Ephesians 4:3-6; One Father, part 7 – Fatherhood of God to Israel and summary of our passage.

Class Outline:

Wednesday June 16,2021

Fatherhood to Israel - God as the redeemer, deliverer, provider of an adopted nation, the family of Abraham.


Israel is the only elect nation in history. National election does not guarantee the salvation of every individual within the nation. Individual salvation is individual election of any person in history, Jew or Gentile, through their faith in God’s redemption in the OT and faith in Christ in the NT. What national election does guarantee is the physical deliverance of the nation of Israel and that she will survive history as a distinct entity. God’s promise to Abraham in that unconditional covenant is the basis of Israel as the chosen nation, and in this way, God is their Father as He is their Creator, Provider, and Redeemer.


DEU 14:1-2

“You are the sons of the Lord your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave your forehead for the sake of the dead. 2 For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”


The divine sonship of Israel was founded upon its election and calling as the holy nation of Jehovah.


The sonship of Israel is not regarded in the Old Testament as generation by the Holy Spirit, as the church is in the New Testament, but simply as an adoption springing out of the free love of God, as the manifestation of paternal love on the part of Yavah to Israel, which binds the son to obedience, reverence, and childlike trust towards a Creator and Father, who would train it up into a holy people.


The emphasis in these passages with God as Father and Israel as children or son is on Israel as a nation, delivered from the power of Pharaoh and freed from the bondage of Egypt.


DEU 7:7-8

The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.


This is why the nation can be referred to as a son even though there are many unbelievers in their number.


By comparison, sonship in the church is limited to believers, but who are also a part of a collective, not a nation but a body.


And, just so we can’t characterize God by fitting Him into our watertight compartments, there is one in Old Testament Israel, an individual, who is singled out as chosen.


Of the many references to the nation as a whole being the son of God, David stands out as one chosen as an individual. This is due to God’s covenant with him and his greater Son to come.


PSA 89:26-29

"He [David] will cry to Me, 'Thou art my Father,

My God, and the rock of my salvation.'

27 "I also shall make him My first-born,

The highest of the kings of the earth.

28 "My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever,

And My covenant shall be confirmed to him.

29 "So I will establish his descendants forever,

And his throne as the days of heaven.


From Abraham, from Judah, from David, One would come who would hear and obey God perfectly. This would be the One God called His Son in whom He was well-pleased.


I pray that we each understand the significance of having God the Father as our Father and enjoy the ramifications of that deep truth in our daily lives.


We have completed the sentence:


EPH 4:4-6

There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.


Summary of Paul’s passage of unity thus far: the love and sharing in the community of the new humanity.


It was a startling experiment in human life which the Apostle was striving to realize. Looked at from without, his new unity was a somewhat bizarre combination. “Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freemen’ - all of these are no more, he boldly proclaims to the Colossians, “but all in all is Christ.” The ‘putting on of the new man,’ he goes on to tell them, involved the welding into one of all these heterogenous elements; or rather the persistent disregard of these distinctions, in presence of the true human element, the divine nature in us, which should so far dominate as practically erase them. In every-day life this made a heavy demand upon the new virtues of self-effacement and mutual forbearance. Accordingly, he declares, in language closely parallel to that which he uses in this epistle, that to put on the new man is to put on the heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; bearing one with another, and forgiving each other, if any have a complaint against any. Over and above all these things they must put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And the paramount consideration which must decide all issues is the peace of the Christ, unto which they have been called into one body.


Happy are the wife and husband, happy the master and servants, happy the circle of friends who live and work together as “joint-heirs of the grace of life.”


John Calvin: “If this thought were fixed in our minds, this slaw laid upon us, that the sons of God may no more quarrel than the kingdom of heaven can be divided, how much more careful we should be in cultivating brotherly good-will.”


We cannot escape the obligation that we have to our spiritual birth, that we are members one of another, from one Spirit indwelling each and one calling in the direction of Christ-likeness. The church is more than a place to gather in order to fulfill and obligation. It is the living, breathing body of Christ on earth that represents Him to the darkness of the world.


Still, read the list again.


EPH 4:4-6

There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.


Love is the perfect bond of unity, COL 3:14. But love is not possible for people who do not believe the Trinity, or the one body, or the indwelling Spirit, or the common baptism of all believers into union with Christ, or that salvation is by faith alone in Christ. The church needs to look unified overtly, but it cannot just be show. Our unity cannot be based on common human traits of personality, nor upon emotion, nor upon compulsion.


Our unity must be based upon the eternal divine things we each hold in common - one body, Spirit, calling, Lord, faith, baptism, and Father.


We cannot possibly foster a unity that pleases God either if we deny the doctrine of the Trinity or if we have not come personally to know God the Father through the reconciling work of His Son Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. Authentic Christian unity in truth, life, and love is far more important than union schemes of a structural kind or organizational kind.


People who are devoted to many different things could never hope to be united. We see this in organizations frequently, where members start out with the same goals but soon begin to want different things for the organization and it falls apart. People with different idols, different gods, different purposes, different faiths etc. could never be unified.


JOH 17:11

Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are.


The church cannot believe in peace at any price. We are kept “in His name … that we may be one.” The name or person of God is truth.


Purity of doctrine of itself does not produce spiritual unity, for there are churches that are sound in faith, but unsound when it comes to love. This is why Paul joins the two:


EPH 4:15

but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ


Our next section of study is EPH 4:7-16 - unity in diversity. Vs. 7 and vs. 12: “To each one grace was given … for the equipping of the saints for the work or service, to the building up of the body.”


EPH 4:7-16

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. 8 Therefore it says,


"When He ascended on high,

He led captive a host of captives,

And He gave gifts to men."


9 (Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) 11 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.


It is not misleading Paul’s message by combining vv. 7 and 12. Vv. 8-10 Paul references Christ’s gifts as fulfilling prophecy and Paul includes his own commentary on that. Then Paul begins to list some of the gifts Christ gave to the individuals in the church in vs. 11. So, vs. 8-11 contain the one thought of Christ’s gifts to individuals in the church. The next thought starts in vs. 12, “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;” leading us to see that our individual gifts have the singular purpose of serving one another.