Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ephesians, Part 1 - 1:1 -2:10

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Ok...having at least admitted to the gorilla in my living room, I can proceed with the Plan. ;-)

Since I had to put Ephesians' six chapters into four lessons, today I'm looking at 1:1 - 2:10.

The commentary notes I have available for Ephesians all agree that Paul wrote this letter while in prison,  probably taking advantage of the return of Epaphroditus to Philippi and Onesimus to Philemon to send this letter.  Some of the folks even go so far as to suggest that this is actually the letter originally sent to the Laodiceans that Paul mentions in Colossians, and what we have is the copy that went to Ephesus, as he clearly indicated that his letters were to be copied and circulated amongst the churches.

Whether it is a copy of the Laodicean letter or not, the original audience was still the same -- former pagans, Gentiles who had embraced the gospel and become followers of Christ -- and Paul's letter to them is  a welcome into the family of God.

Paul even goes so far as to declare that this is the mystery of God's will, that all things should be united in Christ -- including Jews and Gentiles.  'In him you [the Gentile believers] also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory' (Eph 1:13 - 14; all scripture today from the ESV).

Paul says that it's for that reason that he thanks God for them and prays for them constantly.  And...he's not praying that they stay safe and healthy, or have favor with people or financial success, he prays that
1) They will be given the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so they will know Him better and
2) their spiritual eyes will be opened to see the hope to which they are called -- the riches of his inheritance and the incredible power of God toward believers...the power that raised Jesus from the dead and gave him all authority.

'You were dead', Paul points out in 2:1, describing the lifestyle they once lived, which is common to all mankind, including himself,  'But God,...made us alive together with Christ.' (2:4 -5).

This is God's doing, through His grace, and through no merit of our own.  In fact, Paul points out, we were all dead and could do nothing.  He gave us faith to believe and receive his grace, and through receiving His grace, we live.

In fact, Paul concludes this passage,  'We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand...' 2:10.

Each of us has a purpose in Christ...a good purpose... it's up to each of us to choose to walk in that purpose. 

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