After the magisterial exegetical commentary by Dr. Harold Hohner on the Book of Ephesians, most thought that it was the last word on all things Ephesian. But although it is the best technical exegetical commentary on the book of Ephesians, let me give you a sneak preview of Dr. Dave Anderson’s commentary, soon to be made available through Grace Theology Press. It provides not only exegetical details and argumentation but also a smooth exposition that will benefit both pastor and student, and lead them to an in-depth understanding and appreciation of Ephesians.
” Through my years of teaching both in church and at a seminary level, I have seen more confusion on the difference between our Position in Christ and our Condition on earth than any other doctrine. Without thinking in categories and keeping these categories distinct, both the Bible and the Christian life wind up like tangled underbrush. It is incredibly important that we understand Luther’s famous statement: simul iustus et peccator(simultaneously justified and a sinner). This paradoxical statement makes sense when we realize he is making a statement about both our Position and our Condition. In our Position in Christ in heavenly places (Eph 1:3ff), we are completely justified before God—declared righteous. And nothing in our Condition on earth can change our Position in heaven. But even though we are completely ” accepted in the Beloved” (Eph 1:6) in heaven with His perfect righteousness credited to our account, our Condition on earth can be quite riddled with sin. The contrast between our Position and our Condition can become depressing . . . if we keep focusing on our miserable Condition. But when we learn to focus on our Position in Christ with all of its attendant circumstances, our Condition will actually improve. Why? Because ” as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Prov 23:7). We become what we think about. As we think about (dwell) on who we are in Christ (our Position), our Condition will slowly but surely conform to our Position. The first three chapters of Ephesians is about our Position in Christ; the last three are about our Condition on earth. But the two are not disconnected. In the last three chapters we are called to walk (our Condition) worthy of our calling (our Position)—Ephesians 4:1. The last three chapters begin with ” therefore.” In other words, based on all Paul has just taught them about their current Position in heaven, a certain type of behavior (Condition) should ensue. This order (Position before Condition) is crucial. It’s when we think our Position is dependent on our Condition that the fog sets in. Nothing in our Condition can affect/change our Position. This works in two ways: 1) No matter how good an unbeliever is (Condition), it will not open the gates of heaven for him (Position); 2) No matter how bad a believer might be (Condition), it will not close the gates of heaven for him. Can you handle that statement? If not, there is much to learn about God’s grace and His ways of dealing with mankind. To learn more, read on.”
I hope you want to read on. I believe you will find it a very helpful resource for anyone who wishes to study, understand and apply this most significant book of the bible.
Serving Him with you until He comes for us,
Fred Chay, PhD
Managing Editor, Grace Theology Press