Being and His Grace, Eph. 1:12


The writings of theologians and pastors who have come before us can serve as an invitation to prolonged thinking, with specificity, on God and His glorious works and ways. In this ongoing series, I cull quotations on passages of Scripture from Christian Classics Ethereal Library to help spur your consideration, discernment, mediation, and worship. You can link to the full sources below or start your own search on a biblical text here.


Ephesians 1:3-14

Being and Grace.jpg
. . . so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
— Ephesians 1:12 ESV

Beloved Friends, I would have you notice in this verse the remarkable object which is set before us as the grand design of predestinating Grace. Observe the singular expression of the Apostle—"That we should be to the praise of His glory." Observe that He does not say, that we should sing to the praise of our glorious God, though we will do that. Nor that we should suffer to His praise, though we would not refuse to do that. Nor that we should work to His praise, though by Grace we will do that—but—"that we should be to the praise of His glory." The very being of a Believer is to the praise and glory of God! It is written, "Whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." But this is still more comprehensive—you are to be to His glory—your very existence is to praise Him. Your being, which is now turned into well-being, is to glorify the God of Grace!

— Charles Spurgeon

who first trusted in Christ—rather (we Jewish Christians), "who have before hoped in the Christ": who before the Christ came, looked forward to His coming, waiting for the consolation of Israel. Compare Ac 26:67, "I am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: unto which our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come.Ac 28:20, "the hope of Israel" [Alford]. Compare Eph 1:18;2:124:4.

— Jameson, Fausset, and Brown

The end of our effectual calling is the honour of God. “That we should be to the praise of his glory” (Ephes. i. 12). He that is in the state of nature, is no more fit to honour God, than a brute is to put forth acts of reason. A man before conversion continually reflects dishonour upon God. As black vapours which arise out of fenny, moorish grounds, cloud and darken the sun, so out of the natural man’s heart arise black vapours of sin, which cast a cloud upon God’s glory. The sinner is versed in treason, but understands nothing of loyalty to the King of heaven. But there are some whom the lot of free grace falls upon, and these shall be taken as jewels from among the rubbish and be effectually called, that they may lift up God’s name in the world. The Lord will have some in all ages who shall oppose the corruptions of the times, bear witness to His truths, and convert sinners from the error of their ways. He will have His worthies, as king David had. They who have been monuments of God’s mercies, will be trumpets of His praise.

— Thomas Watson, Divine Cordial

Let every new creature be cheerful and thankful: if God has renewed your natures, and thus altered the frame and temper of your hearts, he has bestowed the richest mercy upon you that heaven or earth affords. This is a work of the greatest rarity; a new creature, may be called, One among a thousand: it is also an everlasting work, never to be destroyed, as all other natural worlds of God (how excellent soever) must be: it is a work carried on by Almighty Power, through unspeakable difficulties and mighty oppositions, Eph. 1:12. The exceeding greatness of God's power goes forth to produce it; and indeed no less is required to enlighten the blind mind, break the rocky heart, and bow the stubborn will of man; and the same Almighty Power which at first created it, is necessary to be continued every moment to preserve and continue it, 1 Pet. 1: 5. The new creature is a mercy which draws a train of innumerable and invaluable mercies after it, Eph. 2:13141 Cor. 3:20. When God has given us a new nature, then he dignifies us with a new name, Rev. 2:17. brings us into a new covenant, Jer. 31:33. begets us again to a new hope, 1 Pet. 1:8. entitles us to a new inheritance, John 1:1213. It is the new creature which through Christ makes our persons and duties acceptable with God, Gal. 6:15. In a word, it is the wonderful work of God, of which we may say, "This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes." There are unsearchable wonders in its generation, in its operation, and in its preservation. Let all therefore, whom the Lord has thus renewed, fall down at the feet of God, in an humble admiration of the unsearchable riches of free grace, and never open their mouths to complain under any adverse or bitter providences of God.

— John Flavel, Method of Grace in the Gospel Redemption

The word glory, by way of eminence, (κατ ᾿ ἐξοχὴν) denotes, in a peculiar manner, that which shines in the goodness of God; for there is nothing that is more peculiarly his own, or in which he desires more to be glorified, than goodness.

— John Calvin


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