Ephesians 1:12
That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
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(12) That we . . . who first trusted in Christ.—That the reference here is to the first Christians, in contradistinction to the Gentiles of the next verse, is clear. But the meaning of the phrase “who first hoped” (or, more properly, who have hoped beforehand) is less obvious. Our version seems to interpret it simply of “believing before” the Gentiles, i.e., of being the “first believers;” and this interpretation may be defended by the analogy of certain cases in which the same prefix signifying “beforehand” has this sense (e.g., Acts 20:5; Acts 20:13; Romans 3:9; Romans 12:10; 1Corinthians 11:21). But the more general analogy strongly supports the other interpretation, “who have hoped in the Christ before He came”—that is, who, taught by prophecy, entering into that vision of a great future which pervades the older Covenant, looked forward “to the hope of Israel,” and “waited for the consolation of Israel;” and who accordingly in due time became, on the Day of Pentecost, the firstfruits of His salvation.

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.That we should be to the praise of his glory - Should be the occasion or the means of celebrating his glory; or that praise should be ascribed to him as the result of our salvation.

Who first trusted in Christ - Margin, "hoped." This is in accordance with the original. The foundation of their "hope" was the Saviour. Some suppose that the apostle here refers to the Jews who were converted before the gospel was preached extensively to the Gentiles. The reason for this opinion is, that in the following verse he contrasts those to whom he here refers with others whom he was addressing. But it may be that by the word "we" in Ephesians 1:11-12, he refers to himself and to his fellow-laborers who had "first" hoped in the Saviour, and had then gone and proclaimed the message to others; see the notes on Ephesians 1:11. They "first" believed, and then preached to others; and they also believed, and became partakers of the same privileges.

12. (Eph 1:6, 14).

who first trusted in Christ—rather (we Jewish Christians), "who have before hoped in the Christ": who before the Christ came, looked forward to His coming, waiting for the consolation of Israel. Compare Ac 26:6, 7, "I am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come." Ac 28:20, "the hope of Israel" [Alford]. Compare Eph 1:18; 2:12; 4:4.

That we should be to the praise of his glory; either:

1. Passively, that the excellency and greatness of God’s wisdom, power, grace, mercy, &c. might be shown forth in us by our being predestinated, called, sanctified, saved: or rather:

2. Actively, that we, by the holiness, obedience, and fruitfulness of our conversations, suitable to such privileges, might manifest and set forth the glory of him that vouchsafed them to us.

Who first trusted in Christ; who were the fruits of the New Testament church, the gospel having been first preached to the apostles by Christ himself, and by them to the Jews, (their own nation), and having been first believed by them.

That we should be to the praise of his glory,.... This is the end of predestination to the inheritance; and the sense is, either that the praise of the glory of God, in his grace and goodness, might be discovered and made known unto the saints, as it is displayed in election, redemption, justification, pardon, adoption, regeneration, and eternal salvation; or that they should praise and glorify him on account of these things, by ascribing all to his grace, and nothing to themselves; by giving him thanks for all his benefits; by ordering their conversations aright as become the Gospel; and by doing all things with a view to his glory:

who first trusted in Christ; the Jews, the apostle, and others of the Jewish nation;

who before hoped in Christ, as the words may be rendered; who hoped in Christ before the Gentiles did; and indeed the people of Israel hoped for Christ before he came; the promises of the Messiah were made to them, and he was the peculiar hope and expectation of that people; and to them he first came, and to them the Gospel was first preached; and some of them first believed in Christ, and trusted in him, and not in their own righteousness, strength, wisdom, and riches, nor in their own hearts, nor in any mere creature, nor in their carnal privileges; all which they renounced confidence in, and dependence on, when they came to the knowledge of Christ; in whose person they trusted for acceptance, and in his righteousness for justification, and in his blood for pardon, and in his fulness for supply, and in his power for protection and perseverance: this supposes knowledge of him, and a sense of the frailty and vanity of all other objects; and was a betaking themselves to him, a leaning and staying on him, a committing all unto him, and an expectation of all good things from him.

That we should be to the praise of his glory, who {p} first trusted in Christ.

(p) He speaks concerning the Jews.

Ephesians 1:12. Causa finalis of the predestination to the Messianic κλῆρος:[103] in order that we might redound to the praise of His glory (actually, by our Messianic κληρονομία), we who have beforehand placed our hope on Christ,—we Jewish-Christians, to whom Christ even before His appearing was the object of their hope. Only now, namely, from εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς onward, does Paul divide the subject of ἘΚΛΗΡΏΘ. and ΠΡΟΟΡΙΣΘΈΝΤΕς, which embraced the Christians generally, into its two constituent parts, the Jewish-Christians, whom he characterizes by ἡμᾶςτοὺς προηλπικότας ἐν τῷ Χριετῷ, and the Gentile-Christians, whose destination to the same final aim—namely, εἰς τὸ εἶναι εἰς ἔπαινον κ.τ.λ.—he dwells on afterwards in Ephesians 1:13-14 (passing over to them by ἘΝ ᾯ ΚΑῚ ὙΜΕῖς), and hence Ephesians 1:14 concludes with a repetition of ΕἸς ἜΠΑΙΝΟΝ Τῆς ΔΌΞΗς ΑὐΤΟῦ.[104]

ἩΜᾶς] has emphasis, preparing the way for the subsequent introduction of ΚΑῚ ὙΜΕῖς.

] quippe qui, etc. On προελπίζειν, to hope before, comp. Poseidippus in Athen. ix. p. 377 C. The προ does not transfer the hoping into the praescientia Dei (Jerome), nor has it a reference to the later hoping of the Gentiles (Beza, Piscator, Grotius, Boyd, Estius, Bengel, Michaelis, and others), since the hoping of the Gentiles is not subsequently expressed; nor is προηλπ. equivalent to the simple form (Morus, Bretschneider), which is not the case of any verb with προ; but it applies to the fact that the Jews had the Old Testament prophecies, and hence already before Christ set their hope upon the Messiah (Romans 3:2; Romans 11:4; Acts 3:25; Acts 26:6 f., 22, Acts 28:20, al.). So, correctly, Zöckler takes it, de vi ac notione vocab. ἐλπίς, 1856, p. 32 f. But de Wette, who (comp. Rückert, Holzhausen, Matthies, Bleek) denies the division—also unnoticed by Chrysostom and his successors—into Jewish and Gentile Christians (understanding ἩΜᾶς, generally, of the Christians, and ὑμεῖς, Ephesians 1:13, of the readers), takes προ in ΠΡΟΗΛΠ. as: before the Parousia. Comp. Theophylact: πρὶν ἢ ἐπιστῇ ὁ μέλλων αἰών. But in this way the ΠΡΟ would be without significance, while, as taken by us, it is characteristic. It is incorrect, too, that Ephesians 1:13 affirms nothing peculiar of the Gentile-Christians. As standing in contrast to the προηλπικότας εἶναι of the Jewish-Christians, what is said in Ephesians 1:13 serves precisely to characterize the Gentile-Christians. They, without having entertained that previous hope (Ephesians 2:12), have heard, believed, etc.

The usual construction, suggested of itself by the very sequence of the words, has been—after the example of Morus, Koppe, ed. 1, Flatt, and Matthies—departed from by Harless, followed by Olshausen, inasmuch as he regards εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης αὐτοῦ as an inserted clause [incisum]: “we who were predestined, etc., to be those—to the praise of His glory—who already before hoped in Christ.” In this way Paul would point to the reason, why the κλῆρος had first been assigned to the Jews. But (1) in that case ἘΚΛΗΡΏΘ. and ΠΡΟΟΡΙΣΘ. must already have applied specially to the Jewish-Christians, which no reader could guess and Paul, in order to his writing intelligibly, must have indicated, by putting it in some such way as: ἐν ᾧ ἡμεῖς ἐκληρώθημεν, οἱ προορισθέντεςεἰς τὸ εἶναιτοὺς προηλπικότας κ.τ.λ. As the passage actually stands, the reader could find the Jewish-Christians designated only at Ephesians 1:12, not previously. (2) εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης αὐτοῦ has, in accordance with the context (see Ephesians 1:14; comp. also Ephesians 1:6), by no means the character of an incidental insertion, but the stress of defining the ultimate aim, and that not in respect of a pre-Christian state, but of the Christian one. This, however, only becomes suitably felt, when we read εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης αὐτοῦ together. (3) The predestination of God (προορισθέντες) is in the connection related not to a pre-Christian state, such as, according to Harless, the εἶναι τοὺς προηλπικότας ἐν τ. Χριετῷ would be, but to the realization of the Messianic blessedness (Ephesians 1:5). Comp. Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 2:7; as also Acts 4:28. Lastly, (4) the objections taken by Harless to the usual connection of the words are not tenable. For (a) the symmetry of the two corresponding sentences in form and thought depends on the fact that in the case of both sections, the Jewish and the Gentile Christians, the glorifying of, God is brought into prominence as the final aim of their attaining to salvation, and hence Ephesians 1:14 also closes with εἰς ἔπαινον τ. δόξ. αὐτοῦ. (b) The repeated mention of the predestination on God’s part to salvation is solemn, not redundant; and the less so, inasmuch as the description of God as τὰ πάντα ἐνεργοῦντος is added. (c) The objection that we cannot tell why the apostle brings in that predestination only with regard to the προηλπικότες, while yet it manifestly applies also to the ἈΚΟΎΣΑΝΤΕς, is based on the misunderstanding, according to which ἘΚΛΗΡΏΘ. and ΠΡΟΟΡΙΣΘ. are already restricted to the Jewish-Christians; for the subject of these words is still the Christians without distinction,

Jewish and Gentile Christians,—so that the predestination of those and these is asserted. It is only at Ephesians 1:12 that the division of the subject begins, which is continued in

[103] Many others, including Flatt, Meier, Harless, have attached εἰς τὸ εἶναι to προορισθ. (predestined, to be, etc.); but this is not only not in keeping with the analogous εἰς ἔπαινον κ.τ.λ., vv. 6 and 14, but also inappropriate, because προορισθ. did not yet refer specially to the Jewish-Christians.

[104] Thus what Paul dwells on in vv. 11–14 may be summarized thus: “In Christ we have really become partakers of the Messianic salvation, to which we were predestined by God, in order that we Jewish-Christians, and also you Gentile-Christians, should redound to the praise of His glory.”

Ephesians 1:12. εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ: to the end that we should be unto the praise of His glory. The art. τῆς is inserted by the TR before δόξης, but on slender authority. It is omitted by most of the primary uncials and other important documents. On the other hand, the αὐτοῦ after δόξης is omitted by a few ancient authorities, especially [66]1[67]. This clause states the ultimate end which God had in view in foreordaining us to be made His κλῆρος. It was not for our own privilege (as the Jews with their limited and exclusive ideas had misinterpreted the object of God in His election of them), but that through us His glory might be set forth. Cf. the prophetic declaration, “the people which I formed for myself, that they might set forth my praise” (Isaiah 43:21); and such passages as Psalm 144:12; Sir 39:10; Php 1:11; 1 Peter 1:7. The sentence is best connected with the principal verb, not with the προορισθέντες which defines the ἐκληρώθημεν, but with the ἐκληρώθημεν itself. It is also to be taken as a whole, containing one idea, precisely as is the case with the other εἰς ἔπαινον sentences in Ephesians 1:6; Ephesians 1:14. To break up the clause so as to take the εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς to express the end or object, further defined by the τοὺς προηλπικότας, and to make εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ an incidental or parenthetical clause, is in the highest degree artificial and out of harmony with the other sentences. The question remains as to the persons included in the ἡμᾶς—whether Christians generally, or Jews or Jewish Christians specially. In order to answer that question the force of the following clause must be determined.—τοὺς προηλπικότας ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ: we who had (RV marg., “have”) before trusted in Christ. Better, we, to wit, who have aforetime hoped in the Christ. The article defining the προηλπικότας is most naturally taken as placing the προηλπικότας in apposition to the ἡμᾶς and as explaining the ἡμᾶς now in view to be a particular class, and not the subjects of God’s grace generally. The attempt is made, indeed, in more than one way (e.g., by Hofm., Harl., Abb., Haupt, etc.) to construe τοὺς προηλπικότας as the predicate, so that the sense should be, “to the end that we should be those who have before hoped (or believed) in Christ”. But this is not a construction naturally suggested by the simple form of the sentence. It has also the disadvantage of not being in harmony with what is the prevalent, though not invariable, use of the article as distinguishing subject from predicate, and it turns the εἰς ἔπαινον κ.τ.λ. awkwardly into a parenthetical sentence—“to the end that we, to the praise of His glory, should be those who have before hoped in Christ”. It is to be further noticed that the προ in προηλπικότας must have its proper force, expressing a hope cherished before the event. Some understand this differently, taking the προ to express the fact that Jewish Christians preceded Gentile Christians in hoping in Christ (Beza, Grot., Beng., etc.). Others (De Wette, etc.) would make the event in view as the object of hope the second Advent of Christ, the Parousia of the Epistles. But the point appears to be that there were those, namely, pious Jews of OT times, who cherished a hope in the Christ of promise and prophecy before the appearance of Christ in history. The words are entirely appropriate as a description of those who looked for Christ before He came. The prep. ἐν is most naturally understood as is the ἐν after the simple ἐλπίζειν, e.g., in 1 Corinthians 15:19, and the ἐλπίζειν itself must have the natural sense of hoping, not believing or trusting. Yet, again, the object of the hope is here not Χριστὸς, but ὁ Χριστός, “the Christ,” “the Messiah”. The sense consequently is, “we, to wit, who have reposed our hope in the Christ before He appeared”. These things help us to answer the question—Who are the persons referred to? They are, say some, Christians generally, as those who hope in the Christ who is to return, and of whom it may be said, speaking of them from the standpoint of the final fulfilment at Christ’s second Advent, that they are those who have reposed their hope in the Christ who is to come. This is urged specially on the ground that, as all through the preceding paragraph Paul has spoken of things pertaining to Christians generally and has used the terms “we,” “us” of Christians without distinction, it is unreasonable to suppose that at this point he changes all and puts a restricted meaning on the ἡμᾶς. On this view the following ὑμεῖς must also be taken not as referring to a distinct class of Christians, but simply as applying to the Ephesian readers in particular what is said of all Christians as such. It must be allowed that much may be said in favour of this view. But on the other hand it is just at this point that Paul introduces a ὑμεῖς as well as a ἡμᾶς—a fact that naturally suggests a distinction between two classes; as in chap. Ephesians 2:11-22 he draws out the distinction definitely and with a purpose between two classes who became believers in the Christ in different ways and at different times. Hence it appears simplest (with Mey., etc.) to regard Paul as speaking in this clause specially of those who like himself had once been Jews, who had the Messianic prophecies and looked for the Messiah, and by God’s grace had been led to see that in Christ they had found the Messiah. In the following ὑμεῖς, therefore, he refers to those who had once been Gentiles and had come to be believers in Christ. This is supported by the explanatory nature of the clause introduced by τούς, by the proper sense of the προηλπικότας, and by the introduction of τῷ Χριστῷ in place of Χριστῷ.

[66] Codex Claromontanus (sæc. vi.), a Græco-Latin MS. at Paris, edited by Tischendorf in 1852.

[67] Codex Augiensis (sæc. ix.), a Græco-Latin MS., at Trinity College, Cambridge, edited by Scrivener in 1859. Its Greek text is almost identical with that of G, and it is therefore not cited save where it differs from that MS. Its Latin version, f, presents the Vulgate text with some modifications.

12. That we should be, &c.] On the time when of this, see next note but one, at the end.

his glory] His revealed Character, of which the Gospel of the Son is the grand illustration; being thus “the Gospel of the glory of the blissful God” (1 Timothy 1:11; and cp. 2 Corinthians 4:4, “the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God”).

who first trusted in Christ] Lit. who have (or, had) hoped beforehand in Christ. “Trust” here nearly represents “hope” (as perhaps quite, John 5:45; Romans 15:12); but, unless context forbids, the reference of hope to the future should always be recognized. And this is emphasized here by the “beforehand,” which in the Gr. is a part of the verb-form. What then is the precise expectation about Christ in view here? It may be either (1) that of Jewish believers, as e.g. the O. T. saints, and Symeon, &c., up to the First Advent; or (2) that of all believers up to the Second Advent; a view of Christ specially as the Coming One, in either case. Both interpretations find some support in the context. If (1) is adopted, the reference will be to Jewish believers as against Gentile, and their priority both in time and, in a certain sense, in claim, as holders of the great Messianic Hope; as if to say, “that we, who as Israelites had inherited and cherished that hope before it was fulfilled, and before it was imparted to you, should be, &c.” If (2) is adopted, the reference will be to the expectant attitude of all Christians till the Lord’s Return (cp. e.g. Romans 8:24-25, and note); at which Return they, in a final sense, will “be to the praise of His glory” (cp. 2 Thessalonians 1:10). To this reference we incline. The grandeur and universality of the scope of the whole passage favours it rather than the other; though it must not be forgotten on the other hand that this Epistle is often specially occupied with contrasts between Jew and Gentile.—Thus paraphrase; “That we should contribute to the glory of God, at the appearing of Christ; welcomed then as the once patient and expectant believers in His promise while still it tarried.”

Ephesians 1:12. Ἡμᾶς, us) Jews.—τοὺς προηλπικότας, who before or first hoped or trusted) This is the predicate. The Jews first obtained hope in Christ when manifested to them (1 Corinthians 15:19); afterwards the Gentiles, Acts 13:46. The word before or first, here, is not to be referred to Old Testament times; comp. on the subject of hope, Ephesians 1:18; ch. Ephesians 2:12; Ephesians 4:4.

Verse 12. - That we should be to the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ. The "we" which hitherto has been applied to the whole Church, Jewish and Gentile, begins to have a more limited reference, and to contrast with "you" in ver. 13. The first "we" in this verse embraces all, as in the preceding part of the chapter; the second (omitted in the A.V.) is conditioned by the words following, and is applicable to the Jewish Christians, who, through the promises given to the fathers, had seen Christ's day afar off, and had thus hoped in him. This special reference to ἡμᾶς is followed immediately by a reference to ὑμεῖς. Ephesians 1:12That we should be

Connect with we were made a heritage.

Who first trusted (τοὺς προηλπικότας)

In apposition with we (should be). So Rev., we who had, etc., trusted, more properly hoped; and first trusted is ambiguous. We refers to Jewish Christians, and the verb describes their messianic hope before (πρό) the advent of Christ. Hence Rev., correctly, we who had (have) before hoped. In Christ should be "in the Christ," as the subject of messianic expectation and not as Jesus, for whom Christ had passed into a proper name. It is equivalent to in the Messiah. See on Matthew 1:1.

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