodge rightly observes: ‘The epistle reveals itself as the work of the Holy Ghost as clearly as the stars declare their maker to be God[1].’ “

1. 1:1-3 After some opening remarks and greetings,[2] Paul launches us right into a deep and profound statement[3]. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Heavenly places are obviously not earthly places. Here we have an introduction into the spiritual realm.[4] We are opening the door into a vast uncharted territory. This is a realm that needs to be entered into, and a realm that the majority of the church[5] knows little about. This is the Supernatural Realm. This is (relatively) where God is. The secret is that we not only have access to this realm, but we are blessed with Christ here also.

  1. 1:4-8 We were chosen to be blameless before the world. Only the blameless ones have access to the things of the Spirit. We are blameless because of Jesus’ blood was shed for us and now we can enter into God’s presence (v7).
  2. 3. 1:9-10 The mystery of God’s will was made known to us according to the kind intention–Christ graciously dying for us not only to save us, but to give us access to the Spirit that we might shake the heavens and the earth in Jesus name–which he purposed in Him. With a view–sight, illumination–to an administration-stewardship, plan. The mystery of His will made known to us–the church, a mature body of stewards revealing the mysteries to natural and supernatural creation, seeing–with a vision of–administering His will will bring about fullness–completeness of Christ manifesting and manifested in all things natural and supernatural.We are chosen (v4) to know the will of God and make it known in the correctness of time and proper stewardship of a full and mature church, which sums up everything in Christ. The verse could read: With a view to a ministry suitable to the fulfillment of the times that sums up, and is summing up all things in Christ. The mystery of His will is that through us He is fulfilled because His power is toward us who believe (19), we are His body (23), we are fulfilling His call, bringing all things into fullness (see note on 2:6).
  3. 1:11-12 Us being in these heavenly places and being blessed, knowing the will of God and having a spiritual inheritance, is a demonstration that the church is to function in this, and not only that, but to flourish. As stated in v10, only a church with fullness can be the fullness thereof and demonstrate the fullness of Christ to the earth and spirit, bringing about the fullness of the times. This is His purpose. The counsel of His will is for us to know His will, which brings us as the church into fullness, which in turn brings about the fullness of the time. Christ died so that we would walk in this. This is the plan of the ages; to bring us into maturity and out of that maturity, to carry out the commission of the Gospel, fulfilling the plan of God. And all of this is basically summed up here in these verses, and it’s out of this foundation and context, and with these lenses on that we will continue through the book.
  4. 1:13-17 As stated in verse 11, we have an inheritance in God, in the supernatural realm. When we believe in the Gospel, we are saved and the Holy Spirit gives life to our spirits, causing us to be born again in the spirit. We are sealed in this spiritual life with the Holy Spirit. God dwells in us and this is the pledge of not only our inheritance of eternal life, but that we have access to all the blessings of that eternal life here and now in through the Spirit of God. A church that knows about these things and understands, and operates in them is a church that is moving in, and moving toward fullness (v17)[6]. Remember, as we progress, we are building on what we have already learned. We are blessed in the heavenly places to know the mysteries of God, being sealed by the Spirit, to access of an inheritance, bringing fullness about. Next, all this will culminate.
  5. 18-23 Christ – the Source of the Body
  6. 1:18-19 The greatness of power. Coming right off the knowledge vs (17), we see that our eyes spiritually must be opened to see these things–these blessings in heavenly places, inheritance, the riches, the calling. It will take us understanding this to realize what he means in v 20-23. We have God’s power in us as believers in Jesus (v 3:20-this power in us). He has given us intimate access to Himself and all the power that it curtails. He died just to give it to us His church, His body.
  7. 1:20-21 The strength of God is demonstrated in a crucified, yet resurrected Savior. He is at the Right hand of power. There are none who are above Him. He is the ultimate and supreme Ruler and Source of power any and everywhere ever. Now and in eternity, He is it. He is the highest rank, a rank which only He could obtain by shedding His blood.
  8. 1:22-23 Everything in the entire universe, heavenly places, eternity: it is all subject to Him. And gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Do we realize the magnitude of this? All this aforementioned authority Christ has, God has given to us through Jesus name. All the fullness of who Christ is should be seen here and now, in His Church, His Body. We should be walking revelations that Jesus Christ is real, Lord, and that everything He said and everything we say about Him and what He did and can do is real. Paul and the Spirit do not leave us here, but as we go through more of the letter, the Spirit will show us how to reach this mature and full state and how to continually grow in it and become more like Jesus!

[1] J. Wesly Adams and Donald Stamps (posthumously), Life in the Spirit NT Commentary: Ephesians, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999, 2003), p 1019. I thought this an excellent introductory statement. I feel the essence of Ephesians is entirely supernatural. The beginning of this quote is also impact-full: Ephesians is a majestic letter that stands as one of the mountain peaks of biblical revelation…This was a short exert form the introduction in the Ephesians section in the commentary.[2] The second verse states at Ephesus; these words do not appear in many early manuscripts. The letter was written to the region of churches surrounding the church at Ephesus.

[3] In verse 3, he sets the stage for everything else that he is going to write. It is important for us to get on track now, and stay on track to better understand the theme and themes of the letter.

[4] I will use the words spiritual realm and supernatural realm at different times throughout this study, but I am essentially meaning the same thing by them. I am just switching them for different emphasis.

[5] Well, a majority of western church.

[6] There is so much to v17, I am not going to try to expound upon it all here. We must have a knowledge of the spiritual. We will study this more later and cross reference with 1 Corinthians 2, for further insight.

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