THAT THE EYES OF YOUR HEART MAY BE ENLIGHTENED: pephotismenous (RPPMPA)
tous ophthalmous tes kardias [humon] : (1Peter 5:8; Psalms
119:18; Isaiah 6:10; 29:10,18; 32:3; 42:7; Matthew 13:15; Luke 24:45;
Acts 16:14; 26:18; 2Corinthians 4:4,6; Hebrews 10:32)
MacDonald - We have seen that the source of
spiritual illumination is God; the channel is the Holy Spirit; and the
supreme subject is the full knowledge of God. Now we come to the organs
of enlightenment: the eyes of your hearts (NKJV margin ) being
Beloved, there is
a powerful principle taught in this section. Did you see it? Recall
Paul's pronouncement of truth in Colossians 1:27 that believers (Jews
and Gentiles) now have Christ in them and that this is their hope of
glory. Here Paul prays that the God would shine the light upon this
truth in their hearts. The principle is that we should pray for the
promises of God to be realized in our hearts. Only the Spirit can reveal
spiritual truth. Are you praying the promises of God for yourself and
your family and the body of Christ? Don't miss out on this "once in a
Those for whom
Paul is praying were once "spiritually blind" walking around in "spiritual
darkness" as he reminded them of later writing that "you were formerly darkness, but now
you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (Eph 5:8-note)
In the prison prayers of Paul (Eph. 1:15–23; 3:14–21; Phil. 1:9–11; Col.
1:9–12), we discover the blessings he wanted his converts to enjoy.
none of these prayers does Paul request material things. His emphasis is
on spiritual perception and real Christian character.
He does not ask
God to give them what they do not have, but rather prays that God will
reveal to them what they already have.
Richards has a pithy comment stating that "One way to build our own prayer lives, and to direct our intercession
for others, is to model our prayers on those found in Scripture. Here we
see a prayer Paul offered with the intention of strengthening Christ’s
church. What did Paul ask? That we might know God better (Ep 1:17). That we
might look beyond appearances, to see the church as God does—a people
transformed to display His glory, unspeakably precious to Him (Ep 1:18).
That we might sense and experience the working of “His incomparably
great power for us who believe” (Ep 1:19a). I suppose it’s all right to
pray for that addition to a new Sunday School wing. Or the funds to go
on the radio. But if we want our church to truly be the church, the
things Paul prayed for here are vastly more important. (Richards, L.
The 365 Day Devotional Commentary. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books)
(ophthalmos) is literally the organ of vision but in Paul's
use is obviously figurative. It is a
beautiful picture, the heart being regarded as having eyes
looking out toward God and all of the spiritual blessings that have
their source and supply in God's Beloved Son. Proper understanding of spiritual truth
is not dependent on having a keen intellect but rather a tender heart!
Is your heart
tender to the Word of God?
Do you hunger and thirst for God
as a deer does for the water brooks?
Paul is praying
for a deeper spiritual understanding, that "Ah Ha" reaction we have when
we begin to really understand something and exclaim "I see it! I finally
see what you’re telling me, Lord!" That's what Paul is praying for here.
Why? Why would he be praying for this "Ah Ha" enlightenment? Remember
that the first three chapters are doctrine but the last three begin with
how we are to walk. Paul knows that as a man thinks in his heart, his
spiritual interior, will determine how he walks. And so he prays that
these saints might be able to grasp the breadth and length and height
and depth of the great truths in this chapter, so that they might be
enabled by the indwelling Spirit and the riches of God's grace to order
their steps in a manner which is pleasing to the Lord.
understood that the supernatural Word of God was unlike any writing of
man and thus pleaded with God to...
Open (Hebrew galah = Piel stem
always denotes "to uncover" something which otherwise is normally
translates with apokalupto from apó = from + kalúpto = cover, conceal
which means literally to uncover and so to remove the veil or covering
exposing to open view what was before hidden. The Greek tense is
which speaks in context
of a request in the form of a command and speaks of urgency and need)
my eyes, that I may behold (careful, sustained, and favorable
translates with katanoeo from
kata = down + noeo is literally to the the mind down on and speaks
of giving very careful consideration to some matter, think about
very carefully, consider closely. observe fully, consider attentively
denotes action of mind apprehending certain facts about a thing)
wonderful (amazing, astounding, marvelous, extraordinary or even
difficult - things beyond human capability) things from Thy law.
(Psalm 119:18) (Comment: When you open your Bible, ask the
Author to open your heart)
[word study]) is not the literal organ that
circulates ancients considered the heart the center of knowledge,
understanding, thinking, wisdom. The heart the seat of the mind
and will, and it could be taught what the brain could never know. The "heart"
in Scripture speaks of the very center and core of one's life, the
seat of thought and moral judgment.
The heart is the
seat of emotions in some cultures, but in the Greek culture it was not.
In the Greek culture the seat of emotions would be the intestines. The
heart was the seat of understanding.
interior enlightenment is clearly the result of the work of the Holy
Spirit Who leads the believer to know (eido) intuitively
all that God has made available to him in Christ (cp Jesus' promise to
the disciples - John 16:13, cp 1Jn 2:20, 28, 1Cor 2:10-13, 15-16), and in essence to come
to understand what it means to be "in Christ" or "in Him". They knew to
a degree what the concept of being "in Christ" meant but not in a deep
intuitive way. That is what Paul desires for them and for all believers.
Paul prayed that
believers would know the three things mentioned not in their head but in
their hearts, the very essence of their being. When we know them in the
head and not the heart, we are simply "smarter sinners" but when we know
them in our heart, we will become more like our Savior.
Note that the KJV
translated from the Greek Textus Receptus (the is from the
Nestle-Aland Greek) does not have "heart" (kardia) but has the
word "understanding" which is the noun
dianoia an old word
for the faculty of understanding. It speaks of a clarity of mind or
understanding by which one is able to see things intelligibly and
clearly and proceed accordingly. Virtually all the authorities agree
that "heart" is the correct translation.
from phos = light) means to cause light to
shine upon some object, in the sense of illuminating it. To give light
to, to illuminate. It means to make known in reference to the inner life
or transcendent matters and thus shed light upon. The idea is to cause
something to be fully known by revealing clearly and in some detail.
used in this verse, photizo means to make clear, to cause to fully know
or to cause to understand and is used of God's enlightenment through
revelation. This effect in context undoubtedly refers to the ministry of
the Holy Spirit Who illuminates spiritual truth to the hearts of
indicates that this action is performed on the subject by an outside
source, clearly implying the work of the Holy Spirit. The
speaks of an enlightenment that has occurred at a point in time and
which persists. Paul says this enlightenment is abiding and permanent
It is interesting
to note that photizo (enlightened) was used by the pagan Mystery
religions as a technical term for the rite of initiation into their
inner secrets! They worship a lie (as do all cults). We are privileged
to worship the Truth, Christ Jesus! May His Spirit enable us to worship
Him Monday - Saturday (not just on Sunday) in spirit and in truth. Amen
ophthalmos figuratively in recording Christ's charge to Paul that He
was sending him to the Gentiles...
to open their eyes so that
they may turn from darkness (cf "prince of the power of the air"
in Eph 2:2-see note)
to light (cf Col 1:13, 14- notes
and from the dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive
forgiveness (sending away) of sins and an inheritance (for which
they were predestined before the foundation of the world, Ep 1:5-note)
among those who have been sanctified (set apart - here referring to the
initial act of belief although more commonly in NT referring to the
ongoing day to day salvation of the believer = sanctification, which is
also by faith) by faith in Me. (Acts 26:18)
illustrates the truth in this verse with the following story - Recently when my CD player died, I
asked a friend to look at it. “I think the needle is broken,” I told
him. “CD players don’t have needles,” he said, laughing. “They use laser
beams to read songs encoded on the disk. The eye on yours is dusty.” He
cleaned it and the problems disappeared. In his prayer for the
Ephesians, Paul asked God to enlighten their eyes so they could better
understand the message encoded in His Word.... (Morgan, R. J. Nelson's
Annual Preacher's Sourcebook: 2002 edition Nashville: Thomas
Warren Wiersbe - First, enlightenment
comes from the Holy Spirit. He is the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation”
(Isa. 11:2; John 14:25–26; 16:12–14). With his natural mind, man cannot
understand the things of God. He needs the Spirit to enlighten him (1
Cor. 2:9–16). The Holy Spirit reveals truth to us from the Word, and
then gives us the wisdom to understand and apply it. He also gives us
the power—the enablement—to practice the truth (Eph. 3:14–21). Second,
this enlightenment comes to the heart of the believer (Eph. 1:18).
Literally this verse reads, “The eyes of your heart being enlightened.”
We think of the heart as the emotional part of man, but in the Bible,
the heart means the inner man, and includes the emotions, the mind, and
the will. The inner man, the heart, has spiritual faculties that
parallel the physical senses. The inner man can see (Ps. 119:18; John
3:3), hear (Matt. 13:9; Heb. 5:11), taste (Ps. 34:8; 1 Peter 2:3), smell
(Phil. 4:18; 2 Cor. 2:14), and touch (Acts 17:27). This is what Jesus
meant when He said of the people: “They seeing see not, and hearing they
hear not” (Matt. 13:13). The inability to see and understand spiritual
things is not the fault of the intelligence but of the heart. The eyes
of the heart must be opened by the Spirit of God. . (Wiersbe,
W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
SO THAT YOU WILL KNOW WHAT IS THE
HOPE OF HIS CALLING: to eidenai (RAN)
humas tis estin (PAI) e elpis tes kleseos autou:
2:12; 4:4; Romans 5:4,5; 8:24,25; Galatians 5:5; Colossians 1:5,23;
1Thessalonians 5:8; 2Thessalonians 2:16; Titus 2:13; 3:7; 1Peter 1:3;
1John 3:1, 2, 3) (Ro 4:1; Romans 8:28, 29, 30; Philippians 3:14;
Colossians 3:15; 1Thessalonians 2:12; 2Thessalonians 1:11; 1Timothy
6:12; 1Peter 3:9; 5:10)
(eis) conveys the primary
idea of motion into any place or thing figuratively as here speaks
of the purpose for the Ephesian saints having been enlightened. It is
only as God enlightens us that we actually can truly know the
spiritual truth He wants us to know. See discussion of the value of
pausing to ponder this
term of purpose or result .
As an aside,
remember to pause, ponder and practice interrogating each
term of purpose
like so that asking questions such as "What is
Paul explaining?", etc (See
This simple discipline will serve to slow you down and allow you to more
actively engage the text which facilitates more effective interaction
with your Teacher the Spirit, the Author of the text! And as you pause
to ponder, you are in effect beginning to practice the blessed
- eido is used only in the
= oida) means in general to know by perception.
eido/oida refers to perception by sight (perceive, see) as in Mt 2:2
Where is He who has been born King of
the Jews? For we saw (eido) His star in the east, and have
come to worship Him."
is distinguished from ginosko (epiginosko, epignosis - the other
major NT word group for knowing) because ginosko generally refers
to knowledge obtained by experience or "experiential knowledge". On the
other hand, eido/oida often refers more to an intuitive
knowledge, although this distinction is not always clear cut.
Eido/oida is not so much that which is known by experience as an
intuitive insight that is drilled into one's heart. Eido/oida is
a perception, a being aware of, an understanding, an intuitive knowledge
which in the case of believers can only be given by the Holy Spirit.
fullness of knowledge, absolute knowledge (that which is without a
doubt), rather than a progress in knowledge (cp ginosko) a distinction
illustrated in the following passages.
(Paul writes to the believers at
Rome) Or do you not know (eido/oida) what
the Scripture says in the passage
about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? (Ro 11:2-note)
is speaking to unbelieving Jews about His Father in Jn 8:54, and
declares to these Jews that) you have not come to know (ginosko)
Him, but I know (eido/oida) Him; and if I say that I do not
know (eido/oida) Him, I shall be a liar like you, but I do know
(eido/oida) Him, and keep His word. (John 8:55)
Jesus answered and said to him (to
Peter who was a bit "put off" that Jesus was preparing to wash Peter's
dirty feet!), "What I do you do not realize (eido/oida - know
beyond a shadow of a doubt) now, but you shall understand
(ginosko - understand by your experience) hereafter. (John 13:7)
Note that it
is somewhat difficult to give a crisp, succinct definition of eido,
so keep that caveat in mind as you read these notes. The uses will not
be listed because of the large number (656 hits in 619 verses searching
on Strong's Number in the NT).
found in the Greek secular writings to describe a theory or hypothesis
which had been confirmed.
Here is an example
of a use of eido that illustrates the meaning...
But in order that you may know
(eido) that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins-- He
said to the paralytic--I say to you, rise, take up your pallet and go
home. (Mark 2:10-11) (Comment: Here they would see and they
would know beyond a shadow of a doubt about Jesus' authority).
Here is another
use of eido, John writing that...
These things I have written to you
who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know
(eido) that you have eternal life. (1John 5:13) (Comment: A T
Robertson writes that it means "to know with settled intuitive
knowledge. He wishes them to have eternal life in Christ [John 20:31]
and to know that they have it....")
The point is that
when the Holy Spirit opens the spiritual eyes of the heart of Paul's
readers, they will be able to perceive and to know these great truths
intuitively with a positive knowledge beyond a chance of a doubt. Note
that all three clauses (hope, riches, power) are linked to the verb "will
prayer reveals the infinite importance of knowledge as a
foundation for walking worthy in this Christian life. Compare Peter's opening blessing for his
readers in his second epistle...
Grace and peace be multiplied to you
in the knowledge (epignosis)
of God and of Jesus our Lord 3 seeing that His divine power has granted
to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true
of Him Who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He
has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that
by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped
the corruption that is in the world by lust. (2Pe 1:2-4-notes
Ephesians Paul prays for God to grant them a true experiential knowledge (epignosis)
concerning God and then appeals to God to illuminate their tender
hearts, the very core of their being, with an intuitive, beyond a chance
of doubt knowledge (eido) on three specific issues - hope, riches
of His inheritance and power. Why? For as a man thinketh in his heart,
so is he.
(tis) is singular in contrast to the next clause regarding
"riches" which is introduced with "what are" which is plural.
of eimi = to be, and so conveys the idea "what is continually
(See also study on
Believer's Blessed Hope)
expresses a desire of some good with the expectation of obtaining it.
Hope in Scripture is the absolute certainty of future good. Not "I hope
so" but strong confidence that God is going to do good to us in future.
It is an expectation or confidence. Paul says that hope ultimately is a
person "Christ Jesus...our hope" (1Timothy 1:1, cp Col
the Gentiles who have no hope can have hope or firm assurance that God
will do good to us in the future because Christ has purchased salvation
for us on the cross in the past (see Ro 5:1,2 below), sanctifies them
through His Spirit in the present (Gal 5:16-25-note), and will lead them to
glory in the future (Col 1:27-note; 1Jn
As stated above,
because of Christ's work for us on the Cross means that believers
"been justified (declared righteous
or in right standing before God, acquitted of our sins) by faith, we
have peace with God (peace "of" God in Php 4:6-7 on the other hand depends on how we
respond to our circumstances, testings, etc, and if we do by walking in
the Spirit as commanded in Gal 5:17, He gives us peace of God, the fruit
of the Spirit, Gal 5:22) through our Lord Jesus Christ,
through Whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this
grace in which we stand (perfect
speaks of the permanence or abiding
nature of this condition "standing in grace") and we exult
(continually boast, rejoice) in hope
of the glory of God (when we see Jesus face to face - 1Jn 3:2-3)." (See Ro 5:1, 2-notes)
Comment: The firm assurance or hope that believers have in this
life is the return of Jesus Christ in glory to take them home into His
presence and give them glorified bodies like His.
Paul's prayer that
they come to intuitively, absolutely know the hope of their
calling is in marked contrast to their former state as idol
worshipping pagans who were without "hope and without God in the world."
Hope gives us the
assurance that we are going toward something better than this present
life. Knowing with absolute certainty where we are going should give
believers the confidence to live as more than conquerors now.
My hope is built on
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
"The Solid Rock")
Paul reminded the
Gentile believers that now in Christ they...
were called in one hope of
your calling (Eph 4:4-note)
Comment: The fact that Paul qualifies this "hope" as "one
hope" emphasizes that there is the same ultimate, glorious reality for
all of the church, whether Jew or Gentile! Paul wants to make certain
that both Jewish and Gentile believers fully understand that there is no
differentiation between Christians. This expectation of seeing Jesus,
our "Blessed Hope" [see below] and being like Him is entertained equally
by both groups. All members of the true church are called to the one
destiny of being taken out of this world, being like Christ [1John 3:2],
and sharing His glory forever.
The hope of our
calling is the absolute certainty of our heavenly destiny and
includes all that awaits the saints at the return of the Lord Jesus and
is what Paul referred to by the phrase the "Blessed hope" writing
in Titus that...
the grace of God has appeared,
bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and
worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the
present age, looking (not just any kind of looking but looking
anxiously, eagerly, earnestly, expectantly) for the blessed
hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior,
Christ Jesus Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every
lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession,
zealous for good deeds. (Titus 2:11-14-See notes
Comment: "The Blessed Hope" is the appearing of
Christ in His majesty and glory.
In a similar way
Peter encouraged his afflicted and persecuted readers with the
assurance of their "hope" writing...
Blessed be the God and Father of our
Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be
born again to a living hope (living because of the resurrection
of Christ Who ultimately is our "Hope" as Paul states in 1Timothy 1:1 "Christ
Jesus, our hope") through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the
dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled
and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by
the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in
the last time. (1Pe 1:3-5-See notes
1 Peter 1:3;
Comment: Our "living hope"
guarantees our inheritance, our protection until the revelation of our
the final aspect of our salvation - glorification - when Christ returns
"in the last time"
for more in depth discussion of
calling - klesis) (Click
for analysis of related word
kletos, and a discussion of who are
"the called") refers to an invitation as to a banquet. NT,
metaphorically, invitation to the kingdom of God, the divine call which
introduces us to the privileges of the gospel. It's an invitation to
come to something special. In the New Testament it's a special
invitation from God to man to accept the benefits of His salvation.
What is involved
in the calling of the Christian? Your calling involves
everything that God has done, is doing, and wants to do one day
regarding your salvation. Paul
is simply saying, "I just told you about your calling. I just told you
about what God has done for you. Now I want you to understand it deeply,
deeply in your heart. It involves not only the joy of being blessed with
every spiritual blessing. It involves not only the joy of being chosen
by Christ before the foundation of the world. It involves being redeemed
by His blood. It involves being adopted as His Son. It involves being
sealed in Him with His Spirit, but it also involves the hope of His
returning, and everything that is to come after He returns for His
church." That is the full payment of which we have the earnest right
The Christian’s holy calling
is described in some detail in Ephesians 1-3, especially Ephesians
we see the truths that saints are chosen (Eph 1:4-note),
predestined (Eph 1:5, 1:11-see notes
adopted as sons (Eph 1:5
accepted in the Beloved (Eph 1:6
redeemed through His blood (Ephesians 1:7
forgiven (Eph 1:7
sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ep 1:13-note)
and given the earnest of our inheritance (Ep 1:14-note).
In addition to a holy calling,
saints also have a high ("upward") calling
(Php 3:14-note) and
a heavenly calling (Heb 3:1-note)
present context calling (klesis)
refers to those
who have been summoned by God (the following phrases are meant to be
read as one long sentence which gives a Biblical statement regarding
according to His purpose (Romans
to salvation (Romans 8:30
saints by calling (1Cor 1:2)
both Jews and Greeks (1Cor 1:24)
having been called "with a holy" (2 Timothy 1:9
heavenly calling (Hebrews 3:1
out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9
to walk worthy (Ephesians 4:1
by grace (Gal 1:6-note)
not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles (Romans 9:24
through the "gospel" that we "may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus
Christ" (2Th 2:14)
and be brought "into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord"
and return in triumph "with Him" at the end of this age (Revelation
great doctrine of our calling should cause all the "called of Jesus
Christ" to exclaim "Glory!"...and to earnestly desire to walk worthy of the calling to which they have
been called, motivated by the "hope of His calling".
hope of His calling points to the certain eternal destiny and
future glory of the saints.
discussion on some of the aspects of the hope of this calling. See
related in depth study of the
Believer's Blessed Hope.
The better we
truly know the "hope of His calling", the more we will be motivated to
"walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called".
It is truth too
magnificent for words to describe which is why even God’s own revelation
requires illumination of His Spirit in order for believers to begin to
understand the magnitude of the blessings of salvation that exist
- Throughout Scripture, the word “hope”
always refers to that which is coming, to that which is ahead. I’m
convinced the single greatest problem carnal Christians have is that
they don’t know the hope of His calling. They don’t know
the reality of heaven. Consequently, they constantly strive for material
things and are continually caught up in carnal pursuits. They’re
depressed and discouraged because they don’t see the big picture of
eternity. (Jon Courson's Application Commentary.
Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson)
In summary, Paul is praying for one
of the things these believers need to fully understand and to deeply
realize -- the hope of God's calling. In Ephesians 1:3-14 Paul had just
summed up what their calling involved. Now they needed to understand the
hope of that calling so that they would then walk worthy of that
calling. When you begin to
understand what is the hope of His calling in your life, the assurance
and certainty associated with that calling and when you begin to realize
that now we only have the earnest of that calling, but that one day
we’ll have the full payment, then whatever comes your way you can stand
fast on the truth of what God has accomplished for you in Christ in the
past, present and future. Knowing these truths in a deeper, more
intuitive way, you will be empowered by His Spirit to stand firm on Who
He is and how faithful He will be to all of His promises towards you.
This is why Paul prayed for the eyes of their hearts to really
understand these truths.
Paul does not want these believers
to be like Chief Crowfoot. As the story goes Crowfoot, the chief of
the Blackfoot nation in southern Alberta, gave the Canadian Pacific
Railway permission to lay track from Medicine Hat to Calgary, he was
given in exchange a lifetime railroad pass. Reportedly, Crowfoot put the
pass in a leather pouch and wore it around his neck for the rest of his
life—but he never once availed himself of the rights and privileges it
spelled out. What a tragedy when believers do the same thing with the
riches they possess in Christ, failing to really possess their
WHAT ARE THE RICHES OF THE GLORY OF HIS INHERITANCE IN THE SAINTS: tis o
ploutos tes doxes tes kleronomias autou en tois hagiois:
(Eph 1:7,11; 3:8,16)
There are two ways to interpret "the
riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints"...
(1) The saints are His
inheritance He considers a treasure of incomparable worth! Amazing
grace! In Ephesians 1:14-note
Paul spoke of our inheritance,
but here seems to speak of God's inheritance in believers. As saints,
we’re God’s inheritance, His treasure, His prize! Our riches are
in God, God’s is in His saints.
(2) The other view is that the inheritance means all that we will
inherit in Christ.
View (1) is probably the more
valid interpretation although both views are taught in Scripture and the
Greek text does allow for both interpretations.
The first view that the saints are
God’s inheritance has precedence in the Old Testament, Moses recording
that Israel was God's possession...
For the LORD'S portion
people; Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance. (Deuteronomy 32:9)
It is amazing that God would even need an inheritance because He owns
everything (cp Ps 50:10) and yet here Moses clearly states that the Lord’s portion is
This same truth is found in the first
epistle of Peter where we read that believers...
are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal
PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION so
that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of
darkness into His marvelous light" (1Pe 2:9-note)
It is an amazing
thought (which calls for an appropriate response) that as believers in
Christ we are no longer our own but that we belong to God. We are His own possession
(Titus 2:14, Ro 8:9). He considers each us to be His
precious portion. This thought is too great to fully comprehend in this
life! We belong to Somebody. We have His "seal" on us, and more
accurately within us in the presence of His Holy Spirit.
Paul applies this truth that we are
God's inheritance in his letter to the Corinthians writing...
Or do you not know that your body is
a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and
that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price:
therefore glorify God in your body. (1Cor 6:19, 20-note)
Comment: In light of this
incredible truth, walk in a manner worthy of your high calling, in a
manner that gives [glory or] a proper opinion to others of your Owner!
for multiple Scriptures dealing with
the other view (#2) that the inheritance refers to what believers will
inherit one day by virtue of their position in Christ.
(ploutos) refers to the abundance of earthly goods, but here
refers to spiritual abundance.
“The riches of His glory” refers to the abundant, preeminent glory of
God as displayed in His saints.
Brian Harbour - Back many years ago, a young boy accompanied his
father and mother as they took the wagon into town for supplies. After
the supplies had been purchased and were being loaded in the wagon, the
owner of the store said to the boy, "Son, you have been such a good boy,
I'm going to let you put your hand in the candy jar and get all the
candy you can grab." The little boy just stood there and made no move
for the candy. The owner put his hand into the jar, grabbed a handful of
candy and handed it to the boy. On the way home, the father asked the
boy why he didn't reach his own hand into the jar. He said, "It's not
like you to be shy." The boy responded, "I wasn't shy. I was just
waiting on him. I knew his hand was bigger than mine." That's a good
description of the way God gives His riches to us. He gives them to us
by the handfuls.
(doxa) in this context seems to refer to the splendour,
brightness or the brightness, shining or radiance.
[word study] from
kleros = a lot + nemo = to distribute)
(see study of related
(see second word study
is originally a portion which one receives by lot in a general
distribution. In the NT the idea of chance attaching to the lot is
eliminated for all believers
we inherit all spiritual blessings in Christ.
Kleronomia is literally what is received as a gift from someone who has
died, but figuratively as in this verse it refers in a religious sense
to God's promised salvation, gifts, and benefits.
is the same explanatory note that is found in Ephesians 1:14-note
(if you have already read that one).
is the portion or heritage which one receives by virtue of birth or by
special gift from someone who has died (Lk 12:13). In a figurative
sense, kleronomia refers to God's promised salvation, gifts, and
benefits as our inheritance
(which is the use in Eph 5:5-note)
and eternal possession for every believer.
(See dictionary discussion of
and benefits, an
- 14x in 14v - Mt 21:38; Mark 12:7; Luke 12:13; 20:14; Acts 7:5; 20:32;
Gal 3:18; Eph 1:14, 18; 5:5-note;
kleronomia as (1) an inheritance, property received (or to be
received) by inheritance, or (2) what is given to one as a possession.
that in classical Greek the root word...
is derived from klao, break.
In the first instance it means a lot. Used from Homer on it meant
originally the fragment of stone or piece of wood which was used as a
lot. Lots were drawn to discover the will of the gods. Since land
was divided by lot, probably in the framework of common use of
came to mean a share, land
received by lot, plot of land, and finally inheritance. The
verb belonging to this is kleroo, to draw lots, apportion by lot
(only in Eph 1:11-note,
Kleronomia compounded from kleros and nemo, allot,
is first the activity of dividing by lot, then the portion so divided,
the inheritance. The
is one who has been given a
kleros, the inheritor.
synkleronomos is a fellow heir, and kleronomeo means be an heir, inherit
What is the difference between
(in the context of the uses in the Septuagint)? Sometimes both
terms are used interchangeably for nahªlâh (e.g. Nu. 18:23, 24.; 32:18,
19.; Josh 17:4; cf. Jdg. 2:9). However,
which meant originally lot, stresses more the individual piece of
land allotted by lot, whereas
points more to the fact of inheritance with all its connotations
already mentioned. Kleros may be used in the plural, but
kleronomia is never so used. Kleronomia has the richer
associations in the context of salvation history.
Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986.
Here is an excerpt
from Spurgeon's sermon on Ps 47:4 ("He chooses our inheritance
for us") entitled "A Wise Desire" in which the prince of
preachers speaks of God's inheritance in His Beloved and for the beloved
is a great truth that God does choose the inheritance for his people. It
is a very high honor conferred upon God's servants, that it is said of
them, "He shall choose their inheritance." As for the worldling, God
gives him anything, but for the Christian, God selects the best portion,
and chooses his inheritance for him. Says a good divine, "It is one of
the greatest glories of the Church of Christ, that our mighty Maker, and
our Friend, always chooses our inheritance for us." He gives the
worldling husks; but he stops to find out the sweet fruits for his
people. He gathers out the fruits from among the leaves, that his people
might have the best food, and enjoy the richest pleasures. Oh! it is the
satisfaction of God's people to believe in this exalting truth that he
chooses their inheritance for them. But, since there are many who
dispute it, allow me just to stir up your minds by way of remembrance,
by mentioning certain facts which will lead you to see clearly that
verily God does choose our lot, and apportion for us our inheritance. (Click
to read more about your inheritance in Spurgeon's Sermon A Wise Desire
based on Ps 47:4)
F B Meyer
commenting on inheritance in 1Peter 1:4-note...
Yes, it is an inheritance. It is a
free gift, and yet we have a right to it. We do not ask for it — we were
born into its blessed privilege. The child that lies in yonder cradle,
over which the coronet is emblazoned, may claim his broad ancestral
estates simply by right of birth: and it is on that tenure that the
saints hold heaven. By God’s great mercy we have been begotten again
Oh, blessed heritage!
Incorruptible! The gnawing
tooth of decay cannot injure it. Moth and rust cannot consume, nor
thieves break through to steal. No spendthrift hand can scatter or
over-spend its treasures.
Undefiled! Not a stain on its
pure robes; not a freckle on its leaves; not a taint of miasma on its
atmosphere. Into the city enters nothing that defiles, or works
abomination, or makes a lie.
That fadeth not away! To use
the Greek word, it is amaranthine (see
Some of the fairest hopes that ever blessed human vision; the most
delightful friendships; the most perfect dreams of delight, have faded
and withered before our eyes. That never can.
It is kept for us, and we are kept for it. It is reserved in
heaven for you.
I have a heritage of joy,
That yet I must not see;
The hand that bled to make it mine,
Is keeping it for me.
Who by the power of God are
guarded through faith. (1Pe 1:5-note)—
The idea is that we are being brought through an enemy’s country under a
strong escortas (escort = a person or group of persons accompanying
another to give protection ) the women and children from Lucknow,
between the double line of English soldiers, till they were safe from
the onset of the Sepoys. We are not in heaven yet; but we are as safe
as if we were. (Meyer, F B: Our Daily Homily)
F B Meyer
writes about THE SAINTS' INHERITANCE IN GOD (Ephesians 1:14,
When an emigrant first receives the title-deeds of the broad lands made
over to him in the far West, he has no conception, as he descends the
steps of the Government office and passes into the crowd, of all that
has been conveyed to him in the schedule of parchment. And, though acres
vast enough to make an English county are in his possession, rich and
loamy soil, or stored with mines of ore, yet he is not sensibly the
richer. For long days he travels, towards his inheritance and presently
pitches his flimsy shanty upon its borders. But even though he has
reached it, several years must pass before he can understand its value,
or compel it to minister, with all its products, to his need.
O child of God, thy estate has been procured at the cost of blood and
tears; but thou didst not buy it! Its broad acres have been made over to
thee by deed of gift. They became thine in the Council chamber of
eternity, when the Father gave Himself to thee in Jesus. And they became
thine in fact, when thou wast born at the foot of the cross. As soon as
thou didst open thine eyes to behold the crucified Lord, thou didst all
unconsciously become heir to the lengths and breadths, and depths, and
heights of God!
No sooner has the emigrant reached his estate, than he commences to
prospect it. He makes a circuit of its bounds; he ascends its loftiest
hills; he crosses and recrosses it, that he may know all that has come
into his ownership. And this is God's message to thee, O Christian soul!
Look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward, and
eastward, and westward; for all this land is given to thee! Precious
things of the sun and of the moon, for God is light; of the ancient
mountains of his faithfulness, and the everlasting hills of his truth;
of the fountains and brooks of his love, that gush spontaneously forth
to satisfy and enrich.
But next to this, the emigrant encloses some small part of his
inheritance, placing around it a tentative fence or partition; and here
he begins to expend toil and skill. The giant trees are cut down; and
their roots burnt out, or extracted by a team of horses. The
unaccustomed soil is brought beneath the yoke of the plough. The
grassland yields pasture to the cattle; and there is not a square inch
of the enclosed territory that does not minister to the needs of the new
proprietor. But not content with this, in the following year he pushes
his fences back further into the depth of prairie or forest, and again
renews his efforts to compel the land to yield him her secret stores.
Year after year the process is repeated, until, perhaps when twenty
years have come and gone, the fences are needed no longer, because the
extent of occupation is commensurate with the extent of the original
Let every reader mark this, that supposing two men obtained a grant of
an equal number of acres, if other things were equal, their wealth would
be in exact proportion to the amount of use which each had made of his
special acres. If one had learnt a swifter art of appropriating the
wealth that lay open to his hand, he would be actually, though perhaps
not potentially, richer than his neighbour. All of which is a parable.
The difference that obtains between Christians is not one of grace, but
of the use we make of grace. That there are diversities of gift is
manifest; and there always will be a vast difference between those who
have five talents and those who have two, in the amount of work done for
the kingdom of God. But as far as our inheritance of God's grace is
concerned, there are no preferences, no step-children's portions, no
arbitrary distinctions. It is not as under the laws of primogeniture,
that one child takes all, while the younger children are dismissed with
meagre allowances. Each soul has the whole of God. God gives Himself to
each. He cannot give more; He will not give less than Himself.
If then you would know why it is that some of God's children live lives
so much fuller and richer than others, you must seek it in the
differences of their appropriation of God. Some have learnt the happy
art of receiving and utilizing every square inch if we may use the
expression of that knowledge of God which has been revealed to them.
They have laid all God's revealed character under contribution. They
have raised harvests of bread out of the Incarnation; and vintages of
blood-red grape from the scenes of Gethsemane and Calvary; and
pomegranates and all manner of fruit out of the mysteries of the
Ascension and the gift of the Holy Ghost. In hours of weakness they drew
on God's power; in those of suffering, on his patience; in those of
misunderstanding and hatred, on his vindication; in those of apparent
defeat and despair, on the promises that gleam over the smoke of the
battle, as the Cross before the gaze of Constantine; in death itself, on
the life and immortality which find their home in the being of Jehovah.
The analogy that we have quoted, however, fails us utterly in its final
working out. The emigrant at last covers his estate, its mines become
exhausted, its forests levelled, its soil impoverished; but when a
million years have passed, the nature of God will lie before us as
utterly unexplored and unexhausted, as when the first-born son of light
commenced like a Columbus in the spiritual realm to explore the contents
of the illimitable continent, God.
When we were children, the map of Africa gave us a few scattered names
around the coast line; but the great interior was blank. Modern maps
containing the results Of the explorations of Livingstone, Stanley,
Burton, tell another story of river, Savannah, tableland, and of myriads
of inhabitants. Probably, ere long the whole will have been opened up to
European civilization and commerce. But with God this shall never be. We
shall never know the far-away springs of the Niles and Congo's of his
nature; we shall never unravel the innermost secret of his being. (The
describes men and women who have been set apart from the world by the
sanctifying work of the Spirit
for a specific purpose determined by God before the foundation of the
world (see notes
the readers in Ephesus as saints nine times (Ep 1:1, 1:15, 1:18; 2:19; 3:8,
3:18; 4:12; 5:3; 6:18 see notes
Johnson agrees writing that
Paul is "not speaking so much about what we
have in Christ, but about what he has in us... he thinks of us as His
inheritance. In the Old Testament, that’s what Israel was called; she
was called “The Lord’s Portion,” the Lord’s inheritance. (cf Deut 32:9)
And that’s what we are. We are the Lord’s Portion, the Lord’s
Inheritance. We have an inheritance in him, and he has an inheritance in
us. God glories in his saints. Isn’t that something? That’s amazing. (Ephesians
1:15-23 Possessing the Possessions in Christ)
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F B Meyer (takes view #1) and
sees this verse as referring to believers as God's inheritance writing
GOD'S INHERITANCE IN THE SAINTS.
(Ephesians 1:18) What an extraordinary combination! It is a mystery that
God should find his inheritance and portion in the love of men and women
like ourselves. But that he should find the riches of glory in
them!--this passes thought. It may, however, be explained by a piece of
farming that I learnt recently. The other day, when travelling in
Scotland, I was introduced to some farmers whose soil was naturally of
the poorest description; and yet, in answer to my inquiries, I found
that they were able to raise crops of considerable weight and value.
This seemed to me very extraordinary. Out of nothing, nothing comes, is
the usual rule. But they unravelled the mystery by telling me that they
put in, in enriching manure, all that they took out in the days of
Is not this the secret of any grace or wealth there is in Christian
lives? Not unto us, not unto us, but unto Thee, O Christ of God, be the
glory! Whatever Thou dost get out of us, Thou must first put in. And all
the crops of golden grain, all the fruits of Christian grace, are Thine
from us, because Thou hast by thy blood and tears, by the sunshine of
thy love, and the rain of thy grace, enriched natures which in
themselves were arid as the desert and barren as the sand. Augustine
therefore said truly, "Give what Thou commandest, and then command what
But we must see to it that we keep nothing back. There must be no
reserve put on any part of our being. Spirit, soul, and body must be
freely yielded to the great Husbandman. We, who are God's tillage, must
make no bargain with his ploughshare, and withhold no acre from the
operations of his Spirit.
This is the curse of Christian living. Here is the reason why God is so
little to us. We are mean enough to wish to make all we can of God, and
to give Him as little as possible of ourselves. We fence off a part of
ourselves for God, excluding Him from all the rest. But it is a compact
that will not hold. Love will only give itself to love. The shadows of
secrecy or reserve on either side will blight a friendship in which all
the conditions seem perfectly adjusted. And many a life that might grow
rich in its heritage of God is dwindled and marred, because it sets a
limitation on God's heritage of itself.
Give all thou hast to God. As He bought, so let Him possess, everything.
He will occupy and keep thee. He will bring fruit out of thy rockiest
nature, as the Norwegians raise crops on every scrap of soil on their
mountain slopes. He will put into thee the grace that thou shalt give
back to Him in fruit. He will win for Himself a great name, as He turns
thy desert places into gardens, and makes thy wildernesses blossom as
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Faith and Riches
- Do you want to be rich? Do you think
your faith will bring you riches? What kind of riches are you looking
There's good news and bad news if wealth is what you want. The good news
is that God's Word does promise riches to the believer. The "bad" news
is that it doesn't have anything to do with money.
Here are some examples of the riches that can be ours as believers in
An understanding of God the Father
and the Son, "in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge" (Colossians 2:2-3).(see
Christ, "the hope of glory," living
in us (Colossians 1:27). (see
Mighty strength in our inner being,
"through His Spirit" (Ephesians 3:16-note).
Having all our needs met by God
(Philippians 4:19) (see
The "wisdom and knowledge of God"
(Romans 11:33) (see
"Redemption through His blood, the
forgiveness of sins," which comes from God's grace (Ephesians 1:7-note).
Yes, God's Word promises us great
riches—treasures that we cannot even attempt to purchase with any amount
of money. It is these riches that we must seek, enjoy, and use to
glorify their source—our heavenly Father.—Dave Branon (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
The treasures of
earth are not mine,
I hold not its silver and gold;
But a treasure far greater is mine;
I have riches of value untold.
God's Word promises riches
that money cannot buy.