Ephesians; 1:4 – Elected to be blameless. The church presented blameless – Col 1:22.

Class Outline:

Wednesday March 13, 2019

Ephesians; 1:4 - Elected to be blameless. The church presented blameless - COL 1:22.


Back to our main passage: Elected so that we may be blameless.


JER 9:23 Thus says the Lord, "Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches;


JER 9:24 but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things," declares the Lord.


COL 1:9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,


COL 1:10 so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;


COL 1:11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously


COL 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.


So then, true knowledge and power lead us to perseverance and forbearance with joy, and always joyously giving thanks. We are always filled with gratitude.


COL 1:13 For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,


“domain of darkness” - Satan’s dominion.


LUK 22:47 While He was still speaking, behold, a multitude came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him.


LUK 22:48 But Jesus said to him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" 


LUK 22:49 And when those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?"


LUK 22:50 And a certain one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.


LUK 22:51 But Jesus answered and said, "Stop! No more of this." And He touched his ear and healed him.


LUK 22:52 And Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, "Have you come out with swords and clubs as against a robber?


LUK 22:53 "While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours."


Betrayal, violence, brutality, hatred, and pride are all a part of the domain of darkness. The domain of darkness had a brief hour of power over our Lord, but little did they know that He would defeat them and deliver many of their captives. He would defeat them so soundly that He would redeem the price on every prisoner’s head, though not all would believe in Him.


The false teachers in Colossae, as they do in all ages everywhere, are trying to enslave their thinking again to the domain of darkness. No believer can return to that domain, for all believers are sons of light, but they can think in darkness.


Paul makes clear that they do not have to pay homage to false teachers. All believers have been rescued from the sphere dominated by the kingdom of darkness. We need not fear their heretical teaching.


Have no doubt that you have been transferred to the kingdom of Christ.


ROM 8:29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren;


ROM 8:30 whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.


Members of Christ’s kingdom will be glorified. COL 1:27 says that Christ is in us, the hope of glory.


COL 1:25 Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God,


COL 1:26 that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints,


COL 1:27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.


Our inheritance will be fulfilled when we are glorified. Redemption and forgiveness are part of it and currently enjoyed.


The abundance of our inheritance will be fulfilled when we are glorified, but now, during our earthly lives, the foundation of that inheritance has broken in and some aspects of it are clearly seen and enjoyed.


One part of that inheritance now known and loved is redemption (being set free) and the forgiveness of sins.


COL 1:13 For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,


COL 1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.


COL 1:15-20: the Christ Hymn.


The preceding was Paul’s prayer for the Colossians and the reason why Paul would pray it for them. Then Paul passes into one of the great Christological passages in the NT. Now comes the Son and the role of the Son. It is written as if it were a hymn. F.F. Bruce points this out and documents it thoroughly with other expositors who have concluded the same.


The following six verses are cast in the form of rhythmical prose which is found in much early Christian hymnody. Repetition of key words or phrases indicates a strophic arrangement, meaning stanzas of varying line length.


There appear to be two main strophes; vv. 15-16 and vv. 18b-20, with the transition between them supplied by vv. 17-18a.


Being a fan of good poetry, I find this to be sublime. We could not know if this were already a hymn sung in some form before Paul wrote this letter and he is putting his apostolic stamp on it, or that Paul originates it. The latter sounds more proper. Remember, Paul grew up in Tarsus which contained a major Hellenistic university. As he revealed in Athens, he had a sound Greek education as well as a Hebraic one. It is not odd that he would write perhaps the greatest Christological passages given to the world in a poetic form. And as an apostle to the Gentiles, it would also fit that Paul would use a Greek poetic structure and not the Hebraic one familiar from the Psalms.


Each strophe begins with “He is” (literally, “who is”). The transitional lines begin and end with “He indeed is” or “He is also” (identical in Greek).


Especially when you look at the lines in Greek it is pretty clear that this either was a hymn that Paul repeats or improves on, or that it is created by Paul and became a hymn. Remember that much of the world at that time were illiterate. Even if a person could read, possessing books was expensive and rare. Christians at the time would not have each possessed their own copies of the gospels or epistles.


We know that the few people who had copies and could read would read aloud in their gatherings and those who listened would commit the verses to memory. The easiest way to memorize a passage would be to put it to rhyme and rhythm. This extremely important Christological passage is put in the form of Greek poetry by Paul.


The first strophe celebrates Christ as Creator.


He is the image of the invisible God,

firstborn before all creation,

because in Him all things were created -

       things in heaven and things on earth,

       things visible and invisible,

       whether thrones or dominions,

       whether principalities or powers -

they have all been created through Him and for Him.


I will try and read this to you (and not do it justice) in the Greek it was originally written, as we have from the Nestle-Aland 27th edition (1993).


Hos estin eikoon theou tou aoratou

prototokos pases ktiseoos

hoti en autoo ektisthe

ta panta en tois ouranois kai epi tes ges

ta horata kai ta aorata

eite thronoi eite kuriotetes

eite achai eite exousiai

ta panta di autou kai es auton ektistai




He indeed is before all things,

and they all cohere in Him;

He is also the head of the body, the church.


The second strophe celebrates His role in the new creation.


He is the beginning,

firstborn from the dead,

       that He might be preeminent in all things,

because in Him it was decreed that all the fullness should take up



The second strophe celebrates the role of Christ in the new creation, especially in reconciliation.


In respect to the old and new creation alike, He enjoys the status of the first-born (vv. 15, 18)


COL 1:15 And He is the image [eikon -exact image as a stamp from a press] of the invisible God, the first-born [prototokos - priority and sovereignty] of all creation.


PRO 8:15

The Lord possessed me [wisdom] at the beginning of His way,

Before His works of old.


PSA 89:27

“I also shall make him [David] My first-born,

The highest of the kings of the earth.”


David was not the literal firstborn in his family and neither is the Son of God born or created. The genitive phrase “of all creation” can only be construed as “before all creation” when vv. 16 and 17 are considered along with the rest of His revelation.


What is in view is simply that the Man who lived in Palestine in the first half-century preexisted all things and is heir of all things, hence having the title prototokos, and is God (eikon).


Paul begins with Christ as the image of the invisible God.


2CO 4:1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart,


2CO 4:2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.


2CO 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,


2CO 4:4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image [eikon] of God.


When Paul met Christ and was converted, he was blinded by the light of the gospel.


The image of the invisible God shines forth brightly. His life is the light of men.


To say that Christ is the image of God is to say that in Him the nature and being of God have been perfectly revealed - that in Him the invisible has become visible.


JOH 1:18 No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.


Jesus said that anyone who sees Him has seen the Father.


HEB 1:1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,


HEB 1:2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.


HEB 1:3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;


HEB 1:4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.


Man was created in the image of God. The Bible never says that angels are also. And so, the invisible God could become a man and express the image of God perfectly.


COL 1:15 And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born [prototokos - priority and sovereignty] of all creation.


Jesus is presented as the preexistent, first-born before all creation, which makes Him heir of all things.


COL 1:16 For by Him [the: definite article] all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities —  all things have been created by Him and for Him.


“For by Him” - hoti en auto = “For in Him”


In Him “the” all things were created, and this justifies the title first-born. In is not instrumental but locative, meaning all creation, all things, are in Him. Without Him there would be nothing. All things originate in Him. Within the sphere of His person, resides the creative will and the creative power. Vs. 18 says that He is the beginning. And that brings us to GEN 1:1. In the beginning God. Jesus Christ is the beginning.


In Him, the beginning, the all things were created, and in Him, before time, every believer was chosen, EPH 1:4.


At the end of verse 16, the preposition dia is used, which shows Jesus as the agent of creation. This is corroborated by the writer of Hebrews and the apostle John who write that all things came into being through Him. In other words, God the Father made the worlds through the agency of God the Son. And in GEN 1:2, the Spirit of God is moving over the surface of the waters of a dark and formless world. The Trinity is the Creator in their own way.


All things, all creatures, have been created in Him and through Him. The same One who accomplished the work of redemption is the One who created everything, making necessary the work of redemption.


The created world holds no terror, no fear for God’s children, for the Creator and their Redeemer belong to them.