Read Ephesians 1 at Bible Gateway.
Eph 1:3-12 forms a chiastic structures (please see the teaching tools of scripture if you are unfamiliar with chiastic structures):
1a) Eph 1:3-6:
– 1a.1) Eph 1:3-4, Blessed in Christ in heaven, chosen in Him before the world / to be holy before Him in love;
– 1a.2) Eph 1:5, Predestined to adoption as sons, according to the good pleasure of His will;
– 1a.3) Eph 1:6, To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved;
central axis) Eph 1:7-8, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence;”
2a) Eph 1:9-12:
– 2a.1) Eph 1:9-10, Fullness of time He might gather to one all things in Christ in heaven and earth in Him;
– 2a.2) Eph 1:11, Obtained an inheritance by predestination according to the counsel of His will;
– 2a.3) Eph 1:12, That we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
This is an interesting structure. The third pair reveals what Paul has said over and over before: we are accepted in the Beloved because we have trusted in Christ. Faith is the foundation of our relationship with God. Obedience is a fruit of faith, but obedience is not the foundation.
When we have this relationship with God, with faith as the foundation and obedience as the roof, it causes praise to abound to His glory, because His work accomplished it, and not ours. That is mind- blowing!
The second pair: we have obtained an inheritance because we are now sons and not strangers any longer. Predestination is a sticky point in the body of Messiah. Listen, predestination and free will are not enemies, on opposite sides. The fact is, the Scripture teaches both predestination and free will, and both positions have a stack of Scriptures as evidence. To human logic, they cannot both be true. God and His word are not products of the human mind, however. TRUTH is not a product of the human mind, but a characteristic of God. All the human mind can do, is recognize or grasp truth that is revealed to us by God in various ways. The human mind cannot create truth or decreate it based on human logic or human preference. I prefer to think of predestination and free will as two sides of the same coin. Therefore they seem opposites but are part of the unified coin. Do I understand how they are unified in every particular? No. I understand that my human understanding is limited, unlike God’s wisdom, and I can accept what the Scripture reveals as true, on faith. LOL.
Vs. 11 says, “… being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will …” In other words, God is so great that He can take into account the completely free wills and free choices of every man, and still work all things out according to His will, so that His plan and His people are truly predestined.
The first pair tells us that Messiah was God’s plan and intention all along, before the foundation of the world. Before He formed man on the earth, He placed the stars in the heavens, whose ancient constellations tell the great plan of salvation in Messiah from beginning to end. God has told the end from the beginning, and His unchanging, harmonious Word is written in many ways, so that it cannot be erased and it cannot be changed by devil or man. The heavens declare the glory of God. The earth proclaims His handiwork. True history is the acting out of His plan on the vast stage of time, repeated again and again (Noah’s ark, the Passover lamb, the tabernacle in the wilderness, all have the same plot, who is Messiah). And His prophets and His written word speak in words, what the life of Jesus Christ speaks in actions.
God’s message to man is this: I LOVE YOU AND HAVE REDEEMED YOU THAT WE MAY BE TOGETHER. ♥