Thursday, 7 July 2016
…that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:12
Again, we should take this together with the previous verse for context –
“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”
As noted in verse 11, Paul is probably generally speaking of Israel collectively by using the term “we.” However here he is actually referring to the individual Jews of Israel who received Jesus as their Messiah. It is they “who first trusted in Christ,” and who “should be to the praise of His glory.”
Vincent’s Word Studies notes that the term “who first trusted” refers to Jewish Christians, and the verb describes their messianic hope before the advent of Christ. Therefore, the appropriate rendering of these words should be “we who have before hoped.”
Further, he notes that the article in Greek before “Christ” should be translated. It should say, “in the Christ.” As the coming Christ was the subject of all messianic expectations, and as Jesus fulfilled those expectations, Paul is speaking of Jesus as the Christ who was anticipated and who has come. Therefore, the thought should read, “that we who have before hoped in the Christ…”
It is these Jews who were a part of the body of Israel, and who had so long awaited the coming Christ, who put their hope in Jesus and who are “to the praise of His glory.” These first believing Jews were the “means of celebrating his glory” (Albert Barnes). In the body of Israel, it is these who ascribed true heartfelt praise to him as the result of their salvation.
Life application: Paul does not lump Israel and the Gentiles together as the same entity. Rather, he consistently makes a noted separation between the two. This is a truth which continues to this day. We are all one in Messiah as regards to salvation, but there are Jews and there are Gentiles; there are males and there are females. These differences continue to exist.