"Whosoever will" and Whosoever believeth" are the
glorious terms of Gods good news to all alike. But when we believe, we
know that we are chosen and predestinated. Those who have believed on Christ
are predestinated and they possess the Sonplace. Then having believed, we know
that we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.
And in all this God shows what His Grace can do. To the Praise of the Glory of His Grace." God could not manifest the Glory of His Grace with angels; but with sinners in the bondage of sin and death, on the road to eternal death and punishment, He was enabled to show it all forth. In the gift of His Son He has made it known. This modern Gospel of "salvation by character" is surely a wicked thing, a soul-destroying delusion. It robs God of the Glory of His Grace. Let us magnify Grace! Let us give Him the Praise and the Glory, and as being saved by Grace let us live to the Praise of the Glory of His Grace!
And in the third place we read that we are made accepted in the Beloved. Mark, it does not say "in Christ" but in the Beloved. This is extremely precious. Christ is the Beloved of God and as chosen in Him, partakers of the divine nature, predestinated unto the Sonplace, we are "the Beloved of God called Saints."
The Love wherewith God loveth the Son is the Love with which we are loved. We are as dear to God as He is Himself, who was always His delight. "Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee," is often sung by those who do not know anything of what Grace has done. We cannot be nearer to God, nor dearer to Him, than we are in Christ, the Beloved. Accepted in the Beloved, means that we rest in Him on the bosom of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh! come and let us praise His Name.
B. The Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
"In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His Grace, which He hath made to abound towards us in all wisdom and intelligence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself, for the administration of the fulness of times to head up all things in the Christ, both which are in heaven, and wInch are on earth; in Him, in whom also we obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will, that we should be to the praise of His Glory, who have trusted beforehand in Christ." Verses 712. These verses put before us the Son of God, what He has done for us in His work, and the riches of Gods Grace, which abounds in Him towards all who have believed. We discover three things, which are stated here:
a. Redeemed us through His blood. Verse 7.
b. The Revelation in Him of the mystery of His will. Verses 8-10.
c. The inheritance we have obtained in Him. Verse 11.
And all this is "to the praise of His Glory." Verse 12.
The Beloved One, having been mentioned in Whom we are accepted, we read at once of His work. The Son of God came from the Fathers bosom to this earth to redeem us, so that Gods eternal will might be carried out. Redemption, the taking out of the condition in which we are by nature, is a necessity, and has been forever accomplished by the blood of the Son of God, which He shed on the cross. Three Greek words are translated by redemption, giving us its blessed meaning. Agorazo, which means, to buy in the market. It is used in the following passages: 1 Cor. vi:20; 2 Pet. ii:1; Rev. v:9; xiv:34. Exagorazo, to buy out of the market, used in Gal. iii:13 and iv:5. Lootruo, to liberate on the receipt of a ransom, used as a verb and noun in Luke xxi :24 and 28; Romans iii :24; viii:23; 1 Cor. 1:30; Eph. i:7, 14; iv:30. It is this last word which is employed here. Through His blood the Son of God has taken us out of the condition in which we are. He paid the price and has set us free. The redemption we have in Him is a settled thing. We know it belongs to us. But it means more than the forgiveness of our sins. The riches of His Grace revealed in redemption through His blood includes all our needs as sinners. The blood has redeemed us, set us free, from all things in which we are by nature. All we have, all we are, all we shall have and shall be are the blessed results of redemption by blood.
We are delivered from the wrath to come :; (1 Thess. i:10), as well as "out of the present evil age" (Gal. i:4). We are delivered from the power of darkness (Col. i:13), yea, "He gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works" (Tit. ii:14). These things we have, they are ours in Christ while we wait down here for the full "Sonplace," the adoption, the redemption of our body (Rom. viii:25). The forgiveness of sins is, so to speak, the foundation, and upon this follow all the other precious gifts which God is enabled to bestow according to the riches of His Grace, because His blessed Son shed His blood.
How little all this is enjoyed by those who have believed in Christ! How great the ignorance of many of Gods people concerning the riches of His Grace, which He hath made to abound towards us! So many lack the fullest assurance to which every believer is entitled, and have but little knowledge of all they have entered upon and they have received, when they trusted in Christ. And it is this knowledge of the riches of His Grace we are told to contemplate, and which will be the means of drawing us close to Himself. As we know this and enjoy it, we walk in separation from this present evil age, out of which we are redeemed. It will not leave us barren nor unfruitful, but produce in our lives fruit to the Praise of the Glory of His Grace.
The words which follow put before us some blessed and deep truths. Redeemed through His blood, having redemption, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of Grace, He hath made known unto us the mystery of His will.
God wants His elect, His church, to know the secret things of His will and what He hath purposed in Himself. Therefore He hath made the riches of His Grace abound towards us in all wisdom and intelligence. God has been pleased to make known in Christ the mystery of His will. It is the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began (Rom. xvi:25), so that we know in Christ and through Christ the fulness of His purpose. That mystery of God is Christ, in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. ii :3). Christ, who has redeemed us by His blood, was raised from the dead. God "set Him at His own right hand in the Heavenlies""He hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that fihleth all in all" (Chapter 1:2123). This is the mystery: that Christ risen from the dead, seated at the right hand of God, is the Head and those who believe on Him constitute the church, His body. This body is destined, according to the eternal purpose of God, to share the Glory of the Head. This purpose is still in the future. The administration (or dispensation) of the fulness of times has not yet come. When it comes all things will be headed up in the Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth. We must notice it speaks of "The Christ," which means Christ, the Head, and the church, His Body. Marvelous Grace which has reached down to us and makes us one with Him, who, in accordance with His Father's will, shares His own Glory and Inheritance with those who are in Him, the Sons of God! "The administration of the fulness of times" will come when He, who occupies now the Father's throne, comes again and receives His own throne. Then all things will be put in subjection under His feet; He will be supreme and the reconciliation of things on earth and things in heaven (not things or beings under the earth) will take place. Creation itself, disturbed and so fearfully marred by the fall of man, will be put back into its original condition. The administration of the fulness of times is the age to come, when righteousness will reign as Grace reigns now; the kingdom age, when He has taken His inheritance and reigns as King over the earth. In that day of Glory He will bring His many Sons unto Glory (Heb. ii:10), and, more than that, "He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that have believed" (2 Thess. i :10). This is the glorious mystery of His will made known unto us who are, through the riches of His Grace, the heirs of God and fellowheirs with Christ.
Of this inheritance we read in the words which follow: "In Him, in whom also we obtained an inheritance, being predestinated, according to the purpose of Him, who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will, that we should be to the praise of His Glory, who have trusted beforehand in Christ." It is all "in Him," in this precious and deep portion of God's holy Word. A brief review will demonstrate this. We are blessed "in Christ" with every spiritual blessing (verse 3). We are chosen "in Him" before the foun-dation of the world (verse 4). He hath accepted us "in the Beloved." It is "in Him" we have redemption, and "in Him" we have obtained an inheritance. Apart from Christ there is no blessing, no redemption, no Glory. Rejecting Christ and the price He paid for our redemption, His blood, means eternal death, eternal darkness, eternal wrath. It is a solemn fact that apostate Christendom, that Christless Christianity and bloodless Gospel, rejecting God's Son and God's only Gospel, is rushing on towards the judgment of a holy and righteous God. The inheritance of Christ, which belongs to Him as the glorified Man, we have seen before; He will receive it when "the administration of the fulness of time" comes. In Him we have obtained an inheritance; we are called of God to share the inheritance of His Son in the ages to come. It is equally true that we are as redeemed by His blood, His inheritance.
How wonderful it all is! We shall see Him as He is and then we shall be like Him; transformed into His image that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. We shall possess with Him His inheritance, for we are joint heirs with Christ. We shall be with Him wherever He is in Glory, for the body must be where the Head is; forever with the Lord. This is the inheritance we have obtained in Him. But what it all means. Only eternity will disclose the unsearchable riches of our Glory in Him and His Glory in us. And it is "to the Praise of His Glory." Before we heard of "the Praise of the Glory of His Grace" (verse 6), which speaks of what He has done for us in raising us from the dunghill of our sin, misery and shame. But "the Praise of His Glory" will be fully manifested in the day of His Glory, when He appears with His saints. Of this He spoke in His prayer, "that the world may know that Thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me" (John xvii :23). When He appears and leads forth in triumphant splendour His redeemed ones, all reflecting His Glory, then the world will know and He will get "the Praise of His Glory."
Those mentioned here who "trusted beforehand in Christ," are Jews who have entered by faith into this blessed relationship and who possess now something infinitely higher and more glorious than the nation will possess when the Lord Jesus comes to restore His earthly people. In fact the "we" in these two verses refers to believing Jews, while the "ye" in the verse which follows means believing Gentiles. Both classes constitute the church, the body of Christ. Into this the second chapter enters more fully.
May it please the Holy Spirit to make these blessed truths concerning our place and our inheritance in Christ more real to us. Our walk depends upon our believing contemplation of all these riches of His Grace. A little time is left us here. May we enter with our hearts more fully in all this and manifest His Grace, the Grace which stooped so low and has lifted so high, in a separated walk and devoted life, till we obtain the inheritance "to the Praise of His Glory."
C. The Holy Spirit of God.
"In whom ye also having heard the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; and having also believed in Him, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Who is the earnest or our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the Praise of His Glory" (verses 13, 14).
In these words, the Holy Spirit reveals His own work in God's Masterpiece. Here again we notice three things:
a. Hearing and believing; the Quickening by the Spirit. Verse 13.
b. The Sealing by the Holy Spirit of Promise. Verse 14.
c. The Holy Spirit the Earnest of our Inheritance.
These words are of great importance. The Son of God came to this earth to redeem us and because He has finished the work the Father gave Him to do, the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead has come to do His work.
Three words are prominent in the thirteenth verse, the words "heard," "believed" and "sealed." They go together. The Word of Truth, the Gospel of salvation must be heard and believed; the hearing and believing results in the sealing with the Holy Spirit of promise. The Holy Spirit indwelling the believer is the earnest of the inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession takes place. The Word of Truth, the Gospel of Salvation is the medium through which the Holy Spirit works. In the second chapter of this Epistle we read of the condition in which all men are by nature "dead in trespasses and sins."
The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Life and Power can alone reach this condition of death. He quickens us in our spiritual death, but He does His work through the Word of Truth, the Gospel of Salvation. "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. x:17). The Word which is to be preached is "the Word of Faith" (Rom. x:7). Through this Word the Spirit of God operates and reaches the heart of man "for the Word of God is living, and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow and judgeth the thoughts and reasonings of the heart" (Heb. iv:12). It is evident that inasmuch as "faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God" that the hearing of the Word is the means through the power of the Holy Spirit to produce faith. Hearing and believing the Word of Truth, the Gospel of Salvation, the Holy Spirit then acts and we are "born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever" (1 Pet. i :23). This explains the words of our Lord to Nicodemus "except a man be born of the water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John iii:5).
But too little of this Word of Truth and the Gospel is preached in our days. Some of the professional evangelists instead of preaching the Word and the Gospel, tell all kinds of anecdotes, which make people laugh and sometimes blush. A number of these men employ "slang" words and are extremely vulgar in the language they use. These same men seem to be after the money of the people and collect thousands of dollars for a few weeks of so-called" revival services." They attract large crowds and claim marvellous success in the conversion of thou-sands. But is this really the work of the Holy Spirit? Does the Spirit of God use silly anecdotes, often mixed with falsehoods, or can He use vulgar language to quicken sinners dead in trespasses and sins? These questions we must answer in the negative. These "revivals" are often discovered to be counterfeits. The supposed conversions were attempts at reformation produced by soulical emotions, or, what is even worse, a "religious affiliation" without salvation. All these attempts to reach men apart from the clearcut presentation of the Gospel of Salvation are the most dangerous tactics the arch-hater of the Gospel, Satan, uses. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of Truth. We repeat it again, "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." What is needed is to preach the Word in fullest assurance and confidence that the Holy Spirit with His power is doing His work in His own way by it. No Gospel preacher need to trouble himself about the results of his preaching. The Spirit of God uses the message, though the results may not be seen at once.
All who have heard and believed are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. The authorized version is misleading. "In whom also after that ye believed" should be rendered by "and having also believed in Him ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." Some teach that a person may have believed in Christ and not have received the sealing with the Spirit. The claim is made that between believing in Christ and the sealing with the Spirit years may intervene, and that the sealing with the Spirit must be sought in a definite experience. All these claims have no foundation in Scripture. The sealing with the Spirit is not an inward experience, which must be sought after conversion and which is obtained by self-surrender. Sealing is a figurative expression. The seal is a mark of ownership. As soon as a sinner hears the Gospel, believes in Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to him and makes His abode there. In this way God seals His own who believe in His Son, by giving to them His Spirit. Every believer is therefore indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and by this, God marks us as belonging to Him, while the Holy Spirit in us is the assurance of our security, for He keeps all in whom He dwells. The seal is therefore the Holy Spirit Himself, and His presence in the believer denotes ownership and security. The sealing with the Spirit is not an emotional feeling or some mysterious inward experience. Nowhere are we told to "feel" that we are sealed; we know it because the Word of God tells us so. And the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of promise, because He was promised and has come in fulfilment of the promise of the Father and the Son.
But He is also the Spirit of promise in the believer, for His presence promises better things. He is the earnest of our inheritance, the pledge that in the future we shall come into possession of our full inheritance. The gift of the Holy Spirit is the first installment, so to speak, of the Glory which belongs to us. When we come into full possession of the inheritance He ceases to be the earnest, but He Himself will never leave us in all eternity.
The inheritance is here also called "the purchased possession." It has been fully paid for and is therefore completely purchased. But it speaks here not only of "purchase" but also of the "redemption" of our inheritance.
The purchase price was the Blood; the redemption of the purchased possession will be by power. Our inheritance, the purchased possession, is in the Heavenly places. This heavenly sphere is still in the grasp of Satan "the prince of the power in the air." With his demons he tenants the air and the Heavenly places, which are part of Christ's inheritance and, therefore, ours as well. That such is the case we find in the last chapter of this Epistle, where we read of our present warfare which is "against the wicked spirits in the heavenly places" (vi :12). But this purchased possession which belongs to Christ and to us will not always be left in the power of Satan and his angels. The power of God will fully recover it in the future. Revelation xii gives us the most interesting prophetic history of this. Satan and his angels will be cast out of heaven and the redeemed of God will take possession of the wonderful inheritance above. The redemption of the purchased possession begins with the rapture of the Saints, when all His Saints are caught up in clouds to meet Him in the air. This is followed by Satan cast out of heaven. The redemption by the power of God will be consummated in the personal and glorious Manifestation of our Lord to establish His Kingdom over the earth.
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