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Inheritors of the Crown

Inheritors of the Crown

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Published by Steven Long

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Published by: Steven Long on Oct 12, 2009
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07/04/2010

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Inheritors of the Crown
 
Again, the glory of God and Christ are the central theme in this passage as Paul's phrase,
To the praise of His glory
is stated twice; at the end of verse 12 and then again at verse14. Sandwiched in the middle of those two verses are the Ephesians' believing in Christand being sealed with the Holy Spirit. Note closely however, that the focus is not somuch on the believer as it is on the promise of God to impart to the believer theinheritance that rightly belongs to Christ. This passage can be outlined as follows:
The Obtaining of the Inheritance
While Paul focuses on the inheritance of the believer, pointing to the riches they have inChrist Jesus with the Father, he also makes it very clear the reason behind the inheritance.It has
nothing
to do with us and
everything
to do with God. He gives two reasons for this:
A. Having been predestined
First, is the idea that we have already been selected unto this inheritance. Thoughpredestination is a hard doctrine to digest, and though it makes us uncomfortable andviolates our view of who God is, it is nevertheless a truth that cannot be ignored. It istruth because the Bible clearly portrays the doctrine here and throughout its pages. A fewexamples will suffice to prove this point:
 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will beblessed through him. For
 I have chosen
him, so that he will direct his children and hishousehold after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him. (Gen 18:18-19)
 
 And the LORD said to Moses, "When you go back to Egypt, see that you do beforePharaoh all the
 
miracles that I have put in your power.
 But 
 
 I will harden his heart,
sothat he will not let the people go. . .And he said, "I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name 'The LORD.' And 
 
 I will be
gracious
to whom I will be gracious, and will 
show mercy
on whom I will show mercy.(Ex 4:21, 33:19)
 
 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and 
 
glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were
appointed to eternal life
believed. (Acts 13:48)
 
 
The beast that you saw
 
was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit 
 
and goto destruction. And the dwellers on earth
whose names have not been written
in
 
the book of life
 from the foundation of the world 
will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. (Re 17:8)
 Of course, these passsages represent a very small portion of Scripture that talk aboutGod's sovreignty over mankind. I have simply pointed to these passages to concrete theidea that predestination is present throughout Scripture; and Paul makes no attempt tohide the fact that we are blessed only because of God's choosing of us and His mercyupon our wicked selves.There are two other things I would like to briefly point to before moving on:1.
 
 In Scripture, predestination always has God as its subject.
My point in saying thisis for us to realize the fact that in eternity past no one existed but God alone. Thatis to say that the only one around who made the decisions concerning salvation,sanctification, and any other action was solely God. Most would try and re-interpret what Paul says as the fact of God knowing in advance who would andwould not believe. But this is not the case for God is the creator of all thingsincluding time, circumstances, and will. So the question remains is, does Godsimply know (cognative knowledge) of who will excercise faith in Him, or doesHe know (omnisciently) because He creates the time, person, and circumstanesunder which that person will excercise faith in Christ? God not only knows whatis going to happen
He causes it to happen.
That is why Joseph could confidentlydecalre to his brothers,
"Do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God." (Gen 45:5, 7-8)
Now, Paul relays this sovreignty to the Ephesians. In fact,Paul's usage of both words of 'obtained' and 'predestination' are not only in anaorist tense (completed action) but also in a passive voice. Simply put, it meansthat the subjects of this sentence (us) are being acted upon (by an outside agent.i.e, God) rather than doing the action for ourselves.2.
 
Predestination always precedes any spiritual blessing.
This is simply a fact that isthroughout all Scripture. Why was God favorable towards Abraham? Because Hechose him (Gen 18:18). Abraham certainly did not ask to be sought after. Hecontinued in everyday life worshiping false gods until Yaweh called him to leaveUr. And why did the Lord bless the stubborn, wicked, rebellious Israelites andgive them the Promised Land? Because He loved them and chose them as Hisown people (Deut 7:7-10). In the same manner, God has chosen us as His specialpeople; a people to be holy and blameless before Him (v.4). And I can certainlyassure you that there was nothing in us that would cause Him to choose us exceptfor pure, unhindered love and mercy (1Pe 2:4, 9; Mt 22:14; Ro 11:5, etc.).
B. According to His purpose
 
 
There are two phrases here in verse 11:
 According to the purpose of Him
and
 Accordingto the counsel of His will.
The Greek words used are boule and thelema, respectively.Both can be interchangebly used in the sense of 'will.' Often, thelema is used assomething that has been determined or that which will come about (Thayers, G2307. Seealso,
Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics,
pp.73-136 for a detailed discussion of theGenetive case and its multi-faceted use;
[
the Genetive is used in the Greek construction inthe last clause of verse 11
]
).So, in Paul's mind the inheritance of the believer has already been obtained. Note that it isobtained
to the praise of His glory.
This inheritance is tied to the two phrases mentionedearlier:
(1). According to the purpose of Him
 Everything God does is always to glorify His own Name and cause His people to praiseHim. His glory is first and foremost while our salvation and sanctification is secondary.Let us never make the mistake of reversing the two: God's glory is not dependent uponour salvation, but our salvation is dependent upon (and with great mercy and love) God'sglory. Scripture testifies over and over again that God does these things in spite of usrather than on account of us (Isa 63:14; Ex 33:19; Isa 43:7; Ezek 20:14; 1Pe 1:20; 1Joh2:12).
(2). The counsel of His will
 This phrase alone signifies a great deal. The nuances are plain and Paul makes use of them well here. There are two that can be discussed here.First, the counsel
belongs to God and God alone.
He has no need to consult another forHe is the creator of all things. He already possesses complete and perfect knowledge forHe had already in mind what He was to do before He began the process of creation (Isa46:10). Regarding our inheritence, Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foudation of theworld (1Pe 1:20; Re 13:8) and all counsel is within the Triune Godhead so that
we whowere the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory.
The beauty of this istwofold: (1) We are the beneficiaries of God's counsel
having been predestined.
It issomething that causes us to break forth in praise which in turn causes God to be glorified.(2) God still recieves the glory from His own counsel regardless of what may come. If God damns every person to Hell, He is still glorified. If He saves some and not all, He isstill glorified. If every person were to willingly bow their knee to Christ, He is stillglorified. No matter which way we turn the key God's glory is always at the other end of the lock.The second aspect of God's counsel is this:
no one was there when He made thesedecisions.
This seems a bit trifling to point out but it is truth. God made, decreed, andacted upon His own counsel. No outside force was there to persuade or dissuade Himfrom any course of action; and when we come across the doctrine of predestination in theBible we would do well to remember this. God is still in control of every situation. Many

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