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NINE ACTIONS OF GOD

Ed Corley

EPHESIANS TRUTH begins with one amazing statement. It is perhaps the most amazing sentence ever written. It runs from verse 3 through verse 14 of Ephesians 1. There is no place for a period in the original Greek passage till the end of 14. Most translations place some periods in it because it seems to be a "run-on sentence" without them. But since it is so powerfully and divinely inspired, we're going to consider that none is intended. No human mind could have put it together. It contains such intricacy and revelation it could only have come by revelation from the Holy Spirit.

In this article we take the passage from the traditional King James translation and put it in structured form. We emphasize three unusual things about the sentence.

1 The Nine Actions of God. This will make firm with us that the weight of all "doing" for a believer rests upon God. All but one of the Verb forms used to describe His actions are in the Aorist Tense. (Aorist - A Greek Verb Tense specifying completed action.) This emphasizes His is a finished work to which nothing can be added, except that it be received by faith into the life of a believer.

2 The Fifteen Occurrences of the Greek Preposition en. This little word simply means "in." It specifies the location, or position, of something or someone. It helps emphasize the "Positional Truth" Ephesians lays out for us.

3 The Nine Occurrences of the Preposition eis. This marvelous little word, could perhaps best be translated by an arrow. It shows the direction in which something is moving. So, while we are settled in a work that is finished, and our position is secure in Christ, we are moving toward (or unto) a high purpose determined by God Himself.

I've been looking at this sentence for fifty years. It still draws me and instructs me and holds me in awe.

Please soak in this sentence. Its truth is ready to come over upon every part of the life of whoever will open up to its treasure. It will have increased meaning as we approach the day of the Lord. This will be a time when every other resource for living is cut off and we have but one wellspring left-our place in Christ in the heavens. I think as we move on in eternity itself, we shall continue to draw from the wonder of what is laid out in this sentence. It directs us to the one great Stability that lasts throughout the ages, God Himself.

As you read it, take note that it is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Who has done this marvelous work to bring us unto Himself.

Ephesians 1
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Who (1) hath blessed us

= with (Greek en) all spiritual blessings
= in (en) heavenly places
= in (en) Christ:

4 According as He (2) hath chosen us

= in (en) Him
= before the foundation of the world,
= that we should be holy and without blame
before Him in (en) love:

5 (3) Having predestinated us

= unto (eis) the adoption of children
= by Jesus Christ
= to (eis) Himself,
= according to the good pleasure of His will,

6 To (eis) the praise of the glory of His grace,

wherein He (4) hath made us accepted
in (en) the Beloved.

7 In (en) Whom we have redemption

= through His blood,
= the forgiveness of sins,
= according to the riches of His grace;

8 Wherein He (5) hath abounded

= toward (eis) us
= in (en) all wisdom and prudence;

9 (6)Having made known

= unto us
= the mystery of His will,
= according to His good pleasure
which He (7) hath purposed

in (en) Himself:

10 That in (eis) the dispensation of the fulness of times

He (8) might gather together

= in (en) One
= all things in (en) Christ,
both which are in (en) heaven,
and which are on earth;
= even in (en) Him:

11 In (en) Whom also

we have obtained an inheritance,

being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who (9)worketh all things after the counsel of His Own will:

12 That we should be to (eis) the praise of His glory,

who first trusted in (en) Christ.

13 In (en) Whom ye also trusted,

= after that ye heard the word of truth,

the gospel of your salvation:

in (en) Whom also

= after that ye believed,

ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance

= until (eis) the redemption of the purchased possession,
= unto (eis) the praise of His glory.

Of the nine actions of God in the sentence, eight are Greek Aorist Verb forms. This tells us their work points to a conclusion. They are, or will become, settled eternally with nothing that can be added to them, except that they be received. Very significantly, the one that is not an Aorist form is spelled in a way that tells us it will never be finished. It goes on, and will go on, without ceasing. The continuing action is this: God worketh all things. We are learning to rest in this and let our lives find order out of the wealth to which all His actions point us.

But here is an amazing thing: while it is God Who is the Subject of all the Verbs, the truth of the whole statement points us to Christ Jesus Who has finished the powerful work of the redemption. Both the Father and His Beloved have completed something marvelous for us. If we allow the Holy Spirit to effect it in us, we will never fail, even in the time of trouble.

The sentence begins with a blessing upon God Himself. It means, "Let every good thing possible be said about Him Who has brought so powerful a redemption to us in His Beloved Son, Christ Jesus." This directs us to a paean in adoration of Him that may well never end. What an exercise it can call for in the soul of one who is redeemed! If we go to the Psalms, we find help in blessing the Lord. As a beginning, consider Ps 16:7; 26:12; 34:1; 63:4; 66:8; 96:2.

You might well suppose we cannot finish our consideration of the whole sentence in one article. We can hardly touch it here. Who knows how long we will go with it? Its boundless truth reaches eternity. We can never finish drawing from it, nor will it ever fail us. The more we live out of what we find in it, the stronger will grow our conviction that it is, indeed, vital for life. For us who receive it, its substance becomes resident in a Person, Jesus Christ. For us who have come to Him, Who He is and What He is has bearing on all we do, all we are, and all we become.

While the action of this powerful statement resolves out of God, it all points to the Beloved. In Him God has blessed us. In Him He has chosen us. In Him He has predestinated us. He is bringing us to the point where everything there is in all the world is brought under His administrative head. We live out of Who Christ Jesus is, what He has done, and what He is doing. No experience of emotion, no legal stand in holiness, no attainment through works, no suffering for the cause will gain us any advancement in the kingdom of Christ and of God beyond what becomes ours in Him.

All we are and all we do that will have meaning in God's Kingdom will come out of the work He has already brought to completion for us. This is the finished work of the New Covenant.

Let us take time here for a brief look at Matt 18:18. This is a word from Jesus pointing to the work that is finished in the heavens. We are learning to never move away from its concept and power. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

With all respect for this King James translation, it makes it appear that ye do the binding or loosing first on earth with results in the heavens. The Greek New Testament, however, makes it clear that quite the opposite is true. It makes use of the marvelous Future Perfect Tense as it lays out one of the most powerful spiritual principles there is. "Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall already have been bound in the heavens; and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall already have been loosed in the heavens."

This means whatever binding or loosing of a spiritual nature we do here will only be a reflection of what has already been done there. We cannot bring about a spiritual binding or loosing by our own power any more than a faucet can produce the water that flows from it. If it is connected to its source, all that is necessary is that its valve be opened. Knowledge, faith, and obedience are the spiritual valves by which we open heaven's faucet.

The Nine Actions

1 God hath blessed us. This is primal. It takes place first. It is the ground to be settled between us and God before we can have a functional part in His Kingdom.

3 Blessed be the God and Father

of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Who hath blessed us

= with (Greek en) all spiritual blessings

= in (en) heavenly places

= in (en) Christ:

Hath blessed is from the Greek eulogésas, an Aorist Verb form. Since the strength of the Greek Aorist is to describe an action brought to completion, nothing can take away from our blessing. It is complete in Christ. There is nothing we can add to it. We must simply receive it. It is a blessing that is consummate. It is finished, never to be made more full than already it is in Him. No enemy can rob us unless that one reach us through Christ Jesus Himself. Think of it.

This word eulogésas means to pronounce what is good upon another. Those who count blessings as temporal and tangible things may find their blessings brought to naught when tribulation comes. When we have submitted to God's spiritual blessing-in the heavens, in Christ-we can move with confidence in what He is bringing to pass, especially as the age draws to its end and functioning in life becomes increasingly difficult. But if we are always seeking blessing from Him and hoping to win His approval, we can never be completely sure what our relationship with Him is. Our association with Him will be vague, and we will have difficulty demonstrating His life or His glory.

For those of us in Christ, however, the matter of being blessed is over and done with and our relationship with God settled. We can get on with the business of being His and moving in His ordinations for us.

2 He hath chosen us. This brings us into the company of the elect, that special people who will know and live under God's protection in the final days of anti-Christ wrath.

3 According as He hath chosen us

= in (en) Him
= before the foundation of the world,
= that we should be holy and without blame
before Him in (en) love:

Hath chosen is from the Greek exelexáto. It literally means God has chosen us for Himself. It is built on the same root word as the elect of Matt 24:22,24,31. Look up and read these verses. They tell of the last days when false christs and false prophets will try to corrupt the elect people of God. As we open to the light of the New Testament, we see these elect can be none other than those whom God hath chosen in Christ Jesus.

Here are five principles by which God has done His choosing.
1
He chose us for Himself. The Verb hath chosen is from the Greek Middle Voice which speaks of an action one does in one's own behalf.
2 He chose us in Him, that is in Christ Jesus. There is no election outside of Him. Nothing of merit on our part can draw God's attention to us or make Him choose us.
3
He settled this election before the foundation of the world, that is, before the beginning of the kósmos, this present world system.
4
He chose us that we should be holy and without blame before Him. This is the end result of grace. God loved us while we were still in our uncleanness and guilt, with the intention that we come to the place where nothing hinders our relationship with Him.
5
His choosing is over and done with. Exelexáto (hath chosen) is spelled in a way to say its work is complete, never to be reconsidered. There is no more choosing to be done other than is already done in Christ.

3 He has predestinated us. This is a powerful word. It comes from proorísas and means to design or mark out beforehand with a definite and prior intention. This verse makes it clear: we are not predestinated to heaven or to hell; we are predestinated unto the adoption of children.

Adoption of children is from the Greek huiothesían. It means placement in a household as a mature son, ready to receive the inheritance of the family. This was God's pattern, like a blueprint, for every person descended from Adam. Only sin corrupted us all. Through the redemption we have a way back.

5 Having predestinated us

= unto (eis) the adoption of children
=
by Jesus Christ
=
to (eis) Himself,
=
according to the good pleasure of His will...

So see this clearly.
1
-God designed us to be placed as sons in His household.
2-He ordained this should come about by Christ Jesus.
3
-He designed us specifically to become His Own sons, not carried into the household of another.
4-He did all this according to the eternal counsel of His Own will.

The idea that some are predestinated to heaven and some to hell does not hold up in the light of Scripture.

4 He has made us accepted in His beloved Son, Christ Jesus. This shows us how all of God's purposes for us come to pass; it is in the Beloved.

6 To (eis) the praise of the glory of His grace,

wherein He hath made us accepted
in (en) the Beloved...

What comfort this gives us! There is no other avenue we can take that will bring us to the place of acceptance with God. No person in all the world, no matter how holy that one may become, has any hope of coming into God's presence except through the grace opened to us in Christ Jesus. Through this means alone do we find acceptance. The marvel of it all is that no one is excluded except through unbelief.

5 He has abounded His grace toward us. This means His offer of grace in Christ Jesus is over and above anything that could ever be needed for any soul's redemption.

7 In (en) Whom (in Christ Jesus) we have redemption

= through His blood,
= the forgiveness of sins,
= according to the riches of His grace;

8 Wherein He hath abounded

= toward (eis) us
= in (en) all wisdom and prudence...

There is no sinner in all the world who is beyond the reach and power of God's grace. There is no derelict who cannot be transformed by its release into his or her life. It if seems unwise that grace, and grace alone, be the means of redemption, then let us take note that God has released its full flow toward us in all wisdom and prudence. This means that God, in all His wisdom and intelligence, has determined that grace be the way of entrance in unto Him. Who of us can put our argument against this?

6 He has made known unto us a mystery which only those in Christ can know. Its revelation is kept secret to those outside Him since it is contained in Him alone. Its perception requires His faith, His wisdom, His righteousness, and His perspective of heaven's rule on earth.

9a Having made known

= unto us
= the mystery of His will,
= according to His good pleasure...

The release of the knowledge that can become ours in Christ Jesus is astounding to the natural mind. This is often the case: the more simple the mind of a believer, the more profound can be the release of the knowledge of the mystery. I know this is the case with me. The more I let go of this world's wisdom and pursuit, the greater becomes my apprehension of Him and of His ways. Holding temporal things becomes less important as we hold Him and give respect to what He wants.

7 He has purposed all His good pleasure in Himself. He did not reach outside Himself when He settled His determination as to what He wanted. It was settled within the realm of His Own being.

9b ...His good pleasure

which He hath purposed
in (en) Himself...

Hath purposed is from proétheto which is close in meaning to predestinated. It means to determine, or design beforehand. (What comfort to know we are not evolving from some mass where there is no god except what develops in one's mind!) We have been conceived in the heart and mind of God Who knew us and chose us in the Beloved before the world began. We have come forth from that image and determination

8 He will ultimately gather together in one all things in Christ. No person in all the world can opt out of this; every soul will come into submission. Isa 45:23 states it well. I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

10 That in (eis) the dispensation of the fulness of times

He might gather together

= in (en) One
= all things in (en) Christ,
both which are in (en) heaven,
and which are on earth...

Dispensation is from the Greek oikonomían. This is a word that began its use simply to speak of the management of a household, the small and intimate enclave of a single family. Its use here, however, reaches out to include all things. Thus we might better understand it as an administration of government. In the fulness of times all the world shall come under the administrative head of Christ Jesus.

9 He worketh all things. What comfort this brings over on us! Since there is nothing outside the realm of all things, we can safely assume it includes even us with all the demands placed upon us by life and by calling. This beckons us to rest; God is at work.

11 In (en) Whom also
we have obtained an inheritance,
being predestinated
according to the purpose of Him
Who worketh all things
after the counsel of His Own will..
.

Worketh is from energountos. It means God is the One Who is the energizing force behind all things. Since it is a Present Tense form, it means He works, and works, and works. He releases His energy into everything to make it work according to His Own predetermined will.

This need not be an overwhelming thing for our limited understanding. We are learning simply to turn our lives, with all our involvement, over to the dynamic power and energy of His will and His Kingdom. He worketh all things. What relief this brings to us in Christ!

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