Bible Study The Book Of Ephesians
Verse By Verse

Lesson 21 Chapter Three Verses 12 - 14

Vs. 12 "In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him."

In our study of verse 11 last week, we were caused to see that the church was in the eternal mind and purpose of God.  Which purpose was (and now is) to be realized in Christ.

God in His infinite counsels purposed his beloved, and only begotten son a virgin bride.  At the time determined of God, His Son, and the bride entered into betrothal relationship.  The sinless Son of God was on the earth for a little over thirty three years, during this time the bride was identified and sought out, and the betrothal confirmed, the groom gave her many gifts, the promise of age-long safety, and that He would go and prepare a place for her, then return for her.  In manifesting His love for His bride, and to secure her eternal safety and Holiness the Groom paid all her obligations to divine justice by shedding His life blood, (Mt. 16:18, John 14:1-3, Acts 20:28).

Paul in reflecting on the glorious promises, and the infinite love of the Son of God for His church, says, "we have boldness, access, confidence..."  The betrothal union is the ground from which these blessings come.  (These blessings are in the church collectively).

1.  "Boldness" This does not mean as some have taught that we as children of God can barge into His presence irrevently, or unconscious of the great price paid for our access to his awesome presence.

John R. Rice, quoting Bob Jones Sr. approvingly, says, "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."  (John R. Rice, steps for new converts - page 23).

when Paul says, "let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace..."  (Heb. 4:16), He does not mean we are to equate God with our earthly father, who not only looks the other way when his precious little offspring sin, but who often due to sentiment and ignorance gives approbation to the sinful actions of His children.

Heb. 10:17-19 "And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.  Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus."

The high priest in Israel, entering the Holy of Holies behind the veil exercised caution, and an attitude of reverence permeated his mind and heart.  Fear plagued his every step, and he was acutely aware of his unworthiness.  The High Priest knew his offering was subject to rejection, and if the sacrifice was rejected it meant there was sin in the camp which was unrepeated of.  The consequence being, divine chastisement.  The fear of rejection and Divine rebuke held the people in bondage for 1500 years, (Heb. 2:14).

The difference between the entrance of Israel and the church is, their sacrifice was typical, and could never take away sin (Heb. 10:4).  Christ is the anti-type, the perfect and all sufficient sacrifice, and it is through His blood we have "boldness to enter into the Holiest."  While Christ's sacrifice of Himself abolished the believer's fear of being rejected, and granted him liberties and privileges connected with son-ship, it by no means allows a believer to enter the presence of the Lord disrespectfully, or irrevently.

The primary meaning of the term as used by Paul in Eph. 3:12, Heb. 4:16, and Heb. 10:19, is, that believers now have an Advocate in the presence of God, and that they can go directly to God through him.  The secondary meaning,  is, they can make their entrance free of the fear of being rejected.  But never will they have such liberty whereby they can with haughtiness or irreverence pull them up a chair at the table of our thrice Holy God, and say, "pappy, pass the biscuits."

The word "boldness" is translated from a Greek word which means liberty of speech, but it does not mean the believer has freedom to address God flippantly or with the wrong speech.  It means we have the liberty, or access to God without the mediary of an earthly priest.

"Access," not only does the believer have an access to God without any earthly intermediaries, but he has a gracious and standing invitation to utilize that access.  "... His ears are open unto their prayers..."  (I Pt. 3:12) "confidence," is the antonym of doubt.  Thus what Paul says with these three words, "Boldness, access, and confidence" is, the believer because of the sacrificial blood of Christ has perpetual access to the throne of God, apart from any earthly intermediary, and the fear of being rejected need not exist.

Vs. 13 "Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory."

"Wherefore,"  calls for a look back over all that Paul has thus far presented in the chapter, and in view of the great blessings and privileges which they as Gentiles now enjoy, Paul asks them not to faint because he is caused to experience manifold tribulations.

Paul's mission was to carry the gospel of grace to the Gentiles, and he was determined to succeed irrespective of personal suffering and loss.  he wanted the Ephesian saints to know that his prison bonds did not extend to the word of God, and that God's eternal purpose could not be frustrated.  His sufferings were not due to disobedience to his heavenly calling, but the direct result of faithfulness to his mission.

Instead of drawing back and losing heart because of his afflictions, Paul informs them that his tribulations is their glory.  Simply stated, Paul was willing to suffer, and pay any cost in order that the Gentiles may hear and know the truth as it is in Christ.  truly, this was glory for them.

Vs. 14 "For this cause I bow my knees unto the father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

"For this cause..." Paul never lost sight of God's purpose for his life, he was to spend and be spent for the sake of the gospel, which gospel had been committed to his trust for dissemination among the Gentiles, (I Tim. 1:11).

"For this cause I bow my knees..." The regular posture in prayer among the Jews was that of standing.

"The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself..." (Lk. 18:11).  Christ instructed His disciples regarding the forgiveness of one another, saying, "and when you stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any:  That your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses" (Mk. 11:25).

Standing was not the mandatory posture of prayer among the Jews, but it was at the time of Christ the customary practice.

The psalmist says, "O come, let us worship and bow down:  let us kneel before the Lord our maker" (Ps. 95:6).

And the scripture says of Daniel, "... He kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, and he did aforetime" (Dan. 6:10).  And we read where our Lord in Gethsemane, "... kneeled down and prayed" (Lk. 22:41).

Stephen the first martyr of the church, in his dying moment, "kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.  And when he had said this, he fell asleep" (Acts 7:60).

Prayer posture is not restricted to one form, we may pray standing as we often do in public worship, or we may pray sitting at our dining table.  We may pray lying prostrate in a sick bed, or we may assume the kneeling posture as is the custom of many saints in private prayer.

Yet, when our burdens multiply, and urgency presses upon us unchecked it seems as if the kneeling posture takes preeminence over all other prayer postures.  Then too, it appears from the overall scriptural teaching regarding the Lordship of Jesus, that all knees would bow, in acknowledgement of the Deity and Supremacy of the Glorified Son of God, (Phil. 2:10).  So, when the saint bows his head and bends his knee in prayer to God he is at the same time owning his helplessness, and the absolute sovereignty of Jesus.  It is not that he does not acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus in other prayer postures, but it seems as if the believer is more aware of his total dependence on Christ when in the kneeling position of prayer.

Paul says, "... I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."  the words, "... of our Lord Jesus Christ."  is omitted from some of the better manuscripts, including the nestle, Westcott and Hort texts.

Let us close this lesson with this picture in our mind, we see Paul the faithful and dedicated apostle of Jesus Christ on bended knee with his head bowed low in prayer, adoration, and praise of his blessed Lord.  This mental picture becomes more significant and much more appreciated with the thought and knowledge, that this gallant soldier of the cross was once a ferverent enemy of Jesus.  That he was once possessed with an unrelenting desire to destroy every similitude of Jesus, and being motivated by this diabolical desire, he says of the disciples of Jesus, "I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities" (acts 26:11).

This was all changed with the confrontation with Jesus of Nazareth on the Damascus road, and from that day until the day Paul was martyred, his spirit lay prostrate at the nail pierced feet of his beloved Lord. The will of Jesus was Paul's delight, and anything contrary to that will was detested by Paul, though it be found in the great Simon Peter.