Ephesians 2:7
That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) In the ages to come.—Properly, the ages which are coming on—the ages both of time and of eternity, looked upon in one great continuity. Here, again, the manifestation of the riches of God’s grace is looked upon as His special delight, and as His chosen way of manifesting His own self to His creatures.

In his kindness.—The word “kindness” (properly, facility, or readiness to serve another) is applied to that phase of God’s mercy in which it shows Him as “ready to receive, and most willing to pardon.” Thus we find it in Luke 6:35 used for His goodness “to the unthankful and evil”; in Romans 2:4 it is joined with “long-suffering and patience”; in Romans 11:22 opposed to abrupt “severity”; in Titus 3:4, connected with love to man, “philanthropy”; and it is also used in similar connections when attributed to man (1Corinthians 13:4; 2Corinthians 6:6; Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:12). Hence in this passage it is especially appropriate, because so much stress has been laid on the former sinfulness and godlessness of those to whom God’s mercy waited to be gracious. There is a similar appropriateness in the repetition of the name of our Lord “through Christ Jesus,” for this gentle patience and readiness to receive sinners was so marked a feature of His ministry that to the Pharisees it seemed an over-facility, weakly condoning sin. “Through Him,” therefore, the kindness of God was both shown and given.

EPHESIANS

‘THE RICHES OF GRACE’

Ephesians 2:7One very striking characteristic of this epistle is its frequent reference to God’s purposes, and what, for want of a better word, we must call His motives, in giving us Jesus Christ. The Apostle seems to rise even higher than his ordinary height, while he gazes up to the inaccessible light, and with calm certainty proclaims not only what God has done, but why He has done it. Through all the earlier portions of this letter, the things on earth are contemplated in the light of the things in heaven. The great work of redemption is illuminated by the thought of the will and meaning of God therein; for example, we read in Chapter i. that He ‘hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ, according as He hath chosen us in Him,’ and immediately after we read that He ‘has predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ according to the good pleasure of His will.’ Soon after, we hear that ‘He hath revealed to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself’; and that our predestination to an inheritance in Christ is ‘according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.’

Not only so, but the motive or reason for the divine action in the gift of Christ is brought out in a rich variety of expression as being ‘the praise of the glory of His grace’ {1-6}, or ‘that He might gather together in one all things in Christ’ {1-10}, or that ‘we should be to the praise of His glory’ {1-12}, or that ‘unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God.’

In like manner our text follows a sublime statement of what has been bestowed upon men in Jesus, with an equally sublime insight into the divine purpose of thereby showing ‘the exceeding riches of His grace.’ Such heights are not for our unaided traversing; it is neither reverent nor safe to speculate, and still less to dogmatise, concerning the meaning of the divine acts, but here, at all events, we have, as I believe, not a man making unwarranted assertions about God’s purposes, but God Himself by a man, letting us see so far into the depths of Deity as to know the very deepest meaning of His very greatest acts, and when God speaks, it is neither reverent nor safe to refuse to listen.

I. The purpose of God in Christ is the display of His grace.

Of course we cannot speak of motives in the divine mind as in ours; they imply a previous state of indecision and an act of choice, from which comes the slow emerging of a resolve like that of the moon from the sea. A given end being considered by us desirable, we then cast about for means to secure it, which again implies limitation of power. Still we can speak of God’s motives, if only we understand, as this epistle puts it so profoundly, that His ‘is an eternal purpose which He purposed in Himself,’ which never began to be formed, and was not formed by reason of anything external.

With that caution Paul would have us think that God’s chiefest purpose in all the wondrous facts which make up the Gospel is the setting forth of Himself, and that the chiefest part of Himself, which He desires that all men should come to know, is the glory of His grace. Of course very many and various reasons for these acts may be alleged, but this is the deepest of them all. It has often been misunderstood and made into a very hard and horrible doctrine, which really means little else than all-mighty selfishness, but it is really a most blessed one; it is the proclamation in tenderest, most heart-melting fashion of the truth that God is Love, and therefore delights in imparting that which is His creatures’ life and blessedness; it bids us think that He, too, amidst the blessedness of His infinite Being, knows the joy of communicating which makes so large a part of the blessedness of our finite selves, and that He, too, is capable of being touched and gladdened by the joy of expression. As an artist in his noblest work paints or chisels simply for love of pouring out his soul, so, but in infinitely loftier fashion, the great Artist delights to manifest Himself, and in manifesting to communicate somewhat of Himself. Creation is divine self-revelation, and we might say, with all reverence, that God acts as birds sing, and fountains leap, and stars shine.

But our text leads us still farther into mysteries of glory, when it defines what it is in God that he most desires to set forth. It is the ‘exceeding riches of Grace,’ in which wonderful expression we note the Apostle’s passionate accumulation of epithets which he yet feels to be altogether inadequate to his theme. It would carry us too far to attempt to bring out the whole wealth contained in these words which glide so easily over unthinking lips, but we may lovingly dwell for a few moments upon them. Grace, in Paul’s language, means love lavished upon the undeserving and sinful, a love which is not drawn forth by the perception of any excellence in its objects, but wells up and out like a fountain, by reason of the impulse in its subject, and which in itself contains and bestows all good and blessing. There may be, as this very letter shows, other aspects of the divine nature which God is glad that man should know. His power and His wisdom have their noblest illustration in the work of Jesus, and are less conspicuously manifested in all His work; but His grace is shrined in Christ alone, and from Him flows forth into a thirsty world. That love, ‘unmerited and free,’ holds in solution power, wisdom and all the other physical or metaphysical perfections belonging to God with all their energies. It is the elixir in which they are all contained, the molten splendour into which have been dissolved gold and jewels and all precious things. When we look at Christ, we see the divinest thing in God, and that is His grace. The Christ who shows us and certifies to us the grace of God must surely be more than man. Men look at Him and see it; He shows us that grace because He was full of grace and truth.

But Paul is here not propounding theological dogmas, but pouring out a heart full of personal experience, and so adds yet other words to express what he himself has found in the Divine Grace, and speaks of its riches. He has learned fully to trust its fulness, and in his own daily life has had the witness of its inexhaustible abundance, which remains the same after all its gifts. It ‘operates unspent.’ That continually self-communicating love pours out in no narrower stream to its last recipient than to its first. All ‘eat and are filled,’ and after they are satisfied, twelve baskets full of fragments are taken up. These riches are exceeding; they surpass all human conception, all parallel, all human needs; they are properly transcendent.

This, then, is what God would have us know of Himself. So His love is at once the motive of His great message to us in Jesus Christ, and is the whole contents of the message, like some fountain, the force of whose pellucid waters cleanses the earth, and rushes into the sunshine, being at once the reason for the flow and that which flows. God reveals because He loves, and His love is that which He reveals.

II. The great manifestation of grace is God’s kindness to us in Christ.

All the revelation of God in Creation and Providence carries the same message, but it is often there hard to decipher, like some half-obliterated inscription in a strange tongue. In Jesus the writing is legible, continuous, and needs no elaborate commentary to make its meaning intelligible. But we may note that what the Apostle founds on here is not so much Christ in Himself, as that which men receive in Christ. As he puts it in another part of this epistle, it is ‘through the Church’ that ‘principalities and powers in heavenly places’ are made to ‘know the manifold wisdom of God.’ It is ‘His kindness towards us’ by which ‘to the ages to come,’ is made known the exceeding riches of grace, and that kindness can be best estimated by thinking what we were, namely, dead in trespasses and sins; what we are, namely, quickened together in Christ; raised up with Him, and with Him made to sit in heavenly places, as the immediately preceding clauses express it. All this marvellous transformation of conditions and of self is realised ‘in Christ Jesus.’ These three words recur over and over again in this profound epistle, and may be taken as its very keynote. It would carry us beyond all limits to deal with the various uses and profound meanings of this phrase in this letter, but we may at least point out how intimately and inseparably it is intertwined with the other aspect of our relations to Christ in which He is mainly regarded as dying for us, and may press upon you that these two are not, as they have sometimes been taken to be, antagonistic but complementary. We shall never understand the depths of the one Apostolic conception unless we bring it into closest connection with the other. Christ is for us only if we are in Christ; we are in Christ only because He died for us.

God’s kindness is all ‘in Christ Jesus’; in Him is the great channel through which His love comes to men, the river of God which is full of water. And that kindness is realised by us when we are ‘in Christ.’ Separated from Him we do not possess it; joined to Him as we may be by true faith in Him, it is ours, and with it all the blessings which it brings into our else empty and thirsting hearts. Now all this sets in strong light the dignity and work of Christian men; the profundity and clearness of their religious character is the great sign to the world of the love of God. The message of Christ to man lacks one chief evidence of its worth if they who profess to have received it do not, in their lives, show its value. The characters of Christian people are in every age the clearest and most effectual witnesses of the power of the Gospel. God’s honour is in their hands. The starry heavens are best seen by reflecting telescopes, which, in their field, mirror the brightness above.

III. The manifestation of God through men ‘in Christ’ is for all ages.

In our text the ages to come open up into a vista of undefined duration, and, just as in another place in this epistle, Paul regards the Church as witnessing to the principalities and powers in heavenly places, so here he regards it as the perennial evidence to all generations of the ever-flowing riches of God’s grace. Whatever may have been the Apostle’s earlier expectations of the speedy coming of the day of the Lord, here he obviously expects the world to last through a long stretch of undefined time, and for all its changing epochs to have an unchanging light. That standing witness, borne by men in Christ, of the grace which has been so kind to them, is not to be antiquated nor superseded, but is as valid to-day as when these words gushed from the heart of Paul. Eyes which cannot look upon the sun can see it as a golden glory, tinging the clouds which lie cradled around it. And as long as the world lasts, so long will Christian men be God’s witnesses to it.

There are then two questions of infinite importance to us-do we show in character and conduct the grace which we have received by reverently submitting ourselves to its transforming energy? We need to be very close to Him for ourselves if we would worthily witness to others of what we have found Him to be. We have but too sadly marred our witness, and have been like dim reflectors round a lamp which have received but little light from it, and have communicated even less than we have received. Do we see the grace that shines so brightly in Jesus Christ? God longs that we should so see; He calls us by all endearments and by loving threats to look to that Incarnation of Himself. And when we lift our eyes to behold, what is it that meets our gaze? Intolerable light? The blaze of the white throne? Power that crushes our puny might? No! the ‘exceeding riches of grace.’ The voice cries, ‘Behold your God!’ and what we see is, ‘In the midst of the throne a lamb as it had been slain.’Ephesians 2:7-9. That in the ages to come — As if he had said, His great design in doing all this for us is, that in all succeeding ages, under the dispensation of the gospel, he might show — Might demonstrate and display, (as the word ενδειξηται implies,) for the instruction and encouragement of others; the exceeding riches of his grace — Manifested both to Jews and Gentiles; in his kindness — His benignity and bounty; toward us — In pardoning, adopting, regenerating, and finally saving us; through Christ Jesus — For we have received the whole blessing by him, and are partakers of it as connected with him, whom God hath appointed our head and Saviour, and taught us to regard as our great representative. For (to repeat the important truth before asserted) by grace are ye saved through faith — Grace, as signifying the free mercy, or unmerited goodness of God, without any respect to human worthiness, confers the glorious gift of salvation; and grace, in the other sense of the expression, namely, the influence of the Spirit, prepares us for the reception of the blessed gift, and conveys it to us; and faith in the Lord Jesus as our Redeemer and Saviour, our Governor and Judge, and in the truths and promises of his holy gospel, with an empty hand, and without any pretence to personal desert; faith, productive of unfeigned love and obedience, receives the heavenly blessing. And that not of yourselves — This refers to the whole preceding clause, and means, 1st, Your salvation is not of yourselves, is not of your own power, nor of your own merit; strictly speaking, you can neither save yourselves, nor deserve that God should save you; your salvation, in all its branches, present and eternal, is from God, to whom alone it belongs to enlighten, justify, sanctify, and glorify you, and it is from him as a free, undeserved gift. Just Song of Solomon , 2 d, Your faith, whereby you receive salvation, is not of yourselves, not of your own power, nor of your own merit; you can neither believe of yourselves, without supernatural light from the word and Spirit of truth, wisdom, and revelation; and divine grace inclining and enabling you to apply to and rely on Christ for salvation, and on the truths and promises of God through him; nor can you, by works done while you are yourselves in unbelief and unrenewed, deserve that God should give you faith. But your faith, as well as your salvation, is the gift of God; is of his operation, Colossians 2:12; from his light shining into your hearts, 2 Corinthians 4:6; and is from him as a free gift, asked indeed of him, and obtained from him, in and by prayer, but utterly unmerited on your part. “God, by the gracious influence of his Spirit, fixes our attention to the great objects of faith, subdues our prejudices against it, awakens holy affections in our souls, and, on the whole, enables us to believe, and to persevere in believing, till we receive the great end of our faith in the complete salvation of our souls.” — Doddridge. Not of works — Neither this faith, nor this salvation, is merited by, or is owing to, any works you ever performed, will or can perform, whether in obedience to the law of Moses, ceremonial or moral, or any other law whatever; much less is it merited by, or owing to, any works done previous to your conversion. Lest any man should boast — As if he had, by his own works of righteousness, procured salvation, and so should ascribe the glory of it to himself, rather than to God.2:1-10 Sin is the death of the soul. A man dead in trespasses and sins has no desire for spiritual pleasures. When we look upon a corpse, it gives an awful feeling. A never-dying spirit is now fled, and has left nothing but the ruins of a man. But if we viewed things aright, we should be far more affected by the thought of a dead soul, a lost, fallen spirit. A state of sin is a state of conformity to this world. Wicked men are slaves to Satan. Satan is the author of that proud, carnal disposition which there is in ungodly men; he rules in the hearts of men. From Scripture it is clear, that whether men have been most prone to sensual or to spiritual wickedness, all men, being naturally children of disobedience, are also by nature children of wrath. What reason have sinners, then, to seek earnestly for that grace which will make them, of children of wrath, children of God and heirs of glory! God's eternal love or good-will toward his creatures, is the fountain whence all his mercies flow to us; and that love of God is great love, and that mercy is rich mercy. And every converted sinner is a saved sinner; delivered from sin and wrath. The grace that saves is the free, undeserved goodness and favour of God; and he saves, not by the works of the law, but through faith in Christ Jesus. Grace in the soul is a new life in the soul. A regenerated sinner becomes a living soul; he lives a life of holiness, being born of God: he lives, being delivered from the guilt of sin, by pardoning and justifying grace. Sinners roll themselves in the dust; sanctified souls sit in heavenly places, are raised above this world, by Christ's grace. The goodness of God in converting and saving sinners heretofore, encourages others in after-time, to hope in his grace and mercy. Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not of works, lest any man should boast. These things are not brought to pass by any thing done by us, therefore all boasting is shut out. All is the free gift of God, and the effect of being quickened by his power. It was his purpose, to which he prepared us, by blessing us with the knowledge of his will, and his Holy Spirit producing such a change in us, that we should glorify God by our good conversation, and perseverance in holiness. None can from Scripture abuse this doctrine, or accuse it of any tendency to evil. All who do so, are without excuse.That in the ages to come - In all future times. The sense is, that the riches of divine grace, and the divine benignity, would be shown in the conversion of Christians and their salvation, to all future times. Such was his love to those who were lost, that it would be an everlasting monument of his mercy, a perpetual and unchanging proof that he was good. The sense is, we are raised up with Christ, and are made to partake of his honor and glory in order that others may forever be impressed wish a sense of the divine goodness and mercy to us.

The exceeding riches of his grace - The "abounding, overflowing" riches of grace; compare the notes, Ephesians 1:7. This is Paul's favorite expression - an expression so beautiful and so full of meaning that it will bear often to be repeated. We may learn from this verse:

(1) That one object of the conversion and salvation of sinners, is to furnish a "proof" of the mercy and goodness of God.

(2) another object is, that their conversion may be an "encouragement" to others. The fact that such sinners as the Ephesians had been, were pardoned and saved, affords encouragement also to others to come and lay hold on life. And so of all other sinners who are saved. Their conversion is a standing encouragement to all others to come in like manner; and now the history of the church for more than eighteen hundred years furnishes all the encouragement which we could desire.

(3) the conversion of "great" sinners is a special proof of the divine benignity. So Paul argues in the case before us; and so he often argued from his own case; compare the notes at 1 Timothy 1:16.

(4) heaven, the home of the redeemed, will exhibit the most impressive proof of the goodness of God that the universe furnishes. There will be a countless host who were once polluted and lost; who were dead in sins; who were under the power of Satan, and who have been saved by the riches of the divine grace - a host now happy and pure, and free from sin, sorrow, and death - the living and eternal monuments of the grace of God.

7. Greek, "That He might show forth (middle reflexive voice; for His own glory, Eph 1:6, 12, 14) in the ages which are coming on," that is, the blessed ages of the Gospel which supersede "the age (Greek, for 'course') of this world" (Eph 2:2), and the past "ages" from which the mystery was hidden (Col 1:26, 27). These good ages, though beginning with the first preaching of the Gospel, and thenceforth continually succeeding one another, are not consummated till the Lord's coming again (compare Eph 1:21; Heb 6:5). The words, "coming on," do not exclude the time then present, but imply simply the ages following upon Christ's "raising them up together" spiritually (Eph 2:6).

kindness—"benignity."

through Christ—rather, as Greek, "in Christ"; the same expression as is so often repeated, to mark that all our blessings center "IN Him."

That in the ages to come; in all succeeding generations while the world continues.

He might show, &c.; as in an instance or specimen, 1 Timothy 1:16: q.d. God’s kindness to us believers in this age, since Christ’s coming, is such an instance of

the exceeding riches of his grace, as may be an encouragement to future generations to embrace the same Christ in whom we have believed.

Through Christ Jesus; by and through whom God conveys all saving benefits to us. That in the ages to come,.... This is the end of God's permitting sin, in which men are morally dead; and of his suffering them to go on in sin, in a state of unregeneracy; and of his quickening them with Christ, and raising them up, and causing them to sit together with him: namely, that

he might show the exceeding riches of his grace: riches being added to grace, denote the valuableness of it, as well as its plenty and abundance; and also the freeness and liberality of God in giving it; and likewise the enriching nature of it: and these riches are exceeding; they exceed the riches of this world, in the immenseness of them, being unsearchable; and in the inexhaustibleness of them, for though such large treasures have been expended upon such numbers of persons, yet there is still the same quantity; and in the duration of them, they last forever; and in the profit and satisfaction they yield, when other riches fade away, are not profitable nor satisfying; and they exceed the conception, knowledge, and comprehension of men; and intend the utmost stretch of the grace of God: and which are evidently and remarkably displayed,

in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus; in providing him as a Saviour for his people; in the mission of him into this world; in not sparing, but giving him up as a sacrifice to justice for their sins; and blessing them with all spiritual blessings in him: all which God designed to show forth, in the ages to come; meaning either the ages following to the end of time, in distinction from the ages that were past: hence it appears, that the world was not expected to be immediately at an end; and that the writings of the New Testament were to be continued, and the Gospel preached unto the end of time, in which the riches of divine grace are held forth to view; and that these ages to come, are seasons and days of grace; for a day of grace will never be over, as long as the Gospel of grace is preached; and that the instances of grace through Christ, and in the times of the apostles, are encouraging to men in ages succeeding; and that the same grace that was displayed then, is shown forth in these: or else the world to come is meant, which will take place at the end of this; and may lead us to observe, that there will be ages in the other world; and that God has not only prepared a great deal of grace and glory for his people, but he has appointed ages enough for them to enjoy it in; and that their riches lie in another world, and are in some measure hid; and that these are the produce of the grace of God; and that the exceeding riches of that will be then manifested, when it will also appear that God's giving grace to men, is not only with a view to his own glory, but is an act of kindness to them; and that eternal happiness will be heartily and freely bestowed upon them, and that through Jesus Christ their Lord: the Syriac version renders it, "that unto ages to come he might show", &c. that is, to men in ages to come; the sense is much the same.

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Ephesians 2:7. Aim of God in connection with what is said, Ephesians 2:5-6.

ἵνα ἐνδείξηται] prefixed with emphasis: in order—not to leave concealed and unknown, but—to exhibit and make manifest, etc. Comp. Romans 9:23.

ἐν τοῖς αἰῶσι τοῖς ἐπερχ.] in the ages coming on, i.e. in the times after the Parousia, as being already on the approach (comp. LXX. Isaiah 44:7; Isaiah 45:11; Jdt 9:5; 3Ma 5:2; Luke 21:26; Jam 5:1; Hom. Od. xxiv. 142; Thuc. i. 126; Plat. Soph. p. 234 D; Aesch. Prom. 98: τὸ παρὸν τό τʼ ἐπερχόμενον, Pind. Ol. x. 11: ἕκαθεν γὰρ ἐπελθὼν ὁ μέλλων χρόνος). In the times from the Parousia (conceived as near at hand) onward, the manifestation designed by God of His grace towards believers was to take place, because not before, but only after the Parousia, would the making alive of the believers, etc., implicitly contained in the making alive of Christ, be actually accomplished in the subjects. Incorrect, seeing that the apostle was previously speaking, not of the spiritual, but of the real resurrection, etc., is the rendering of Morus: “per omne vestrum tempus reliquum quum in hac vita tum in futura quoque,” as well as that of Wolf (comp. Calvin, Piscator, Boyd, Estius, Calixtus, Michaelis, Zachariae, Meier, Matthies, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bleek): “tempora inde ab apostolicis illis ad finem mundi secutura.” Koppe brings out, “ut aeternum duraturum argumentum extaret,” which is quite mistaken, since, while it is true that the αἰῶνες οἱ ἐπερχόμενοι are eternal times, the words do not signify tempora aeternum futura. Respecting the plural τοῖς αἰῶσι, comp. on Ephesians 3:21. To infer from this that the setting in of the Messianic period will not be accomplished suddenly, but by way of successive development (Schenkel), is at variance with the whole N.T. The future αἰών sets in through the Parousia very suddenly and in an instant, Matthew 24:27; 1 Corinthians 15:52, al. Hence we have not mentally to supply with ἐνδείξ. anything like: “ever more completely” (Flatt), or “ever more effectively” (Schenkel), which is sheer caprice.

The form τὸ πλοῦτος is here also decisively attested. See on Ephesians 1:7.

ἐν χρηστότητι ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ] is to be taken together, and the instrumental ἐν indicates by what God will manifest the exceeding great riches of His grace in the ages to come, by kindness towards us in Christ Jesus, i.e. by means of the fact that He shows Himself gracious towards us, of which the ground lies in Christ (not in us, see Ephesians 2:8). The article was not at all requisite before ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς, since χρηστότητι is anarthrous, and besides χρηστότης ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς, like χρηστὸν εἶναι ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς (Luke 6:35), can be closely joined together in thought. Comp. on Ephesians 1:15.

The χάρις is the source of the χρηστότης, which latter displays itself in forgiving (comp. Prayer of Manass. 11; Titus 3:4; Romans 2:4) and in benefiting, and therefore is the evidence of the former, the opposite of ἀποτομία, Romans 11:22. Comp. Tittmann, Synon. p. 195; van Hengel, ad Rom. II. p. 682.Ephesians 2:7. ἵνα ἐνδείξηται ἐν τοῖς αἰῶσιν τοῖς ἐπερχομένοις τὸν ὑπερβάλλοντα πλοῦτον τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ: that He might shew forth in the ages that are coming the exceeding riches of His grace. For the τὸν ὑπερβάλλοντα πλοῦτον of the TR the neuter form τὸ ὑπερβάλλον πλοῦτος is preferred by most editors (LTTrWHRV). The satisfaction of His love was God’s motive in quickening and raising them. The manifestation of His glory in its surpassing wealth is His final purpose in the same. The verb ἐνδείκνυσθαι occurs eleven times in the Pauline Epistles and Hebrews, and nowhere else in the NT. The active is very rare even in the classics, and is never found in the NT. Hence the ἐνδείξηται is to be taken as a simple active (not as = shew forth for Himself), all the more by reason of the αὐτοῦ. What is meant by the τοῖς αἰῶσιν τοῖς ἐπερχομένοις? Some give it the widest possible sense, e.g., per omne vestrum tempus reliquum quum in hac vita tum in futura quoque (Morus), “the successively arriving ages and generations from that time to the second coming of Christ” (Ell.). But it is rather another form of the αἰὼν ὁ μέλλων (Harl., Olsh., Mey., Haupt, etc.), the part. ἐπερχόμενος being used of the future (e.g., Jer. 47:11; Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 41:22-23; Isaiah 42:23; Luke 21:26; Jam 5:1, etc.), and the future being conceived of as made up of an undefined series of periods. In other cases reduplicated expressions, αἰῶνες τῶν αἰώνων, etc., are used to express the idea of eternity. God’s purpose, therefore, is that in the eternal future, the future which opens with Christ’s Parousia, and in all the continuing length of that future, the grace of His ways with those once dead in sins should be declared and understood in all the grandeur of its exceeding riches.—ἐν χρηστότητι ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς: in kindness toward us. The ἐν is taken by some (Mey., etc.) as the instrumental ἐν, “by means of kindness”. It is more natural to give it the proper force of “in,” as defining the way in which the grace showed itself in its surpassing riches. It was in the form of kindness directed towards us. The χρηστότης, which means moral goodness in Romans 3:12, has here the more usual sense of benignity (cf. Romans 2:4; Romans 11:12; 2 Corinthians 6:6; Galatians 5:22; Colossians 3:12; Titus 3:4).—ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ: in Christ Jesus. Again is Paul careful to remind his readers that all this grace and the manifestation of it in its riches have their ground and reason in Christ.7. the ages to come] All future periods of development in His Kingdom. The phrase must not be restricted to the future history of the Church on earth; it is akin rather to the frequent formula for the eternal future, “unto the ages of the ages,” and cp. esp. Jude 25, “both now and unto all the ages”. “The King of the Ages” (1 Timothy 1:17) alone knows what great “dispensations” are included in the one Eternity.

shew] to other orders of being, angelic or other. Cp. Ephesians 3:10, and note.

exceeding riches] A phrase intensely Pauline. See on Ephesians 1:7.

through Christ Jesus] Lit., and better, in. Vital union with the Lord is the never silent key-note of the passage.Ephesians 2:7. Ἐν τοῖς αἰῶσι τοῖς ἐπερχομένοις, in the ages to come) The plural, in opposition to the one bad age [τὸν αἰῶνα τούτου κόσμου], Ephesians 2:2, which blessed ages effectually succeed [upon which the blessed ages come unexpectedly with power]. This expression is in accordance with Paul’s idea regarding the last day, the approach of which he believed not to be immediate [2 Thessalonians 2:2].—ὑπερβάλλοντα, the exceeding) Romans 5:20.Verse 7. - That in the ages to come he might show forth the riches of his grace. A special purpose served by God's free grace bestowed on such persons as the Ephesians. It was intended as a lesson for future ages. "The ages to come" denotes eras to begin from that time, running on now, and to continue hereafter. It would be a profitable lesson for the people of these ages to think of the Ephesians, far as they were by nature from God, receiving his blessing so abundantly. From this they would learn how great are the riches of God's grace. In kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. The particular channel in which the riches of his grace flows is kindness shown to us in Christ Jesus. Kindness in the matter of the blessing, forgiving us freely, and accepting and adopting us in him; kindness in the manner of the blessing, dealing with us as Jesus dealt with the woman that was a sinner, or with the thief on the cross, or with Peter after he had fallen, or with Saul of Tarsus; kindness in the extent of the blessing, providing amply for every want; kindness in the duration of the blessing - for evermore. But again, the Medium or Mediator of blessing is specified - "in Christ Jesus." It is not the kindness of providence, not the natural bountifulness of God, but that kindness and bountifulness which are specially connected with the atoning work of Christ: "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself." The ages to come (τοῖς αἰῶσιν τοῖς ἐπερχομένοις)

Lit., the ages, those which are coming on. Which are successively arriving until Christ's second coming.

He might show (ἐνδείξηται)

The middle voice denotes for His own glory. See on Colossians 1:6.

In kindness (ἐν χρηστότητι)

See on easy, Matthew 11:30. The grace of God is to be displayed in His actual benefits.

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