Brief Notes on Ephesians Chapters 3-4

Ephesians 3‑4  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
“By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:88For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8)).
Brief Notes on Ephesians Chapters 3-4
When we meditate on such Scripture as Ephesians we ought to take care that knowledge not be overvalued. Paul refused to bring to the Corinthians the mystery because of their low moral standing. We too ought to approach this epistle cautiously, considering our own moral condition.
In chapter 3 we resume the subject of the mystery, and it is presented as being a parenthesis. The church is more largely opened out to us. The revelation of this mystery was given to one (Paul) who knew only a Christ in glory. “He made known unto me the mystery... which in other ages was not made known... that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs,” not with the Jews merely, but with Christ. The body will have Jews in it, but still it is characteristically Gentile. He loses sight of the Jews and tells the Gentiles that they are fellow-heirs with Christ.
Now what was the operation of the mystery? “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” What a light we stand in! The multiform, variegated wisdom of God is now told out in all its forms of beauty. We get the high calling into fellow-heirship: one body with the Lord of glory. We have reached the very Head itself, and we sit down in sight of the coronation of Christ and His elect the manifold wisdom of God.
In chapter 3:14, the Apostle again becomes a man of prayer for us. In chapter 1 he prays to the God of our Lord Jesus that we may know the glory that awaits us and the strength that is conducting us there. Here he prays that we may know the love that has destined us there, and he prays to the Father of our Lord Jesus.
When we think of glory and strength, we are in company with the God of the Lord Jesus. When we think of love, we are in company with the Father of the Lord Jesus.
He says, “Of whom the whole family [better rendered, every family].” If we take an intelligent view of the coming millennial heavens, we see various families, as well as on the millennial earth. We see principalities, thrones and dominions, and we see the church as the body of Christ carried and seated above all. There may be the “noble martyrs” and “the prophets” a patriarchal household as well as a prophetic household in the world to come, but the church of the living God, in company with her Head, will be above it all.
Having closed this parenthetic chapter, we enter chapter 4. It is characteristic that Paul, a prisoner, should tell out the high calling of the church. If we walked a natural path and died a natural death, we should go from prisons and stakes to Christ in glory. The saint should be an unresisting witness against the world. Paul unfolds the mystery from a gloomy prison. The church is a martyred thing on the earth.
Now he tells us to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. In the moral history of Christianity, pride has broken that bond of peace. But when we sit down together Jew and Gentile it is one Lord, one faith, one baptism. This Christianity may not break.
In chapter 4 we see the conquest of Christ and the redemption of man. It is the undoing of the mischief of Genesis 3. Christ releases those who were captive to Satan and makes the Devil and his hosts His captives. And what has He done with the old captive? He puts him in a more wonderful place than that out of which Satan took him. We get the captivity of man and the glorification of man and there the doctrinal part ends.
Are we prepared for such magnificent disclosures of God’s mind or are they too weighty for us? Paul prays that we might be strengthened with might by the Spirit in the inner man. The human mind is not able to measure these things. Our hearts ought to be so opened to Him that He not the scene around us may dwell in them, and that we may know His love, which passes knowledge.
J. G. Bellett