The following is a sermon manuscript from the Wednesday evening teaching at Calvary Bible Church, an audio version is available here
We all recognize that the praise for salvation lies utterly before the sovereign God. But, in Ephesians 3:1-14 it’s as if the Apostle can no longer contain himself and he just explodes into this wonderful time of praising the Lord for this indescribable gift! And it is exactly that, an indescribable gift. My dear friends, in these 12 verses we are peering into the very mind of God Himself. It is as indescribable as it is glorious.
In Ephesians 1 Paul present the greatest news story there has ever been, as he traces the plan of salvation that began in the mind of God even before the beginning of this world and which will be continued throughout all eternity. As he tells it, it is bigger and wiser and grander than anything we can possibly imagine (James M. Boice).
We must all confess that salvation is the singlehanded sovereign work of the Almighty God or we blaspheme that same God. That is the definite message of Ephesians 1:3-14. God has acted in such a way not simply to bring salvation to men as if to present him with one in a line of many options, but rather to bring man to salvation as the only hope to escape the wrath of the Holy God. And this Holy God has acted in perfect accord with His gracious and merciful will first to chose a people for Himself before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame before Him. Furthermore, He has acted to singlehandedly predestine those same ones to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ. At this point it would be right of us to ask the great question, “Why?”. Why would God do this? What has compelled God to act in such a way as this? That answer is given to us here in verse 6.
The Christian’s title to heaven as joint-heir with Christ is unchallengeable. It is not because his life has been free from marked wickedness. It is not because God is indulgent or because all sinners will sometime and somehow be brought home. It is because God for unfathomable reasons chose him and raised him up from the grave wherein he lay bound and loosed him from sin and gave him a new heart and made him a son for ever. It is all of grace (Herbert Lathe).
The great reason for this kind of amazing grace is the glory of God. All of this is “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (1:6). This literally reads “into/unto praise glory the grace of His by which He blessed us in the Beloved One”. You see, salvation is never a matter of God blessing something worthy of blessing in man, but it’s a matter of His grace. So then, salvation is not God’s response to anything in man, it is God’s free initiative to do for some men what they could never do for themselves.