Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 17 (1902)


Ms 18, 1902

Lessons from the First Chapter of Ephesians


February 12, 1902 [typed]

Previously unpublished. See ST 05/14/1902.

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: grace be to you, and peace, from our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.” [Ephesians 1:1-6.] 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 1

The first chapter of Ephesians is full of words of the richest encouragement. In this Scripture wonderful possibilities are set before us. In the epistle to the Ephesians the Lord Jesus gives to His Church precious morsels from the banquet of truth. Through the words of Paul, Jesus Christ is uplifted. The apostle desired all to behold the world’s Redeemer, “in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself.” [Verses 7-9.] Read carefully every verse to the close of the chapter. Study this Scripture. 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 2

The message of commendation given in the epistle to the Ephesian Church is the opposite of the message of condemnation given to the Laodicean Church. Those who have any part to act in advancing the work should bear in mind the contrast between these two messages. These Scriptures show the difference between the true, humble, sanctified child of God, and those whose condition is pointed out by “the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God.” “I know thy works,” He says, “that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.” [Revelation 3:14-16.] 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 3

With deep earnestness and great power, Paul, in his epistle to the church in Colosse, presented “to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ” the truth in its simplicity. “Grace be unto you,” he wrote, “and peace, from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, for the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, wherever ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth: as ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellow servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.” [Colossians 1:2-8.] 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 4

What joy this testimony brought to Paul! What comfort such testimonies bring to all who are deeply interested in the experience of those who through their ministry have been converted to Christ! All who accept the truth and receive that faith in the gospel of Christ, which works by love and purifies the soul, become epistles known and read of all men. 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 5

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” [Verse 9.] What an encouragement these words should be to every striving soul! Before every church that is established in the truth is an open door. If church members would individually appreciate the promises that God has given them, they would more fully comprehend His infinite love. 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 6

When Adam fell, God’s attributes of holiness, justice, and truth could not be changed. And yet He desired to reconcile man with heaven’s immutable law. Yearning to save fallen humanity, He sought to devise a plan whereby the sinner need not perish, but might gain everlasting life. Christ, the Eternal Truth, the Light, the Life, the Sovereign of Heaven, offered to clothe His divinity with humanity and give His life as a ransom for the fallen race. Because Divine Wisdom could accept no other plan for the accomplishment of His purpose, He accepted the plan proposed by Christ. He consented to the incarnation and sacrifice of Christ in our behalf. 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 7

To save fallen man, a love that passeth all understanding was revealed. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son (wonderful, wonderful condescension!), that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16.] God spared not His only begotten Son, but delivered Him up as a ransom for us and for a world lying in sin and ignorance. Let all who teach the truth and all who accept it adore God and magnify His name for “the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” [Ephesians 2:7.] Justice and mercy were reconciled by Christ’s sacrifice for man’s salvation. At the cross Mercy and Truth met together; Righteousness and Peace embraced each other. Through the sacrifice of Christ, Mercy is reaching out, offering to cleanse man from his unrighteousness. Thus is fulfilled the everlasting purpose of God. Man may accept this great gift and co-operate with God, his own will being conformed to God’s will. 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 8

Let all ever remember that the coming of our Saviour to the world in human flesh is an expression of a love that the fallen race may understand. Therefore God desires every minister of the gospel to make this subject so plain and simple, both by precept and by example, that it may be easily understood. Even though a fallen being, the minister may in a tangible manner exemplify this love in his own life, by manifesting the kindness, forbearance, mercy, and love of Christ. And all who believe may in their lives reveal to the world and the heavenly universe that they have in their hearts this same love. Thus all will understand that love which comes from the Source of all love. 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 9

Between an unholy man and God—the embodiment of holiness—there can be no companionship. Speaking of God, the prophet says: “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity.” [Habakkuk 1:13.] But Christ “gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity,” and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. [Titus 2:14.] Christ is the Sin-bearer. He bears the iniquity of all who repent and believe, all who accept His robe of righteousness. They may follow His example. “Filled,” they may be, “with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;” that they may “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness.” [Colossians 1:9-11.] 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 10

“I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” [1 Corinthians 1:4-10.] 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 11

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” [Colossians 1:12-14.] 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 12

“And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight.” [Verses 18-22.] 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 13

Now the conditions are given: “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for His body’s sake, which is the church: whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: whereunto I also labor, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily.” [Verses 23-29.] 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 14

These words present a wonderful opening for every member of the church. Here, brethren, is specified your work. Christ is your head. His Spirit controlling your actions will lead you to manifest that pity, tenderness, and love, that patience, kindness, and long-forbearance, which will reveal to others that Christ dwells within. 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 15

Shall we reach the expectations of Christ in our behalf? He has reserved a heaven of blessings for all who come into working order with Him. Brethren, sisters, what is our showing? 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 16

“For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” [Romans 16:19, 20.] 17LtMs, Ms 18, 1902, par. 17