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EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS.
CHARLES HODGE, D.D.,
PROFESSOR OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE IN THE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
AT PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY.
101. a. 88.
EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS.
THE SALUTATION, VER. 1, 2.—THANKSGIVING FOR THE BLESSINGS OF RE
DEMPTION, VER. 3-14.–PRAYER THAT THE EPHESIANS MIGHT INCREASE IN THE KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE OF THOSE BLESSINGS, VER. 15–21.
1. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints 2. which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: grace be to
you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ver. 1. An apostle of Jesus Christ.-The word “apostle” is used in three senses in the New Testament:-1. In its primary sense of “messenger:” John xiii. 16 (the messenger), “He that is sent is not greater than he that sent him;" Phil. ii. 25, “Your messenger ;” 2 Cor. viii. 23, “Messengers of the churches.” 'Απόστολοι εκκλησιών; τουτέστιν, says Chrysostom, υπό εκκλησιών πεμφθέντες. Τheophylact adds, και χειροτονηθέντες. 2. In the sense of missionaries, men sent by the church to preach the gospel. In this sense Paul and Barnabas are called apostles, Acts xiv, 4, 14; and probably Andronicus and Junia,
Rom. xvi. 7. 3. In the sense of plenipotentiaries of Christ; men whom he personally selected and sent forth invested with full authority to teach and rule in his name. In this sense it is always used when “the apostles," “the twelve,” or “the apostles of the Lord,” are spoken of as a well-known, definite class. They were appointed as witnesses of Christ's miracles, doctrines, resurrection; and therefore it was necessary that they should not only have seen him after his resurrection, but that their knowledge of the gospel should be immediately from Christ, John xv. 26; Acts i. 22, ii. 32, iii. 15, xiii. 31, xxvi. 16; 1 Cor. ix. 1; Gal. i. 12. They were not confined to any one field, but had a general jurisdiction over the churches, as is manifest from their epistles. To qualify them for this office of authoritatively teaching, organising, and governing the church, they were rendered infallible by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and their divine mission was confirmed by miraculous powers. Their authority, therefore, rested first on their commission, and secondly on their inspiration. Hence, it is evident that none can have the authority of an apostle who has not apostolic gifts. In this respect Romanists are consistent, for they claim infallibility for those whom they regard as official successors of the apostles. They are, however, inconsistent with their own theory, and at variance with the Scripture, in making this infallibility the prerogative of the prelates in their collective capacity, instead of claiming it for each individual bishop.
Aid Denjuatos £oữ, by the will of God.—There are two ideas included in this phrase :-1. That the apostleship was a gift or grace from God, Rom. i. 5; Eph. iii. 7, 8. 2. That the commission or authority of the apostles was immediately from God. Paul, in Gal. i. 1, as well as in other passages, asserts that apostleship was neither derived from men nor conveyed through the instrumentality of men, but conferred directly by God through Christ.
To the saints which are at Ephesus.-The Israelites, under the old dispensation, were called saints, because separated from other nations and consecrated to God. In the New Testament the word is applied to believers, not merely as externally consecrated, but as reconciled to God and inwardly purified. The word dyrá(signifies “to cleanse,” either from guilt by a propitiatory sacrifice, as in Heb. ii. 11, x. 10, 14, or from inward pollution, and also to consecrate. Hence, the äy1o1, "saints,” are those who are cleansed by the blood of Christ, and by the renewing of the Holy Ghost, and thus separated from the world and consecrated to God. On the words, “which are at Ephesus," see the Introduction.
And to the faithful in Christ Jesus.—The word Tiotós, “faithful,” may mean preserving faith, worthy of faith, or exercising faith. In the last sense, which is its meaning here, it is equivalent to believing. The faithful, therefore, are believers. “In Christ," belongs equally to the two preceding clauses: To75 αγίοις-και πιστοίς εν Χριστώ, «Το the saints and faithful who are in Christ Jesus." Those whom he calls “saints” he also calls “faithful.” “ Ergo,” says Calvin,“ nemo fidelis nisi qui etiam sanctus; et nemo rursum sanctus nisi qui fidelis ;"_“No one is a believer who is not holy; and no one is holy who is not a believer." Ver. 2. Contains the usual apostolic benediction. Paul
and peace may be granted to his readers. Grace is unmerited favour; and the grace or favour of God is the source of all good. Peace, according to the usage of the corresponding Hebrew word, means well-being in general. It comprehends all blessings flowing from the goodness of God. The apostle prays to Christ, and seeks from him blessings which God only can bestow. Christ therefore was to him the object of habitual worship. He lived in communion with Christ as a divine person, the ground of his confidence and the source of all good.