1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
That is His work. We cannot make ourselves holy, but we can present ourselves to Him that He may make us holy. We can want to be holy, strive to be holy, hunger and thirst for the beauty of holiness, and He will clothe us with it, according to the mercies of His grace toward us...
"For His great love wherewith He loved us, He made us alive in Christ and raised as up with him."
"It is not of yourselves (2: 8) -- it is the gift of God."
There is the crux of the matter.
"We are HIS workmanship, created unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." *
4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Above, and around, and through all the activities of the Ecclesia is the Mind and Power of God. All is of Him, and by Him, and for Him. As the Head, Jesus yielded himself in all things to the will of the Father, and in turn received all his strength and wisdom and joy from Him, so must the Body do likewise. "When I am weak," Paul says elsewhere (2 Cor. 12:10), "then am I strong." This is the theme of this epistle, and indeed of all the epistles. All things are of God. All things are created by Him and for His purpose, and to contribute to His ultimate glorious end.
The Ecclesia, the Body of Christ, is taken from the weakest of His creatures -- the low ones, the weak, the despised, the poor. Not the wise, mighty, and noble; not the able and self-reliant; none who are contaminated with the wisdom of this world, or pride, or vanity, or ambitions. "When I am weak, then am I strong," for
"My strength (saith the Lord) is made perfect in weakness."
And from this lowly human clay, God is building a temple of glory, eternal for the ages. His method is slow, gradual transformation. In little steps from one shade of glory to a brighter shade until we come to the perfect man in Christ Jesus.
The power for all this comes from God. We cannot make ourselves good or pure or holy, any more than we can make ourselves beautiful. A beautiful character is like a beautiful form -- it is the work and glory of the Creator, not of itself. We present ourselves as mediums for manifestation of God's glory by allowing Him to transform us to His likeness. See how Paul emphasizes this basic fact throughout this Epistle:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly." *
These "spiritual blessings in the heavenly" are His transforming works upon us, transforming us from dross to gold --
"That we should be HOLY and BLAMELESS before Him."*Bro Growcott - Holy and Blameless
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
The adoption - Brethren of Christ.
The Lord the Spirit
"Go and tell that fox that I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected:"
and "though a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."-(Luke 13:32; Heb. 5:8, 9.)
While, then, he was preaching the gospel of the kingdom, he was imperfect; not morally, but as to flesh, which was mortal flesh, and susceptible of disease, as evinced by the morbid condition of sweating blood in agony.
In the third year of his ministry, and on the first and second days, the imperfection of crucified sin's flesh culminated in its death, and burial in the tomb. But in the third year, and on the third day from the crucifixion, through weakness (2 Cor. 13:4) it was made to live again, and come forth
"by the power of Deity."
It was now in a condition to be perfected by the same power. What his flesh required now was ascent to the Father, exaltation to consubstantiality with Him; so that, on this raising of flesh to Spirit he might be made "the Lord the Spirit," or "both Lord and Christ," upon the principle he had laid down to Nicodemus, saying,
"that which hath been born of spirit is spirit."
...Christ Jesus is the
"Image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of every creature."
He is the intellectual, moral, and material image of the Deity,
"whom no man hath seen, nor can see:"
to which image, as the model man, all foreknown of the Father are predestinated to be conformed in character and substance.
His intellectual and moral image is delineated in the simple records of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The pre-existent Word, by whom all things were made, manifested Himself in the nature that transgressed in Eden; because the many sons to be led to glory are partakers of the same.
The divine purpose to be accomplished in regard to them, made it necessary that the captain of salvation should be "made in all things like to his brethren, " in the first stage of divine manifestation.
He partook with them, in this imperfect state, and they will partake with Him in the perfect state of divine manifestation in glory; because of their having been, in this evil world, conformed to his moral image.
Being like him here in character, being in him, and he being in them, they will be like what he is now in substance; and thus being conformed to him as the central figure of the group, he will be fully manifested, both in character and in substance, as "the firstborn among many brethren."
When the divine family of sons and daughters shall be perfected in all its members, they will all be images of the invisible Father, developed upon the principle of knowledge, faith, obedience, love, and power, by which all things are subdued.
Flesh first, and spirit afterwards-divine moral nature primarily manifested in flesh of the first man from the earth; and, secondarily, manifested in the flesh and bones of the second man, the Lord from heaven, "Christ, who is over all, Deity blessed for the ages."-(Rom. 9:5)
This is the Firstborn among many Firstborns, who aggregately constitute a "general assembly and ecclesia in heavens," or heavenlies in Christ-(Heb. 12:23; Eph. 1:3.)
The Christ-Deity is the head of these, upon whom he will write the name of his own Deity, when he makes them "equal to the angels," and like unto himself.-(Rev. 3:12; 14:1.)
The Ambassador of the Coming Age, April 1869
9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
Among the many and various titles of the Supreme Being in the Scriptures of truth, is that of a Builder and Architect, as it is written, "The BUILDER of all things is God." Pursuing this suggestion, I remark, that "a wise master builder" never begins to build without a design. He draughts this after a scale of so much to the foot. This is the extension, or time, so to speak, of the building, or edifice, to be erected.
Having well considered the whole, he concludes that it is the best possible plan that can be devised in harmony with the rules and principles of architecture. The plan then becomes his "purpose," his "foreordination," "predestination," or design.
All subsequent arrangements are made to conform to this recorded purpose, because it is the very best his most deliberate wisdom and ingenuity could devise; and no extraneous suggestions, or considerations, will cause him to diverge in the smallest iota from his predetermination.
The next thing the builder does is to collect together all the necessary materials, whether of brick, stone, lime, sand, wood, or aught else that may be needed. If a spectator desired to know what all these crude matters were heaped up together in one place for, the architect would reveal to him "the mystery of his will which he had purposed in himself" (Eph. 1:9), by submitting the draught of his plan, in all its lines, circles, angles, &c.; and he would describe to him such an arrangement of the materials as would impress the spectator's mind with an image of the edifice, though it would fall infinitely short of the reality when perfected.
If we suppose the edifice, call it temple, or palace, to be now finished, the architect would next order the rubbish, or materials which were left as unfit to work into the building, and therefore worthless, such as broken bricks, splinters, shavings, sand, and so forth, to be cast out to be trodden under foot, to burn (Mal. 4:3; Matt. 5:13), &c.
Thus the edifice is built out of the accumulated materials, according to the outline of the draught, or purpose of the builder; and the work is done.
Elpis Israel 1.6.
16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
WE have a great and continuing duty to our brethren and sisters, and that is the duty of fervent prayer for them - not meaninglessly by habit and rote as a group, but thoughtfully and individually, one by one, entering into the joys and sorrows of each. Paul said to several
"We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers."
And his greetings show personal remembrance and care for individuals as such. His mind was ALWAYS filled with the things of God and of God's people. Until we have achieved the same "mind of Christ," we are not fully on the Way of Life.
Bro Growcott - Search Me O God
23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
We must FILL our mind with God's Word, and FILL our life with His character and actions. If we are content in our low animal way to do less than this, then we do not really care very much about Him, and we can hardly expect Him to care very much about us.
His conception of love is totality: He is willing to give it - and He requires it of all who would be associated with Him.
Bro Growcott - Search Me O God