In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
Only going to look at a short passage today. Paul packs so much into this introduction in the letter to the Ephesians. In Greek, the second sentence in Ephesians runs from 1:3 through to 1:14, a huge sentence by any standard! In it, Paul gives an overview of the works of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Dissecting Paul’s letter into a few verses in each blog in some way ruins the flow of a very powerful teaching. Have a go at reading the first chapter through in its entirety. David Pawson is a great believer that we should read every biblical book as a whole. This was after all how it was written. The chapter and verse system was not added to the Bible till much later, chapters in the 13th century and verses in the 16th century.
Anyway back to the text.
Paul teaches that we have an inheritance. What is an inheritance? It is something you receive when a person dies that used to belong to them. Here Paul is talking about being glorified, and dwelling with God in eternity. But why are we due this? As mentioned in the previous post Jesus died for us. Because of His death, we have inherited what was His, glory with the Father. The Apostle Peter in his first letter put it this way:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
An inheritance kept for us in heaven, that can’t be destroyed or corrupted, and will not fade away. A wondrous gift for all eternity that we do not deserve. We have been chosen to receive an inheritance, by the will of God, to give Christ praise and glory.
The Council of His Will
So far in Ephesians Paul has mentioned God’s will as “the purpose of His will” (Ephesians 1:5) ” the mystery of his will” (Ephesians 1:9) and now “the counsel of His will”. A council is a gathering of a group of people to have a discussion. God is triune, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. One God, three persons working together in unity and perfect harmony. Always loving and communicating about their plan and purpose, taking council within the Godhead. Working all things so that everything will end up in giving the glory to God, through Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. We cannot explain this but we can have faith in a faithful God (Hebrews 10:23) who will ensure all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).
God has a purpose and Paul lays it out in this first chapter of Ephesians, to bless us in Christ. So again I would encourage you to read the whole chapter.