The Inseparable Connection Between Preaching and Believing: Ephesians 1:13

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

This passage only needs minor commentary since the bulk of the point has been established. Paul writes in Ephesians 1:13, “And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) – when you believed in Christ – you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit…” Although the verse in this translation begins with “and” it is actually a continuation of the previous sentence in the original Greek. (In fact, verses 4-14 are actually one long run-on sentence in the Greek! Paul would have failed my English 101 course in College!) The connection, then between the sentence in verse 12 and the one in verse 13 is this. Those who were the first to set their hope on Christ ended up doing so to the praise of God’s glory, and the time at which they set their hope on Christ is marked by the time whey they heard the word of truth and believed in Christ.

In the original Greek, the verbs heard and believed are both aorist active participles. This tells us two things. First, the aorist tense points us back to the primary action in verse 13 which is hoping on Christ. One hopes on Christ when he hears and believes the gospel. Second, the fact that both words are in the same tense point to the probability that they occur at the same time. What this second point means is simply that the Ephesians could not have “believed in Christ” without having “heard the word of truth.” And conversely, when they “heard the word of truth” they also “believed in Christ.” In other words, put plainly, this word of truth is doing some kind of amazing work because as it is being preached and heard it is working belief in a person’s heart. How then can one believe in Christ unless he has first heard the word of truth? You get the point.

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