By Henry Law, 1884
Ephesians 1:1—14. Spiritual Blessings in Christ
Ephesians 1:1. "Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus."
Two main considerations meet us in this verse. (1.) The designation of Paul, "An Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God." (2.) The designation of the converts whom he addresses, "The saints and the faithful in Christ Jesus." While each is examined may the Spirit by His mighty power and love pour light into our longing souls!
Here in the vestibule, a preliminary thought occurs. Scripture here in the forefront places the ever blessed Jesus. In this verse He stands forward as the grand object on which faith should gaze. Of whom is Paul an Apostle? Of Jesus Christ. Who are the saints? The faithful in Christ Jesus. Take Christ from this verse, and the Apostle and the saints alike sink into insignificance. To remove Him would be to blot the sun out of the skies. Let Him therefore always be foremost in our view. Let it be our firm conclusion that apart from Him faith could not live. Without Him we would be without God in the world—without hope—without light—without foretaste of heaven.
We begin with PAUL'S DESIGNATION OF HIMSELF. He speaks of his office and of his call to it.
(1.) His office. He is an Apostle of Jesus Christ. He was called distinctly and directly by immediate voice from heaven to give himself to the blessed work of preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ, and bearing testimony to the glorious truth that Jesus is sent by God to seek and to save that which was lost. The direct commission from God Himself, without the intervention of human instrumentality, constituted Him an Apostle.
Let a brief digression turn our thoughts to our own position. The study of Scripture, without personal improvement, is vain. To grow in grace—to advance in life-giving knowledge, should be our aim in all this study.
While we adore God for having thus raised up and enabled Paul to gather in His people and to instruct His Church to the last times, and while we read with reverence his writings as immediate revelations from the Father of Lights, let us bear in mind, that there is a sense in which every believer is called and appointed to be a minister of his God. "You shall be named the Priests of the Lord—men shall call you the Ministers of our God." It is written, "You shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation." Believers are "built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable unto God by Jesus Christ." They are "a chosen generation—a royal priesthood." Jesus has made them "kings and priests unto God and His Father." Let us then walk worthy of our high vocation, and live always ministering at our Altar, who is Jesus Christ. On Him let us present our bodies living sacrifices; on Him let us offer the calves of our lips, hallowed praises; and let our whole life be a proclamation of His truth.
(2.) Let us advance now to Paul's appointment to apostleship. He was called by the will of God. He continually insists upon the truth, that he took not this honor upon himself. He was "an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead." This will of God is eternal love to the Church. It is the originating cause of the everlasting covenant of grace. It foreordains every blessing which that covenant contains for the heirs of promise. To do this will, Christ came. "By this will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." By this will Apostles and Prophets, and Evangelists and Pastors, and Teachers, are called and qualified and arranged. By this will their word is made effectual, and we receive grace to believe. If we are thus blessed with all spiritual blessings, let us adore that deep source from which these precious streams flow.
What volumes of unspeakable comfort are treasured up in the truth that God's will is unchangeable! To the considerate mind it seems almost self-evident that God must be "without variableness, or shadow of turning." This constitutes that infinite serenity which is one of the grand elements of Deity. It is an essential attribute of the Governor of the universe. While mutability, fluctuation, uncertainty, and change miserably appertain to the inhabitants of this fallen world and all their concerns, the inscription over the Palace of the King of Kings is, "I am that I am." It is blessed to know and realize this truth. Happy are the hours passed in giving thanks for the faithful sayings—"I change not, therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed." "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever." "Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them unto the end."
continue reading here...