Ephesians 1:11
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
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(2 c.) Ephesians 1:11-14 form the third part of the Introduction, applying the general truth of election by God’s predestination in Christ, first to the original believers (the Jews), and then to the subsequent believers (the Gentiles).



Ephesians 1:11A dewdrop twinkles into green and gold as the sunlight falls on it. A diamond flashes many colours as its facets catch the light. So, in this context, the Apostle seems to be haunted with that thought of ‘inheriting’ and ‘inheritance,’ and he recurs to it several times, but sets it at different angles, and it flashes back different beauties of radiance. For the words, which I have wrenched from their context in the first of these two verses, are more accurately rendered, as in the Revised Version, in ‘whom also we were made,’ not ‘have obtained’-’an inheritance.’ Whose inheritance? God’s! The Christian community is God’s possession. Then, in my second text, we have the converse thought-’the earnest of our inheritance.’ What is the Christian’s possession? The same God whose possession is the Christian. So, then, there is a deep and a wonderful relation between the believing soul and God, and however different must be the two sides of that relation, the resemblance is greater than the difference. Surely that is the deepest, most blessed, and most strength-giving conception of the Christian life. Other notions of it lay stress, and that rightly, upon certain correspondence between us and God. My faith corresponds to His faithfulness and veracity. My obedience corresponds to His authority. My weakness lays hold on His strength. My emptiness is replenished by His fulness. But here we rise above the region of correspondences into that of similarity. In these other aspects the convexity fits the concavity; in this aspect the two hemispheres go together and make the complete globe. We possess God, and God possesses us, and it is the same set of facts which are set forth in the two thoughts, ‘We were made an inheritance, ... the earnest of our inheritance.’

I. Now, then, let me ask you to look first at this mutual possession.

We possess God; God possesses us. What does that mean? Well, it means plainly and chiefly this, a mutual love. For we all know-and many of us thankfully can bear witness to the truth of it in our earthly relationships,-that the one way by which a human spirit can possess a spirit is by the sweet mutual love which abolishes ‘mine’ and ‘thine,’ and all but abolishes ‘me’ and ‘thee.’ And so God sets little store by the ownership which depends on divinity and creation, though, of course, that relation brings with it a duty. As the old psalm has it, ‘It is He that hath made us, and we are His’; still, such a relationship as this, based upon the connection that subsists between the Maker and the work of His hands, is so purely external, and harsh, and superficial, that God does not reckon it to be a possession at all.

You perhaps remember how, in the great word which underlies all these New Testament conceptions of God’s ownership of His people, viz. the charter that constituted Israel into a nation, He said, ‘Ye shall be unto Me a people for a possession above all nations, for all the earth is Mine.’ And yet, though that ownership and mastership extended over everything that His hands had made, He-if I might so say-contemned it, and relegated it to a secondary position, and told the people that His heart hungered for something deeper, more real, more vital than such a possession, and that therefore, just because all the earth was His, and that was not enough to satisfy His heart, He took them and made them a peculiar treasure above all nations. We have, then, to think of that great Divine Love which possesses us when He loves us, and when we love Him.

But remember that of this sweet commerce and reverberation of love which constitutes possession, the origination must be in His heart. ‘We love Him because He first loved us.’ The mirrors are set all round the great hall, but their surfaces are cold and lifeless until the great candelabrum in the centre is lit, and then, from every polished sheet there flashes back an echoing, answering light, and they repeat and repeat, until you scarce can tell which is the original and which is the reflection. But quench the centre-light, and the daughter-radiances vanish into darkness. The love on either side is on one side spontaneous and underived, and on the other side is secondary and evoked, but it is love on both sides. His possession of us is, as it were, the upper side, and our possession of Him is, as it were, the underside of the one golden bond. It matters not whether you look at the stream with your face to its source or with your face to its mouth, the silvery plain is the same; and the deepest tie that knits men to God is the same as the tie that knits God to men. There is mutual possession because there is mutual love.

Then again, in this same thought of mutual possession there lies a mutual surrender. For to give is the life-breath of all true love, and there is nothing which the loving heart more desires than to be able to pour itself out-much rather than any subordinate gifts-on its object. But that, if it is one-sided, is misery, and only when it is reciprocal, is it blessed. God gives Himself to us, as we know, most chiefly in that unspeakable gift of His Son, and we possess Him by virtue of His self-communication which depends upon His love. And then we possess Him, and He possesses us, not less by the answering surrender of ourselves, which is the expression of our love. No love subsists if it is only recipient; no love subsists if it is only communicated. Exports and imports must both be realised in this sweet commerce, and we enrich ourselves far more by what we give to the Beloved than by what we keep for ourselves.

The last, the hardest thing to surrender, is our own wills. To give them up by constraint is slavery that degrades. To give them up because we love is a sacrifice which sanctifies, even in the lowest reaches of daily life. And the love that knits us to God is not invested with all its blessed possession of Him, until it has surrendered its will, and said, ‘Not as I will, but as Thou wilt.’ The traveller in the old fable gathered his cloak around him all the more closely, and held it the more tightly, because of the tempest that blew, but when the warm sunbeams fell he dropped it. He that would coerce my will, stiffens it into rebellion; but when a beloved one says, ‘Though I might be much bold to enjoin thee, yet for love’s sake I rather beseech,’ then yielding is blessedness, and the giving ourselves away is the finding of God and ourselves.

I need not touch, in more than a word, upon another aspect of this mutual possession, brought into view lovingly in many parts of Scripture, and that is that there is in it not only mutual love and mutual surrender, but mutual indwelling, ‘He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.’ Jesus Christ has said the same thing to us, ‘I am the Vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me bringeth forth much fruit.’ We dwell in God, possessing Him; He dwells in us, possessing us. We dwell in God, being possessed by Him. He dwells in us, being possessed by us. And He moves in the heart that loves, as the Master walking through His house, as the divinity is present in the temple, and as the soul permeates the body, and is sight in the eye and colour in the cheek, and force in the arm, and deftness in the finger, and swiftness in the foot. So the indwelling God breathes through all the capacities, and all the desires, and all the needs of the soul which He inhabits, and makes them all blessed. The very same set of facts-the presence of a divine life in the life of the believing spirit-may either be looked at from the lower end, and then they are that I possess God, and find in Him the nutriment and the stimulus for all my being, or may be looked at from the upper end, that He possesses me and finds in me capacities and a nature the emptiness of which He fills, and organs which He uses. In both cases mutual love, mutual surrender, mutual inhabitation, make up God’s possession of me and my possession of God.

II. And now let me point you in a very few words to some of the plain, practical issues of this mutual possession.

God’s possession of us demands our consecration. ‘Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price,’ therefore, to live for self is to fly in the face of the very purpose of Christ’s mission and of God’s communication of Himself to us. There are slaves who run away from their masters and ‘deny the Lord that bought them.’ We do that whenever, being God’s slaves, we set up anything else than His will as our law, or anything else than His glory as the aim of our lives. To live for self is to die, to die to self is to live. And the solemn obligations of that most blessed possession by God of us are as solemn as the possession is blessed, and can only be discharged when we turn to Him, and yield the whole control of our nature to His merciful hand, believing that He has not only the right to dispose of us, but that His disposition of us will always coincide with our sanest conceptions of good, and our wisest desires for happiness. Yield yourselves to God, for He has yielded Himself to you, and in the yielding we realise our largest and most blessed possession. It is a good bargain to give myself and to get God.

God’s possession of us not only demands consecration, but it ensures safety. Remember that great word, ‘No man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.’ God is not a careless owner who leaves His treasures to be blown by every wind, or filched by every petty robber. He is not like the king of some decrepit monarchy, slices of whose territory his neighbours are for ever paring off and annexing. What God has God preserves. ‘He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.’ ‘They are Mine, saith the Lord, My jewels in the day which I make.’ But our security depends on our consecration. ‘No man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand.’ No! But you can wriggle yourself out of your Father’s hand, if you will. And the security avails only so long as you realise that you belong to God, and are living not for yourself.

Possessing God we are rich. There is nothing that is truly our wealth which remains outside of us, and can be separated from us. ‘Shrouds have no pockets,’ says the Spanish proverb. ‘His glory shall not descend after him,’ says the grim psalm. But if God possesses me He is not going to let His treasures be lost in the grave. And if I possess Him then I shall pass through death as a beam of light does through some denser medium-a little refracted indeed, but not broken up; and I shall carry with me all my wealth to begin another world with. And that is more than you can do with the money that you make here. If you have God, you have the capital to commence a new condition of things beyond the grave.

And so that mutual possession is the real pledge of immortal life, for nothing can be more incredible than that a soul which has risen to have God for its very own, and has bowed itself to accept God’s ownership of it, can be affected by such a transient and physical incident as what we call death. We rise to the assurance of immortality because we have an inheritance which is God Himself. And in that inexhaustible Inheritance there lies the guarantee that we shall live while He lives, because He lives, and until we have incorporated into our lives all the majesty and the purity and the wisdom and the power that belong to us because they are God’s.

But we have to notice the two words that lie at the beginning of our first text-’In whom we were made an inheritance.’ That opens up the whole question of the means by which this mutual possession becomes possible for us men. Jesus Christ has died. That breaks the bondage under which the whole world is held. For the true slavery which interferes with the free service and the full possession of God is the slavery of self and sin. Jesus Christ has died. ‘If the Son make you free ye shall be free indeed.’ That great sacrifice not only ‘breaks the power of cancelled sin,’ but it also moves the heart, in the measure in which we truly accept it, to the love and the surrender which make the mutual possession of which we have been speaking. And so it is in Him that we become an Inheritance, that God comes to His rights in regard to each of us. And it is in Him that we, trusting the Son, have the inheritance for ours, and ‘are heirs with God, and joint heirs with Christ.’ So, dear friends, if we would ‘be meet for the inheritance of the saints in light,’ we must unite ourselves to that Lord by faith, and through Him and faith in Him, we shall receive ‘the remission of sins and inheritance among all them that are sanctified.’

Ephesians 1:11-12. In whom also we — Believing Jews; have obtained an inheritance — Namely, that of the promises made to the children of Abraham and of God, even the blessings of grace and of glory, the privileges belonging to the true members of the church militant and triumphant. Being predestinated — To it when we became true believers, and as long as we continue such, see on Ephesians 1:5; according to the purpose of him — Of God; who worketh all things — As he formed and governs all things; after the counsel of his own will — The unalterable decree, He that believeth shall be saved: which is not an arbitrary will, but a will flowing from the rectitude of his nature; otherwise what security would there be that it would be his will to keep his word even with the elect? The apostle seems to have added this clause with a view to convince the believing Jews that God would bestow on them, and on the believing Gentiles, the inheritance of heaven through faith, whether their unbelieving brethren were pleased or displeased therewith. That we — Believing Jews; should be to the praise of his glory — Should give men occasion to praise God for his goodness and truth; who first trusted — Or hoped, as προηλπικοτας signifies; in Christ — That is, believed in him, and hoped for eternal salvation from him, before the Gentiles did. And this was the case, not only in Judea, but in most places where the apostles preached; some of the Jews generally believing before the Gentiles. Here is another branch of the true gospel predestination: he that believes is not only elected to eternal salvation if he endure to the end, but is fore-appointed of God to walk in holiness and righteousness, to the praise of his glory.

1:9-14 Blessings were made known to believers, by the Lord's showing to them the mystery of his sovereign will, and the method of redemption and salvation. But these must have been for ever hidden from us, if God had not made them known by his written word, preached gospel, and Spirit of truth. Christ united the two differing parties, God and man, in his own person, and satisfied for that wrong which caused the separation. He wrought, by his Spirit, those graces of faith and love, whereby we are made one with God, and among ourselves. He dispenses all his blessings, according to his good pleasure. His Divine teaching led whom he pleased to see the glory of those truths, which others were left to blaspheme. What a gracious promise that is, which secures the gift of the Holy Ghost to those who ask him! The sanctifying and comforting influences of the Holy Spirit seal believers as the children of God, and heirs of heaven. These are the first-fruits of holy happiness. For this we were made, and for this we were redeemed; this is the great design of God in all that he has done for us; let all be ascribed unto the praise of his glory.In whom also we have obtained an inheritance - We who are Christians. Most commentators suppose that by the word "we" the Jews particularly are intended, and that it stands in contradistinction from "ye," as referring to the Gentiles, in Ephesians 1:13. This construction, they suppose is demanded by the nature of the passage. The meaning may then be, that the Jews who were believers had "first" obtained a part in the plan of redemption, as the offer was first made to them, and then that the same favor was conferred also on the Gentiles. Or it may refer to those who had been first converted, without particular reference to the fact that they were Jews; and the reference may be to the apostle and his fellow-laborers. This seems to me to be the correct interpretation. "We the ministers of religion first believed, and have obtained an inheritance in the hopes of Christians, that we should be to the praise of God's glory; and you also, after hearing the word of truth, believed;" Ephesians 1:13. The word which is rendered "obtained our inheritance" - κληρόω klēroō - means literally "to acquire by lot," and then to obtain, to receive. Here it means that they had received the favor of being to the praise of his glory for having first trusted in the Lord Jesus.

Being predestinated - Ephesians 1:5.

According to the purpose - On the meaning of the word "purpose," see the notes, Romans 8:28.

Of him who worketh all things - Of God, the universal agent. The affirmation here is not merely that God accomplishes the designs of salvation according to the counsel of his own will, but that "he does everything." His agency is not confined to one thing, or to one class of objects. Every object and event is under his control, and is in accordance with his eternal plan. The word rendered "worketh" - ἐνεργέω energeō - means to work, to be active, to produce; Ephesians 1:20; Galatians 2:8; Philippians 2:13. A universal agency is ascribed to him. "The same God which "worketh" all in all;" 1 Corinthians 12:6. He has an agency in causing the emotions of our hearts. "God, who worketh in you both to Will and to do of his good pleasure;" Philippians 2:13. He has an agency in distributing to people their various allotments and endowments. "All these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will;" 1 Corinthians 12:11.

The agency of God is seen everywhere. Every leaf, flower, rose-bud, spire of grass; every sun-beam, and every flash of lightning; every cataract and every torrent, all declare his agency; and there is not an object that we see that does not bespeak the control of an All-present God. It would be impossible to affirm more explicitly that God's agency is universal, than Paul does in the passage before us. He does not attempt to prove it. It is one of those points on which he does not deem it necessary to pause and reason, but which may be regarded as a conceded point in the discussion of other topics, and which may be employed without hesitation in their illustration. Paul does not state the "mode" in which this is done. He affirms merely the fact. He does not say that he "compels" men, or that he overbears them by mere physical force. His agency he affirms to be universal; but it is undoubtedly in accordance with the nature of the object, and with the laws which he has impressed on them.

His agency in the work of creation was absolute and entire; for there was nothing to act on, and no established laws to be observed. Over the mineral kingdom his control must also be entire, yet in accordance with the laws which he has impressed on matter. The crystal and the snow are formed by his agency; but it is in accordance with the laws which he has been pleased to appoint. So in the vegetable world his agency is everywhere seen; but the lily and the rose blossom in accordance with uniform laws, and not in an arbitrary manner. So in the animal kingdom. God gives sensibility to the nerve, and excitability and power to the muscle. He causes the lungs to heave, and the arteries and veins to bear the blood along the channels of life; but it is not in an arbitrary manner. It is in accordance with the laws which he has ordained and he never disregards in his agency over these kingdoms.

So in his government of mind. He works everywhere. But he does it in accordance with the laws of mind. His agency is not exactly of the same kind on the rose-bud that it is on the diamond nor on the nerve that it is on the rose-bud, nor on the heart and will that it is on the nerve. In all these things he consults the laws which he has impressed on them; and as he chooses that the nerve should be affected in accordance with its laws and properties, so it is with mind. God does not violate its laws. Mind is free. It is influenced by truth and motives. It has a sense of right and wrong. And there is no more reason to suppose that God disregards these laws of mind in controlling the intellect and the heart, than there is that he disregards the laws of crystalization in the formation of the ice, or of gravitation in the movements of the heavenly bodies. The general doctrine is, that God works in all things, and controls all; but that "his agency everywhere is in accordance with the laws and nature of that part of his kingdom where it is exerted." By this simple principle we may secure the two great points which it is desirable to secure on this subject:

(1) the doctrine of the universal agency of God; and,

(2) the doctrine of the freedom and responsibility of man.

After the counsel of his own will - Not by consulting his creatures, or conforming to their views, but by his own views of what is proper and right. We are not to suppose that this is by "mere" will, as if it were arbitrary, or that he determines anything without good reason. The meaning is, that his purpose is determined by what "he" views to be right, and without consulting his creatures or conforming to their views. His dealings often seem to us to be arbitrary. We are incapable of perceiving the reasons of what he does. He makes those his friends who we should have supposed would have been the last to have become Christians. He leaves those who seem to us to be on the borders of the kingdom, and they remain unmoved and unaffected. But we are not thence to suppose that he is arbitrary. In every instance, we are to believe that there is a good reason for what he does, and one which we may be permitted yet to see, and in which we shall wholly acquiesce.

The phrase "counsel of his own will" is remarkable. It is designed to express in the strongest manner the fact that it is not by human counsel or advice. The word "counsel" - βουλή boulē - means "a council" or "senate;" then a determination, purpose, or decree; see Robinson's Lexicon. Here it means that his determination was formed by his own will, and not by human reasoning. Still, his will in the case may not have been arbitrary. When it is said of man that he forms his own purposes, and acts according to his own will, we are not to infer that he acts without reason. He may have the highest and best reasons for what he does, but he does not choose to make them known to others, or to consult others. So it may be of God, and so we should presume it to be. It may be added, that we ought to have such confidence in him as to believe that he will do all things well. The best possible evidence that anything is done in perfect wisdom and goodness, is the fact that God does it. When we have ascertained that, we should be satisfied that all is right.

11. In whom—by virtue of union to whom.

obtained an inheritance—literally, "We were made to have an inheritance" [Wahl]. Compare Eph 1:18, "His inheritance in the saints": as His inheritance is there said to be in them, so theirs is here said to be in Him (Ac 26:18). However, Eph 1:12, "That we should BE TO … His glory" (not "that we should have"), favors the translation of Bengel, Ellicott, and others, "We were made an inheritance." So the literal Israel (De 4:20; 9:29; 32:9). "Also" does not mean "we also," nor as English Version, "in whom also"; but, besides His having "made known to us His will," we were also "made His inheritance," or "we have also obtained an inheritance."

predestinated—(Eph 1:5). The foreordination of Israel, as the elect nation, answers to that of the spiritual Israelites, believers, to an eternal inheritance, which is the thing meant here. The "we" here and in Eph 1:12, means Jewish believers (whence the reference to the election of Israel nationally arises), as contrasted with "you" (Eph 1:13) Gentile believers.

purpose—repeated from "purposed" (Eph 1:9; Eph 3:11). The Church existed in the mind of God eternally, before it existed in creation.

counsel of his … will—(Eph 1:5), "the good pleasure of His will." Not arbitrary caprice, but infinite wisdom ("counsel") joined with sovereign will. Compare his address to the same Ephesians in Ac 20:27, "All the counsel of God" (Isa 28:29). Alike in the natural and spiritual creations, God is not an agent constrained by necessity. "Wheresoever counsel is, there is election, or else it is vain; where a will, there must be freedom, or else it is weak" [Pearson].

In whom we; we apostles and others elect of the Jewish nation, we who first trusted in Christ, Ephesians 1:12.

Have obtained an inheritance; are called, or brought into the participation of an inheritance, or have a right given us to it as by lot: in allusion to the twelve tribes having, in the division of the land of Canaan, their inheritances assigned them by lot. He shows that they did not first seek it, much less deserve it, but God cast it upon them: their lot fell in the heavenly inheritance, when others did not.

Being predestinated; this, as well as the forementioned privileges, was designed to us by eternal predestination, and though it be free, and without our procuring, yet in respect of God it is not casual, but of his ordering.

Who worketh all things, powerfully and effectually,

after the counsel of his own will; i.e. that infinite wisdom of God, which is always in conjunction with his will, whereby he acts wisely as well as freely, and though not by deliberation, which falls beneath his infinite perfection, yet with his greatest reason and judgment.

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance,.... Or a part and lot; that is, have obtained one in Christ, in his person, and in his fulness of grace, in the blessings and promises which are in him; or have obtained to be the Lord's clergy, or heritage, to be his portion and inheritance; or rather to have an inheritance in him by lot, meaning the incorruptible and eternal inheritance of glory and happiness in heaven; to which elect men are chosen in Christ, and are begotten to a lively hope of through his resurrection from the dead; and which his righteousness gives a right unto, and his grace a meetness for; and which is now in his hands, and will be given to them through him: and this is said to be obtained by lot, as the word signifies, in allusion to the land of Canaan, which was divided by lot to the children of Israel; and to show that it is not by works of righteousness done by men, but by the sovereign disposal of God; and that everyone shall have his share, and that certainly; for this is not designed to represent it as a casual, or contingent thing. The Alexandrian copy reads, "in whom also we are called"; and so the Vulgate Latin version, "in whom also we are called by lot"; and the Syriac version, "in him", or "by him we are chosen", which agrees with the next clause:

being predestinated according to the purpose of him, who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: predestination is not only to sonship, but to an inheritance; it not only secures the grace of adoption, but prepares and provides an heavenly portion: and this act of predestination proceeds according to a purpose; according to a purpose of God, which can never be frustrated; and according to the purpose of "that God", as one of Stephens's copies reads, that is the author of all things but sin; of the works of creation and of providence, and of grace and salvation; and who works all these according to his will, just as he pleases, and according to the counsel of it, in a wise and prudent manner, in the best way that can be devised; for he is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working; wherefore his counsel always stands, and he does all his pleasure: and hence the inheritance which the saints obtain in Christ, and are predestinated to, is sure and certain.

{15} In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh {o} all things after the counsel of his own will:

(15) He applies respectively the benefit of calling to the believing Jews, going back to the very source, so that they also may not attribute their salvation either to themselves, nor to their stock, nor any other thing, but only to the grace and mercy of God, both because they were called, and also because they were first called.

(o) All things are attributed to the grace of God without exception, and yet for all that we are not statues, for he gives us grace both to want, and to be able to do those things that are good; Php 2:13.

Ephesians 1:11. Ἐν αὐτῷ] resumes with emphasis the ἐν Χριστῷ (Herm. ad Viger. pp. 734, 735; Bernhardy, p. 289 f.), in order to attach thereto the following relative clause (Kühner, II. § 630, 5); hence before ἐν αὐτῷ a comma is to be placed, and after it not a full stop, but only a comma (so, too, Lachmann, Teschendorf). Comp. on Colossians 1:20.

ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἐκληρώθημεν] in whom (is the causal basis, that) we have also obtained the inheritance. καί, in the sense of also actually introduces the accomplishment corresponding to the preparation (which was expressed by ἣν προέθετο ἐν αὐτῷ εἰς οἰκονομίαν κ.τ.λ.). See Hartung, Partikel. I. p. 132; Klotz, ad Devar. 636 f.; Baeumlein, Partik. 152. It has reference to the thing, not to the persons, since otherwise it must have run καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐκληρ., as in Ephesians 1:13; hence the translation of the Vulgate: “in quo etiam nos,” etc., and others (including Erasmus, Paraphr., and Rosenmüller), is incorrect. The subject is not the Jewish Christians (Grotius, Estius, Wetstein, Rosenmüller, Meier, Harless, Schenkel, and others), because there is no antithesis of ἡμεῖς and ὑμεῖς, Ephesians 1:13, but the Christians in general. ἐκληρώθημεν means: we were made partakers of the κλῆρος (Acts 26:18; Colossians 1:12), that is, of the possession of the Messianic kingdom, which before the Parousia is an ideal possession (Ephesians 1:14; Romans 8:24), and thereafter a real one. The expression itself is to be explained in accordance with the ancient theocratic idea of the נַחֲלָה (Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 9:26; Deuteronomy 9:29), which has been transferred from its original Palestinian reference (Matthew 5:5) to the kingdom of the Messiah, and thus raised to its higher Christian meaning (see on Galatians 3:18); and the passive form of this word, which is not met with elsewhere in the N.T., is quite like φθονοῦμαι, διακονοῦμαι, πιστεύομαι (see on Galatians 4:20), since we find κληροῦν τινί used (Pind. Ol. viii. 19; Thuc. vi. 42). Others (Vulgate, Ambrosiaster, Chrysostom, Erasmus, Estius, de Wette, and Bleek) have insisted on the signification of being chosen by lot (1 Samuel 14:41-42; Herod, i. 94; Polyb. vi. 38. 2; Eurip. Ion. 416, al.), and have found as the reason for the use of the expression: “quia in ipsis electis nulla est causa, cur eligantur prae aliis” (Estius), in which case, however, the conception of the accidental is held as excluded by the following προορισθ. κ.τ.λ. (see Chrysostom and Estius); but it may be urged against this view that, according to Paul, it is God’s gracious will alone that determines the ἐκλογή (Ephesians 1:5; Romans 11:16 ff.), not a θεῖα τύχη, which would be implied in the ἐκληρ.; comp. Plato, Legg. vi. p. 759 C: κληροῦν οὕτω τῇ θεῖᾳ τύχῃ ἀποδιδόντα.

προορισθέντες κ.τ.λ.] predestined, namely, to the κλῆρος, according to the purpose of Him, who worketh all things according to the counsel of His will. The words are not to be placed within a parenthesis, and τὰ πάντα is not to be limited to what pertains to the economy of salvation (Piscator, Grotius), but God is designated as the all-working (of whom, consequently, the circumstances of the Messianic salvation can least of all be independent). Comp. πανεργέτης Ζεύς, Aesch. Ag. 1486. But, as God is the all-working, so is His decree the παντοκρατορικὸν βούλημα, Clem. Cor. I. 8.

As to the distinction between βουλή and θέλημα, comp. on Matthew 1:19. The former is the deliberate self-determination, the latter the activity of the will in general.

Ephesians 1:11. ἐν ᾧ καὶ: in whom also we. The ͅκαί does not qualify the subjects (for there is no emphatic ἡμεῖς, nor is there any such contrast between ἡμεῖς and ὑμεῖς here as appears in Ephesians 1:12-13), but refers to what is expressed by the verb and presents that as something additional to what has been expressed by the preceding verb. The “we,” therefore, designates Christians inclusively, and the καί gives the sentence this force—“not only was it the purpose of God to make known the secret of His grace to us Christians, but this purpose was also fulfilled in us in point of fact and we were made His own—not only chosen for His portion but actually made that”. The AV “in whom also we” seems to follow the erroneous rendering of the Vulg., in quo etiam nos. Equally at fault are those (including even Wetstein and Harless) who limit the “we” to Jewish Christians here.—ἐκληρώθημεν: were made a heritage. The reading ἐκλήθημεν, found in a few uncials and favoured by Griesb., Lachm., Rück., may be a gloss from Romans 8:13, or possibly a simple case of mistaken transcription due to the faulty eyes of some scribe. The verb ἐκληρώθημεν is of disputed meaning here. This is its only occurrence in the NT. The compound form προσκληροῦν also occurs in the NT, but only once (Acts 17:4). In classical Greek κληροῦν means to cast the lot, to choose by lot, and to allot. Both in the classics and in the NT κλῆρος denotes a lot, and then a portion allotted. The cognate κληρονομεῖν means to get by lot, to obtain an allotted portion, and so to inherit; and κληρονομία, in the LXX often representing נַחֲלָה, signifies a property inherited, or a possession. In the OT it is used technically of the portion assigned by lot to each tribe in the promised land, and of the Holy Land itself as Israel’s possession given by God (Deuteronomy 4:38; Deuteronomy 15:4). In the NT it gets the higher sense of the blessedness of the Messianic kingdom, the Christian’s destined possession in the consummation of the Kingdom of God. The affinities of κληροῦν show that it may have the definite sense of heritage. It is alleged indeed by some (e.g., Abb.) that the only idea expressed in κληροῦν is that of assigning a lot or portion, and that the notion of an inheritance does not belong to it. But the portions of land assigned by lot to the tribes of Israel on their entrance into Canaan were secured inalienably, and the lots belonging to each family were so secured to the family from father to son that it was impious to let them go into the hands of strangers (cf. the case of Naboth, 1 Kings 21:3). Thus the idea of lot or portion passed over into that of inheritance. Thus, too, in the OT the blessings of the people of God, recognised to be possessed by God’s free gift and not by the people’s merit, came to be described in terms of a heritage, and God Himself, the Giver of all, was looked to as the supreme portion of His people, the possession that made their inheritance (Psalm 16:5-11). But in the OT there was also the counter idea that Israel was the portion or inheritance of the Lord, chosen by Himself to be His peculiar possession. At times these two ideas meet in one statement (Jeremiah 10:16). The question, therefore, is—which of these two conceptions is embodied in the ἐκληρώθημεν here? Or may it be that the word has a sense somewhat different from either? Some take this latter view, understanding the word to mean appointed by lot, or elected by lot, sorte vocati sumus as the Vulg. makes it. So Syr., Goth., Chrys., Erasm., Estius, etc. So also the Genevan Version gives “we are chosen,” and the Rhemish “we are called by lot”. The point thus would be again the sovereignty of the Divine choice, the Christians in view being described as appointed to their Christian position as if by lot. But when our appointment or election is spoken of it is nowhere else said to be by lot, but by the purpose or counsel of God. Retaining, therefore, the general conception of an inheritance, some take the passive ἐκληρώθημεν for the middle, and render it simply “we have obtained an inheritance” (AV., Conyb.). The passive, however, must be accepted as a real passive, and the choice comes to be between these two interpretations: (a) we were made partakers of the inheritance, in hereditatem adsciti, enfeoffed in it (Eadie), and (b) we were made a heritage (RV), God’s λαὸς ἔγ κληρος, taken by Him as His own peculiar portion. The former is the view of Harl., Mey., Haupt, etc., and so far also of Tyndale and Cranmer, who translate “we are made heirs”. It deals with the pass. κληροῦσθαι on the analogy of such passives as πιστεύομαι, φθονοῦμαι, διακονοῦμαι; it has the advantage of being in accordance with the idea regularly conveyed by the cognate terms κληρονομία, κληρονομεῖν; and it points to a third gift of God of the same order with the previous two—forgiveness, wisdom, inheritance. The other interpretation, however—“made a heritage,” “taken for God’s inheritance”—is to be preferred (with Grot., Olsh., De Wette, Stier., Alf., etc.) as being on the whole more consistent with usage; more in harmony with the import of the other passives in the paragraph; sustained, perhaps, by the use of προσκληρουν in Acts 17:4, where the idea is rather that of being allotted to Paul as disciples than that of joining their lot (AV and RV = “consorted with”) with Paul; and, in particular, as suggested by the εἰς τὸ εἶναι that follows—εἰς τὸ ἔχειν rather than εἰς τὸ εἶναι being what would naturally follow the statement of an inheritance which we received.—προορισθέντες κατὰ πρόθεσιν: having been foreordained according to the purpose. The fact that we were made the heritage of God is thus declared to have been no incidental thing, not an event belonging only to time or one having its explanation in ourselves, but a change in our life founded on and resulting from the eternal foreordaining purpose of God Himself. The purpose of God is expressed here by the term πρόθεσις, the radical idea in which is that of the setting of a thing before one. It occurs six times in the Pauline Epistles, and is not confined to one class of these, but appears alike in the Primary Epistles, the Epistles of the Captivity, and the Pastoral Epistles (Romans 8:28; Romans 9:11; Ephesians 1:11; Ephesians 3:11; 2 Timothy 1:9; 2 Timothy 3:10). Outside these Epistles it occurs only twice in the NT, both times in Acts (Acts 11:23, Acts 27:13) and of human purpose.—τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐνεργοῦντος: of Him who worketh all things. The πάντα has the absolute sense, and is not to be restricted to the “all things” that belong to the Divine grace and redemption. The foreordination of men to a special relation to God is connected with the foreordination of things universally. The God of the chosen is the God of the universe; the purpose which is the ground of our being made God’s heritage is the purpose that embraces the whole plan of the world; and our position as the κλῆρος and possession of God has behind it both the sovereignty and the efficiency of the Will that energises or is operative in all things.—κατὰ τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ: after the counsel of his will. The distinction between βουλή and θέλημα. is still much debated, scholars continuing to take precisely opposite views of it. On the one hand, there are those who hold that θέλειν and its cognates express the will as proceeding from inclination, and that βούλεσθαι and its cognates express the will as proceeding from deliberation (Grimm, Wilke, Light., etc.). On the other hand, there are those who contend that θέλειν is the form that conveys the idea of deliberation and βούλεσθαι that which carries with it the idea of inclination. In many passages it is difficult, if not impossible, to substantiate any real distinction, the terms being often used indiscriminately. But in connections like the present it is natural to look for a distinction, and in such cases the idea of intelligence and deliberation seems to attach to the βουλή. This appears to be supported by the usage which prevails in point of fact in the majority of NT passages, and in particular by such occurrences as Matthew 1:19. Here, therefore, the will of God which acts in His foreordaining purpose or decree, in being declared to have its βουλή or “counsel,” is set forth as acting not arbitrarily, but intelligently and by deliberation, not without reason, but for reasons, hidden it may be from us, yet proper to the Highest Mind and Most Perfect Moral Nature. “They err,” says Hooker, with reference to this passage, “who think that of God’s will there is no reason except His will” (Ecc. Pol., i., 2). It is also implied in this statement that the Divine foreordination, whether of things universally or of men’s lots in particular, is neither a thing of necessity on the one hand nor of caprice on the other, but a thing of freedom and of thought; and further, that the reasons for that foreordination do not lie in the objects themselves, but are intrinsic to the Divine Mind and the free determination of the Divine Will.

11. In whom also we] “We” is not emphatic. The emphasis (“also” or “even”) is on the actual attainment, not on the persons attaining. Not only was the “mystery made known to us,” but we came in fact to share its blessing.

have obtained an inheritance] Better, were taken into the inheritance, made part of “the Lord’s portion, which is His people” (Deuteronomy 32:9). The Gr. verb occurs here only in N. T. and not at all in LXX. In later Church language the verb was used of ordination, reception among the clergy (clêros, lot; men selected by lot).

predestinated] to this admission among the Lord’s own.—On the word, see note above on Ephesians 1:5.

according to the purpose of him who worketh, &c.] The stress is not only upon the sovereignty but upon the effectuality of the Divine purpose. He Who supremely wills, going in His will upon reasons which are indeed of His own, also in fact carries out that will; so that with Him to preordain is infallibly to accomplish.—The Gr. verb rendered “worketh” is a compound; lit. “in-worketh.” The usage of the verb warns us not to press this, but on the other hand the “in” comes out more often than not in the usage. This suggests the explanation, “worketh in us;” a special reference of Divine power to the process of grace in the soul and the Church. Cp. Php 2:13.

This is repeated from Ephesians 1:9, so that Ephesians 1:10 is a parenthesis.—ἐκληρώθημεν) He here speaks in the person of Israel, we were made נחלה, ΚΛῆΡΟς or ΚΛΗΡΟΝΟΜΊΑ, the lot, the inheritance of the Lord. Comp. Deuteronomy 32:9. The antithesis is you, Ephesians 1:13. He is, however, speaking of a spiritual benefit: ΚΛΗΡΟῦΣΘΑΙ is not only to obtain the lot: see Chrysost. on this passage: he interprets it, ἐγενήθημεν κεκληρωμένοι, we were put in possession by lot.—ΤᾺ ΠΆΝΤΑ) all things, even in the kingdom of His Son.—βουλὴν, the counsel) which is most free.

[12] Ephesians 1:11; Ephesians 1:13. ἡμεῖςὑμεῖς, we—you) Israelites—Gentiles.—V. g.

Verse 11. - Even in him - in whom we wore also made his inheritance. This is the literal rendering of ἐκληρώθημεν, and it is more expressive than the A.V., "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance." God taking us for his own heritage involves more than our getting an inheritance from God (see Deuteronomy 4:20, "The Lord hath taken you... to be unto him a people of inheritance"). It is implied that God will protect, care for, improve, and enjoy his own inheritance; he will be much with them and do all that is necessary for them. Formerly God's inheritance was Israel only; but now it is much wider. All that God was to Israel of old he will be to his Church now. Having been predestinated according to the purpose. The reason why the reference to predestination is repeated is to show that this new privilege of the whole Church as God's inheritance is not a fortuitous benefit, but the result of God's deliberate and eternal foreordination; it rests therefore on an immovable foundation. Of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will. Predestination is not an exception to God's usual way of working; he works, or works out (ἐνεργοῦτος) all things on the same principle, according to the decision to which his will comes. When we think of the sovereign will of God as determining all things, and in particular determining who are to be his heritage, we must remember how differently constituted the will of an infinitely holy Being is from that of frail and fallen creatures. The fallen creature's will is often whimsical, the result of some freak or fancy; often, too, it is the outcome of pride, avarice, sensual affection, or some other evil feeling; but God's will is the expression of his infinite perfections, and must always be infinitely holy, wise, and good. Willfulness in man is utterly different from willfulness in God; but the recoil we often have from the doctrine of God's doing all things from his mere bene placitum, or according to the counsel of his own will, arises from a tendency to ascribe to his will the caprice which is true only of our own. Ephesians 1:11In Him

Resuming emphatically: in Christ.

We have obtained an inheritance (ἐκληρώθημεν)

Only here in the New Testament. From κλῆρος a lot. Hence the verb means literally to determine, choose, or assign by lot. From the custom of assigning portions of land by lot, κλῆρος acquires the meaning of that which is thus assigned; the possession or portion of land. So often in the Old Testament. See Sept., Numbers 34:14; Deuteronomy 3:18; Deuteronomy 15:4, etc. An heir (κληρονόμος) is originally one who obtains by lot. The A.V. here makes the verb active where it should be passive. The literal sense is we were designated as a heritage. So Rev., correctly, were made a heritage. Compare Deuteronomy 4:20, a people of inheritance (λαὸν ἔγκληρον). Also Deuteronomy 32:8, Deuteronomy 32:9.

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