Ephesians; 1:3 – the Trinity

Class Outline:

Wednesday September 19,2018

Ephesians; 1:3 - the Trinity


EPH 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,


The blessings originate from heaven and are themselves heavenly over and above anything earthly. They were given to you before the foundation of the world.


EPH 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love


EPH 1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,


EPH 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.


It is a miracle of grace in itself that humans can praise God the Father. He is infinite, invisible, and transcendent.


One cannot praise what he doesn’t know. Yet, by grace, we can know enough of God the Father to actually, properly praise Him.


It’s an endless pursuit to come to know God. He is infinite and transcendent. Yet, what we can know is revealed, and even that cannot be fully comprehended.


It would be silly to say that since God is infinite that I’m not going to bother learning anything. That’s like saying that you don’t understand how an engine works so you’re not going to bother to learn how to drive. Who of us knows how our brains or circulatory systems work? That doesn’t stop us from learning how to live.


We can know much about God that is revealed, and it is certainly a life long pursuit. One who is not willing to devote his life to knowing God doesn’t know one thing about Him.


At the start we are confronted with the greatest mystery of all revealed truth - the Trinity.


We know that the word Trinity is not used in the Bible, yet the Bible clearly states that there is one God and on the other hand clearly reveals that there are three to whom the attributes and qualities of Deity in the highest sense are ascribed, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


The nature of God must present mysteries to the finite mind, or else the god in question is a creation of mankind.


The scriptures are too numerous to list in which there is clear reference to the distinctions in the Godhead. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are constantly named as separate Persons with specific operations said to be accomplished by each and the Bible offers no explanation to the obvious mystery of it.


No one has ever been able to comprehend how three Persons form one essence, but that is precisely the truth which is the testimony of all parts of the Bible.


Yet even within our own selves, there are mysteries that no one can answer. The soul of man is invisible and its effect upon man’s disposition and manner is often a great mystery. How many times in his life does a man say to himself, “I don’t understand why I did that.”?


The Trinity is composed of three united Persons without separate existence - so completely united (co-equal and co-eternal) as to be One God.


Language is finite while the Trinity is infinite and transcendent, and so we should not be surprised to find that language labors to define and describe such a truth.


There are issues with the language of the above definition. They don’t form or be one God for each of them independently are fully God. They are not each one-third God.


We can only take what the Bible declares without any variation. We take all that the Bible says concerning the Trinity and we put them together and declare that to be the statement or definition of the Trinity. When one or more portions of that statement elicit a response of “that doesn’t make sense,” or, “that is difficult to comprehend or imagine,” we don’t try to alter it to make it more comprehensible.


“Heresy lies in the sense assigned, not in the word written; and the guilt is that of the expositor, not of the text.” [Hilary of Poitiers, 367 AD, On The Trinity]


Many heresies have arisen on the doctrine of the Trinity, and they have all permeated and stained many other doctrines, making them false and weak.


We use the word persons, but that is not to be judged in the human sense or strict philosophical sense. They are not individuals as people are. Yet, the personality of God is expressed in the scripture as “I, You, He, Us;” as personal pronouns.  


EPH 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,


This is the full title of the First Person of the blessed Trinity: “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is given 5 times in the NT.


God the Father: Fatherhood over all creation and over Israel.


We are careful to note that this is not the same as the Fathership of God the Father over the believer. The relationship of the believer to the Father is one of an adopted son, whereas the relationship of the Father to the unbeliever is one of Creator who loves world to the extent that He would give His only begotten Son.


We must be careful to stick to the scriptures. No matter how much the scriptures may rub you the wrong way, they are the final authority. We are all brought up with beliefs, think up some of our own beliefs through those influences, and perhaps we have misinterpreted certain aspects of doctrines. We may just not know enough concerning those doctrines and so our conclusions contain some errors. If there are errors in our conclusions, we often still hold on to the conclusions in a prideful way. The scripture is the final authority, and if your conclusions have never changed or been adjusted then either you were an exceptional learner the first time around, or you are too prideful to change.


For centuries the Catholic Church told its parishioners not to read the Bible and they fought attempts to translate the Latin Bible into the common language of the various nations. Yet we find that the Bible was written in common language (Hebrew and Koine [common] Greek) and so it was written for the common man.


“There is a form of universal Fatherhood and universal brotherhood which, within its proper bounds, should be recognized; but this, as important as it may be, is in no way to be confused with that Fatherhood and brotherhood which is secured by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.” [Chafer, Systematic Theology; vol. 1, p. 312.]


EPH 3:14 For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father,


EPH 3:15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,


The allusion is to families in heaven and on earth. We might be tempted to imagine our families, the saved ones, in heaven, but our Lord revealed to us that there is not marriage in heaven. Heaven and earth are often used together to depict everything and everywhere, and so it could refer to the Fatherhood of the universe. Yet the rabbis and many biblical commentators take “family in heaven” to refer to angelic families.


The passage certainly intimates a universal Fatherhood of God as Creator and Designer, which other passages reinforce. 


HEB 12:9

Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?


JAM 1:17

Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.


MAL 2:10

"Do we not all have one father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously each against his brother so as to profane the covenant of our fathers?


ACT 17:29

“Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man.”


1CO 8:5-6

For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.


If there is a universal Fatherhood of God as Creator and Giver of the Son to the human race, then there is a universal brotherhood. Every unbeliever has the same issue. The Holy Spirit’s ministry in the world is to convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment and it is the same sin, the same righteousness, and the same judgment. All mankind holds this in common and all are created by God who wills all men to be saved.


We must not confuse the Fatherhood of creation with the Fatherhood and sonship that is secured in the body of Christ.


We look at these passages and see something along the lines of offspring and Creator of which the Father is the agent.


Fatherhood over Israel


EXO 4:21 And the Lord said to Moses, "When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.


EXO 4:22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the Lord," Israel is My son, My first-born.


EXO 4:23 So I said to you, 'Let My son go, that he may serve Me'; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your first-born."'"


They were not all children by regeneration.

Unbelieving Jews existed.

God is revealing His relationship to them in a way that conveys the love and tenderness He has for them.


He chose them because He loved them. They are all the offspring of Abraham the believer and friend of God. He redeemed them from Egypt and freed them and to them begat a nation. He gave them a law and a land graciously. These things, showing that Yavah alone is worthy of praise, should have turned all of their hearts towards Him in love and tenderness.


He uses the imagery in Psa 103.


PSA 103:13 Just as a father has compassion on his children,

So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.


PSA 103:14 For He Himself knows our frame;

He is mindful that we are but dust.


God the Father proclaims His Fatherhood over Solomon.


2SA 7:12 When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.


2SA 7:13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.


2SA 7:14 I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,


2SA 7:15 but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you.


2SA 7:16 And your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever."'"


2SA 7:17 In accordance with all these words and all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.


The declaration of Fatherhood over Solomon is surrounded by the Davidic Covenant. The Son of David would die in order to open the way for all to be eternal sons of the Father.


God’s Fatherhood over Solomon is a type of the Father/Son relationship between God the Father and the Son of David, who would be without iniquity.


Verse fourteen is obviously about Solomon, who would commit much iniquity. Verse thirteen is also about Solomon who would build a permanent house for the Lord, the magnificent Solomon’s Temple. However, that house would not endure and neither would that kingdom.


Then would come the Son of David. The title of the Father in EPH 1:3 is “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and that Son would open the door to the sheepfold so that all could be made sons, and not of the universal type who would be judged for rejecting Him and not of the more limited type of Israel, who would be judged for the same reason, but of the eternal type who were redeemed and regenerated and made righteous through the most sacrificial act the universe could ever behold.


The fulfillment of the promise of the house that endures forever is at the Second Coming. A spiritual fulfillment is happening in this age.