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Ephesians: Blessed In The Beloved With The Riches Of Grace

 

To the praise of His glorious grace.

Ephesians 1:6

Paul’s heart is overflowing here with praise to the Lord in the midst of this section of Scripture; later he speaks again “to the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:12, 14). Paul is recognizing and reminding all believers that our salvation is all of grace and all of the unmerited favor of God through Jesus Christ. When Paul speaks of His “glorious grace,” or the ‘glory of His grace,” he is using the Greek word “doxa,” which speaks of the appearance or the form of someone or something that catches the eye or attracts attention, thus speaking of its splendor and brilliance, or the glory which attracts or captures the gaze.

With respect to God, the word embraces the excellence and perfection of the divine nature. It comprises all that God will appear to be in His final revelation to us (Rom. 5:2), and even though we have not seen God in His glory, His glory has been displayed in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, as John notes when he writes that “We have seen His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father,” (John 1:14). When His grace is bestowed upon a sinner in salvation, the glorious splendor of God is revealed and is known, but maybe not seen by the eye yet known in His great grace and work of forgiveness in salvation.

When that happens, how can we withhold our tongues and our voices from praising Him, and how can we not live our lives to His glory? This is what we see in John’s vision of heaven when he writes “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing” (Rev. 5:12). This is why Paul says here “with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.”

This glorious grace is only through the Son, the Beloved, and because we are in the Beloved we are blessed to have grace. In Christ we have grace, in Christ, we are highly favored, and in Christ, we are accepted. All the spiritual blessings we have are because we are in the Beloved.

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our transgressions, according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7).

The phrase “in Him,” or “in whom,” or “in Christ” is used often in this epistle. It is used twelve times in the first chapter alone. Paul employs the phrases “Faithful in Christ” (Eph. 1:1), “Every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3), “Adopted and accepted in Him” (Eph. 1:5-6), and “You were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit” (Eph. 1:13). 

This phrase centers on the fact that our redemption and status as children of God is in Christ alone. The word for “redemption” comes from a word in Greek that speaks to release on payment of a ransom. The recalling of captives from slavery to sin is accomplished alone by Christ through the shedding of His blood.

We are naturally slaves to sin: “Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin’” (John 8:34). Our freedom from that slavery comes only through Christ: “So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). Paul tells us what the ransom price is for our sin. This redemption is through His blood.

The blood of Christ is mentioned at least twenty-six times from Romans throughout the rest of the New Testament. We are told that “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). We see it also in Romans 3:25; Acts 2:38, 10:43; and Matthew 26:28. The necessity of shed blood for the payment of sins was seen in Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac (Gen. 22), the Passover (Ex. 12), and the Old Testament sacrificial system (Heb. 9). The Church itself was purchased by the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28; Eph. 5:25).

Some might ask how the blood of one man can redeem the souls of many millions of men. Because that man is Jesus, and He is above and beyond all who have ever been born, and His blood is spotless and perfect (1 Pet. 1:19, Ex. 12:3; Isa. 53:7; John 1:29; Rev. 12:11). The forgiveness of our trespasses is through the blood of Christ alone. 

The word in the original Greek is “aphesis,” which means to cause to stand away or to release sins from the sinner. Exactly how far have our trespasses been caused to stand away from us? David says “As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us” (Ps. 103:12). The forgiveness of the penalty and power of sin over us was accomplished by the shedding of Christ’s blood. Jesus has paid our ransom price: therefore sin no longer can have dominion over me, and even death no longer has dominion over us in this day or any time in the future.

The word for “trespass” generally speaks of all sin, meaning a missing of the mark rather than a deliberate trespass of the law (1 John 3:4). We are all guilty of this (Rom. 3:9-20): there is no one who has not missed the mark in relationship to God and His standard of righteousness, so all need forgiveness. Everyone stands in need of the blood of Christ for this forgiveness. Yet this forgiveness is “according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7) which means abundance or valuable bestowment. The use of “riches” or “rich” occurs six times in this epistle (Eph. 1:7, 1:18, 2:4, 7, 3:8, 3:16).

Our God owns everything, so why would He not give us “riches” generously? The riches of this world are fading and uncertain (1 Tim. 6:17), but the riches of Christ are eternal and without corruption (Matt. 6:19-20). Christ left the riches and the splendor of heaven, that we might be rich in grace, rich in eternal life, rich in forgiveness, and rich as the children of God: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though being rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).

All of our needs, both spiritual and physical, are fulfilled by the riches in Christ (Phil. 4:19).

For further reading
Commentary on Ephesians by Williams Hendriksen
God's Ultimate Purpose by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Commentary on Ephesians by John MacArthur
Interpretation of St Paul's Epistle to Ephesians and Philippians (Lenski's Commentary on the New Testament) by Richard C.H. Lenski
David Webber

David Webber

David Webber is married to Mary and they have four children and four grandchildren. He is the Pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Longview, TX. Webber earned a BS in History from the University of Texas at Tyler, TX, and attended Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary in Jacksonville, TX. Throughout his ministry, he has served as a guest preacher and teacher in many churches and various Bible conferences.

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