Friday 15 October 2010

Bible Book:

"In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory." (v.11-12)

Ephesians 1:11-14 Friday 15 October 2010


The Spirit, for Paul, who may or may not have written thisletter to the people of Ephesus, is more usually associated withthe transformative power and presence of God in the life of theChurch and its members.

The Spirit, as we saw on Wednesday, guides and enables graciousmoral behaviour as the true mark of God's people. And the Spiritgives depth and authenticity to prayer and worship in the Church.Something of this may be implied by the phrase about living "forthe praise of his glory", but the emphasis here is less practicaland present, and more mystical and future. The Spirit here isunderstood in terms of a pledge or guarantee of an inheritance wewill only receive in full in "the heavenly places".

The Greek word 'arrabon', translated here as "pledge", is also usedby Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians in a very similarway (2 Corinthians 1:22 and 5:5). It was a familiar term in 1st centurycontract law - it was the first instalment that guaranteed paymentin full at a later date. The experience of the Spirit now,therefore, is both a foretaste and a guarantee of what is to come.And it is what is to come that is primarily in view here, much morethan the here and now.

The "inheritance" for Paul is usually related to the promise thatboth Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) are, in Christ, Abraham's heirsas God's people, with the hope of a future bodily resurrection. Buthere the idea is more to do with our pre-existent immortal souls(see Ephesians 5:3-5) being destined for eternity in"the heavenly places" through faith in Christ while on earth. Thisconcept, much more Greek than Jewish, has had a great influence onsubsequent Christian belief. Many Christians seem to believe in theimmortality of the soul, rather than the resurrection of the dead(despite what they recite in the Creeds!)

To Ponder

"Many Christians seem to believe in theimmortality of the soul, rather than the resurrection of the dead."Which, if either, do you believe? Why?

What do you think it might mean to "live for thepraise of his glory"?

"Redemption" (verse 14) simply means 'restored tothe rightful owner' - in this case, to God. What you think thismeans in terms of life here and now?

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