This section of Ephesians begins the major doctrinal exposition of the letter. Paul talks about the nature of our salvation in Jesus Christ, explaining what God has done for us in the past, what He is doing in the present, and what He will do in the future.
This is the second installment of a six part series on the book of Ephesians. The first installment was an introduction that focused on the first two verses. The focus here is on verses 3 through 10, though we read through verse 15, emphasizing that nothing Paul mentioned is, or was, done apart from the work of Jesus Christ. Because God chose us in Christ, we know his act of choosing was purposeful. Paul says it was done in love, so it was not impersonal or arbitrary. We were chosen in Christ, in love predestined to be adopted as sons through Christ, and it was done before the foundation of the world so that nothing of this world can change His purpose.
Salvation is a gift, given through grace that is lavished on us in wisdom and understanding. Christianity is not just for people who don’t know any better, but is instead a salvation given with wisdom.
I don’t remember my dad often preaching on the doctrine of election or predestination, but he addresses it a basic and straightforward way here as Paul writes about it. I do remember that he thought the best treatment of the tension between free will and God’s sovereignty was found in J.I. Packer’s book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. I have the small black paperback from the 60’s in which he wrote all over the margins. The basic summary there, as in this message here, is that we can’t argue with what is in the text even if it creates an antinomy we aren’t comfortable with. But we still have to take time to understand what is in the text, rather than accept a superficial understanding of what Paul teaches.
This is part 2 of a 6 part series Dr. Bush taught on Ephesians in January of 1980 at the First Baptist Church of Ballinger, Texas. It was part of a larger series that he called Theologoumenon, in which he went to churches and taught anyone who would come. Part 1 was an introduction and the first two verses. The next episode, Part 3, will cover Ephesians 1:15-23, Part 4 will be Ephesians chapter 2, Part 5 is chapter 3, and the last in this series on Ephesians will lead us through chapters 4 though 6.