1 The title "Christ Jesus" is the token of His exaltation; "Jesus Christ" refers us to His humiliation. "Christ Jesus" is used by Paul, especially in his later ministries. The words "in Ephesus" seem to have been added after the significance of "Christ Jesus" had been lost. The epistle is confined to those who, in contrast with the Circumcision, base their blessings on His present heavenly exaltation, rather than on His future glorious manifestation to the earth for the blessing of Israel and the other nations.
THE JOINT ALLOTMENT
3 Celestial is in contrast to terrestrial (Ph.2:10). The celestial is the realm beyond the earth's atmosphere.
4 "Disruption" is demanded by its elements (down-casting) as well as its usage, rather than "foundation", which represents another Greek word.
4 Not, as the English words suggest, that we may be in the future, but "to be" at present.
5 Sonship involves privileges and dignities not granted to children (Ga.4:1-7). The "new" birth has no place in Paul's writings, for he enters the new creation (2Co.5:17).
7 "Pardon" of sins becomes forgiveness when associated with offenses.
10 The heading up of the universe in Christ is the so-called "mystery" or secret of Christ referred to in 3:4-5 (see 1Pe.3:22). It must not be confounded with the secret economy (3:9) which is in force at present. The two are in accord, but distinct. Christ's headship over the earth had been previously revealed. His heavenly headship was revealed to Peter. The present economy was an absolute secret made known to Paul only.
12 The "perfect" or complete form of the verb marks a state rather than an action. The Circumcision looked for signs and did not expect Messiah until after the great affliction. Those under Paul's ministry were expecting Him at any time. Hence they were in a state of prior expectancy. To such as these this letter was written. To the Thessalonians Paul had first revealed this blessed expectation (1Thess. 4:13).
13 The subject of these paragraphs is the evangel of the nations: its seal 13, its recognition 17, its prospect 18, its allotment 14, 18, and its power 19. This subject is kept in mind throughout.
The argument is as follows: Paul and his associates of the Circumcision received the celestial, spiritual blessings which have been detailed. The earnest of their allotment in Christ was the holy Spirit which was a pledge of its deliverance. As the believers among the nations received the same spirit when they believed, it is a seal to them that they too (13) will enjoy the celestial, spiritual favors which are lavished upon those of the Circumcision who believe in Christ Jesus during His rejection by the nation of Israel.
14 The "spirit of promise" is not what was promised, but a spirit which promises, a promissory spirit.
Note carefully the pronouns us 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 and we 7, 12 and our 14, and the contrastive you 13, 15, 16, 18 and your 13.
15 "The faith which relates to you" refers to the new truth set forth in this epistle.
This letter was probably sent to Ephesus where Paul had taught for two years (Ac.19:10) and where he had not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God (Ac.20:27). His prayer for " a spirit of revelation" makes it evident that this epistle deals with a secret (3:9) of God's purpose (3:11) quite distinct from His counsels which had been revealed before.
THE BODY—IN CHRIST
23 The sovereignty over the earth is given to the nation of Israel, according to the prophets. The sovereignty over the celestials is the portion of the ecclesia which is His body. Between the two the entire universe is brought under the administration of Christ. Thus His body is the pleroma, or complement, which fills up the lack which earth's deliverance would still leave in the celestial realms. Its function is to fulfill God's purpose for the entire universe, only part of which He is able to accomplish through His people Israel.