The beginning part of this chapter forms a larger chiastic structure with most of chapter 1 (please see the teaching tools of scripture if you are unfamiliar with chiastic structures):
1a) Eph 1:4, He chose us before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy + without blame;
1b) Eph 1:5-6, Adoption as sons by Jesus Christ by His grace which made us accepted;
1c) Eph 1:7-18, The riches of His grace/ the riches of the glory of His inheritance (chiastic structure);
1d) Eph 1:19-23, His power raising Christ from the dead + seated Him in the heavenly places;
1e) Eph 2:1a, And you He made alive;
1f) Eph 2:1b-3, Who were dead in trespasses and sins;
central axis) Eph 2:4, But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us;
2f) Eph 2:5a, Even when we were dead in trespasses;
2e) Eph 2:5b, He made us alive together with Christ;
2d) Eph 2:6, Raised us up together + made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus;
2c) Eph 2:7, Exceeding riches of His grace + kindness toward us in Christ Jesus;
2b) Eph 2:8-9, Salvation by grace through faith, the gift of God and not of works;
2a) Eph 2:10, We are created for good works prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
There is one word that keeps coming up over and over in these two chapters so far, and that is riches. We have been abundantly blessed with the riches of His grace and the richness of His mercy. God is rich in material possessions – The entire universe and everything in it belongs to Him – but the greater riches are His grace and mercy. And He is rich in grace and mercy. He has not kept His grace and mercy locked up, but has generously and abundantly poured out the riches of His grace and the riches of His mercy on us who have believed in Him and have trusted in Him for our salvation.
Two other points struck me this morning. The first is the D pair. Messiah was raised from the dead with great power, and He has been seated in heavenly places with great authority over all other principalities and powers. Most of us have accepted and internalized this truth. But the D pair brings out in stark relief, that even so we have been raised up from the dead together with Him. That same great power has given us life. We have been seated in heavenly places together with Him. That same great authority has been given to us in the name of Jesus, to do good and heal all who are oppressed of the devil on this side of heaven – to extend mercy and grace to others, just as it has been extended to us, in other words. Beloved, is anyone sick or being oppressed by the principalities and powers which have committed themselves to stealing from, destroying, and killing the people for whom Christ died? We have authority in the name of Jesus – His authority at the right had of God, seated in the heavenly places – over those principalities, powers, and evil works, to effect change through our prayers and works, to set captives free and to break the yokes of bondage.
I also noticed the A pair, the good works which were prepared before the foundation of the world, that we should walk in them. The holy and blamless way of life. Scripture is clear that we are not saved by works, but only by grace working through faith in Christ Jesus. But for those He saves, who become His sons through adoption into His family, God has prepared works, the good way, that we should walk in them.
The chiastic structure of Eph 1:7-18 (the 1c pair in the above) is as follows:
1a) Eph 1:7, In Him we have redemption + forgiveness according to the riches of His grace;
1b) Eph 1:8-9, Wisdom + prudence/ made known to us the mystery of His will;
1c) Eph 1:10, Gather together in one, in Christ;
1d) Eph 1:11-12, In Him we have obtained an inheritance/ to the praise of His glory;
central axis) Eph 1:13, In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise;
2d) Eph 1:14, Holy Spirit the guarantee of our inheritance/ to the praise of His glory;
2c) Eph 1:15-16, Faith in the Lord Jesus + love for all the saints;
2b) Eph 1:17-18a, Wisdom + revelation/ knowledge of Him, understanding being enlightened;
2a) Eph 1:18b, That you may know the hope of His calling + riches of the glory of His inheritance.