Amplified: This is in accordance with the terms of the eternal and timeless purpose which He has realized and carried into effect in [the person of] Christ Jesus our Lord, (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: and all this happened and will happen in accordance with the eternal design which he purposed in Jesus Christ, (Westminster Press)
NET: This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, (NET Bible)
NLT: This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: in conformity to that timeless purpose which he centred in Jesus, our Lord. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: according to the eternal purpose which He carried into effect in the Christ, Jesus our Lord, (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: according to a purpose of the ages, which He made in Christ Jesus our Lord,
THIS WAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ETERNAL PURPOSE WHICH HE CARRIED OUT IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD: kata prothesin ton aionon en epoiesen (3SAAI) en to Christo Iesou to kurio hemon: (Eph 1:4,9,11; Isaiah 14:24, 25, 26, 27; 46:10,11; Jeremiah 51:29; Romans 8:28, 29, 30; 9:11; 2Timothy 1:9)
Remember that Ephesians 3:2-13 is a single sentence in the original Greek text and as such represents a "parentheses" in which Paul digresses to explain the origin of the Church composed of believing Jew and Gentile who are now one body in Christ.
This was - is added by the translators in an attempt provide a smoother connection with the previous truths - the mystery itself, its revelation and its making known the wisdom of God before the angels.
Constable writes that…
In accordance (2596) (kata) in agreement with or conformity to His eternal purpose. In a manner conforming with "with the eternal design which he purposed in Jesus Christ" (Barclay.
Eternal (165) (aion) in context refers to an unlimited portion of time, time having an infinite duration. Literally this reads "the purpose of the ages". The eternal exists outside of and is unaffected by time. Paul is saying that the church is not an afterthought.
Purpose (4286) (prothesis [word study] from protíthemi = set before oneself; to purpose or plan from pró = before, forth + títhemi = place) means a setting forth of a thing and then to plan or purpose in advance. God’s purpose runs on through the ages.
Prothesis - 12x in 12v - Matt 12:4; Mark 2:26; Luke 6:4; Acts 11:23; 27:13; Rom 8:28; 9:11; Eph 1:11; 3:11; 2 Tim 1:9; 3:10; Heb 9:2. NAS = consecrated(3), purpose(7), resolute(1), sacred(1).
His purpose - God has an eternal purpose for all things. If God is God at all, He is sovereign. He cannot work independently of His own nature, for then He would cease to be God, something that is impossible. He is a wise God; therefore, His eternal purpose is a wise one. He is a powerful God; therefore, He is able to accomplish what He purposes. He is a loving God; therefore, what He purposes will manifest His love. He is an unchanging God; therefore, His purpose is unchanging.
William MacDonald explains God's eternal purpose this way…
McGee explains that…
Illustration - A minister was called to the scene of a coal pit disaster. Someone placed in his hands a beautiful piece of embroidery on which the words “God is love” had been wrought. The minister held this up so that the stricken people could see the message which had been so perfectly worked according to a plan. Then he turned the canvas round and all they could see where the tangled ends of thread that certainly did not seem to make any sense at all.
Carried out (4160) (poieo) means performed (done) and expresses action either as completed or continued.
God carried out His eternal purpose in Christ some 2,000 years ago, for His death opened the door for the inclusion of believing Jews and Gentiles in one brand new, heretofore unknown body, which is even as we read this sentence still in the process of divinely "being fitted together" and still "growing into a holy temple in the Lord" and still in Christ "being built together (Jew and Gentile believers) into a dwelling of God in the Spirit."
Eadie explains carried out explaining that some commentators
Christ (5547) (Christos from chrio = to anoint, consecrate to office) is the NT counterpart of the Hebrew word transliterated Messiah.
Jesus (2424) (Iesous) is the NT counterpart of the Hebrew Yeshu'a meaning Jehovah His Help. It corresponds to the OT name Joshua. It is He Who saves.
Josephus on Jesus (note he calls Him "Christ"! and speaks of His resurrection)
Lord (2962) (kurios [word study] from kuroo = give authority) refers to one who is supreme in authority who has absolute ownership and unrivaled power. In classical Greek, kurious was used of gods, and thus one finds inscriptions applied to different gods (who are really no gods) such as Hermes, Zeus, etc.;
Wiersbe writes that…
John Phillips explains God's eternal purpose writing that…
MacDonald explains the accomplishment of this eternal purpose in Christ noting that…
Amplified: In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear). (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: through whom we have a free and confident approach to him through faith in him. (Westminster Press)
NET: in whom we have boldness and confident access to God because of Christ's faithfulness. (NET Bible)
NLT: Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Phillips: It is in this same Jesus, because we have faith in him, that we dare, even with confidence, to approach God. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest: in whom we are having our freedom of speech and entree in perfect confidence through faith in Him. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: in whom we have the freedom and the access in confidence through the faith of him,
IN WHOM WE HAVE BOLDNESS AND CONFIDENT ACCESS THROUGH FAITH IN HIM: en o echomen (1PPAI) ten parrhesian kai prosagogen en pepoithesei dia tes pisteos autou: (Eph 2:18; John 14:6; Romans 5:2; Hebrews 4:14, 15, 16; 10:19, 20, 21, 22)
Paul's point is that although God’s eternal plan was accomplished in Christ some two thousand years ago, His past work has a continuing effect in the present for every believer.
We - We, the Gentiles, and Paul, the former persecutor of believing Jews, both have freedom of speech before God and an access or introduction to Him which is made possible in Christ.
Have (2192) (echo) means to possess the capacity to do something. The present tense indicates this is the believer's continual possession - all can now come into the Father's presence at any time, not in self-confidence but in Christ-confidence.
In the Old Testament only the High Priest could go into that Holy of Holies and then only once per year (See Day of Atonement - Lev 16). In the book of Hebrews we read that the veil between the holy place and the holy of holies has been rent, and we can come in with confidence and with boldness because of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Boldness (3954) (parrhesia [word study] from pas = all + rhesis = speech) literally conveys the idea of freedom to say all. It is that attitude of openness that stem4s from freedom and lack of fear ("shaking" fear - godly, reverential fear is always appropriate). Greeks used parrhesia of those with the right to speak openly in the assembly. It is used here in a more sense of ease of feeling and comfortable self-possession, in our access to God. Boldness is the antithesis of Adam's reaction after becoming dead in his trespasses and sins (eating forbidden fruit), Moses recording…
And again what a contrast with the attitude of unrepentant men who should be desperately seeking an audience with God, instead seek to hide from Him, John recording…
Parrhesia - 31x in 31v - Mark 8:32; John 7:4, 13, 26; 10:24; 11:14, 54; 16:25, 29; 18:20; Acts 2:29; 4:13, 29, 31; 28:31; 2 Cor 3:12; 7:4; Eph 3:12; 6:19; Phil 1:20; Col 2:15; 1 Tim 3:13; Philemon 1:8; Heb 3:6; 4:16; 10:19, 35; 1 John 2:28; 3:21; 4:17; 5:14. NAS - boldness(4), boldness in… speech(1), confidence(13), confidently(1), openly(2), openness(1), plainly(5), public(1), publicly(3).
Confident (4006) (pepoithesis from peitho [word study] = to persuade, come to a settled conviction) means full persuasion and expresses a belief in someone or something to the point of placing one's trust or reliance in them - the idea is having been persuaded and remaining persuaded. It is a belief that one can rely on someone or something.
The nuance of meaning depends on the context - it can mean confidence or trust in others (2Co 1:15), in God (Ep 3:12) or in oneself (i.e., self-confidence) (2Co 10:12).
Pepoithesis is derived from the perfect tense which refers to a past process of being completely persuaded, with the present result that we are in a confirmed and settled state of utter confidence.
Pepoithesis - 6x in 6v - 2Co 1:15; 3:4; 8:22; 10:2; Eph 3:12; Phil 3:4. NAS - confidence(5), confident(1).
Wuest adds that pepoithesis…
Paul explains this confidence writing…
Boldness and confident access - access is the freedom believers possess to speak to God in prayer anytime, anywhere. The believer's confidence is the assurance of a ready welcome, a open hearing, and a wise, loving response which is all possible through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Access (4318) (prosagoge from pros = toward + ago = bring) literally means "a bringing near" or providing access (freedom, permission and/or the ability to enter). It describes a continuous and unhindered approach to God, One Whom we could never approach in our unredeemed, unholy, sinful state.
Prosagoge was used to describe the introduction to or audience which one is permitted to have with a king or other person of high rank. This introduction or audience must be effected through an officer of court to whom the duty is entrusted.
Prosagoge carries the idea not of possessing access in our own right but of being granted the right to come to God with boldness, knowing we will be welcomed. It is only through our Savior’s shedding of His blood in sacrificial death on Calvary and by faith in Him that we have union in His Holy Spirit and have access to the Father. The Spirit is at work to draw us continually to God (Ro 8:15, 16, 17; Gal. 4:6, 7). Both and one spirit emphasize again the commonality of Jew and Gentile.
MacArthur sums up the significance of prosagoge writing that…
In a parallel passage in Romans regarding Jesus as our way "through" to God, Paul writes…
The other use of prosagoge in Ephesians declares that…
Notice that prosagoge always refers to the believer’s access to God through Christ. What was unthinkable to the Old Testament Jew is now available to all who come to Christ by grace through faith.
To summarize, from the 3 NT uses of prosagoge observe that…
3. We have access through Jesus Christ (1Ti 2:5). The blood gives us boldness (He 10:19-note).
Prosagoge also pictures fellowship and communion (see communion, fellowship) available with the Father through Christ for all who have been redeemed by His blood! The French word for this is entree meaning freedom of entry or access. And that is exactly what our Lord Jesus Christ provides for a believing sinner. He clothes him with Himself as his righteousness, cleanses him in His precious blood, and brings him into the full unmerited favor (grace) of God the Father. This is a believers entree. It is a priceless boon to have the right to go to some lovely and wise and saintly person at any time, to have the right to break in upon him, to take our troubles, our problems, our loneliness, our sorrow to him. That is exactly the right that Jesus gives us in regard to our Father, the All Wise God.
Prosagoge pictures provision of access into the presence of One Whom we would normally be restricted from approaching. In the Orient, one who came to see a king needed both access—the right to come and an introduction—the proper presentation. You couldn't just waltz into a king's presence. To do so would invite death. In fact the Persian royal court actually had an official called the prosagogeus whose function was to introduce people who desired an audience with the king.
There is an Old Testament story in the book of Esther which is a beautiful illustration of prosagoge. Esther sought to plead with King Ahasuerus for the safety of her Jewish countrymen but she knew what fate might await her for approaching the King without an introduction (see Esther 4:11). Esther risked her life by doing this, not knowing beforehand whether Ahasuerus would grant her an "introduction." Fortunately for her, he granted her grace. Ray Stedman fills in the details writing that…
Through faith in Him - We believe in Jesus as the Propitiation, as our Peace, as the Reconciler, and we go before God with confidence.
Have you ever had a friend who knew some very famous or distinguished person. You would never have had any right to enter into that person’s presence, but in your friend’s company you had the right of entry and were able to meet the distinguish personality and converse with them. That is what our Friend Jesus does for us with the most distinguished of all, Almighty God. In the presence of our Redeemer there is an open door into God’s very throne room.
The writer of Hebrews emphasized this same point to the Jewish believers whose faith was being severely tried…
Through (1223) (dia) signifies the channel through which God's grace flows, here speaking of faith and remembering that this free flow of grace is based on the object of that faith, Christ Jesus our Lord. Faith is never the basis or the reason for justification, but only the channel through which God works His redeeming grace. Faith is simply a convicted heart reaching out to receive God’s free and unmerited gift of salvation.
S Lewis Johnson agrees writing that the expression "Through faith in Him"
Through the perfect, once for all sacrifice of Christ and through receiving His gift of righteousness, we have access to God in both daily prayer and eternal salvation (See note Ephesians 2:18; see note Romans 5:2; Heb 4:16, see note 2 Peter 1:11).Every person who comes to Christ in faith can come before God at any time, not in self-confidence but in Christ-confidence.
Faith (4102) (pistis) (Click word study on pistis) means a firm persuasion, conviction, or belief in the truth. Pistis is not just mental assent but firm conviction, surrender to that truth and conduct emanating from that surrender. In sum, faith shows itself genuine by a changed life. Faith is never the basis or the reason for justification, but only the channel through which God works His redeeming grace. Faith is simply a convicted heart reaching out to receive God’s free and unmerited gift of salvation. Furthermore, faith, like grace, is not static.
In short, saving faith is more than just understanding the facts and mentally acquiescing. It is inseparable from repentance, surrender, and a supernatural longing to obey. None of those responses can be classified exclusively as a human work, any more than believing itself is solely a human effort.
As Merv Roswell has succinctly stated…
My faith looks up to Thee,
Ray Palmer the writer of My Faith Looks Up to Thee had these words regarding his hymn…
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Our Daily Bread devotional "He's Waiting"…