Lesson 1


Paul's Letter to the Ephesians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus: 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ.

1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ; 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love; 1:5 having predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire, 1:6 to the praise of the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved,


Today's Lesson

The beginning of this book is one long ode to the glory of the work of God that is in Jesus Christ. Paul writes this epistle as an apostle of Christ. It is the will of God that has made him an apostle of Jesus Christ. Without God, Paul would have been by nature opposed to the work of Jesus of Nazareth and His church. But it was God's will that he be an apostle, which means one that is sent out as a representative.

 

The title of saints means "holy ones". Paul writes to those who have been made holy who are at Ephesus. Those holy ones are saints because they are faithful in and to Christ Jesus. It is our faith in the Lamb of God that makes us holy in God's sight. And this same faith brings us peace with God and His son, Jesus Christ. Through Christ Jesus, we are adopted into the family of God and we can rightly call Him Abba, Father.

 

Verses 3 through 14 are one continuous sentence in the Greek in which this epistle was written. Whenever we segment this section as I am doing it is a disservice to the text. But, the ideas expressed in this sentence are so lofty and complex that we could rightly spend months in discussing them and not do them justice.

 

Through God's will, those in Christ have been given every spiritual blessing. Those in Christ are not paupers, but heirs to all that is in God's kingdom. We have been given Christ and He is the wisdom and heart of God. These blessings are ours and are reserved for us in heavenly places where they cannot be defiled or corrupted. But, that does not mean that we cannot have access to them today, in this place and time. We are in Christ and He is in the heavens. Through His life in us we have all of these blessings from the Father.

 

The blessings of our inheritance are not for us alone. God chose before the world was created to accomplish these things in Christ Jesus for a purpose. God is showing all creation and us something about Himself here. God's purpose and our redemption are in order to reveal something about His nature. This revelation must be of supreme importance.

 

In order to reveal Himself, God has chosen to present us "holy and without blemish." Our holiness is a revelation of God's nature, not our own. The fact that we will be found blameless tells more about Him than it does about us.

 

He is accomplishing this through love by predestining us for adoption. Predestination means that God planned our adoption in advance. God did not adopt us on a spur of the moment or because another plan did not work out. Paul wants us to know that God's purpose in Christ was His original plan. The death on the cross and the body of Christ is not an afterthought or accident. It was God's plan and it was also His "good pleasure" and "desire".

 

What is God revealing about Himself? "...the glory of his grace, which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved,..." God's power is revealed in creation. His holiness is revealed whenever anyone or anything attempts to approach Him. There is much that God revealed about Himself before the church was established.

 

But, by adopting those who were formerly separated from Him by sin into His household, God is revealing His grace. The forgiveness of sinners reveals an aspect of God that cannot be found in nature. But, when Jesus taught about the joy of the father when the prodigal son returned home, he was revealing an aspect of the nature of God (Luke 15:11-31). When God is willing to forgive me of my sin, it reveals something about God that I did not know before.

 

Through God's plan in Christ Jesus, I can now praise the glory of God's grace. In His willingness to die in my stead. In His willingness to draw me to Him despite all that I have done. In His willingness to love me in spite of everything. In all these things, God reveals Himself.

 

Thank you Father for all you have done for us in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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