Superficially, it would appear that a direct statement as to justification, by faith, is not made in the opening statements of the Ephesian epistle. Yet that which is fully equal is very evident, for God's choice of the ecclesia, made before the disruption of the world, is so worded as to be an anticipation of it, one which warrants the verdict of justification. Justification, before our God, requires the basis stated by the words "holy and flawless."
In chapter one, verse four, of Ephesians, God's choice is stated thus: "We to be holy and flawless in His sight." This corresponds to His love, which designates to us, beforehand, the place of a son for Himself, through Christ Jesus. We are, indeed, preserved to this by the righteous ways of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In these words is expressed a glory and a choice which gives each member a relation to His will and so to holiness and to flawlessness which is preserved to us in Christ, for they are agreeable to the place of a son. This place and its glory is not marred by what ensued out of the disruption. This must be the initial sense of these words which introduce us into the glory of the counsels of our God.
The choice to such a height was made before any other character existed as a possibility for us; in fact, the character is formulated for us in the counsels of God with Himself, in His solitariness. Not only does it tell the glory needed by each member of the body of Christ, but the infinitive (to be) continues it, despite the issue coming from the disruption. We were engulfed in a sense other than that of holiness and flawlessness, certainly not so as to destroy those matters to us. His intentions are never prevented or frustrated.
The words expressing the character attached to the choice are the values required for the actuality of the verdict of justification by the faith of Jesus Christ. Such words were told for His faith, and they were formulated by God's righteousness for His ways amidst creation. These Jesus Christ undertook amidst His obedience and His faith. The words express the choice, and show the glorious and blessed stature preserved to us who are His body and by the service of whom He, the Head, will bring back the celestials into subjection to Himself and thus to His God and Father.
The estrangement became a matter due to circumstances promoted out of the relationship into which the disruption brought humanity. Through the disruption there came to be created the position whereby we, in our connection with humanity, needed the "forgiveness of offenses." The deliverance "through His blood" deals effectively with that aspect of matters, akin to His love, rather than His righteousness.
Righteousness is asserted of us, for to that His faith maintains each member, and so, with the deliverance out of the midst of offenses, we are in all the grandeur of the stature of the place of a son, fitted into the secret of God's will, which had been kept in the depths of God during prior eonian times, ready to be revealed in due course.
That our lot had been cast into that of Christ has been maintained by Him, for due to His faith He became Christ Jesus, on Whom His God and Father had bestowed the headship of the universe, by placing creation in Him, and thus exalting Him to be the Image of the invisible God. In that capacity was His headship shown, and by His personal glory was it maintained. The exaltation which God gave to the Firstborn of creation, this was truly esteemed and filled buy that One. It became the august detail which the adversary took to be the question of the universe; he queried the headship of the Son. But it is in the capacity as Head of the Universe that He is given to the ecclesia, for, indeed, by the ecclesia He will yet complete all.
Since our God made His choice of the ecclesia so early, they were almost kept as a separate unit for Himself. Thus is His word able to say of Him Who is Head over all, that He was given, in this capacity of Head, to the ecclesia. It is thus the leading company of creation to acknowledge the glory accorded to the One Who was the FIRSTBORN OF CREATION. Should not such glory stress to us the adult stature which is given to each member of the ecclesia ? It is needful that we discern and realize thus, for so may we realize necessity for growth into Him in this capacity to Head up all. With that glory we are His associates.
E. H. Clayton