Who First Trusted Christ?

From the introduction to Hawker’s Bible Chapters Summaries and Reflectionsroberthawker

Dr. Hawker preached his last sermon in Charles Church on March 18th, 1827, and on April 6th he died, after being six years curate and forty-three years vicar of the parish. On the last day of his life he repeated a part of Ephesians 1, from the 6th to the 12th verses, and as he proceeded he enlarged on the verses, but dwelt more fully on these words: “To the praise of His glory Who first trusted in Christ.” He paused and asked, “Who first trusted in Christ?” And then made this answer: “It was God the Father Who first trusted in Christ.”

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2 thoughts on “Who First Trusted Christ?

  1. This is found in Eph. 1:12, which is towards the end of the lengthy sentence spanning Eph. 1:3-14 –

    3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

    This issue here, in my humble opinion, seems to revolve around identifying the antecedent of the pronoun involved, which is translated “who” (1:12):

    That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
    εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης αὐτοῦ, τοὺς προηλπικότας ἐν τῷ χριστῷ

    Considering that what is being translated in this case is an accusative masculine plural article here linked to an accusative masculine plural perfect active participle (translated as “who first trusted”) it would seem that the antecedent cannot be the genitive masculine singular personal pronoun (“his”) in the previous clause, but rather must be the accusative plural first person personal pronoun (“we”) that precedes the singular pronoun in that clause. On the basis of this grammatical consideration I would have to say that Dr. Hawker’s statement, while a fascinating notion to consider, cannot be defended from this passage.

    Soli Deo Gloria,

    John T. “Jack” Jeffery
    Pastor, Wayside Gospel Chapel
    Greentown, PA

    • Thanks brother the Greek lesson.

      I’m not sure what Hawker had in mind when he wrote that “It was God the Father Who first trusted in Christ.” His thought may not be well defended from the passage quoted but if you consider the everlasting covenant made before time within the Godhead it was God the Father who entrusted the saving of a people to their surety Jesus Christ.

      Hawker’s thought is scriptural even if it cannot be defended from Eph. 1.

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