In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed…
I. THE APOSTLE HERE SHOWS HOW OR BY WHAT MEANS THE INHERITANCE IS OBTAINED, i.e., how anyone comes actually to have a right and interest in it. When speaking of his own interest in the inheritance, the apostle's mind was occupied with a sense of that sovereign good pleasure of God, which is the foundation of all grace and mercy, and he seized on the opportunity of rendering praise to that original cause of his salvation. And so he might have spoken with regard to the Ephesians, for they likewise had been predestinated unto the adoption of children. But he rather refers in their case to the means by which that had been brought about under God. These are first, the word of truth, the gospel of salvation; second, the hearing that word; and third, the believing in Christ through the word. The first may be called the outward means, viz., the word read but especially preached; the second the inward means, hearing, i.e., the inward passage of the word through the sense of hearing and the intellect; and the third, the inner or inmost means, viz., faith, which is a thing of the heart or soul within. This accords with the statement made elsewhere, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Here is a threefold cord not easily broken, by which man, in a way suitable to his nature, is drawn effectually heavenward from the horrible pit and the miry clay, into which all have plunged by sin.
1. The outward means, "the word of truth — the gospel of salvation." The latter of these clauses explains the former. "The word of truth" is "the gospel of salvation."
2. The necessity of hearing the word of truth, the gospel of salvation. This is the means by which the saving truth of God reaches the conscience and the heart.
3. It had become effectual to the Ephesians, who, after they had heard, says the apostle, believed in Christ. The truth had penetrated into their hearts, and there produced all those effects which at last resulted in a living faith or trust in the Saviour. How the word of truth, the gospel of salvation, had operated, what process it had followed, what advancing states of mind, conscience, and feeling it had given rise to in the inner chamber of the soul, the apostle does not delay to specify. Certain convictions would be produced — convictions of ignorance, of depravity, of guilt. New light broke into the mind on spiritual and heavenly things, setting before them in clear manifestation God's blessed and holy nature, His righteous law, His inflexible justice, whilst heaven and hell were disclosed to view. The terrible dominion of Satan, and their own bondage under him to sin, were revealed. Then the Deliverer, the Son of the Mighty One, was preached to them, nigh to justify, able to save to the uttermost. Seeing and believing all this, their hearts were at length moved in willing obedience to the gospel of their salvation. They submitted to the righteousness of God in Christ, and cast their own to the winds.
II. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PRESENT ADVANTAGES POSSESSED BY THOSE WHO HAVE OBTAINED THAT INHERITANCE, AND WHO ARE THE HEIRS OF ETERNAL LIFE?
1. Believers are sealed and made safe by the Holy Spirit. It is commonly understood that a seal put upon a letter or document secures it against detriment from any unfavourable quarter. The breaking of a seal would bring down the strong penalty of the law on the offender. The seal of the sovereign is the highest guarantee that can be afforded for the validity of any right, title, or possession which a subject can enjoy.
2. Believers are evidenced of the Holy Spirit as sealing them.
(W. Alves, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,