Ephesians 1

He Has Blessed Us In The Beloved

Paul's letter to the Ephesians begins with a conventional salutation. Paul is one sent by Christ Jesus because it was God's will and purpose to set him apart for this task. God did so on the road leading to Damascus, and the Lord also announced this call to a disciple named Ananias as well. The letter is to be delivered to the faithful saints in Ephesus. Paul summarizes the gospel as he writes of grace and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace is God's work through Christ, resulting in peace with God and with others. Paul's pen begins to sing as he blesses God. This doxology expresses heartfelt gratitude for the way God blesses his people in every conceivable way. He then reaches back to a place before time into eternity past where there was only God. God determined to make children through salvation in Christ Jesus before the world began. These children were deserving of judgment, but God would make them holy and blameless in love. Paul states that the purpose of predestination is adoption. Salvation is God's plan which he accomplishes according to the purpose of his will by his glorious grace in Christ Jesus. 

In Him

Paul explains the blessings one enjoys because of their union with Christ. In Christ, there is redemption that comes through the blood of Christ resulting in the forgiveness of sins because of his grace. Redemption is primarily used when describing the price that was paid to redeem a slave so that they would be released from their bondage. The metaphor describes the way that Christ redeems people from slavery and bondage to sin. The price that was paid is incalculable, and it points to the reality and seriousness of sin. Christ redeems sinners through his blood. Jesus became the atoning sacrifice that satisfies the wrath of God and serves as the grounds for the forgiveness of sins. Who received the price of redemption? The cost of redemption was given by God to God, and Christ was made to be sin so that the believer could become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Only God could conceive of the gospel, and only he can reveal it and make known the mystery of his will. Christ is the apex of God's revelation, and all of history serves to unite all things in Christ. In Christ, the believer has an inheritance because God works all things according to the counsel of his will. Both the Jews who first hoped in Christ and the Gentiles who heard the gospel and responded, have been sealed by the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit is the promise, the seal, and the guarantee of our inheritance. God planned redemption, chose the people and personally guarantees the possession of their inheritance and everything begins and ends with his glory. 

That You May Know

Paul has heard about the faith of the Ephesians and is thankful for the way their faith is made manifest by their love for one another. Faith is not merely knowledge, intellectual assent, or an affirmation of facts. Love is the evidence of grace and the identifier of those who belong to Jesus. Paul gives thanks as he prays for the Ephesians and asks God to use the Holy Spirit to be their teacher, their wisdom, and their revelation. Growth in the knowledge of Jesus is essential for growth in fighting sin and holiness. God the Holy Spirit gives the believer a new heart with new desires and a new disposition toward God. The eyes of the heart are opened, but the heart requires an increasing awareness to the things of God. The hope to which God has called the Christian is not a wish, and God wants the believer to know and understand the motivation behind the way in which they are called to live. There is an immeasurable greatness in the power of God toward believers. God's children are not the victims of their circumstances, and they are no longer in bondage to sin. The power that Paul writes about is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and seated him in the heavenly places above everything. Christ has conquered sin and death and can rescue the believer from both. Christ is exalted and has dominion over all things. Christ reigns as king over all rule, authority, power, dominion, and every name in this age and the one to come. Everything is under his feet, and he is the head of the church which is his body. 

Things To Consider:

  • Do you ever bless the Lord? How? What do you say?
  • Make a list of the blessings you have received in Christ.
  • How are you pursuing holiness?
  • Why is Jesus' blood required for our redemption?
  • How did God make known the mystery of his will?
  • What is the inheritance of the child of God?
  • How does the Holy Spirit seal the believer?
  • Can someone lose salvation? Why or why not?
  • Why must love accompany faith?
  • How are the eyes of our hearts enlightened progressively?
  • How should one live in light of God's power toward us?
  • How should we view the world and evil in light of the reality that Jesus has dominion over all things?