New Defender's Study Bible Notes
1:5 predestinated. The goals of God’s predestinating work are given in this chapter as: (1) producing holiness in those so chosen (Ephesians 1:4); (2) adopting them as His own sons and daughters (Ephesians 1:5); (3) assuring them of an inheritance in eternity (Ephesians 1:11). Its over-all purpose is to be “to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:6,12,14; note also 3:21). The word “predestinate” is also used in Acts 4:28 (there rendered “determined before”), Romans 8:29, 30 (see notes on these verses), and I Corinthians 2:7 (rendered as “ordained before”). The same Greek word, without the prefix, is found in Luke 22:22, Acts 17:26 (“determined”), and Acts 10:42; 17:31 (“ordained”), with essentially the same meaning. Since our minds are finite, we are unable to comprehend the infinite character of the plan and purpose of God, which is exactly the situation with regard to the clearly Biblical truth of predestination. In no way does this preclude the ability of God to plan also the paradoxical truth of human freedom and responsibility, which also are clearly Biblical (remember God’s ability is infinite!). We cannot fully comprehend with our minds, but can believe and rejoice with our hearts that God has known and chosen us believers for Himself even before the world began.
1:6 accepted. “Accepted” is translated “highly favored” in the angel’s message to Mary (Luke 1:28). The Greek word, charitoo, means “graced,” or “graciously honored.”
1:6 in the beloved. Although Christ is called God’s “beloved Son” seven times in the New Testament (each time directly by the Father Himself), this is the only time (except in Matthew 12:18, quoting Isaiah 42:1) where He is spoken of simply as “the beloved.”
1:7 riches. The attributes of God are characterized by this term of abundance. Note “the riches of His grace” in this verse, “the exceeding riches of His grace” (Ephesians 2:7), “the riches of the glory of His inheritance (Ephesians 1:18), His “unsearchable riches” (Ephesians 3:8), “the riches of His glory” (Ephesians 3:16; also Romans 9:23), “the riches of His goodness” (Romans 2:4), “the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God” (Romans 11:33), and His “riches in glory” (Philippians 4:19). No wonder men have suggested the familiar acrostic for GRACE to be “God’s riches at Christ’s expense!”
1:8 all wisdom. Since God in Christ has abounded toward us in all wisdom, there is no other true wisdom! Compare I Corinthians 3:19, Matthew 11:25.
1:10 dispensation. For a discussion on “dispensation,” see note on Ephesians 3:2.
1:10 he. Here, “He” refers to the Father, as also in Ephesians 1:6. The Father’s work of predestination is expounded in Ephesians 1:1-6, the Son’s work of redemption in Ephesians 1:7-12, and the Spirit’s work of sealing in Ephesians 1:13-14. This passage (Ephesians 1:3-14) is said to be the longest sentence in the Bible.
1:10 in Christ. Christ is both Creator and Consummator of all things (Colossians 1:16-20).
1:11 predestinated. On predestination, see notes on Romans 8:29-30 and Ephesians 1:5. Note the important assertion here that God did not base our predestination on His ability to foresee our decision to accept Christ, but simply according to “the counsel of His own will.” In fact, He works all things—even evil things(!)—according to His own will. If it were otherwise, He would not be omnipotent. The fact that He allows evil, when He could prevent it if He so chose, and the fact that He allows Satan and wicked men to perform and instigate evil actions, knowing when He created them that they would do this, yet creating them anyway, can only lead to the conclusion that God is the ultimate cause (though not the immediate cause) of evil, as well as good. This conclusion would seem to compromise His perfect holiness, but any other conclusion would lead to the still more unthinkable denial of His omnipotence, and thus deny that God is really God! We can partly harmonize this in our understanding by saying that God has allowed (or even caused, if we press our semantics) evil for a finite time in order to produce a greater good in eternity, when all the ills of this present world will be long forgotten. Compare Romans 9:18-23. We cannot fully comprehend or reconcile such matters in our finite minds, so must simply rest our hearts in the truth that whatever the Creator does is right, by definition, since He has created us as well as the very concept of right and wrong. Note again Acts 15:18.