Wednesday, 13 July 2016
…the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, Ephesians 1:18
The first clause is really dependent on the previous verse. Taken together the two say, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints…”
This then is the continued prayer of Paul which is being expressed in words. The first clause reads that, “…the eyes of your understanding being enlightened.” The Greek actually says, “the eyes of your heart.” The heart is considered the seat of understanding and the place from which wisdom is derived. This is especially true with spiritual understanding. It encompasses the totality of the inner man.
Paul’s prayer is that understanding would flow into them and fill them. And this filling has a specific purpose. It is so “that you may know what is the hope of His calling.” This is the calling of God in Christ that carries with it a specific hope. The “hope” he speaks of is not referring to something “hoped for” as if it is yet to be attained. Rather, it is the result of our redemption through Christ Jesus.
Paul is now, as he will be throughout this epistle, speaking of “heavenly” things. The “hope of His calling” speaks of our eternal inheritance in Christ. It is already secured based on our belief in Christ, even if it is not yet actuated. The reason for understanding this now (as his prayer desires for them), is so that in this world of trouble, we can look beyond the moment to the greater world, the world of glory, which lies ahead. This is revealed in the next clause which speaks of “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”
In the Greek of this clause alone, there are eight words in the genitive case. A genitive is a word “relating to or denoting a case of nouns and pronouns (and words in grammatical agreement with them) indicating possession or close association.” The abundance of genitives shows that, “Glory is the essential characteristic of salvation, and this glory is richly abounding. His inheritance: which is His, and His gift” (Vincent’s Word Studies).
This is what we now possess, completely and forever. It can never be taken from us as it was given to us with a pledge (see verses 1:13, 14). For this reason, we can walk in this world of woe and have confidence that no matter what happens, our inheritance is secure and it is glorious. The riches of what lie ahead are ours now, and so nothing should make us falter in our walk with Christ. No matter what force of evil comes against us, greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.
Life application: As the world continues to devolve into wickedness, let our hearts not be troubled. Should we be faced with the horrifying demand of renouncing Christ or losing our lives, let us have the faith of the saints of ages past and say, “Nice try devil, but no thanks! I have a sure hope and calling which will see you cast into the Lake of Fire as I sit, watching from a heavenly setting.”
Lord God, give us the mind to remember our salvation which has already been guaranteed for us by the work of Christ. We ask this during those times when we face troubles and sadness, and especially during any time where we may have to face renouncing Jesus or losing our own lives. What can the world do to us? We already have the guarantee of our rich inheritance because of the work of Christ. Help us, O God, to remember this always. Amen.