To paraphrase from Paul’s epistle, to the Saints who are reading this blog post, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:2 English Standard Version). This epistle covers a variety of topics including regeneration, church relations and social relations. I have broken this up into two parts because I think it would be difficult to digest as one post.
Notes on the Book of Ephesians – Chapters 1-3
- We as saints are blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3 ESV). I pray to the Lord Jesus Christ that he reveal to us all of our spiritual blessings and that they pour down upon us in great abundance.
- All saints are predestined for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ our lord (Ephesians 1:5).
- The Holy Spirit is the guarantee of our inheritance in heaven (Ephesians 1:13-14).
- Paul’s prayer for wisdom for the Ephesians: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:17-21 ESV).
- “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8-10 ESV). I think these verses nicely summarize the doctrine of faith vs. works.
- “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14-16 ESV). This, at least to me, is a rather mysterious saying that I believe may have many layered meanings. To what does the peace of Jesus Christ apply? My belief is that first, this applies to the wrath that is stirred up from God as a result of sin, as our old man is dead and is crucified with Christ, so our soul, having had the spirit of the Prince of the Air replaced with that of the Holy Spirit, is at peace with God. Second, this applies to the peace between the Jews and God because of the law. Third, it applies to the peace between the Gentiles and God who knew not the law and did not have a relationship with God (see Ephesians 2:11-13). Finally, I think it provides for a reconciliation between the Gentiles and the Jews, who were oftentimes hostile to each other (see “Pulpit Commentary” in this link). In a sense, this peace that is found in Jesus Christ operates both vertically (as between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of Man) and then also horizontally (amongst certain disparate groups within the Kingdom of Man). I also wonder whether this peace may also have some effect in the heavenly places, as I remember hearing a sermon that said that Christ’s work on the cross even had blessings in the heavenlies (I can’t remember what the citation in the bible was though). Needless to say I think this is a more dense and mysterious passage than it might appear at first glance, not even getting into how specifically the unification of these two “men” (who each might represent various types such as Flesh vs. Spirit or Jew vs. Gentile) into one man actually works in creating a peace.
- “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” (Ephesians 2:19-21 ESV). It’s a nice image to think of the house of God growing bigger and bigger as more saints are added unto it with each generation, I can almost think of it as a spiritual skyscraper.
- Another mysterious saying: “through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord…” (Ephesians 3:10-11 ESV). So my reading is that the Lord is using the saints to reveal himself to spirits in the heavenly places. It’s unclear if these are angels or demons or both but apparently the very life and activity of the church on earth is serving as a revelation to the heavenly places of the wisdom of God. Fascinating.
- Since we are in Jesus Christ we should pray with boldness and confidence as Paul advises (Ephesians 3:12).
- Another prayer by Paul for the Ephesians: “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:16-19 ESV).
Credit image: https://pixabay.com/en/ephesus-turkey-greece-column-629812/.