God has a plan for all who trust in Jesus. God’s plan is summarized in Ephesians 1 and explained in the rest of Ephesians. After his greeting and blessing, Paul urges us to bless God, for God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven. Then, Paul blesses God, declaring the reason God is being praised. We bless God by speaking forth the blessings God has given us. The spiritual blessings Paul enumerates reveal how and why God made us heirs according to His plan. “This was according to his plan that he set forth in the Messiah to usher in the fullness of the times and to bring together in the Messiah all things in heaven and on earth (Eph 1:9-10 ISV). .”God has put everything under the Messiah’s feet and has made him the head of everything for the good of the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills everything in every way (Eph 1:22-23 ISV).
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
In him we were also chosen/made heirs, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we/Jews, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you/Gentiles also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:3-14 NIV
Now the plan of God is being carried out to gather all things in Christ, heavenly as well as earthly, His children and heirs, God our Father unites in Christ.
The Holy Spirit is the first installment and foretaste of the Kingdom
The inheritance we await is the kingdom of God that is to come. By His grace, God has cleansed us by the blood of the Lamb and given us His promised inheritance. At the resurrection of the dead and the regeneration of God’s creation (Mt 19:28), we will live eternally in the New Heaven and new earth (Rev 21-22). “‘Then the King will say to those at His right,’Come, you whom My Father blessed, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the time the world was made (Mt 25:34). The inheritance is laid up for us in heaven to come to earth (1Pe 1:4). It is our hope of glory (Col 1:2). The Holy Spirit is the first installment and foretaste of the Kingdom
But Spirit and Kingdom dovetail even more closely than this in Pauline theology, for, secondly, the Spirit not only prepares a man for the future Kingdom, the Spirit also enables the Christian to experience the future Kingdom in the present. The Spirit is the arrabon tas kleronomias/the first installment and foretaste of the Kingdom (Eph 1:14 that is, the first installment and foretaste of the Kingdom, for ‘the inheritance is the Kingdom of God’. It is important to remember at this point that arrabōn means more than ‘guarantee’; as ‘first installment’ or ‘down payment’ the arrabōn is part of and the same as the whole. The Spirit not only guarantees the full inheritance; he is himself the beginning and first part of that inheritance. This is why Paul can describe the Kingdom in terms of the Christian’s present experience of the Spirit: ‘the Kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit’ (Ro 14:17); it does not consist in talk but in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Co 4:20). God’s call into His Kingdom is made effectual (kalein) through the Gospel by means of the gift of the Spirit and his sanctifying operation (1 Th 2:12-13; 4:7-8; 2 Th 2:3-14)-a present process leading to an ‘end’ result. Compare also Col 1:12-14 where transfer into the Kingdom is equated with sharing the inheritance of the saints in light and experience of redemption and forgiveness.
In one sense resurrection is already past, for the Christian shares in Christ’s resurrection (Col 2:12; 3:1); but in another sense resurrection is still future, for only in the resurrection of the body will the whole man be made alive (Ro 6:5; 8:11). In one sense Christians already have redemption (Ro 3:24; Eph 1:7; Col 1:14); but in another sense they still have to await redemption, that is the redemption of the body (Ro 8:23; Eph 1:14; 4:30). In one sense the Christian has already been justified (e.g., Ro 5’); but in another sense righteousness is something he awaits and hopes to attain (Gal 5:5). For the most part Christians look forward to the glory yet to be revealed to them (e.g., Ro 8:18); but already they are being transformed from one degree of glory to another (2 Co 3:18). Christians have already been given new life (Ro 6:4, 12 2 Co 3:5); but eternal life is still an end to be striven for (Ro 6:22; 8:13; Gal 6:8). They are already in process of being saved (1 Co 1:18; 15:2; 1 Co 2:15), but their salvation will be complete only in the final day (Ro 3:9; 13:11; 1 Th 5:8-9). They have already received the status of adopted sons (Ro 8:11; Gal 4:5), but they still wait for adoption as sons (Ro 8:23). James G. D. Dunn, Expository Times 80:2 (N 1970): 36.
Paul concludes by asking God to help us comprehend God’s blessings
The glory of the blessings God our Father gives us is beyond our natural reasoning power. So, Paul asks God to open the vistas of eternal life to us by giving us His Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes us wise and reveals the truth to us as we get to know the God of our Lord Jesus Christ better, The Spirit enlightens the eyes of our heart so we know the hope God calls us to, the riches of the glory of the inheritance and the vast resources of His power working in us. His power working in us is the same power with which the Father of glory raised Christ from dead and seated Him at His right, above any name that can be named, not only in this world but also the next.
That is why, since I heard how you believe in the Lord Jesus and love all the holy people, I never stop thanking God for you as I remember you in my prayers. I ask the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, to give you His Spirit to make you wise and reveal the truth to you as you learn to know Him better and to enlighten the eyes of your minds so that you know the hope He called you to, the riches of the glory of the inheritance He gives to His holy people, and the vast resources of His power working in us who believe. It is the same mighty power with which He worked in Christ, raised Him from the dead, and made Him sit at His right in heaven, above all rulers, authorities, powers, lords, and any name that can be mentioned, not only in this world but also in the next. And He put everything under His feet, and gave Him as the Head of everything to the church, which is His body, having all that is in Him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:15-23 AAT
Getting to know God, soaking up the riches of the glory of the inheritance He gives us and becoming what He plans for us is a growth process. Please don’t limit your perspective and faith to what I share or what anyone else shares. Follow the Spirit. Let Him teach you. Each of us has individual responsibility to know and grow
Ephesians series 1 Grace and peace to Gods holy ones 2 God has a plan for all who trust in Jesus 3 Our Personal Identity and Purpose 4 Jews and Gentiles made one in Christ 5 Growing up to work in the body of Christ 6 Walking as God’s dear children 7 Godly family and work relationships 8 Let the Lord make you strong