God’s Purpose for the Church Part 3

by Mike Ratliff

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints and believers in Christ Jesus who are in Ephesus.  2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and  our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1:1-2 Possessing the Treasure New Testament v1) 

In these dark days there is an accompanying Biblical ignorance within the Church. This ignorance is in itself quite sad because so many genuine Christians actually have a wrong view of God. This means they also have a skewed understanding of the gospel that is doctrinally shallow. In fact, the religious structure around this is man-centered rather than God-centered. The end result is a religious system that does not satisfy the spiritual needs that God designed into all of us. This is why those church leaders behind this moving tragedy are continually attempting to derail all attempts by their people’s demands to “go deeper” into the Word or to address what the Word says about election and the Sovereignty of God after they read a book by Dr. James White or listen to a sermon by John MacArthur, for instance, that does indeed address these highly relevant spiritual topics. My brethren, man-centered religiosity is so spiritually thin because it is based on man’s traditions that came out of policies designed to offend no one. In doing this, the theologians and religious leaders behind this also produced a religious system that is based on feelings and, therefore, is temporally based rather than focused on the eternal. 

In our study, verse-by-verse, of the book of Ephesians let us seek to learn the truth about our salvation, the Sovereignty of God, and his purpose in the Church. In this post we will look at our “Inheritance in Christ” from Ephesians 1:11-14.

10 for a stewardship of belonging to the fullness of the times to sum up all things in Christ, things in in the heavens and things on the earth. In him 11 in whom also we obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the plan of the one working all things according the counsel of his will, 12 for us, the ones having previously hoped in Christ, to be the praise of his glory. 13 In whom also you, having heard the message of the truth, the good news of your salvation in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,  14 who is the pledge of our inheritance until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:10-14 Possessing the Treasure New Testament v1) 

In included v10 above because the last two words obviously should have been the first two words of v11. My brethren, please understand that the Apostle Paul did not put chapter and verse numeration in his epistles. This was done later. The English Standard Version (ESV) renders vv-10-11 as: 

[10] as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. [11] 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,  (Ephesians 1:10-11 ESV)

The NASB renders the same verses as:

10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, (Ephesians 1:10-11 NASB)

Here is my translation:

10 for a stewardship of belonging to the fullness of the times to sum up all things in Christ, things in in the heavens and things on the earth. In him 11 in whom also we obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the plan of the one working all things according the counsel of his will, (Ephesians 1:10-11 Possessing the Treasure New Testament v1)

I believe the “In him” should look back to what Paul was saying in vv9-10 while also telling us that “in Christ” we have obtained an inheritance. What is our inheritance? What is this? In v11, the words “we obtained an inheritance” is one Greek word, the verb ἐκληρώθημεν (eklērōthēmen) the Finite, 1st Person, Plural, Aorist, Indicative, Passive case of κληρόω (klēroō). The verb κληρόω means, “to cast lots” or “determine by lot” that is, “to determine something” In the Greek, the way Paul structured v11, it literally says, “in whom the lot has fallen upon us also, as foreordained.” Paul was referring to the completion of one’s election to salvation. Who determined that we were to be saved? Who cast the lot? It was God. What is our inheritance? This is our divine inheritance as children of God and Christ is the source. Paul then makes sure we understand that our election unto this inheritance was predestined by God’s plan according to the counsel of his will.

Here is v12, “for us, the ones having previously hoped in Christ, to be the praise of his glory.” God’s glory is the supreme purpose of redemption (Ephesians 1:6, 14).

13 In whom also you, having heard the message of the truth, the good news of your salvation in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,  14 who is the pledge of our inheritance until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14 Possessing the Treasure New Testament v1) 

Carefully read v13. The gospel message is the message of the truth, the good news of our salvation, but for the revealed gospel of Jesus Christ to be effective in our redemption, it must heard (Romans 10:17) and believed (John 1:12) to bring salvation. God is sovereign, and the Church is being built by our Lord Jesus Christ, but God has also ordained that he will use “means” such as the preaching of the gospel in order to spread the good news far and wide and so fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20).

Notice also that all who believe this gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise who is the pledge of their inheritance until the redemption of the possession… What does it mean to be sealed? The Holy Spirit comes and indwells the believer and secures and preserved eternal salvation. This sealing refers to an official mark of identification placed on a letter, contract, or other document. That document was thereby officially under the authority of the person whose stamp was on the seal. Four primary truths are signified by the seal:

  1. Security (Daniel 6:17; Matthew 27:62-66)
  2. Authenticity (1 Kings 21:6-16)
  3. Ownership (Jeremiah 32:10)
  4. Authority (Esther 8:8-12)

The Holy Spirit is given by God as his pledge of the believer’s future inheritance in glory (2 Corinthians 1:21).

I pray that you noticed all through this that our salvation depended upon what God did. Man must preach the gospel. Man must believe the gospel, but as is made plain in the earlier verses, our inheritance is foreordained or predestined because God has cast the lot in our. He has determined it. Those in Christ have a divine inheritance predetermined by God to the praise of this glory.

Soli Deo Gloria!

4 thoughts on “God’s Purpose for the Church Part 3

  1. Amen brother

    “…she knew that the decree was unchangeable..” (quote: Esther 8:8-12)

    Comforting words to the thirsty soul! How to remember this more often!

    It is science fiction to believe that one who is truly born again can lose his/her salvation ever again. It is unchangeable once one has been sealed to salvation.

    One of the most beautiful promises indeed.

  2. You’re absolutely right Mike.. The Correct doctrine of God and his Sovereignty is essential to having the correct and healthy view of all circumstances in our lives and really DOES matter when things happen in our lives.. It affects us….When BAD things happen and adversities come knocking at our door and I don’t know the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY from whom ALL blessings flow including our salvation and eternal security are DONE and finished in Christ–that I’m sealed), then the time I need the grace of God the MOST will not be of any use since I’m not fully RESTING in the finished person and work of Jesus Christ but falling back on my tenuous SELF efforts that I thought i had a part of . If you get this truth in your heart that GOD foreordained and predestined us in CHRIST and in your life it has an affect upon us that when we find things become absolutely unbearable then we are able to bow to them because we are bowing to God.

    I love the word “obtained”… Very important word.. I first saw and realized how extremely important the use of this word is used in such a way that the word of God beyond a shadow of a doubt is inspired by GOD…

    “A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but the LORD condemns a crafty man.”-Proverbs 12:2

    And that is one thing about studying the proverbs it really DOES teach us words of insight—-Proverbs 1:2

    ~Amen Joao

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