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 verse 14. Sandwiched in the middle of those two verses are the Ephesians' believing in Christ and being sealed with the Holy Spirit. Note closely however, that the focus is not so much on the believer as it is on the promise of God to impart to the believer the inheritance 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 in Christ 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. Though predestination is a hard doctrine to digest, and though it makes us uncomfortable and violates our view of who God is, it is nevertheless a truth that cannot be ignored. It is truth because the Bible clearly portrays the doctrine here and throughout its pages. A few examples will suffice to prove this point: Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household 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 before Pharaoh all the miracles that I have put in your power. But I will harden his heart, so that 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 go to 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 about God's sovreignty over mankind. I have simply pointed to these passages to concrete the idea that predestination is present throughout Scripture; and Paul makes no attempt to hide the fact that we are blessed only because of God's choosing of us and His mercy upon 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 this is for us to realize the fact that in eternity past no one existed but God alone. That is 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 reinterpret what Paul says as the fact of God knowing in advance who would and would not believe. But this is not the case for God is the creator of all things including time, circumstances, and will. So the question remains is, does God simply know (cognative knowledge) of who will excercise faith in Him, or does He know (omnisciently) because He creates the time, person, and circumstanes under which that person will excercise faith in Christ? God not only knows what is going to happen He causes it to happen. That is why Joseph could confidently decalre 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 an aorist tense (completed action) but also in a passive voice. Simply put, it means that 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 is throughout all Scripture. Why was God favorable towards Abraham? Because He chose him (Gen 18:18). Abraham certainly did not ask to be sought after. He continued in everyday life worshiping false gods until Yaweh called him to leave Ur. And why did the Lord bless the stubborn, wicked, rebellious Israelites and give them the Promised Land? Because He loved them and chose them as His own people (Deut 7:7-10). In the same manner, God has chosen us as His special people; a people to be holy and blameless before Him (v.4). And I can certainly assure you that there was nothing in us that would cause Him to choose us except for 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 According to 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 as something that has been determined or that which will come about (Thayers, G2307. See also, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, pp.73-136 for a detailed discussion of the Genetive case and its multi-faceted use; [the Genetive is used in the Greek construction in the last clause of verse 11]). So, in Paul's mind the inheritance of the believer has already been obtained. Note that it is obtained to the praise of His glory. This inheritance is tied to the two phrases mentioned earlier: (1). According to the purpose of Him Everything God does is always to glorify His own Name and cause His people to praise Him. 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 upon our salvation, but our salvation is dependent upon (and with great mercy and love) God's glory. Scripture testifies over and over again that God does these things in spite of us rather than on account of us (Isa 63:14; Ex 33:19; Isa 43:7; Ezek 20:14; 1Pe 1:20; 1Joh 2:12). (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 for He is the creator of all things. He already possesses complete and perfect knowledge for He had already in mind what He was to do before He began the process of creation (Isa 46:10). Regarding our inheritence, Jesus was the Lamb slain from the foudation of the world (1Pe 1:20; Re 13:8) and all counsel is within the Triune Godhead so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory. The beauty of this is twofold: (1) We are the beneficiaries of God's counsel having been predestined. It is something 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 is still glorified. If every person were to willingly bow their knee to Christ, He is still glorified. 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 these decisions. This seems a bit trifling to point out but it is truth. God made, decreed, and acted upon His own counsel. No outside force was there to persuade or dissuade Him from any course of action; and when we come across the doctrine of predestination in the Bible we would do well to remember this. God is still in control of every situation. Many

are offended at the idea that God is the one who chooses the recepients of His grace. Yet, the text is very clear in saying that the cause of our inheritance is the fact of our having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will. Can Paul be any clearer? God needs no defense for the actions He makes and we disservice God greatly when we insist that He work according to our sense of justice and fairness. When we begin to meddle in God's counsel we may receive the same answer that a well-loved character of the Bible received: Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me (Job 38:1-3). The simple fact of the matter is, God is God and we are not. All the good, the bad, and the ugly of this world belong to His counsel; His secret counsel of which no man has ever entered, and we would do well to leave God as the final Orchestrator of all matters, including our salvation. Application We have been created solely for God's glory and His Name. If we are in Christ it is because of His grace; if we are inheritors of the crown it is because of His love and mercy; if we have answered the gospel call it is because of His purpose and the counsel of His will. God's main concern is To the praise of His glory. How awesome that God would choose from among His creatures those of us who are unlovely and not deserving of anything but death and condemnation! And God has done this so that we will break forth in unhindered praise and sing mightly to God: Sing to the LORD, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. (Ps 96:2) How awesome is our God!

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