The Berean Expositor
Volume 38 - Page 20 of 249
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The Chapel of Acknowledgment (1: 15 - 19).
"What is the hope of His calling" (1: 18).
pp. 101 - 103
The first petition of the threefold prayer offered by the Apostle for these Ephesian
believers is concerning "hope", but not hope in general, it is "the hope of His calling".
Apart from a few occasions where the word hope is used in a secondary sense, such as
the reference to ploughing in hope (I Cor. 9: 10), and "hope of gain" in Acts 16: 19 the
remaining fifty occurrences have to do with resurrection, the Second Coming, one's
calling and related themes. Here the prayer is specific, "the hope of His calling". While
the threefold petition of the prayer does not rigidly follow the threefold subdivision of
the preceding section (The Charter of the Church, Eph. 1: 3-14), The Will of the Father
(Eph. 1: 3-6) is most certainly closely connected with a "calling", even as the second
petition, which speaks of an inheritance in the saints, picks up the theme of Eph. 1: 1.
Paul had written at least seven epistles, before he wrote Ephesians, and the subject of
"hope" is given a fairly comprehensive survey. There is a great passage in I Thess. 4:,
the equally great passages in I Cor. 15:, Rom. 15: 12, 13 and Heb. 11: When all that is
revealed in these portions is assembled, a fairly comprehensive picture of the hope of the
church of that period is obtained. There we find such references as "the voice of the
archangel"; "the last trump"; "the rise (of Christ) as the root of Jesse to reign over the
Gentiles", and "the heavenly Jerusalem" to give colour and background to the hope thus
entertained. These Ephesian had been evangelized by the apostle, and a church with
elders flourished at the time when Paul had revealed to them that he was about to enter a
new phase of ministry. He had spent, subsequent to Acts 20:, two years in Caesarea and
probably one year in Rome before this epistle to the Ephesians was written. Yet he prays
that they may "perceive" "what is the hope of His calling". Had he said that he hoped
they would "remember" what he had already told them, had he said to them as he had
earlier to the Thessalonians "You yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so
cometh as a thief in the night" it would be understandable, but here he appears to be
approaching this question of "hope" as though it were something new.
Of course the reader appreciates the fact that this is exactly the state of the case.
Something new had been revealed. A calling going back before the foundation of the
world (Gen. 1: 2), and up above the firmament of Gen. 1: 6, to the heaven of Gen. 1: 1.
No calling had ever been associated by Prophet or Apostle in Old Testament or New with
such remote spheres. Now "hope" is the anticipation of the fulfillment of the promises
that make up any particular calling, and because hope and calling are so related, we find
the two positive references to hope in Ephesians linked with calling:
"What is the hope of HIS calling" (Eph. 1: 18).
"Called in one hope of YOUR calling" (Eph. 4: 4).