These verses deal with God’s purpose to form a people for himself and to sum up all things in Christ. Note the reiteration of ‘in Christ’ or ‘in him’.
- In verses 3-6 we are shown this people as conceived in the mind of God. What do we learn here concerning God’s choice of us, his gifts to us, and his purpose for us? Do such thoughts immediately move us, as they moved Paul, to say ‘Praise be to … God’? See Note 2 below
- In verses 7-14 we are shown this same people in process of redemption from sin. What parts are played in this work by: (a)God the Father, (b)God the Son, (c)God the Holy Spirit? Of what benefits are we assured her? What response is necessary on our part for their enjoyment?
- Verse 3. ‘In the heavenly realms’: a phrase emphasizing that the believer’s blessings are spiritual, in contrast to the earthly and material blessing promised to Israel under the first covenant. Cf. Deut.28:8. The phase occurs five times in this epistle. See 1:20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12. It refers to what today we might term ‘the spirit realm’, or ‘the heavenly sphere’.
- Verses 6, 12, 14. Note the recurring reference to ‘the praise of his glory’. ‘The design of redemption is to exhibit the grace of God in such a conspicuous manner as to fill all hearts with wonder and all lips with praise’ (Charles Hodge).
- Verse 13. ‘Marked with a real’: a mark of God’s ownership.
- Verse 14. “Guarantee’ or ‘earnest’ (AV, RV): a first instalment given as a pledge that all promised will be paid in full.
- What can we learn from this example concerning the way to pray for our fellow-Christians? When we do so, what ought to be our chief interest and concern? What are the three great spiritual truths that the apostle prays that his readers may grasp?
- Consider Christ’s present position as set forth in verses 20-23 in relation to: (a) God, (b) other powers and authorities, (c) the universe, and (d) the church. In the light of these verses has our conception of Christ been big enough?
- Verse 18. ‘His glorious inheritance in the saints’: be careful to note that this is a reference not to our inheritance in him but to his inheritance in us. Cf. Exod. 19:5, 6; Titus 2:14.
- Verse 22, 23. ‘The church,… his body, the fullness of him’: as God of old dwelt in the temple and filled it with glory, or as the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus (Col. 1:19; 2:9, 10), so Christ now dwells in his church in his fullness. He fills it with his presence.