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Ephesians 1:18 (cont.)

The Glory of His Inheritance

18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

The second item of divine knowledge that Paul prayed for the saints to be given is "...the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints." There are two possible ways to understand this prayer with really no concrete evidence to support one way over the other. So it is up to each individual to decide for himself.

The first interpretation assumes that Paul is asking for the knowledge of the riches of the glorious inheritance that God has guaranteed to the saints."But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." (1 Corinthians 2:9-10) These things can only be imagined or understood through the ministry of the Holy Spirit who reveals all things to the saints. This interpretation is said to make sense, because Paul has already introduced the idea of an inheritance for the saints in verses 11 and 14.

The second interpretation takes the passage more literally. It says that it is "his inheritance," not the inheritance of the saints. It says that his inheritance is in or among the saints. While the first interpretation seems to be by far the most popular, I have never been one to be carried along by tradition. I prefer this second version, because it says what it says and means what it means, and we have no reason to interpret it any differently. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones takes the opposing view and says, I do so for the reason that I am not happy with the idea of God having an inheritance. Truth, however, does not change just because we are not happy with it or cannot deal with it.

The scriptures explain themselves. In the Psalms we read, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance (Psalms 33:12);" and, "For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance." (Psalms 94:14) There are other references made to the Lord's inheritance in Exodus 15:17; 34:9; Psalms 2:8; 74:2; 106:40; Isaiah 47:6; 63:17 and several other places, all of which identify it as His people. I certainly do not want to imply that I know more than the wonderful and scholarly Lloyd-Jones, whose commentary should be read by everyone, but he should not doubt that God does have an inheritance and that it is in His people.

What, then, could Paul mean by "the riches of the glory of His inheritance," if he means that the saints are the inheritance of God? The saints have no riches or anything of value to offer God. I think, therefore, that it must mean the wealth of love that God has for His inheritance, for us. One of the problems that most people have with their theology is that they fail to realize how precious and important the saints are to God.

From the beginning God has always told us how precious His saints are to Him. "Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel." (Exodus 19:5-6) We are not just special to Him; we are His treasure. This passage is quoted almost verbatim in 1 Peter 2:9 in regard to the N.T. saints.

The saints are the holy and treasured dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and are under the eternal protection of the Almighty God. "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." (1 Corinthians 3:17) Furthermore, there is nothing that He would not give you (Romans 8:32) and nothing that can separate you from His love (Romans 8:38-39).

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) It is not possible for us to understand the depths of His love for us unless we are enlightened by the Holy Spirit and, unless we understand it, we can never respond to it

Throughout this essay, I have referred to his love for "us," because His love is so personal that I cannot separate myself from the equation when I speak of it. I know it because he has revealed it to me and I experience it every moment of every day. But, He loves you just the same, and I pray that He will use my words to reveal it to you. You are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.

Before The Throne:

Meditate on God's love for you. Maybe you chose to interpret this passage differently from the way that I have done, but you still cannot deny God's love for you. Use your prayer time as a tool to get to know Him better on a personal level. Make a list of all the good things that He has already done for you and then pray about the future, the hope that His love instils in you. Will you respond by making an intentional effort to glorify Him in everything that you do?

For Further Study:

** eyes: Eph 5:8; Psa 119:18; Isa 6:10; 29:10, 18; 32:3; 42:7; Mat 13:15; Luk 24:45; Act 16:14; 26:18; 2Co 4:4, 6; Heb 10:32; ** is: Eph 2:12; 4:4; Rom 5:4, 5; 8:24-25; Gal 5:5; Col 1:5, 23; 1Th 5:8; 2Th 2:16; Tit 2:13; 3:7; 1Pe 1:3; 1Jo 3:1-3; ** his calling: Eph 4:1; Rom 8:28-30; Phi 3:14; Col 3:15; 1Th 2:12; 2Th 1:11; 1Ti 6:12; 1Pe 3:9; 5:10; ** the riches: Eph 3:8, 16;


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