Paul's Pre-Prison Epistles
What are Paul's Pre-Prison Epistles
Acceptance in the Scriptures covers a variety of related doctrines. The great types of Leviticus show that the believer is accepted by virtue of the sacrifice of Christ (Lev. 1:4), and that only a ‘perfect’ offering could ever be accepted by the Lord (Lev. 22:21). These aspects of the subject lie rather in the doctrinal sub-division of truth than the dispensational, for they are as true to-day as when Moses gave the law. The one great dispensational use of the word ‘accepted’ is that of Ephesians 1:6, which comes as the crown and climax of the first division of the Charter of the Church of the Mystery. This will be more easily understood if the structure of Ephesians 1:3-14 is set out here:
A Eph. 1:3-6. The WILL of the Father.
B Eph. 1:6. To the praise of the glory of His grace.
A Eph. 1:7-12. The WORK of the Son.
B Eph. 1:12. To the praise of His glory.
A Eph. 1:13-14. The WITNESS of the Spirit.
B Eph. 1:14. To the praise of His glory.
The reader will observe the threefold refrain of verses 6, 12 and 14, and will also doubtless have noted that in the first, the words ‘of His grace’ are added. Were we reading the original Greek of Ephesians 1:6, we should immediately be aware of the close connection intended by the apostle between the words ‘grace’ and ‘accepted’, for ‘grace’ is charis and ‘accepted’ is charitoo, the margin of the A.V. reading ‘lit. hath graced us’.
The only other occurrence of charitoo is in Luke 1:28, where the salutation of the angel is recorded, ‘Hail, thou that art highly favoured among women’. If all that is written concerning the initial promise in Eden concerning ‘the Seed of the woman’ be believed, and if all that is revealed concerning the miraculous conception and birth of Him Whose name was Emmanuel, ‘God with us’ be true, then it must go without saying that Mary occupies a unique place in the whole creation of God. Never before was such grace and favour shown to a daughter of Adam, even as there will never be a repetition of this same miracle of Divine love. Equally true must it be said of those thus addressed in the epistle to the Ephesians.
No other calling or company, whether of Israel or of the Gentiles has been so ‘highly favoured’ as those Gentiles who constitute the Church of the Mystery, Gentiles who of themselves were far off, without God, without Christ, and without hope, strangers and aliens from covenants and promises. This acceptance is not only unique in itself, but it is said to be ‘in the Beloved’, a title used of Christ once and once only in this particular form. In another form, Christ is spoken of in the Gospels as the ‘Beloved Son’, but even that title is never employed by Paul. Ephesians 1:6 is doubly unique, unique in the use of the word ‘accepted’, unique in the sphere of this acceptance ‘in the Beloved’.
The terms ‘in Christ’ and ‘in Christ Jesus’ abound in Paul’s epistles and the choice therefore of this title in Ephesians 1:6 is all the more obvious in its deliberate intention. Let the mind attempt to comprehend ‘the love of Christ’, it will for ever be a subject that ‘passeth knowledge’. What then must the Beloved Himself be in the eyes of His God and Father? When we can comprehend that most sacred relationship, then shall we be able to appreciate the high favour that has been bestowed upon the members of the Church which is the body of Christ.
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Today the principles of right division have been almost lost so we offer teachings from the Word of God that will illuminate how to rightly divide the Scriptures. 2 Timothy 2:15 states "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth". Click to learn more.