Ephesians 1:11 – Sons & Heirs before the foundation of the world — Bible study notes


Ephesians 1:11 — Sons & Heirs from before the foundation of the world

I.    Intro

  • We’ve been talking the last several weeks about our wholeness in the finished work of Christ
  • Paul reveals to us in Ephesians that this is an eternal truth
    • We have ALWAYS been whole in Christ
    • Verses 3-14 is one sentence in Greek
      • Paul’s pen gushes forth one long sentence with one theme – BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD
    • We have been blessed with ALL spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus
      • All of those blessings are not in Heaven waiting for us but are in us NOW
    • He says we have been – since BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD –
      • FULLY blessed!
      • FULLY chosen!
      • FULLY holy!
      • FULLY blameless!
      • FULLY spotless!
      • FULLY sons!
      • FULLY graced!
      • FULLY loved!
      • FULLY forgiven!
      • FULLY redeemed!
      • FULLY heirs!
    • Paul is not dealing with what we see in the natural with regards to whether or not we act like these attributes
      • He is simply saying this is who you ARE from BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD
  • He’s talking about our eternal identity IN Christ not our identity after the cross
    • 2 Tim 1:9-10: who hath (past tense) saved us and called us with a holy calling not according to our works but according to His own purpose in grace which was given to us IN CHRIST Jesus before the world began (10) but is now made manifest or revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ
      • We’ve made saved about going to heaven
      • But saved is sozo and means delivered, healed, prospered, wholeness – nothing missing, nothing broken.
      • We were WHOLE IN Christ before time eternal.
    • v. 10 – but now is made manifest (or revealed) by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ!
      • the appearing was not to save us or make us holy but to REVEAL (to make manifest, or to make clear and plain) the Father’s love and purpose before the foundation of the world
  • We have to read these verses in Ephesians in the context of eternal – before time existed; before creation; before the foundation of the world.
  • Our error was to make, “being made holy and blameless, time sensitive.” The time we pointed to, was a little over 2,000 years ago. God said it took place before the realm of time; from eternity backward.
    • Jesus willingly went to the cross, not to bring about that which was always true of man; but to reveal what is eternally true of man.
  • We are to rest not just in an event that took place over 2,000 years ago; it includes that, but our rest is in what Jesus revealed to be true from before the foundation of the world.

II.   Counsel of His Will

Ephesians 1:11: being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will

Isaiah 46:10: Declaring the end from the beginning and from the ancient times the things not yet done, saying My counsel shall stand and I will do all My pleasure.

  • Declaring is magid in Hebrew meaning declare; to stand boldly out opposite
    • First time we see the word is when God said to Adam – who told you that you were naked?
    • What He had made known – His image and likeness, His dominion is opposite to what Adam has now declared about himself – naked; lacking
    • God’s declaration of the end from the beginning stands boldly opposite of what may “appear” to be real in the earth… what men may be declaring about themselves and about Him.
  • God’s declaration of the end is rooted in the beginning declaration – what He has said about man before the foundation of the world – before man was ever created
    • Genesis 1:26: And God (Elohim – Father, Son and Spirit) said, “let Us make man in Our image and according to our likeness so that they will have dominion (over all things).
  • Adam may have thought he was naked – stripped of God’s nature
    • But God’s declaration still stood – Adam was still in the image and likeness of God
  • What is God’s image and likeness?  
    • Love, holy, righteous, etc
    • Mankind may have continued from Adam feeling separated from God and not like God
    • But God’s declaration at the beginning still stood and would determine the end
  • Jesus came and revealed what was ALWAYS true of us from the beginning – before creation.
    • 1 Peter 1:18-20 tells us that Jesus was foreknown before the foundation of the world but appeared/manifested for their sakes to redeem them from their futile way of life inherited from their fathers
      • or from their aimless conduct received by the traditions of their ancestors
        • from following after their ancestor’s way of doing things
        • from not living life as the image and likeness of God that they were
        • but from living based on the beliefs of their ancestors
    • Jesus revealed to us what living like a son from before the foundation of the world looked like
      • and as He is so are we…. sons and heirs from before creation!
  • He said in Isaiah – My counsel (purpose) shall stand and will do ALL My pleasure
  • Ephesians 1:5: He predestined (before creation) us INTO sonship through Jesus Christ into Himself according to His good pleasure and will.
  • Genesis 5:3 Adam had a son in his own likeness in his own image
    • it says in Hebrew he yalad a son
      • Yalad is brought forth; begat
  • Adam brought forth a son – God created a son
    • Adam brought forth a son in Adam’s likeness and image
    • God created mankind in Elohim’s image and likeness
  • I think it’s interesting that the words are reversed
    • I believe it shows Adam’s confusion… his distorted identity in his own mind
      • Col 1:21 says that mankind was once alienated and hostile or adversaries in their minds
      • 2 Cor 11:3 – Paul is talking about our minds being corrupted away from the singleness and blamelessness in Christ and likens it to the serpent deceiving Eve.
        • Adam and Eve’s minds had become corrupted and they declared (magid) to themselves that they were lacking God’s image and likeness… that they weren’t like God
        • But God said I have declared the end from the beginning
  • Who we are is based on the beginning God declared (from before creation)… not the beginning Adam declared (from the fall)
  • Ephesians 1:5 tells us that His good pleasure predestined us INTO sonship through Jesus Christ
    • Predestined – marked out beforehand; pre-established boundaries before creation
      • Established! Marked out! Before creation
      • His purposes.. His counsel will STAND!
    • v. 5 cont… according to the good pleasure of His will
      • good pleasure is eudokeo
        • eudokeo is 2 words – eu meaning good and dokeo meaning to think; original thought or opinion
  • His original thought – Genesis 1:26 let us make man in our image and likeness
    • Genesis 1:27 is that thought expressed in tangible form – So God created man in His own image, in the image of Elohim He created him; male and female He created them
    • Genesis 1:30 is that thought declared good: And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
      • He declared the end from the beginning – the fall didn’t change that
      • His purpose will stand and He will do all His pleasure – your mistakes didn’t change that!
    • Sons created in His image and likeness with dominion over all things was His purpose and good pleasure
      • Jesus brought (ago in Greek meaning lead to rest) many sons to glory (root of glory is dokeo meaning original thought or opinion)
  • His original thought.. His good pleasure will stand – we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4), He predestined (before creation) us as sons (v.5), He saved us and called us with a holy calling before the world began (2 Tim. 1:9), those He predestined (before creation), He also called, justified, and glorified (Rom 8:30), we obtained an inheritance He predestined (before creation) (Eph 1:11)
    • He declared the end from the beginning (before creation)
    • Who you are and what you have was determined and set before the foundation of the world

III. Inheritance

  • First part of v. 11 says IN Him, IN whom also we have obtained an inheritance
    • This verse is ALL God!
      • It is IN HIM, He predestined it, and it was according to His purpose and the counsel of His will that we have obtained (passive – nothing required on our part) this inheritance
      • Aorist indicative passive – past tense fact; a finished work
    • We’re not waiting on an inheritance in the sweet by and by or when we prove ourselves good stewards… worthy of all He has for us
      • NO, our inheritance is IN Him… and He is IN us
      • We have all we will ever need
        • 2 Peter 1:3 says His divine power has given us ALL things that pertain to life AND godliness
  • Eph 1:11 tells us that this inheritance that we obtained was predestined (marked out, established before creation)
    • And it was according to the counsel of His will
    • So, our inheritance was determined, set, established before creation
  • And it was according to the purpose of the One who works ALL things according to the counsel of His will
    • Counsel here in Greek is boule
      • Boule is a resolved plan; it is to plan with full determination or resolve;
        • it’s a very strong word that underlines the predetermined intention driving the planning
        • synonyms of resolve are firm, fixed, decided, concluded.
      • what I hear in that is DONE! FINISHED!
  • Baxter Kruger in his book called Jesus And the Undoing of Adam: “The response of the Father, Son and Spirit to Adam’s plunge into utter ruin can be put into one word: “No!” In that “No” echoes the eternal “Yes” of the Trinity to us. Creation flows out of the circle of divine sharing and out of the decision, the determined decision, to share the Triune life with human beings. That will of God for our blessing, that determined “Yes” to us, translates into an intolerable “No!” in the teeth of the Fall. God is for us and therefore opposed—utterly, eternally and passionately opposed—to our destruction. That opposition, that fiery and passionate and determined “No!” to the disaster of the Fall, is the proper understanding of the wrath of God. Wrath is not the opposite of love. Wrath is the love of God in action, in opposing action. It is precisely because the Triune God has spoken an eternal “Yes!” to the human race, a “Yes!” to life and fullness and joy for us, that the Fall and its disaster is met with a stout and intolerable “No! This is not acceptable. I did not create you for misery.” Therein the plan of reconciliation begins to unfold.”
  • Our inheritance was determined before creation – it has always been ours
    • IN Him from before the foundation of the world
  1. Sons & Heirs
  • Ephesians 1:5 we were predestined (established before creation) to adoption or sonship – placed as sons
    • Sonship and inheritance go together
    • Luke 15:31 the father said to the son…..  ALL that I have is yours
  • Galatians 4:1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he be master of all;
    • He’s heir… master of all – BUT he’s a child (v.3) in bondage under the elements of the law
  • Child is nepias in Greek and means the non- speaking, the infant, the immature, the simple minded
    • This is who we are when we’re in bondage to the elements of the law
  • Paul’s saying you’re an infant, you’re immature, you’re simple minded and non-speaking
    • in other words, your words aren’t going to produce the authority of what they’re intended to produce in your life when you’re under the law
    • Paul’s point to us is that now after the Cross if we continue to act as if we’re under the law that we actually cripple ourselves in our attempt to administer our own inheritance
    • When we fall back under the DO to BE… or the IF and THEN of the law language
    • Even though we are masters of ALL
  • As masters of ALL – as sons, we have been given absolute control over the outcome of the events of our lives
    • that means that I am the master of my own destiny IN HIM – not apart from Him
      • IN HIM because of what He’s done
    • All that pertains to me, I am the master of all — sons IN HIM
  • Psalm 8:4-6: What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? (5) For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. (6) Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet
    • Not a little lower than angels… the word is Elohim
    • A little lower than God Himself
    • Crowned with glory and honor
    • Given dominion over ALL the works of God’s hands
    • And ALL things have been put under our feet – ALL is ALL
      • Hebrews 2:8 says the same thing:  You have put ALL in subjection (to obey) under his feet; for in subjecting ALL, He left NOTHING (NO! Not one thing) unsubject (unsubdued; not subject to rule)
    • Master of ALL — SONS!
  • But even though we’re master of all – sons, we fall short of experiencing this inheritance we have in Christ
  • Why?
    • we are still seeking to appease God through our behavior… living under an IF and THEN law with God… IF I do this, THEN God will bless me, give me more favor, anointing, abundance, healing, etc.
    • the law was an IF and THEN system
  • We’ve got to grasp IT IS FINISHED! WE are sons!
  • Christ redeemed us — freed us, by reviving us
    • Reviving means it was already alive at one time and had lost its breath
    • what man lost was not his sonship – what he lost was the knowledge or the revelation of his sonship and consequently that resulted in the loss of ALL things
      • He revived in us the revelation of our sonship — returning to us all the resources of our inheritance – 2 Peter 1:3 says He has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness

IV.   Adoption/Sonship

  • This word adoption has nothing to do with our western concept of adoption – being brought into a family
    • adoption as sons was a Greek and Roman cultural right of passage from childhood to adulthood
    • or in the context of what Paul is talking about here from law to grace
      • under the law = child;  under grace = sons
  • And it was the father who determined the time of transition
    • we thought that maturing as sons was a process.  
    • No, the Father decided when the child would be placed as a son and the child was brought face to face with him
      • Galatians 4:5-6: But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
  • Luke 5:24: for this son of mine was dead and is alive again (revived!); he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry (to rejoice; to have a cheery state of mind because of the feeling of victory!)
    • What was he dead to?
  • The revelation of his sonship
    • Luke 15:21: I have sinned against heaven and before you; no longer am I worthy (deserving) to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants.
      • He had a sin consciousness that caused him to see himself as worthy of being a servant instead of a son
  • The father’s response: Said the father to his servants, Quickly bring out the best robe and clothe him, and give him a ring for the hand and sandals for his feet!
    • The father knows the difference between his son and his servants even if the son doesn’t yet
    • Quickly – tachu meaning speedily, without delay; immediately
      • there was no delay, no hesitation, no proving ground first so to speak
    • The robe: the toga verillus — meaning the cloak of manhood – cloak of mature sonship
      • the robe declared him an adult, mature son FULLY able to administer his inheritance from that point on – all that was the fathers and his jointly
    • The ring allowed him to fully administer the estate…it was the authority that he was master of ALL the estate
    • the sandals identified him as a son not a servant… only sons wore sandals
  • Under grace we’re all recognized and acknowledged as adult, mature sons — NOT as children
    • we often refer to people as baby Christians –  but that’s NOT what the Father said
  • The Father says you’ve all received the adoption as sons – you’ve all been face to face with the Father IN CHRIST and you’ve all received this declaration of manhood – sonship – that allows you to individually FULLY administer ALL of your estate
    • Galatians 4:7: Wherefore thou art no more a servant (child), but a son; and if (because) a son, also an heir through (dia – completely, successfully through) God
  • Prodigal son from our perspective is immature and hasn’t been a good steward of inheritance
    • But there was no process – no proving time
    • Not when he asked for it to begin with OR when he came home requesting to prove himself as a servant
  • We’ve made receiving inheritance about a process of passing tests, trials, before we are trusted by the Father with anything… favor, anointing, prosperity
    • Eph 1:11: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will
      • Have obtained – past tense fact – finished tense! No progression to obtain it
  • All we need to do is awaken to who we are and what is ours
    • Awaken to IT IS FINISHED from before the foundation of the world

V.  In Closing

  • Galatians 4:9 — but now after you have known God or rather are known by God
    • sounds like at first glance that Paul says something and then corrects himself
    • or – actually means but or and
    • rather – means far more or to a greater degree
    • More accurate literal statement — after you have known God but rather far more are known by God /after you have known God and to a greater degree are known by God
    • Paul’s not correcting himself — what he’s doing is saying you’ve known God, but I want you to know that you are FAR MORE known by Him – from before the foundation of the world!
  • Thank God our sonship and inheritance doesn’t depend on our ability to know God and yet that very thing has been taught as a form of law in the church
    • “it’s to the degree that you know God that you will be able to …..” — that’s another form of legalism putting you right back in performance
  • But the truth is, it ONLY depends on being known intimately by Him
  • Paul’s whole message here in Ephesians is how intimately God has known us and provided for us before the foundations of the world
  • God – Elohim – Father, Son and Spirit say about you – You are FINISHED!
    • You are perfect, complete, lacking nothing – WHOLE!
  • Simply wake up to what God has ALWAYS known about you and walk in it… Just BE!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.