“TO THE PRAISE OF HIS GLORY”: God’s Purpose in Redemption (Ephesians 1:3-14)

Volume 17, No. 9 (September 2022)

After his opening greeting, Paul launches into his Epistle to the Ephesians by praising God (“Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”) because he “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing” (1:3).

He then enumerates a number of these blessings which makes Him worthy of praise, namely:

Election 1:4
Love 1:4
Adoption 1:5
Grace 1:6,7
Redemption 1:7
Forgiveness 1:7
Knowledge of his will 1:9
Inheritance 1:11
Sealing with the Spirit 1:12

All these blessings, the “riches of His grace” (1:7), he has “lavished upon us” (1:8).
He has accomplished and bestowed all these things for our good, but ultimately for his honor. As John Piper has often pointed out, our good and his honor are not contradictory, but complementary: “We get the grace, and He gets the glory.” Three times Paul reminds us that what God did in Christ, He did “to the praise of His glorious grace” (1:6), “to the praise of His glory” (1:12,14). He is deserving of all praise and blessing and worship for what He has so generously and graciously done for us in Christ.

That is why Paul started by blessing God (1:3), and why he rounds off the first half of his epistle (having delved more deeply into themes he has raised in 1:3-14) with praise as well: “To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (3:21)

God’s purpose is to exalt His glory through the exercise of His grace. His aim is the greatness of His name and the gladness of His undeserving people. That is, His aim is the God-exalting, soul-satisfying praise of the glory of His grace. . . . Grace is the consummate expression of God’s glory. (John Piper, Providence, 57, 170)

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