Continuing with our study of the epistles of the bible, we now begin the book of Ephesians, a letter written by the apostle Paul while in house arrest in Rome.
Written around A.D. 60 by the former “Saul or Tarsus” this new testament scripture was targeted at audiences from Ephesus, the capital of the Roman province of Asia, present day Turkey.
The epicenter for the Evangelical outreach throughout the province, as the Ephesian church found itself under attack from Satan Paul wrote this circular letter in hope its readers would be inspired to return to their first love for God.
In tune with first century letters in which the author is mentioned first followed by the audience, in the salutation Paul described himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. By “saints” he is referring to his readers, the members of Christ’ church, ultimately all believers.
“1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Spiritual Blessings in Christ.”
Though Paul was not one of the original twelve apostles, he was commissioned by Jesus Christ to preach the gospel with authority as a servant of the Lord.
“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
By repeating himself in the salutation of his letter to the church of Ephesus Paul wants to reiterate the fact blessing upon believers are first and foremost spiritual ones. Christians are never promised health, wealth or success in their earthly lives rather God’s promise in one of spirituality and eternal life in heaven where rewards and blessings in deed are abundant.
“4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”
While the concept of predestination is at the root of much controversy among non-believers, it is clearly meant to reassure those who are truly saved in Christ Jesus. In the verses above Paul mentions the fact believers are predestined to be adopted by God, in accordance with His pleasure and will. God chooses to love us in spite of our sins.
Freely given to us through the sacrifice of His one and only son Jesus Christ, God’s grace is plentiful. Though not conditional, God’s love (Agape) commands His children to strive toward living holy, blameless lives according to His word.
“7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”
By definition the word “redemption” means “to buy back… Redemption comes through Christ’ blood shed on the cross… Old and new testament teach forgiveness to be associated with he shedding of blood…
“9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.”
The mystery was revealed through Jesus Christ, the lamb of God. It was also explained through the pen of the apostle John in the revelation, that the fulfillment of God’s promise and the events prophesied in his word will come to pass according to His perfect, predestined plan.
“11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.”
Because those who choose Christ as their Lord and savior are in turn counted among God’s chosen ones, the concept of predestination can be justified in the minds of those who believe in Jesus. Those not in Christ simply cannot embrace predestination since they are without the spirit, without the understanding of the magnificence of the almighty creator.
Meant to worship a great, perfect God, men and women who abide by His holy word and bow down to Him are promised rewards beyond human understanding. We are also told to stand fast as we await the day of the Lord.
“13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
Those who live in Christ are blessed with the Holy Spirit that dwells within us, the seal of God carved onto His children. By “marked with a seal” (from the Greek sphragizo, pronounced sfrag-id’-zo meaning “to stamp with a signet or private mark”) Peter want his readers to recognize the fact believers are marked by God through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Comparing the Holy Spirit to a deposit toward our inheritance, Peter reiterates God’s promise of redemption, of deliverance from sin by the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the cross.
Praise God for His grace and the sacrifice made by His one and only son Christ Jesus. Rejoice in the deposit that is the holy spirit for your inheritance is at hand. Glory to the Father and His son. Let’s pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through trials,
Allow us to embrace the deposit you have given us through the Holy Spirit,
Fill our hearts Lord with your love, your kindness, with your wisdom,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre