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Ephesians 3:11-13


Darlene

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Lord, I don't know what to write, I don't know what to say...please let them be Your words, and not mine...

 

Over the years, there have been a few times when I've done something. I haven't done it for a while, but the memory came back last night, and I felt the need to do it last night...

 

Our walk with the Lord is faith based. I know that I know that I know that He is God, that He is real and living, powerful and for some reasons desires to forgive me and loves me. That knowledge is in my mind and my heart, as He has birthed these truths in a variety of ways, over the years...

 

There are times when my heart desperately desires to hug him...a literally hug. Even though He's holy, even though without Jesus, I could never imagine feeling worthy enough to be in His presence, I just dismiss all those thoughts and just simply want to hug Him, to literally feel Him hold me close.

 

Like right now, I'm sitting here vascilating between peace and tears, needing Him from the center of my soul. I can physically sense His spiritual hugs in my heart. But last night, for some reason, I felt the need for something concrete, something tangible, something that I could hold that was Him...

 

And that is when, like I have in the past, I took His Word, the Bible, to bed with me, and held it tight against my heart as I went to sleep. As I see myself trying to explain in the typewritten word, I looks cute and kinda sweet I guess. But the reasons and meaning behind me doing that go far deeper...

 

So, last night, as I lay in bed with His Word held tight to my heart, I was talking with Him...thanking Him that without the Bible, how would we have ever had a relationship with Him...how would we know of His gospel, of the unfolding mysterious plan He had from the beginning with His Son, who would save us?

 

I thought about the people around the world that have transcribed the original biblical texts into our own languages...Martin Luther and the whole lot. I thought about the people that are current, right now at THIS moment, desperately trying to translate His Word into unknown and foreign languages that have never 'heard' before. I thanked Him for His mercy and grace at spreading the Word over the years, and I prayed that that work would continue as even more languages became available.

 

As I laid there holding that bible, I felt a comfort in holding Him in a tangible, physical way.

 

11. According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

 

Calvin writes, "According to the eternal purpose. How carefully does he guard against the objection, that the purpose of God has been changed! A third time, he repeats that the decree was eternal and unchangeable, but must be carried into effect by Christ Jesus our Lord, because in him it was made. Thus he declares, that the proper time for publishing this decree belongs to the kingdom of Christ. Literally the words run, “according to the eternal purpose (ἣν ἐποίησοεν) which he made.” But I consider the meaning to be, which he purposed; because the present discussion does not relate solely to the execution of the decree, but to the appointment itself, which, though it took place before all ages, was known to God only — till the manifestation of Christ."

 

Henry comments, "And this is according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord, v. 11. Some translate the words kata prothesin ton aionon thus According to the fore-disposing of the ages which he made, &c. So Dr. Whitby, &c. "In the first of the ages," says this author, "his wisdom seeing fit to give the promise of a Saviour to a fallen Adam: in the second age to typify and represent him to the Jews in sacred persons, rites, and sacrifices: and in the age of the Messiah, or the last age, to reveal him to the Jews, and preach him to the Gentiles." Others understand it, according to our translation, of the eternal purpose which God purposed to execute in and through Jesus Christ, the whole of what he has done in the great affair of man's redemption being in pursuance of his eternal decree about that matter."

 

Clarke writes, "According to the eternal purpose] kata proqesin twn aiwnwn? According to the purpose concerning the periods. This seems to refer to the complete round of the Jewish system, and to that of the Gospel. I have often observed, that though the proper grammatical meaning of the word is ever-during or endless duration, yet it is often applied to those systems, periods, governments, &c., which have a complete duration, taking in the whole of them, from their commencement to their termination, leaving nothing of their duration unembraced. So, here, God purposed that the Jewish dispensation should commence at such a time, and terminate at such a time; that the Gospel dispensation should commence when the Jewish ended, and terminate only with life itself; and that the results of both should be endless. This is probably what is meant by the above phrase.

 

Which he purposed in Christ Jesus] hn epoihsen? Which he made or constituted in or for Christ Jesus. The manifestation of Christ, and the glory which should follow, were the grand objects which God kept in view in all his dispensations."

 

My mother, in her usual dramatic, heartfelt and eloquent style, shared with me one time, her thoughts about this subject. It isn't necessarily anything that is based on scripture, but was just an attempt I guess, to illustrate the depth of God's love and purpose in creating us...

 

She talked about how before God ever created the heavens and earth that He fore knew the fall that Adam would take. He knew how sin would enter and seek to destroy all that God intended, with His desire to create man/woman to fellowship with Him...

 

She shared how she could just envision Jesus interceeding and saying to the Father, "Yes, those things will come to pass, but Father, *I* will go...*I* will be the the sacrifice that will save their souls...*I* will give MY life that they might live....

 

And the Father found that acceptable and good.

 

Now, I'm sure that's not exactly how it all went down, but the thing that touched me when my mother shared that was her attempt to share the depth of knowledge in her heart about His love for us, His willingness to leave His rightful place in the heavenlies, to interceed and pay the price needed to ransome us.

 

12. In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

 

Calvin writes, "Through whom we have boldness. The honor of reconciling the Father to the whole world must be given to Christ. From the effects of this grace its excellence is demonstrated; for faith, which is possessed by Gentiles in common with Jews, admits them into the presence of God. When the words, through Christ and by the faith of him, are used by Paul, in connection with the name of God, there is always an implied contrast, which shuts up every other approach, — which excludes every other method of obtaining Divine fellowship. Most important and valuable instruction is here conveyed. The true nature and power of faith, and the confidence which is necessary for calling upon God, are beautifully expressed. That the consequences of faith, and the duties which it performs, should be the subject of much controversy between us and the Papists, is not surprising. They do not properly understand the meaning of the word Faith, which they might learn from this passage, if they were not blinded by prejudice.

 

First, Paul denominates it the faith of Christ; by which he intimates, that everything which faith ought to contemplate is exhibited to us in Christ. Hence it follows, that an empty and confused knowledge of Christ must not be mistaken for Faith, but that knowledge which is directed to Christ, in order to seek God in Christ; and this can only be done when the power and offices of Christ are understood. Faith produces confidence, which again, in its turn, produces boldness. There are three stages in our progress. First, we believe the promises of God; next, by relying on them, we obtain that confidence, which is accompanied by holiness and peace of mind; and, last of all, comes boldness, which enables us to banish fear, and to come with firmness and steadiness into the presence of God.

 

To separate faith from confidence would be an attempt to take away heat and light from the sun. I acknowledge, indeed, that, in proportion to the measure of faith, confidence is small in some and greater in others; but faith will never be found unaccompanied by these effects or fruits. A trembling, hesitating, doubting conscience, will always be a sure evidence of unbelief; but a firm, steady faith, will prove to be invincible against the gates of hell. To trust in Christ as Mediator, and to entertain a firm conviction of our heavenly Father’s love, — to venture boldly to promise to ourselves eternal life, and not to tremble at death or hell, — is, to use a common phrase, a holy presumption.

 

Observe the expression, access with confidence. Wicked men seek rest in forgetfulness of God, and are never at ease but when they remove to the greatest possible distance from God. His own children differ from them in this respect, that they “have peace with God,” (Romans 5:1,) and approach to him with cheerfulness and delight. We infer, likewise, from this passage, that, in order to call on God in a proper manner, confidence is necessary, and thus becomes the key that opens to us the gate of heaven. Those who doubt and hesitate will never be heard.

 

“Let him ask in faith,” says James, “nothing wavering: for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” (James 1:6,7)

 

The sophists of the Sorbonne, when they enjoin men to hesitate, know not what it is to call upon God."

 

Clarke writes, "In whom we have boldness] By whom we, Gentiles, have thn parrhsian, this liberty of speech; so that we may say any thing by prayer and supplication, and thn prosagwghn, this introduction, into the Divine presence by faith in Christ. It is only in his name we can pray to God, and it is only by him that we can come to God; none can give us an introduction but Christ Jesus, and it is only for his sake that God will either hear or save us. It is on the ground of such scriptures as these that we conclude all our prayers in the name, and for the sake, of Jesus Christ our Lord."

 

It's all about Him, for without Him (Jesus), we would be eternally seperated from God the Father.

 

Henry states, "The apostle, having mentioned our Lord Jesus Christ, subjoins concerning him, In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him (v. 12); that is, "By (or through) whom we have liberty to open our minds freely to God, as to a Father, and a well-grounded persuasion of audience and of acceptance with him; and this by means of the faith we have in him, as our great Mediator and Advocate." We may come with humble boldness to hear from God, knowing that the terror of the curse is done away; and we may expect to hear from him good words and comfortable. We may have access with confidence to speak to God, knowing that we have such a Mediator between God and us, and such an Advocate with the Father."

 

This, "By (or through) whom we have liberty to open our minds freely to God, as to a Father, and a well-grounded persuasion of audience and of acceptance with him; and this by means of the faith we have in him, as our great Mediator and Advocate." causes me to remember that sin is nothing short of death...first and foremost, spiritual death, and from experience, it is eventually physical death. This is why it is so important to me to consistantly confess the sins that I continue to encounter, to get them under the Blood of the Lamb, because if I do not, then that cancer (the sin) will continue to eat and destroy me spiritually and physically. Later in Ephesians we are directed to 'put on the full armour of God' because we are in the spiritual battle for our eternal life. For me to be right before God, to be able to stand in His presence with that boldness that Paul talks about, requires me to go through Jesus, confessing and asking for ongoing forgiveness of my sins, that I may be fully armoured for this spiritual battle.

 

This is very serious stuff that we are dealing with and the enemy wants to lighten the load, and take the depth of its importance away so that we might remain blind and weak.

 

Clarke states, "I desire that ye faint not] In those primitive times, when there was much persecution, people were in continual danger of falling away from the faith who were not well grounded in it. This the apostle deprecates, and advances a strong reason why they should be firm: "I suffer my present imprisonment on account of demonstrating your privileges, of which the Jews are envious: I bear my afflictions patiently, knowing that what I have advanced is of God, and thus I give ample proof of the sincerity of my own conviction. The sufferings, therefore, of your apostles are honourable to you and to your cause; and far from being any cause why you should faint, or draw back like cowards, in the day of distress, they should be an additional argument to induce you to persevere."

 

Amen to that.

 

Henry has no comment on this verse in particular.

 

Father God,

 

Praise be to You for You alone are God. You are mighty and just and I long for the day when all things, human, animal, plant and seas will all bow before Your holy throne.

 

To think that out of all the greatness You have done and created, that Your eye would be upon me, and us, individually, with an eternal passion and loving drive that knows no end, just humbles me.

 

I just love Your Word, Father. I'm desperate for it, I thank You for it, and I ask that You would birth all that You desire in my heart and mind. Etch it into stone because I desire to hide it in my heart, untouchable by any, but You.

 

In Jesus Name, and for His sake,

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Amen and Amen to your prayers. His Eternal Purpose was indeed established before the foundation of the world. Before He created anything, His plan was done in the spirit. And Holy Spirit 'hovered' over the waters in anticipation of 'getting this show on the road' with joy. It is His Eternal Covenant that will not fail even when we stumble and step on His toes in the middle of the dance. He just picks us up off the floor, says 'fix your eyes on Me' and we follow out of absolute Love and Adoration. What a journey.

Thank you so much for your faithfulness in continuing to 'feed the sheep'.

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