Vs. 7 "But unto everyone of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ."
"Unto everyone of us is given grace..." The last two lessons were
given to the study of church unity, and we highlighted the fact,
that God the Holy Spirit had given everything necessary for
achieving and maintaining unity in the church. In Vs. 7, Paul turns
from the corporate gifts of the church, to the individual member,
and says, "Unto everyone of us is given grace."
Every member of the church has been called by the Holy Spirit to
a church edifying ministry, in the fulfillment of this call, the
church will be built up, and in the building up of the church, God
is glorified. In building up the church, the Commission (Matt.
28:18-20) is carried out, and the members a Further conformed to the
image of Christ.
The commission was given to the church as a corporate body, Yet
we know, there cannot be a body without individual members. Thus it
is, each member is responsible to carry out his part of the work,
and a vital part of the work is, keeping "the Unity of the Spirit in
the bond of peace." Unity gives birth to efficiency, and efficiency
is the mother of success. Ere we pass from this thought (individual
responsibility), us be reminded, "unto everyone of us is given
grace," and that this grace is more than equal to our pledge to walk
in the newness of life. In view of this great truth, let us abandon
our so-called excuses, whereby we justify our disobedience, and let
us, "press toward the mark for the prize of the high Calling of God
in Christ Jesus" (phil. 3:14).
We might add, the "grace" referred to in verse seven is Spoken of
as, "the gift of Christ." It is the grace whereby Ability is given
to each member to edify the church, this Grace (charis - Greek) is
not that grace which bestows special gifts, and makes some members
of the church more conspicuous than others, but it is that grace
which gives every member of the church something to do which will
edify the church. A member may think his or her place in the church
is unimportant, but not so with God. Where the church is concerned
there is no trivia, and we should not trifle with our responsibility
for every members place in the church is of eternal significance.
The inflexible rule which our sovereign Lord uses in the
bestowing of gifts is His own good pleasure. Human reasoning and
Logic endeavors to determine how God will act, i.e. John Glibber is
eloquent in speech, therefore the Lord should call him Preach.
Supposed human merit or ability. Nor even human desire. Is the basis
upon which God bestows his gifts. If a person already had the
capacity to perform in a manner acceptable to God, where then is the
need of God’s grace?
The truth being conveyed is, each member should be satisfied with the gift God has given him, and seek to walk worthy of that vocation whereto God has called him. Bearing in mind there are no small gifts in the church, therefore all ground for envying another members gift is destroyed. Christ said, "For he that is least among you all, the same shall be great." (Luke 9:48) Not only should we not complain about the place God has put us in his church but should seek to be as inconspicuous in that place as possible. And in so-doing the unity of the church will be greatly enhanced
Vs. 8 "Wherefore He saith, when he ascended up on high, he led
captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men."
Many are the great truths alluded to by this text, insomuch it
would take many hours of study and teaching just to scratch the
surface. Yet it fits perfectly into the subject matter Paul is
bringing before the Ephesian saints, and that is, God’s gift of
grace to the various members of the church whereby they are enabled
to contribute to the unity and edification of the church.
The analogy is drawn from the military, where a conquering General has freed those held captive by the enemy, making distribution of the spoils gained by victory to whomsoever he wills. "Captivity captive" the elect of God were held captive by the Old Nature, and were willing slaves to the lusts of their flesh and desires of the mind, "But God who is rich in Mercy for His great love wherein He loved us." comes by with irresistible power and grace, causing the elect to see the awful state of their being, the imminent danger, causing them to flee the wrath to come seeing Jesus as their only hope of escape; they hasten gladly to Him.
"I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them." Hos. 11:4
"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:44
Drawn to the Lord with bands of His love, and rendering unto Him an eternal and loving servitude, wherein the gifts mercifully Bestowed are effectively utilized.
"When He ascended up on high" The ascension here referred to is,
the ascension He made from the garden where His tomb was. Christ to
Mary Magdalene on the morning of his resurrection and ascension,
"Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father:" (John
20:17). This ascension culminated in His offering the atonement in
heavens sanctuary, which was the seal of his victory over the enemy.
He appeared in the presence of God not without blood, but in a
blood-body. He returned to spend forty days and nights on this
earth, in which time He had fellowship with His church, He ate with
them, and was handled by them during these forty days, (John
"…lower parts of the earth" is a reference to Christ’s descent
into Hades. Between the time of Christ’s entombment and His
resurrection He made a visit to the abode of departed spirits, or
Hades. Fades at the time contained the souls of all those who had
died Prior to the crucifixion of Christ, Luke 16 gives us a graphic
picture of Hades were Christ visited it. Hades had three sections in
it, paradise, typified by Abraham’s bosom. A place of continual
burning, referred to by the rich man, when he says, "for I am
tormented in this flame." (Luke 16:24) then, there is the great
impassable gulf which separates the paradise section from the place
Christ said to the thief on the right hand cross, "To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." The soul of the thief made its descent into the paradise section of Hades, but his stay t~ was most brief, three days and three nights at the longest.
1st Peter 3:18 – 20 "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water."
"He went and preached unto the spirits in prison…" the word "preached" is not the word used in the Greek to preach the Gospel (evaggelizomai), but it is the word which means, to proclaim (kerusso). It is the same word Christ used when He said, "He hath anointed me to preach…" (kerusso – proclaim) deliverance to the captives,…" (Luke 4:18).
Elijah and Moses conferred with Christ on the Mt. of
Transfiguration about His death; they knew his death was the means
whereby they would be taken to the immediate presence of their God.
Under the Old Testament Economy all souls went to Hades, the righteous Dead went to the paradise section of Hades, while the wicked went to flaming torment. This side of the cross, and the atonement made in most Holy Place, Heaven itself, they which die with faith in the offering Christ made on the cross, go at the instant of death to the loving embrace of Christ.
They which die today in their sins wake up at the same instant tormented in the flames of Hades. (2nd Cor. 5:8, Luke 16:22 – 23)