The Gospel Is A Matter Of Life And Death
Paul pulls no punches: As for you, he says, You were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient .
There is a glorious word in verse four, however: But
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions it is .
Throughout the book of Ephesians, the impact of the Gospel is expressed in similarly stark contrasts. Gentiles once were excluded…foreigners…without hope and without God…but now they have been brought near by the blood of Christ .
The hostility between different groups becomes peace through the reconciliation of Jesus blood . The Gospel allows infants to grow…to become mature . The old self is as different from the new self as darkness is from light .
A Introduction To Pauls Letter To The Ephesians
1. The character and themes of Pauls letter to the Ephesians.
a. Pauls letter to the Ephesians is different compared to many of the other New Testament letters he wrote. Like Romans, Ephesians was not written so much to address problems in a particular church more so, it was written to explain some of the great themes and doctrines of Christianity.
i. The elevated themes of Ephesians make it highly praised and prized by commentators. Ephesians has been called the Queen of the Epistles,the quintessence of Paulinism,the divinest composition of man and even the Waterloo of commentators. Some say that Ephesians reads like a commentary on the Pauline letters and probably it has been best termed the crown of Paulinism.
ii. It sums up in large measure the leading themes of the Pauline writings But it does more than that it carries the thought of the earlier letters forward to a new stage.
iii. Among the Epistles bearing the name of St. Paul there is none greater than this, nor any with a character more entirely its own There is a peculiar and sustained loftiness in its teaching which has deeply impressed the greatest minds and has earned for it the title of the Epistle of the Ascension.
b. If the Letter to the Romans focuses more on Gods work in the individual Christian, Ephesians includes the great themes of Gods work in the church, the community of believers.
2. Pauls greeting to the Ephesians.
Unity Of The Church In Christ
11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands 12 that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us 15 having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace 16 and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 for through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God 20 and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone 21 in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
You May Like: How Many Verses In Psalms
Summary Of Ephesians 5
Ephesians 5 instructs believers how to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are to be imitators of God. It continues from the teaching in Ephesians 4, that our lives are to be different now that we follow Christ. We were once in darkness, but now we are the light in the Lord. We are to walk as children of light .
Ephesians 5 includes the command to be filled with the Spirit rather than being drunk with wine. Ephesians 5:18-21 is another of Pauls long sentences in the Greek. The outflow of the fullness of the Spirit involves expressions of praise through singing, thanksgiving, and mutual submission. Mutual submission needs to be understood in context of Ephesians 5 and the entire book of Ephesians.
Mutual submission out of reverence to Christ is one of the signs that you are filled with the Holy Spirit . Submission literally means to arrange under. The main idea of submission in the Bible is to come under Gods arrangement. We are submitting to Gods plan, coming under Jesus as the head over all things. In light of that, we can submit mutually to one another.
The highest model of submission is Jesus . He humbled Himself as a servant, even to the point of going to the cross.
The idea of submission may seem strange or offensive in some cultures because individualism is emphasized and valued. At the core is a rebellion against Gods order. Christians are called to respond by coming under Jesus as the head over all things.
Terrace Houses in Ephesus
The Evidence From Judaism And Early Church History Casts Doubt Over The Acceptability Of Pseudepigraphical Letter Writing In Christian Circles
While there are a variety of Second Temple Jewish documents that could accurately be described as pseudepigraphical , there are no clear examples of pseudepigraphical letters within Judaism. This is a significant observation because it means that there is no literary precedent within Judaism for such an activity.
When we look at the testimony of early church leaders, we find a significant concern to discern any documents falsely attributed to biblical authors. When, for instance, Serapion, the bishop of Antioch , assesses the so-called Gospel of Peter , he states: We my brothers, receive Peter and all the apostles as we receive Christ, but the writings falsely attributed to them we are experienced enough to reject, knowing that nothing of the sort has been handed down to us.
This passage makes it clear that some people were writing books and passing them on as genuine, but it was important to the church to detect these and expose them.
An additional important example can be drawn from Tertullian . He describes a case in late second-century Asia Minor where church leaders discovered that a document circulating as the Acts of Paul was a pseudepigraphon. When they found out that the author was an elder of one of the Asia Minor churches, he was confronted and removed from his office. This act of church discipline was carried out in spite of his protest that he had done it from love of Paul.
Recommended Reading: Chronological Order Of Bible
Our Walk With God Is Of Utmost Importance
In light of the incredible spiritual blessings given by God and the new life we have in Christ, Paul urges believers to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, to walk in love , and to look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil .
The term walk has a mundane quality that brings to mind our everyday interactions. In line with this, Paul offers counsel for what walking worthily, lovingly, and wisely looks like in the context of family and work and church dynamics . The Gospel is not just a lofty philosophical idea it has real-life implications for our daily rounds.
We Have Been Blessed With Every Spiritual Blessing In Christ
Paul plumbs the depths and leaps for the heights of language in his efforts to convey the amazing riches of Gods grace that he lavished on us . Indeed, God has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ . Paul is trying to impress upon us that God and his blessings are greater than we can even comprehend thats why the gospel is described as a beautiful mystery that cant be solved but can and should be savored.
He speaks of the immeasurable greatness of power toward us who believe . He prays for the Ephesians to who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us . Paul asks God that believers would somehow know this love that surpasses knowledge .
There is a theme of the fullness of God in Ephesians when talking about God and his blessings. Paul talks of Gods glorious grace , the boundless riches of Christ , whose love is wide and long and high and deep and whose people are described as the fullness of him who fills everything in every way .
B The Work Of The Triune God On Behalf Of The Believer
In ancient Greek , Ephesians 1:3 through 1:14 form one long sentence. As an opera has an overture, setting the tone for all the melodies that will follow, so Ephesians 1:3-14 sets the tone for the rest of Ephesians.
1. The work of God the Father.
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, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He has made us accepted in the Beloved.
a. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ: Paul called for a blessing upon the Father , because the Father has already blessed the believer with every spiritual blessing .
i. Moule wrote that the idea behind blessed is, Praised with worshipping love.
b. Who has blessed us: This blessing is ours. Gods resources are there for us always. This speaks of an attitude of certainty and assurance.
i. We are not sitting here, and groaning, and crying, and fretting, and worrying, and questioning our own salvation. He has blessed us and therefore we will bless him. If you think little of what God has done for you, you will do very little for him but if you have a great notion of his great mercy to you, you will be greatly grateful to your gracious God.
All Posts In This Series
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
If you have found value in this post, please consider subscribing to A Clay Jar so that you dont miss any other posts.
Also Check: Fear In Bible How Many Times
The Church As The Body Of Christ
15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, 16 cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers 17 that 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: 18 the 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, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, 20 which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far 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: 22 and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Letter Of Paul To The Ephesians
Our editors will review what youve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.
Our editors will review what youve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.
Letter of Paul to the Ephesians, also called Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians,abbreviationEphesians, tenth book of the New Testament, once thought to have been composed by St. Paul the Apostle in prison but more likely the work of one of his disciples. The words in Ephesus are lacking in the earliest manuscripts and citations, and the author probably wrote the text sometime before 90 ce while consulting Pauls letter to the Colossians . Of the 155 verses in Ephesians, 73 have verbal parallels with Colossians, and, when parallels to genuine Pauline epistles are added, 85 percent of Ephesians is duplicated elsewhere. It is thus most reasonable to consider it as deutero-Paulinei.e., in the tradition of Paul but not written by him.
Recommended Reading: Maryland Bible College
Who What Where And Why Of Ephesians
Ephesians 1:1-2, Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
At first glance, the first two verses of Ephesians come across as inconsequential or insignificant to the rest of the text, but within these two verses, we discover the who, what, where, and why of this divinely inspired letter. We know that all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching therefore, we know that the Holy Spirit gives us these seemingly minute details for a purpose. What that purpose is can clearly be explained by answering these four aforementioned questions who, what, where, and why.
WHO and WHAT
Immediately leaping off the page we see the name Paul, and as quickly as Paul registers in our brains as the author we discover this is no mere man named Paul rather this is Paul the apostle. Paul, the former persecutor. Paul, the militant Jew, turned passionate church planter. Paul, the man who stood watch as Stephen was executed. Paul, the man whose life was radically altered on the road to Damascus by the visible manifestation of Jesus Christ.
WHERE and WHY
The Alleged Differences Between The Theology Of Ephesians And The Theology Of Paul Are Better Explained As Distinct Emphases Within His Thought Rather Than As Contradictions That The Historical Paul Could Not Have Expressed
I do not find myself convinced of the alleged discrepancies between Pauls thought and some of the ideas and concepts that we find expressed in Ephesians.
Here are two examples.
Read Also: Correct Order To Read The Bible
God Gives Us Strength For The Battle We Face
Lastly, believers are urged to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might . We have access to the full armor of God so that we may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil . Moreover, we have access to God Himself through prayer at all times, and Paul encourages us to pray for ourselves, each other, and for those who are declaring the mystery of the Gospel as spiritual ambassadors around the world .
The old hymn Great Is Thy Faithfulness comes to mind when reading through the book of Ephesians.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided,great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
Indeed, we have been brought from death to life and given everything we need for the daily relationships and responsibilities we have and the spiritual battles we face. As we walk through this world, we do not walk alone. We are fully resourced and indwelt by the glorious God whom Paul seeks to glorify in this letter:
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen .