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.
1:13 sealed. The sealing ministry of the Spirit, serving as an assurance (a down payment, earnest money, as it were) of our ultimate complete redemption when Christ comes again (Ephesians 1:14), is also mentioned in II Corinthians 1:22 and Ephesians 4:30. This sealing is evidenced experientially by His indwelling witness and guidance (Romans 8:16, 23).