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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
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