Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today we will begin looking at Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. The first chapter of this letter reminds us of how important it is to emphasize the work of Christ.
Reading: Ephesians 1
1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Notice how the apostle Paul greets the brethren: he first acknowledges them, then he immediately blesses them. This is why I open all of my posts the way I do; surely the Apostle Paul is an excellent example of how a man ought to address the Church.
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
The Lord is the source for all spiritual blessings we receive. He is the creator and sustainer of all good things, and he blesses us richly if we serve Him and earnestly seek after His goodness.
4According 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:
In Christ we are given all manner of good things. Most importantly, we are given mercy (that we may be spared from the coming wrath, which we so richly deserve) and grace (that we may be filled with all goodness and spiritual blessings).
For we know that, apart from Christ, we can do nothing that pleases God.
5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
It is written that no one can come to the Father save through Christ. However, none can come to Christ unless the Father draws him (as water is drawn from a well). Despite our wickedness and rebellion against the Most High, He has predestined us to be saved in Christ.
This is not a thing which we have deserved, but the Lord has given it to us as a free gift before His enemies.
Accordingly, we can do no other than to praise Him in all things. Great is our Lord, who has brought us out of darkness into His light.
7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
In all things we remember the Atoning Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This message is the most perfect and wonderful message we can ever receive.
8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
9Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
Not only has the Lord given us the great atonement, but He lived and dwelled among us. The Word became flesh that He might instruct us, and when He returned to the Father he gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit.
10That 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:
11In 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:
12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Again, we recall that the Lord has predestined us to be saved, despite our wickedness and depravity making us chief among sinners.
This is not our working, but the work of the Father, in full accordance with His will.
13In 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,
14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
We remember what is written concerning faith – that it is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1). This same faith is granted by God through the Holy Spirit, which comforts us and reveals to us the Will of the Lord. Without this grand inheritance, we would not survive long in this world of wickedness and sin.
Here, the Apostle pours out his blessings on the Ephesians, in view of the work of Christ in them.
15Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
16Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
One of the greatest gifts we can give our brethren is to remember them in our prayers. We know that the Lord does not need our prayers to do good, for He knows what we need before we ask Him. However, Jesus himself has commanded us to pray, and we do so for ourselves and our brethren.
17That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
18The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
When we study the Word and pray in accordance with His will, He pours out on us all manner of spiritual gifts. Chief among these is the gift of Wisdom and Prophesy, which allows us to rightly discern the Will of the Lord and act in accordance therewith.
In addition, these gifts reveal to us day by day the greatness of the gifts which He has bestowed upon us, who were once enemies to God and slaves to sin.
19And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
20Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
21Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
22And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
23Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Here is what Paul says about Christ. Note the progression which Paul lays out:
- Christ is God, and accordingly comes to us with the fullness of God in him
- Christ was slain for our sins, but was raised from the dead
- Christ now sits at the right hand of God (the position of greatest power)
- There is no power in this world which can rival the power of our Lord Jesus Christ
- He has made us His church, a vessel with which He carries out His will and which receives His grace
This is the Gospel every bit as much as the works of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Let us Pray
Almighty Father, we thank you for the blessing of the Holy Spirit, which gives us faith and understanding of Your grace and will. Grant us daily renewal in your word, so that we may receive all your blessings and, as a result, become greater blessings to others.
Thank you also for the saving and sustaining work of Christ, who was sent as an atoning sacrifice. We know that he is now exalted above all creation, and He will sit in judgment on the last day. To Christ be all glory and honor, now and forever.
May the Lord go before you to lead you, behind you to encourage you, beside you to befriend you, beneath you to uphold you, above you to protect you, and within you to inspire you.
Go in the peace and power of Almighty God. Amen.