Mark R Lindsey

Praising Grace, but why? Interrogating Ephesians 1:6

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2015 at 12:12 pm
Ephesians 1:6
to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
1. What can we learn about all the good in Ephesians 1:4-5 by the statement that it is done “to the praise of his glorious grace”?

— If predestination, or adoption, or his will is interpreted to put God in a bad light, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG
— for example: if in explaining predestination you turn God into an unloving monster who makes children to die and burn in hell for eternity, and kind but ignorant, unevangelized pygmies who long for God but burn for never knowing the name Jesus, then YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG
>>> APPLICATION — is the way and contexts that I talk about predestination, election, etc., TO THE PRAISE OF GOD’s GRACE? Or is it argument? Divisive — the insiders vs the unlearned? The pro-missions against the complacent?
2. “With which he has blessed” We have been blessed with Grace. Or is it “blessed by grace?” Or is it “blessed using grace?” What does that mean? Is it called glorious grace because of greatness of the blessing?
— Ephesians 1:7 and 2:7 discuss “riches of his grace”
3. What does it mean to be blessed IN the beloved? 
— It parallels being adopted as sons THROUGH Jesus
— I suspect that there’s a shade of difference in THROUGH Jesus vs IN Jesus. 
—- THROUGH Jesus might mean Jesus is a conduit to us
—- IN Jesus might mean our only existence is our union with Jesus
— The difference is one of emphasis on our 
(a) blessings that come to us by way of Jesus, contrasted with 
(b) facts true of Jesus that become true of us when we are reconciled to Christ, and believe in him, and come to be IN Him.
>>Adoption as sons IN Jesus would make sense mostly of Jesus were adopted. But Adoption THROUGH Jesus can happen even though Jesus was begotten. 
4. Who is the beloved? Is it Jesus?
>> Yes; see eph 1:8
5. What was intended to receive the praise discussed here?
>> His glorious grace
6. What events or actions were leading to the praise discussed here? (Options from Eph 1:5)
… maybe: purpose of his will
… maybe: adoption as sons through Jesus Christ
… maybe: he predestined us
… maybe: In love he acted
— In any case, the action (I.e., the one that brought the praise to his glorious Grace) caused blessings IN the Beloved, Christ. 
— Isaiah 43:21: God blesses and cares for the people he formed for himself SO THAT they will bring Him praise.
— Isaiah 61:1-3,11: God grants freedom and deliverance and comfort and gladness SO THAT he will be glorified.
— Jesus died to purchase righteousness and life! This is the reason The Father loves the son.
7. Is “blessed (χαριτόω charitoō) in the beloved” is a reference back to “adoption as sons through Jesus Christ.”?
… I.e., what was the blessing?
— Romans 5:15-17. The free (charisma, and dorea) gift is righteousness that comes through an abundance of grace. 
— Ephesians 1:13. The Holy Spirit is another gift, the guarantee of their inheritance.
— Colossians 1:13. The Father has transferred us from  the DOMAIN OF DARKNESS to the kingdom of his agape beloved Son!
— 1 Timothy 1:13-14. Grace overflows bringing faith and love.
— 1 Peter 2:9-10. We were not a people in the dark, and had received no mercy; but now we ARE a people, and not only a nation but a priesthood. And that is so we can proclaim the wonders of Him who brings us marvelous light!
— Ephesians 1:7. Redemption through his blood. Forgiveness of trespasses. 
>>> The blessings of being adopted and made IN Christ are numerous: forgiveness, righteousness, citizenship, a job, marvelous light, mercy, faith and love, TRANSFER from darkness, escape from the enemy kingdom, redemption from slavery, the right to proclaim God’s goodness.
8. Is the purpose of saying “to the praise of his glorious grace with which he has blessed…” is intended to establish that the glorious grace was integral in either the adoption, or to the predestining?
— my best guess: the grace was integral in the adoption as sons
— my best guess: the praise is triggered by his purpose, and his will, and his love, and his action of predestining us for adoption.
>>> therefore whatever it means to be “predestined as sons for adoption” it must also bring “praise to his glorious grace”.
9. Are we blessed WITH praise, or blessed WITH grace? And if grace, what does it mean to be blessed WITH grace (charis)?
— Philippians 3:9. We have a righteousness, and a share in His sufferings. 
— 1 Peter 2:5. We are like living stones building a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood to offer acceptable-to-God spiritual sacrifices. 
— Romans 3:22,26. We are justified to have righteousness of God, and that comes through faith in Jesus.
— Romans 8:1. There is no condemnation to those IN Christ.
— Could it be the praise we’re blessed with? Although God’s people will be attractive (Philippians 2:15 shine like stars, Daniel 12:3; Matthew 13:43 righteous will shine like the sun) that’s probably not the main point here.
>> It seems most likely that the WITH refers to grace that brings pardon.
10. Why is the grace itself praiseworthy, and not God himself?
— 2 Corinthians 4:15. As grace extends to more and more people, that increases thanksgiving, and that brings glory to God. 
— 1 Timothy 1:13-14. Grace overflows with faith and love.
— Grace is like a beautiful river flowing from a mountain; we are blessed by drinking it and irrigating with it, and our hearts are drawn back to the source of the stream. The river flows with faith, and love, and it floods our land; and we know the mountain is even more beautiful. 
11. Whatever is the the praise of his Glorious Grace here:
…in Ephesians 1:12, the first to hope would be to the praise of his Glory
…in Ephesians 1:14, your hearing and believing and sealing with the Holy Spirit is to the praise of his Glory
…so is there something essentially in common about the three praiseworthy things?
> hearing and believing and hoping and sealing and adopting and predestining are all part of the same package
12. What is the difference between “blessed IN The Beloved” here and “adoption as sons THROUGH Jesus Christ”?
— blessedness isn’t as powerful as adoption. 
>> see 3. 
13. What’s the significance of calling Jesus the beloved (ἀγαπάω agapaō)? Why not the title Christ again, or the pronoun “him”?
— it helps answer the question of the object of love in Ephesians 1:4
— it connects to Jesus’ baptism, where he was called the beloved son, in whom God was well pleased. Matthew 3:17.
— it becomes a name of Jesus.
— John 3:35. God’s love of the Son is linked with Jesus’ authority and ownership of all things.
— John 10:17. The reason that God loves the Son: because the son willingly lays down his life.
14. When and how did God begin planning for his praise?
— before the age began
— before foundation of the world
— God is strategic!
>> God had general objectives, specific plans, specific actions, to accomplish this end: praise of his glorious grace.
15. Do I learn something about my need to plan and be strategic for God’s glory?
>>> APPLICATION. God has planned, had general desires, specific stated goals, specific actions for His plan. It was the way he worked from BEFORE THE DAWN OF TIME. I only have a few years to live on earth: how is my planning going? What are my stated, explicit goals? What are my concrete actions? What steps am I taking to ensure my efforts auger to the PRAISE OF HIS GLORIOUS GRACE and not some other prestige for myself?

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