Bible Study The Book Of Ephesians Verse By Verse

Lesson 8 Chapter One Verses 17 Ė 18

Vs. 17 "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him."

In verses 15 and 16 Paul gives the reason for and the extent of his prayerful intercession for the Ephesian saints;

1. REASON, "I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all saints." Faithful churches, "Thank God" for them.

2. EXTENT, "Cease not to give thanks for you..." Upon each occasion of Paul's entrance into the throne room of His Lord, he thanked God for the Ephesian church.

In verse 17 and 18 Paul informs the Ephesian saints what his petition in their behalf consisted of, in vs. 17, it was "Knowledge of Him," i.e., Christ.
In vs. 18, we see Paul's faith manifested, in that he believed what he asked for in Vs. 17 would be granted, for he says, "The eyes of your understanding being opened." Then he mentions what their opened understanding would embrace, "Ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints." Then he adds in vs. 19, "And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power." (Ps. 110:3).

Let us note Whom it is that Paul addresses his petition to, it is, "The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory." To speak of God as "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ" in no way detracts from the Godship of Jesus Christ. It is not to make Christ of lower essence than God the Father, but in this designation attention to the humanity of Christ is called. Christ is the Son of God, and God is the God of Christ in the sense that He Is the God whose perfect will and work Christ came to the world to perform.

Let us observe also that Paul addresses God as "the Father of Glory." The definite article is in the original Greek, therefore making known that God is the exclusive Father of Glory, and that he is the Father to Whom all glory belongs. While Paul in the expression "The God of our Lord Jesus Christ," calls attention to the humanity of Christ, he by designating God, "the Father of Glory," calls equal attention to the deity of Christ. Thus, we have Paul saying, Glory is the offspring of God the Father. And we know God has but one deified Son, and that one Son is the believer's all glorious Saviour, Jesus Christ. To glorify the Father is to glorify the Son, and to glorify the Son is to glorify the Father, and to glorify either the Father or the Son is to glorify the Holy Spirit.

Paul writing to the Hebrew saints says that Christ is the brightness of the Fatherís glory, "and the express image of His person" (Heb. 1:3). The Father's glory was perfectly and fully manifested in the person of the Son, and we can never know more of the Father's glory than that which is revealed In Jesus Christ.

"The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory," We see from those words what Paul's practice was in prayer, being led by the Holy Spirit in prayer, he gave all glory to the Trinity, for the use of the term "spirit" in vs.-17, is a reference to the Holy Spirit, and His work on the human spirit. So it is, we see the Holy Trinity mentioned in vs. 17.

Then too, let it be noted, Paulís" approach to God in prayer was highly reverent. Paul did not conduct himself as John R. Rice, or Bob Jones Sr. who said, "I am not a stranger. I am at home in my heavenly family I just pull my chair up to the table and say, "Pappy, please pass the biscuits." (Steps for New Converts - Pg. 23 John R. Rice). No, Paul did not exercise such irreverent familiarity; he knew and owned his infinite subordination to God. We see Joshua petitioning the Lord while lying prostrate on the earth, face down (Joshua 5:14), and when the Apostle John saw the Lord, he said I fell at His feet as dead" (Rev-. 1:17). Even the seraphim's cover their faces in the presence of the Lord (Isa, 6:2). Yet these brazen Arminians claim to have such favored status with God that they can cast aside all decorum, even that which is paid to honorable men, and approach God on first name basis, saying, "Pappy, please pass the biscuits." If that is not blasphemy, it is certainly bordering on it.

When Paul says in Heb. 4:16 "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace..." He does not mean we are cast aside all reverence and godly fear, our sonship in Christ does not give us liberty to abuse our access to the Father's presence. The word "boldness" in Heb. 4:16, Simply means the believer does not approach God as a terror stricken and guilty victim would approach a merciless earthly monarch, but we need to remember that our sonship is based on the merit of Christ, and that our entrance to God is due to His advocacy. We further need to keep in mind the stated purpose In the text for approaching God, and that is to "Obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Guilt and helplessness is implied, and confessed by the petitioner. So, while the believer is granted perpetual access to the throne of God's grace, he is ever to approach it in humbleness and meekness and never as if he has a right within himself, but ever conscious that our boldness to enter into the holiest is by the blood of Jesus. God's throne of grace does not allow the benefactors of elective grace to come non-chalartly into His presence they first must be announced by Christ their mediator.

Vs.17 "...The Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him." The KJV failed to capitalize the word "spirit", it is evident they did not believe this was a reference to the Holy Spirit, but to an attitude of mind, whereby the Ephesians would be enabled to comprehend further revelations of Jesus Christ. But we need to remember, an attitude of mind is within itself impotent as relates to spiritual comprehension, and that it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to reveal Jesus Christ.

John 16':14 "He (the Holy Spirit) shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you."

The word "knowledge" in the text means knowledge that is true and accurate and all that we know about Christ which is true and correct comes to us via the Holy Spirit.

Vs.18 "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints."

There two things in this text which Paul says he wants the Ephesian saints to know,
1. "What is the hope of His calling,"

2. "And what is the riches of the glory of His Inheritance in the saints."

Let us consider first, "The hope of His calling." This is a reference to a specified call, a calling which the Ephesian saints had already experienced. And now Paul says, he wants them to know "what is the hope of that call." It is a reference to the effectual call of the Holy Spirit, which brought about their regeneration.

The Scriptures set forth "hope" both objectively and subjectively. Hope which lies beyond our experience is objective hope, Paul speaks of this objective hope when he says to the Colossian church, "For the hope which is laid up for you In heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of truth of the gospel." i.e., "Hope laid up for you", yet to be realized. The rapture of the saints comes under the heading of objective hope, which hope includes the glorification of the physical body.

Subjective hope has to do with our experience, and has to do with our claiming by faith as much of our inheritance as is available to human experience. A person does not have to wait until he gets to heaven, and looks upon his Inheritance before he can rejoice in it, Paul says, "By Whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

Rom. 8:24 "... Hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?"

I do not hope to be saved from the condemnation of sin, that has already been my subjective experience, but yet I am saved by an objective hope which points out to me the things which Christ has in store for me. That is what Paul meant when he said, "We are saved by hope" (Ro. 8:24). It is vain to hope for rewards in heaven, while sinning habitually in this life. This hope enhances our progressive sanctification, and makes us willing to suffer reproaches.

Rom. 8:18 "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

Let us be clear in our minds, if our service to God is solely for the sake of getting rewards, then our service is in vain. We should serve from subjective hope and not from objective hope. That Is we should serve Him for what He has already done for us, and caused us to experience. He sent the gospel to us, called us by His Spirit, regenerated our souls, and led us to receive Scriptural Baptism, put us in His Bride and has blessed in heavenly places with Christ. That is just to mention a few of the spiritual blessings, and none of the material blessings. Just knowing that He has saved me from an eternal and deserving hell, should be basis enough for me to serve Him, apart from all the other wondrous things He has done for me.

Yet, in His word we are promised inestimable blessings for obedience. Therefore we need to heed the admonition of Paul, and bring "Every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Cor. 10:5).