The opening section of Ephesians is a carefully crafted and heartfelt expression of praise to God for his gracious plan of salvation. It is a plan for the salvation of sinners to the praise of God’s glorious grace. In saving His people, God blesses them with an abundance of spiritual blessings. These spiritual blessings include redemption from sin’s guilt and power. Once liberated, the child of God is then lovingly sealed for all eternity in the Holy Spirit. The Lord determined this salvation plan for sinners before creation. It is a plan determined and administered by God for the purpose of magnifying his glory in the salvation of sinners. This great plan of redemption is comprehensive such that God will never lose any of those whom he has chosen in Christ from before the foundations of the world.
Paul spends the first half of his letter to the Ephesian church telling Christians what Christ has accomplished on their behalf. It is all promise; all God’s gracious doing. Not until after we are taken deep into the glories of God’s gracious accomplishments for us in Christ are we told to live lives “worthy of the calling we have received” (4:1). This is the pattern we see throughout the Scriptures. It was the principle demonstrated when God delivered his people from slavery in Egypt (a picture of salvation) prior to giving them his law. And here Paul follows that same principle. The religions of the world all arrive at the same formula for man’s salvation: “Do these things and you will live.” Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ possesses the power and moral genius to proclaim to sinners the one message which can set them free: “Believe and live.”
“Yet such Christian talk comes into violent collision with the man-centeredness and self-centeredness of the world. Fallen man, imprisoned in his own little ego, has an almost boundless confidence in the power of his own will, and an almost insatiable appetite for the praise of his own glory. But the people of God have at least begun to be turned inside out. The new society has new values and new ideals. For God’s people are God’s possession who live by God’s will and for God’s glory” (John Stott).