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TEXT. 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in
PARAPHRASE. being predetermined thereunto, according to the
purpose of him, who never fails to bring to pass 12 what he hath purposed within himself *: That we
of the gentiles, who first through Christ entertained hope t, might bring praise and glory to God.
of God again. This sense seems very well to agree with the design of the place, viz. that the gentile world had now, in Christ, a way opened for their returning into the possession of God, under their proper head, Jesus Christ. To which suit the words that follow, “that we, who first among the gentiles,” entertained terms of reconciliation by Christ, "might be to the praise of his glory,” i. e, so that we of the gentiles who first believed, did, as it were, open a new scene of praise and glory to God, by being restored to be bis people, and become again a part of his possession ; a thing not before understood, vor looked for. See Acts xi. 18, and xv. 3, 14--19. The apostle's design here being to satisfy the ephesians, that the gentiles were, by faith in Christ, restored to all the pri. vileges of the people of God, as far forth as the jews themselves. See chap. ii. 11-22, particularly ver. 19, as to exampcenjev, it may, I humbly conceive, do no violence to the place to suggest this sense, “ we became the inheritance," instead of “ we have obtained an inheritance;” that being the way, wherein God speaks of his people, the israelites, of whom he says, Deut. xxxii. 9, " The Lord's portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." See also Deut. iv. 20, 1 Kings viji. 51, and other places. And the inheritance, which the gentiles were to obtain, was to be obtained, we see Col, i. 12, 13, by their being translated out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of Christ. So that take it either way, that “ we have obtained an inheritance," or " we « are become his people and inheritance :” it in effect amounts to the same thing, and so I leave it to the reader.
* i. e. God had proposed, even before the taking of the israelites to be his people, to take in the gentiles, by faith in Christ, to be his people again; and what he purposes he will do, without asking the counsel, or consent of any one ; and therefore you may be sure of this your inheritance, whether the jews consent to it or no.
12 + It was a part of the character of the gentiles to be without hope ; see chap. ii. 12. But, when they received the gospel of Jesus Christ, they then ceased to be aliens from the common-wealth of Israel, and became the people of God, and had hope, as well as the jews; or as St. Paul expresses it, in the name of the converted romans, Rom. v. 2, “ We rejoice in hope of the glory so of God.” This is another evidence that quãs, “ we,” here, stands for the gentile converts. That the jews were not without hope, or without God in the world, appears from that very text, Eph. ii. 12, where the gentiles are set apart under a discriminating description properly belonging to them : the sacred scripture no where speaks of the hebrew nation, that people of God, as without God, or without hope ; the contrary appears every-n here. See Rom. ii. 17, and xi. 1, 2, Acts xxiv. 15, and xxvi. 6, 7, and xxviii. 20. And therefore the apostle might well say, that those of the gentiles, who first entertained hopes in Christ, were “ to the praise of the glory of God.” All mankind having thereby, now, a new and greater subject of praising and glorifying God, for this great and un
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth,
the gospel of your salvation : in whom also after that ye believed,
ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise. 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of
the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
13 And ye, ephesians, are also, in Jesus Christ, become
God's people and inheritance *, having heard the word of truth, the good tidings of your salvation,
and, having believed in him, have been sealed by the 14 Holy Ghost; Which was promised, and is the pledge
and evidence of being the people of God t, his inheritance given out for the redemption of the
speakable grace and goodness to thein, of wlich before they had no knowledge, no thought, no expectation.
13 * 'Ev xed úveis seems, in the tenour and scheme of the words, to refer to By xod exampwonuev, ver. 11. St. Paul making a parallel here, between those of the gentiles that first believed, and the ephesians, tells them, that as those, who heard and received the gospel before them, became the people of God, &c. to the praise and glory of his name; so they, the ephesians, by believing, became the people of God, &c. to the praise and glory of his name, only in this verse there is an ellipsis of éxamcwonis.
14 † The Holy Ghost was neither promised, nor given to the heathen, who were apostates from God, and enemies; but only to the people of God; and therefore the convert ephesians, having received it, might be assured thereby, that they were now the people of God, and rest satisfied in this pledge of it..
The giving out of the Holy Ghost, and the gift of miracles, was the great means, whereby the gentiles were brought to receive the gospel, and become the people of God.
'" Redemption,” in sacred scripture, signifies not always strictly paying a ransom for a slave delivered from bondage, but deliverance from a slavish estate into liberty: so God declares to the children of I-rael in Egypt, Exod. vi. 6, “ I will redeem you with a stretched out arm." What is meant by it, is clear from the foriner part of the verse, in these words, “I will bring you out, “ from under the burthen of the egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bond“ age.” And, in the next verse, he adds, " and I will take you to me for my " people, and I will be to you a God;" the very case here. As God, in the place cited, promised to deliver his people out of bondage, under the word is redeem ; " so Deut. vii. 8, he telleth them, that he had brought them out s with a mighty hand, and redeemed them out of the house of bondage, froin " the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt:” which redemption was performed by God, who is called the Lord of hosts their Redeemer, without the payment of any rapsom. But here there was aepinginois, a purchase, and what the thing purchased was we may see, Acts xx. 28, viz. “ the church of God,” hv eplemos. hoalo, which “ he purchased with his own blood,” to be à people, that should be the Lord's portion, and the lot of his inheritance, as Moses speaks of the
PARAPHRASE. purchased possession, that ye might also bring praise and glory to God *.
child,en of Israel, Deut. xxxii. 9. And hence St. Peter calls the christians, 1 Pet. ii. 9, naos eis reporcimon, which in the inargin of our bible, is rightly translated “ a purchased people:” but if any one takes ixanpwenusv, ver. 11, to signify “ we have obtained an inheritance,” then xanpovouba, in this verse, will signify “ that inheritance," and eis atrohút pwo in this trepotoshoewS, “ until the “ redemption of that purchased inheritance," i. e. until the redemption of our bodies, viz. resurrection unto eternal life. But, besides that this seems to have a more harsh and forced sense, the other interpretation is more consonant to the style and current of the sacred scripture, and (which weighs more with me) answers St. Paul's design here, which is to establish the ephesians, in a settled persuasion, that they, and all the other gentiles that believed in Christ, were as much the people of God, his lot, and his inheritance, as the jews themselves, and equally partakers with them of all the privileges and advantages belonging thereunto, as is visible by the tenour of the second chapter. And this is the use St. Paul mentions of God's setting his seal, 2 Tim. ii. 19, that it might mark who are his: and accordingly we find it applied, Rev. vii. 3, to the foreheads of his servants, that they might be known to be his, chap.iv. I. For so did those who purchased servants, as it were, take possession of them, by setting their marks on their foreheads.
* As he had declared, ver, 6 and 12, that the other gentiles, by believing and becoming the people of God, enhanced thereby the praise and glory of his grace and goodness; so here, ver. 14, he pronounces the same thing of the ephesians, in particular, to whom he is writing, to possess their minds with the sense of the happy estate they were now in, by being christians; for which he thanks God, ver. 3, and here again in the next words.
CONTENTS. Having in the foregoing section thanked God for the great favours and mercies which, from the beginning, he had purposed for the gentiles, under the Messiah, in such a description of that design of the Almighty, as was fit to raise their thoughts above the law, and, as St. Paul calls them, beggarly elements of the jewish constitution, which was nothing in comparison of the great and glorious design of the gospel, taking notice
of their standing firm in the faith he had taught them, and thanking God for it : he here, in this, prays God, that he would enlighten the minds of the ephesian converts, to see fully the great things, that were actually done for them, and the glorious estate, they were in, under the gospel, of which, in this section, he gives such a draught, as in every part of it shows, that in the kingdom of Christ they are set far above the mosaical rites, and enjoy the spiritual and incomprehensible benefits of it, not by the tenure of a few outward ceremonies: but by their faith, alone, in Jesus Christ, to whom they are united, and of whom they are members, who is exalted to the top of all dignity, dominion, and power, and they with him, their head.
TEXT. 15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus,
and love unto all the saints,
PARAPHRASE. 15 Wherefore, I also, here, in my confinement, having
heard * of the continuance of yourfaith in Christ Jesus,
NOTE. 15 * 'Axécas Tin xaQ guãs wisun év tú Kupów Inoa, “ Wherefore I also after I « heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus.” St. Paul's hearing of their faith, here mentioned, cannot signify his being informed, that they had received the gospel, and believed in Christ; this would have looked impertinent for him to have told them, since he himself bad converted them, and had lived a long time amongst them, as has been already observed. We must, therefore, seek another reason of his mentioning his hearing of their faith, which must sigoify something else, than his being barely acquainted that they were christians; and this we may find in these words, chap. iii. 13, “ Wherefore I desire that ye faint not, at my tri“ bulations for you.” He, as apostle of the gentiles, had alone preached up freedom from the law, which the other apostles, who had not that province (see Gal. ii. 9) in their converting the jews, seem to have said nothing of, as is plain from Acts xxi. 20,21. It was upon account of his preaching, that the christian converts were not under any subjection to the observances of the law, and that the law was abolished, by the death of Christ, that he was seized at Jerusalem, and sent as a criminal to Rome to be tried for his life; where he was now a prisoner. He being, therefore, afraid that the ephesians, and other convert gentiles, seeing hien thus under persecution, in hold, and in danger of death, upon the score of his being the preacher, and zealous propagator and minister of this great article of the christian faith, which seemed to have its rise and defence, wholly from himn, might give it up, and not stand firın in the faith which he bad taught them, was rejoiced, when in his confinement he heard, that they persisted stedfast in that faith, and in their love to all the saints, i.e. as well the convert gentiles, that did not, as those jews, that did, conform to the jewish rites. This I take to be the meaning of his hearing of their faith, here mentioned ; and con
formably hereunto, ch, vi, 19, 20, he desires their prayers, “ that he may with “ boldness preach the mystery of the gospel, of which he is the ambassador in “ bonds." This mystery of the gospel, it is plain from ch. i. 9, &c. and ch. iii. 3-7, and other places, was God's gracious purpose of taking the gentiles, as gentiles, to be his people, under the gospel. St. Paul, whilst he was a prisoner at Rome, writ to two other churches, that at Philippi, and that at Colosse: to the Colossians, chap. i. 4, he uses, almost verbatim, the same expression that he does here, “having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of your love,
which ye have to all the saints ; ” he gives thanks to God, for their knowing and sticking to the grace of God in truth, which had been taught them by Epaphras, who had informed St. Paul of this, and their affection to him, whereupon he expresses his great concern, that they should continue in that faith, and not be drawn a way to judaizing, which may be seen from ver. 14 of this chapter, to the end of the second. So that " the hearing of their faith,” which he says, both to the ephesians and colossians, is not his being told, that they were christians, but their continuing in the faith they were converted to and instruct. ed in, viz, that they became the people of God, and were admitted into his kingdom, only by faith in Christ, without submitting to the mosaical institution, and legal observances, which was the thing he was afraid they should be drawn to, either through any despondency in themselves, or importunity of others, now that he was removed from them, and in bonds, and thereby give up that truth and freedom of the gospel, which he had preached to them
To the same purpose he writes to the philippians, chap. i. 3-5, telling them that he gave “ thanks to God," én akon tñ uveio outwv, upon every mention was made of them, upon every account he received of their continuing in the fel. lowship and profession of the gospel, as it had been taught them by him, without changing, or warering at all, which is the same with “ hearing of their “ faith,” and that thereupon he prays, amongst other things, chiefly that they might be kept from judaizing, as appears ver. 27, 28, where the thing, he desired to hear of them, was “that they stood firin in one spirit, and one mind, “ jointly contending for the faith of the gospel ; in noihing startled by those who or are opposers ;” so the words are, and not “ their adversaries.” Now there was no party, at that tiine, who were in opposition to the gospel, which St. Paul preached, and with whom the convert gentiles had any dispute, but those who were for keeping up circumcision and the jewish rites, under the gospel. These were they, whom St. Paul apprehended, alone, as likely to affright the convert gentiles and make them start out of the way from the gospel, which is the proper import of wlupóuerol. Though this passage clearly enough indicates what it was, thai he was, and should always be, glad to hear of them; yet he more plainly shows luis avorehension of danger to them to be from the contenders for judaism, in the express warning be gives them, against that sort of men, chap. iii, 2, 3. So ihat this hearing, which he mentions, is the hearing of these three churches persisting firmly in the faith of the gospel, which he had taught them, without being drawn at all towards judaizing. It was that, for which St. Paul gave thanks, and it may reasonably be presumed, that, if he had writ to any other churches of converted gentiles, whilst he was a prisoner at Rome, upon the like carriage of theirs, something of the same kind would have been said to them. So that the great business of these three epistles, written during his being a prisoner at Rome, was to explain the nature of the kingdom of God under the Messiah, from which the gentiles were now no longer shut out, by the ordinances of the law; and confirm the churches, in the belief of it. St. Paul, being chosen and sent by God, to preach the gospel of the gentiles, had, in all his preaching, set forth the largeness and freedom of the kingdom of God, now laid open to the gentiles, by taking away the wall of partition, that kept them out. This made the jews his enemies; and, upon this account, they had seized him, and he was now a prisoner at Rome. Fearing that the gentiles might be wrought upon to submit to the law, now that he was thus removed, or suffering for the gospel, he tells these