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“From Paul, apostle of Jesus Christ, commissioned by the will of God, to God’s people at Ephesus, believers incorporate in Christ Jesus. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1:1-2 New English Bible.
Too often, when reading the Epistles, we just read on by the Apostolic greeting of "Grace and peace," or, “Grace, mercy and peace,” as if these words were the common western greeting of “Hi!, Hey!, or Hello!” They are in fact, special blessings to the readers conveying the blessing, favour, enablement, loving kindness, compassion and peace/harmony of our Father. These should rule in our hearts, not legalism, judgmentalism, condemnation and a fearful dread of things to come that are so common in religion.
As we consider Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we are almost overwhelmed by the richness and depth of revelation. From this starting point we have the basis for the practical aspect of living to follow later. When we get our operating instructions, our vision, from the Throne Room, as it was, we walk a sure walk for we know where we are headed
He begins, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: ” NASU. Lest we get caught up with religious words like apostle, we need to know that it simply means, “a sent one” who represents Jesus Christ by our Father’s, not man’s intention. Contrary to some opinions, a person who may function in an apostolic manner, makes that one no more important in the body of Christ, than the lowest just saved person. Apostles are not God’s generals! Rather it is the ministry of Christ in the vessel, not the vessel that counts. We are but vessels of clay (Some of us may seem to be cracked pots), designed to express his glory.
It is imperative that we realize that the will, or purpose of God, is the determining factor in all things, and not some so called free will as many believe, for how can a will in bondage to sin be free? God is the beginning, the ultimate source from which all things originate, exist, and find their ultimate ending. The NEB puts Romans 11:36 this way: "Source, Guide, Goal of all that is." We don’t need to understand how our Father God works out his purposes in the earth. We rather rest in the fact that he has been, and remains, the Supreme One who has never surrendered his absolute sovereignty — not to the devil or man.
Ephesians begins by elevating us into a revelation of the glory of his plans and purposes. When we see from our Father's viewpoint we discover the starting point is not creation, sin, or the fall, and not even redemption — IT IS GOD HIMSELF!
Paul addressed his letter to the SAINTS in Ephesus. Back in the time of the early church, to be a saint didn’t require a papal committee, nor did one’s personal opinion of their worthiness matter. None of this, “I’m not worthy” nonsense that some profess today. The Greek word for Saint is “hagios” meaning pure and morally blameless. We are holy in Christ who is our holiness for we have been placed in Christ Jesus and him in us. Oswald Chambers had this to say about those who don’t believe they are now saints:
“Get into the habit of examining from God’s perspective those things that sound so humble to men. You will be amazed at how unbelievably inappropriate and disrespectful they are to Him. We say things such as, “Oh, I shouldn’t claim to be sanctified; I’m not a saint.” But to say that before God means, “No, Lord, it is impossible for You to save and sanctify me; ....” That may sound wonderfully humble to others, but before God it is an attitude of defiance.” Taken from, My Utmost for His Highest.
The key words in Ephesians are, grace, spiritual/spirit, heavenly and one very important word that must be commented upon. It is the word IN. As the NEB puts it, “believers INCORPORATE IN Christ,” to give us a clear picture of the reality of our relationship to our Lord.
The word IN comes is from the Greek word "en." It is found in the Greek text eighty-nine times. E.W. Bullinger said it means, "a being or remaining within, with the primary idea of rest in any place or thing." It is imperative that we grasp this fact of IN-NESS, of our close dwelling at REST IN Christ where we no longer struggle to be, but rest in his being.
Verse 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,”
When The Blesser has blessed you, your heart responds by blessing The Blesser. We praise eloquently within our limited abilities and ultimately let the Holy Spirit speak forth what our humanity cannot initiate. Spiritual blessings in Christ have been poured upon us from the heavenly dimension. It is because of our union in Christ we are blessed!
It is imperative that we grasp and grab onto the fact that these blessings have nothing to do with our personal qualifications. It is all IN CHRIST, and we are IN HIM. This truth liberates us from the bondage the religion places upon us to do, to abstain from, etc. What a glorious place of rest this is! I am reminded of an old chorus that goes like this:
“We’ve found a new place in the heavenlies.
In Jesus Christ, in Jesus Christ,
We’ve found a new place in the heavenlies,
Hidden with Christ in God.
A place of peace, a place of joy, and happiness,
We’ve found a new place in the heavenlies,
Hidden with Christ in God.”
We must remember that according to Chapter Two we have been “raised together with him, and seated with him in the heavenly realms.” This seldom stressed truth is emancipating! We are free! We need no longer follow the well-meant advice for spiritual worms — “Keep looking up.” No! We can look down to see things from our Father’s the prospective, which is the eternal view. The church is too, sins conscious, not Christ conscious, not heavenly conscious in the God sense. We need to get caught up to this higher realm and behold the glory.
Caught up beyond ourselves into his glory,
Beholding the unveiling of our God,
Entered in beyond the veil,
From the earthlies into the heavenlies,
There to live and move and have our being.
Made alive to God alone,
Quickened to stand before his presence
Awakened to new life above in him!
As I was pondering a few days ago, I was reminded of the chorus above. Our Lord gave to my friend David E.L. Johnson many years ago. His wife Carolyn recently said, “This is the cry of our hearts - to stand in his presence - awakened to new life, resurrection life in him.”
There are realms in God that we have missed because we have been too busy trying to do what we thought was God’s work, like being good Christian soldiers and fighting an already defeated devil. O church awake, we are called to reign on this earth because we are IN HIM who reigns above. As the old hymn goes, “This is my Father’s world.” He alone is in charge and does all things well!
Verse 4; “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love”
Did you think you were an accident, and wondered why you were ever born? Well, the truth is, God has a plan and purpose for each and every one of us. First of all we must to know that we were chosen IN HIM back before your biological parents planned, or didn’t plan to have children. Before Adam and Eve first discovered the joys of intimate physical union a plan was in place for trillions to descend from them, which includes all of us. Yes, we were chosen back before it all began as part of the Master’s Master Plan!
We began IN Him, and ultimately will return to Him. Is not God the “SOURCE, GUIDE, and GOAL” of all that is?” (Romans 11:36 NEB) Every seed carries the germ of life, or the genetic material, to reproduce after it’s kind. Some plant seeds spring up within days, while others take years. The human seed takes nine months. A life form in the appearance and likeness of the source of the seed is the result.
Within our Father’s unconditional love, that of the Father heart of God, it was purposed that we would be “holy and blameless.” Some may think that is OK in God’s sight, but are unable to accept it in their humanness. We have all heard the excuse, “I’m only human.” Well, Jesus was human too and lived a life of limitation having divested himself of his Deity. Emmanuel, yes, he was the very expression of God on earth in humanness. (See my article: The Human Christ Jesus) It is in our very humanness that the holiness of Christ is to be lived. We are holy because the Holy One dwells in us. We are without blame and stain free because Jesus the Christ, took upon himself all of our sin and sins on the Tree and cleansed us within his blood.
It must be stressed that we are blameless, without fault, in our Father’s eyes. If you think that is a problem, then consider that some parents see only the best in their children. Why should not the Father of Love? Why then do we keep picking at our imperfections? When corrections and adjustments are required as we journey onto sonship he knows how to do it the right way and with no condemnation.
Our union IN Christ, and relationship with Him, results in ALL spiritual blessings are NOW ours. Do you get it? NOW, and not some time in the distant future, based upon our success in doing good works, and, or legalistic form of worthiness. The blessings are from "the heavenly" realm IN CHRIST.
We read, "He Chose us IN HIM." The Greek for "chose" is "eklegomai.” It means to pick out, or select. In the middle voice it means, to choose for oneself, from preference, favor or love. Paul as the writer, is one of the "US," or chosen, as were the recipients of the epistle. Who else is included as chosen? All who are IN CHRIST are the chosen. He chose each of us for Himself. This is Divine election. Jesus said in John 6:37, "All that the Father gives to Me will come to Me," and in John 15:16, "You did not choose me, but I chose you ...." It must be said that it was not you “making a decision for Christ” as that decision was already made in Christ.
The answer to the question of “WHY,” is found in these specific words, “that we should be holy and blameless (unblemished) before Him.” This choice, and the method, is ALL of HIM, and NOT of ourselves! Therefore we then qualified to move onto the adoption as sons (huios - a matured child).
Verse 5: “(In love) He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,”
Jonathan Mitchell translates the Greek word for predestined - “proorizo” this way, “marking us out beforehand.” That takes all the religiosity out it. God in his love sought to expand himself (I know, it’s hard to grasp) by having a whole family of sons. So he purposed to create a being, a human body, in which to reproduce himself, or herself if you wish. Remember the genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3:38 reads, “Adam the son of God.” Now, these offspring of Adam were not to be a bunch of forever infants, both naturally or spiritually. Rather it was willed that they would come to a place of maturity. The term “adoption as sons” (huiothesia) refers to the actual ceremony whereby a child, having been under tutors has arrived at the point of being accepted, no longer as one of God’s kids, but as an adult son. He had become a man. See Galatians 4:1-6.
Romans 8:19-22 reads, “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” Our Father has a purpose in raising up sons who will bring forth his purposes in this earth. This is a calling that is open to all. Again I am reminded of an old chorus (Could I be getting old?) to share with you.
When God's sons are unveiled, The storms of life will cease.
Earth's groaning will be ended, And find sweet release.
When God's sons are unveiled, Heaven and earth will meet.
God's will be done, God's kingdom come,
When God's sons are unveiled.
Earth's night be gone, Morning will come,
When God’s sons are unveiled!
Verse 6: “to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
Grace has been bestowed on us IN the Beloved. It was not something we prayed for, but this special honor was rather freely imparted to us. We have been graced with Grace. And just what is grace? Some think it is unmerited favor. Why, since we have been chosen should it be called unmerited? We are graced with grace because we are IN Christ. We could interpret Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,” this way — “For Jesus has appeared bring salvation into all men.” Now that may seem a bit radical, but isn’t that what happened/happens? So Jesus is the expression of God’s grace, the salvation of God.
Verses 7 and 8: In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight
The aspect of redemption that we see here is that of the release brought by a kinsman redeemer, who paid what was required to set a related person free from debt or bondage. An example was Boaz who paid off Ruth’s dead husbands debt and then married her thereby incorporating a Moabitish ancestry into the linage of Jesus Christ.
Why would we need a redeemer? Romans 7:14 tells us why. “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin.” Bondage to sin is the reason. Jesus said, “He who the Son sets free is free indeed!” He sets all creation free in his death as his blood was shed. Jesus said that his blood was to be shed for the remission of (the setting free from) sin.
Many of us have sung the old hymn — “There is power in the blood,” with little understanding of blood. While I was doing medical laboratory work in USAF, I learned that not only was blood life giving, but also life saving in the sense that blood has the ability to fight off bacterial and viral infections, and thus was life saving.
Two scriptures that speak of the cleansing power of the blood are in 1 John 1:7 & 9. The blood of Jesus cleanses, that is, “katharizo’s” us of all sin. The blood frees us from impurities and causes us to be without blemish. Freedom! Oh how precious! Indeed, causing us to be qualified as “holy and blameless.”
In his wisdom, or as Jonathan Mitchell’s translation puts it, “within and in union with all wisdom (or; in every wise thing) and thoughtful prudence (gut-intelligence; mindful purpose; considered understanding)”, The Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world (kosmos) putting in place the plan of redemption. The grace that Father has lavished upon us is amazing!
Verses 9 and 10: “He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him”
There were things in ages past that were a mystery, however, this was no longer to be so. The Greek word for mystery; “musterion” has the meaning of knowledge that was often limited to those initiated into secret religious rites. The very first usage of this word has Jesus declaring, “It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,” It was limited then to the disciples, but when Paul uses it, it becomes the unveiling of rich treasures for all, not just some super saints, who have fasted, prayed and read their Bibles enough to qualify.
These two verse unveil for us amazing truth that religion hides. It is the good pleasure of our Father’s heart “to gather together in one.” The NASU uses the word “administration” to convey the fact that ALL of creation is to come under the rule of our Lord Jesus Christ. ALL is summed up together IN Christ! If ALL is summed up, or included, together, how can any be left out for creation includes humanity?
Verses 11-12: “(In Him) also we have obtained an inheritance (in whom also we were made an inheritance - Kenneth Wuest; we were made a heritage - A.T. Robertson) having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory.”
Jonathan Mitchell’s translated Verse 11 this way in his New Testament: “In and in union with Whom we were (or: are) also chosen (or: appointed) by lot (or: were made an allotted portion; received an inheritance), ....”
Most translations have us obtaining/being the recipient of an inheritance, however, while we have indeed obtained much IN Christ, the purpose of it is because we have been chosen as his inheritance, his portion, his heritage, the dwelling place of God. The Greek word for inheritance used here - kleroo means, to determine by lot, or assign. We are not our own, for we have been bought with a price, the blood of Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:20). While some of us may know that we have been “bought with a price,” it must be remembered that all have been purchased, and the net result will be that all will be part of the “summing of all in Christ,” or “gathering together in one” under one Head, or One Administration (Verse 10).
All of this was predetermined by our Father who in the wisdom of the counsel of Deity purposed that it would be so. Nothing is based upon our personal worthiness, and everything is based upon HIM. For we are in Christ and Christ is in us, and he is our everything in the ultimate sense. The poetry of one of the many verses of, “I’ve Found the Pearl” says it well.
Christ is my Meat, Christ is my Drink,
My Medicine, and my Health;
My Portion, mine Inheritance,
Yes, all my Boundless Wealth.
When I spoke the words, “to the praise of his glory,” at a youth meeting in 1960, the spirit of revelation came upon me. Suddenly I knew that life-had purpose. A purpose that was not Kenneth centered — I’m saved and going to heaven when I die if I don’t get raptured first, and for now I want all the blessings and gifts of the Spirt I can get, and a great ministry. I had grown up in a religion where Jesus was coming any second to save us from the antichrist and we must get all the sinners saved, and so the ministry was the goal. What other purpose in life did have for a Christian? Suddenly I knew that it was the wrong goal, and that revelation grew and grew in time. Christ was my life and my purpose in life was not mine, but HIS. In the world of sports it would be called a “game changer.”
Because of our union in Christ, we are allotted as HIS inheritance. As such, we are designed to become a praise in the earth, therefore bringing honor and glory to Christ. Our heritage can only be Christ who is made unto us “wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification, and redemption.” Therefore we are indeed God’s heritage, his portion.
Those who were the “first to hope” were the Firstfruits, but we know that first cannot be first if there is not at least a second to follow, and there surely has been a multitude more. The positive expectation of those Firstfruit Saints is something we all should have as we await the day when the glory of the Lord fills the earth even as the waters cover the sea.
Verses 13-14: “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.”
We were sealed, that is stamped with a signet ring, or one might say, branded as is done to cattle, not that we are cattle. This is God saying, “You’re mine!” It reminds me of the answer my wife gave for we have a belly button when asked by young children. She would say, “This was God saying, ‘You’re done! .’” Done! We are his and his alone, bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus.
While Verse 11 speaks of us being God’s inheritance, God’s portion and possession, Verse 14 reminds us that we were clearly “sealed” IN him, and this by/with the Holy Spirit as the Divine pledge of what is partially ours now in the spiritual realm. The time of fullness will come and we will enter into the completeness of our total redemption.
Without a doubt we are now a redeemed people, even though multitudes have yet to know it. We rejoice in the spiritual aspect of our redemption and taste a part of our physical freedom longing for the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus to bring full release to our bodies even now. Romans 8:23 tells us what constitutes the fullness of redemption. “And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”
This ultimate full redemption will cause his glory to be praised. The whole of our being, spirit, soul and body resounds forth in worship and praise as our beings are literally filled with his glory setting us totally free from all effects of the fall. All the heavens and the earth will shout for joy with the redeemed sons of God.
His glory is filling his temple,
There’s light in the face of Christ!
In sons there’s coming expression,
Of the indwelling Prince of Life.
We’re beholding the King in his glory,
In the light that the Spirit brings.
All the heavens and earth shall worship him,
For he is the King of kings!
The overwhelming revelation brings forth the prayer in Paul that change would happen in those who were in reality earthly centered spiritual babes. It should be noted that he wasn’t praying about the Ephesians (and surrounding areas) learning more of the ABC’s of the Gospel, but something much more profound. It was meat, not Pablum, for a change in the center and purpose in their lives. More than just sharing the joy of their salvation, but giving the purpose to it.
Verses 1:15-16: “For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;”
Verse 15 begins with what would seem to be type of greeting to folks he hadn’t met, but it must be remembered that since his lengthy time with them there would be new folks, and he was getting a good report about these folks and for this he is thankful especially as he prays for them.
Verse 17 “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.”
This prayer has an interesting description of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, describing him as “The Father of glory.” The majority of translations phrase it that way, while many others say, “all glorious Father.” However, the Jonathan Mitchell NT has, “the Father of the glory.” (Likewise, Young’s, Wuest and Panin). This is not just glory in general sense, but is specific — it is THE GLORY.
Our Father God is the source of all glory, because he himself is glory. Glory is the manifestation of his presence, his very being. When Stephen was answering the high priest, (Acts 7:2) he said, "Hear me, brethren and fathers! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia,” God made himself known to Abram as he later did to Moses by the manifestation of his glorious presence.
The word glory speaks of the character, nature, splendor, and perfection of God our Father, who is the source, the causative agent of the glory. The radiant expression of His being, is revealed in and through our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the express image of our Father. John 1:14 reads, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
In Hebrews 1:3 we read, “And He is the radiance of His (the Father’s) glory and the exact representation of His nature,” The words, from one Greek word, “exact representation,” come from the Greek word “charakter” which means the engraving or duplication of an image. Jesus is the expressed image of our Father and we are being changed into his glorious image. The Father of the glory will have and now has a vast family of sons who are, “destined to be conformed to the image of The Son.” Jonathan Mitchell puts part of Colossians 1:27 this way, “Christ within you folks, the expectation of the glory.” Some folks want to go “to glory,” however, it is glory coming into us that is what God is bringing to pass, because in union with him, we share in the same.
Verse 17b “may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.” The Jonathan Mitchell NT Translation has it this way: “might give (suddenly impart) to you a spirit (or: breath-effect; attitude) of wisdom and revelation (unveiling; uncovering; disclosure) within the midst of a full, experiential and intimate knowledge of Himself.”
As I contemplated this prayer for wisdom, the word discernment came to mind and I decided to find the meaning in the 1913 Webster’s online dictionary. The meaning given is quite extensive and includes discernment. “The quality of being wise; knowledge, and the capacity to make due use of it; knowledge of the best ends and the best means; discernment and judgment; discretion; sagacity; skill; dexterity.” This seems to cover all that Paul’s prayer for a spirit of wisdom would mean for us.
Paul has a similar prayer for the Colossian saints is to be, “increasing in the knowledge of God;” (Colossians 1:10). The word knowledge used in both Ephesians and Colossians is epignosis. The Jonathan Mitchell Translation adds this explanatory line at the end of Verse 17. “(or: in a full realization of Him; or: within and in union with His full, personal knowledge; or: an added insight which is Him),“ Yes, the cry of our heart must be to know him, not to know more about him, but the full revelation of our Father in and through the unveiling of the Son.
Verse 18: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,”
Paul’s prayer for “the eyes of the heart to be enlightened” is surely needed in today’s church world as much as it has been down through the ages. While a few get what Paul is saying about being in Christ, and some even brag about it, the vast majority tend to be Turkey Christians with their eyes to the ground struggling to make it through to the end with the expectation that they will fail many, many times and only hope that somehow God will have mercy on their most unworthy souls. May the light of the glory of his unveiled face shine revelation, illumination, and enlightenment into all of our spirits so that we behold the King in his glory.
Our Father is a God of hope. Some think hope is a dirty word expressing unbelief. Rather it is a positive word meaning — positive expectation. Now, God has a hope, it is the positive expectation that ALL will come to him and he isn’t casting anyone away regardless of what religion teaches. Our Father has a glorious inheritance. I recall a song that began, “My Father is omnipotent and that you can’t deny.” Yet, how many of us have limited the Holy One of Israel by limiting who would or wouldn’t be saved. He has an inheritance, a portion, and it is all of the saints past, present, and in the future be they alive or past over to the other side, for all of the creation is destined to bow in adoration and worship acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord to the glory, the honor of God our Father.
Verses 19-20: “and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,”
Paul prays that we would know something of the immenseness of the omnipotent power of our God which is far beyond our capacity to fully comprehend. It is directed to us who presently believe and ultimately is for all who will come to believe. The Greek word for this operative energizing might (power, some translations) used here is kratos which implies strength, might and dominion.
The greatest example of this energizing might was in raising the one who had taken all sin upon himself, whose life had been slain as he incorporated the new covenant in his blood. Jesus was not just made alive to have a fish fry with a few disciples, he was resurrected in order to ascend to the right hand of the Father. Can you behold the hosts of heaven as he ascends? Perhaps Psalm 24:7-10 will give a picture of his victorious return in the glory that he had once laid aside for us.
Lift up your heads, O gates,
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!
Who is the King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O gates,
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
That the King of glory may come in!
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory. Selah.
Verse 21-22a: “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet,”
There is no government or ruler, be they king, emperor or president that is above, or equal to Jesus Christ. Sadly some Christians seem to have a pagan two god belief where they accord to Satan some degree of equality. As Jonathan Mitchell has said, “But the idea that Satan has a kingdom is a myth from the dualism of pagan cosmology.” For those who believe in the pagan concept of hell, it is good to remember what David said in Psalm 139:7-8: “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.” KJV. No devil present there, only God.
The name of JESUS is first mentioned in Matthew 1:21 "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Jesus, Greek - is a transliteration from the Hebrew "Joshua," which means "Jehovah is salvation," Indeed he is our Savior, our salvation, healer, and deliverer, the one who makes whole again.
The name of Jesus ranks above all others as Philippians 2:9-11 so clearly states. It is a name of honor and authority. It is the Name that we should love to speak, but not a name to be used as a fetish to invoke some kind of desired protection or power. The repeated saying, “In the name of Jesus,” can be nothing more than vain repetition when one is seeking to force their will upon some foe. The concept of “in my name” has to do with being IN UNION with Jesus, and therefore the then will of our Father. This is for this present age and whatever ages are to follow.
This phrase “all things in subjection under his feet,” reminds us of Psalm 110:1. “The Lord says to my Lord: " Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet." This verse in whole or part is possibly the most repeated verse in the Bible. The concept is that of a might conqueror receiving a defeated foe. Jonathan Mitchell’s NT translation words this part of Verse 22 this way. “and then placed and aligned all people in humbleness under his feet.” The question becomes one of, Do we believe it? If we do, why then are so many afraid of the devil and much more, or perhaps what we claim isn’t so. It is easy to sing, “In the name of Jesus we have the victory,” at a church meeting and then go home and tremble at the “attacks of the devil.” As my father used to say, “Either Jesus is Lord of all or he is not Lord at all.” Yes, he is indeed there in the midst our storms we face to bring us into his glorious victory. He reigns!
Verse 22b-23: “and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
The world of religion has its bishops, archbishops, and popes, but none are head of the church, none are the representatives of Jesus Christ on this earth any more than the new babe in Christ is. First Corinthians 11:3 reminds us that “the head of man is Christ ... and the head of Christ is God.” While God uses individuals for his purposes, individually or corporately, all submission is to Christ who is “head over all, not just some in his church, that is, his body, his congregation, which is a called out community of redeemed believers.
The Ecclesia which is the body of Christ is constantly being filled to completeness by our Father, and he is constantly filling to completeness “all things within all humanity,” (Mitchell) with Christ. Colossians 2:9-10a reminds us, “For in Him (Christ) all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete,”
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Verses 2:1-2a: “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world,”
The first three verses of this chapter would seem to take us in a direction away from where we have been in the developing of the revelation of the plans and purposes of our Father God. We and the Ephesians, are reminded of our spiritual history of being dead and of our “stumblings aside (offences; wrong steps) and failures to hit the mark (or: mistakes; errors; times of falling short; sins). (Jonathan Mitchell NT).
This is a bit like climbing a mountain trail and looking back to see where we have been, and in some cases the dangers that have been surmounted. As a child my father took us on a trip through a mountain range where the highway was mostly one lane. There were no rails, and one could look down and see the wreckage of cars below that had gone over the edge. Needless to say, we didn’t travel that way going home.
The Ephesians were bluntly reminded of their past. They were dead! “Sin pays a wage, and the wage is death.” (Romans 6:23 NEB) They had walked according to the ways of this age (kosmos) — the ordered system of that day. Roman 3:10 reminds us that, “There is none righteous, no, not one” and 3:23 reads, “for all have sinned ...,”
The human race was in Adam who had chosen to eat — that is he exercised what seemed to be his free will, and from there on was in bondage to sin — of the fruit that the LORD God had forbidden; “from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:17). No law existed as such until the command came, “You shall not eat.” John Gavazzoni has said, “God, by commanding them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, set in motion sin's overpowering of our primal parents, and that was, in fact, the WAY He subjected creation through Adam and Eve to futility/vanity/frustration.” Law is based upon commandments, We are reminded that, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” (1 Corinthians 15:57). Adam didn’t drop dead that day, but the process of death which we are all subject to had been put into motion.
Verses 2b: “according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.” NEB - “God’s rebel subjects.”
Who or what is the prince of the power of the air? Are we looking at some scary spirit, or could it be the demon between our two ears — our carnal reasoning? Could it be the high minded attitude of I’m in charge, I have my rights/self will. The usual interpretation is that this refers to Satan. Or, could this be more than one thing?
“Prince” comes from the Greek word, “archon” which means, a first (in rank or power): chief (ruler), magistrate, prince, ruler, is used here as well as in a number of other verses including Ephesians 6:12.
This ruler/archon has authority, but from where or whom? Jesus to Pilate in John 19:11, "You would have no authority over me, unless it had been given you from above”; The principle here is that authority (exousia: the right to exercise the power of rule or government) is given, as was also the case in Matthew 28:18. Jesus said, “All authority/exousia has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” We must conclude that this prince/archon is designed of God for his purpose in our lives. As much as it goes against all that we have been lead to believe and it is hard to understand, let alone to accept, God is deeply involved in what we call the good and the bad in everyone’s life as we will soon see.
The phrase, “we have been sons of disobedience” is important to consider. The Greek word for disobedience is, “apeitheia,” meaning, disbelief/unbelief, obstinate opposition and rebellion to God’s will. In other words self willed as was the case with Israel in Hebrews 4:6 & 11. See also Romans 11:30-32. “For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their (Israelites/Jews) disobedience (apeitheia), so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. For God has shut up all in disobedience (APEITHEIA) so that He may show mercy to ALL.”
It really is not that important as to the who or what this Prince of the power/authority of the air is other than as an agent that our Father is using in his purposes. Our Father has put all mankind in this mess of what we call “sin and the fall,” so that he can produce something glorious even as the potter in Jeremiah did with pot that was marred in his hands even as he worked with it. Paul concluded this Romans passage (11:33) with, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!”
Verse 3: “Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”
Since we have “walked according to the course of this age,” which we will simply call, “sin and death,” we have followed the way of life set by our ancestors who by their choice to aggrandize self, lived to please the flesh. The first “missing of the mark” (sin) began with an appeal to the flesh followed by an appeal to the ego - the seat of self. “Hey man, enjoy this fruit and it will smarten you up.” The result was that by Genesis Four, Adam’s first born son murdered his younger brother because his ego had been bruised.
The consequence has been that we collectively have been children whose natural impulse from birth on is bent toward wrath, that is, the sense of deserving the dreadful judgement of God because of the guilt within us, and the cry for release from it. We have not known that the judgements of God are remedial in nature, designed to prepare us for his glory. The picture in Revelation Twenty of the Lake of Fire is not that of some unending agony, but one of purification which fire will do. Our sins were dealt with by Jesus’ shed blood. It must be remembered is God is a “consuming fire” and he is Love and love never fails.
Verse 4-5a: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions,”
That phrase “rich in mercy” because of his love, reminds one of the Hebrew word for mercy, which is, “hesed.” It may be translated: loving-kindness; steadfast love; grace; mercy; faithfulness; goodness; devotion." Wow!
There are two scriptures that I would like to touch upon. In Titus 3:5, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds ... done in righteousness, but according to His mercy.” And in James 2:13 the discussion had been about the Law. If you blew it in one area you were considered guilty of all. Now notice the change, “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; MERCY triumphs over judgment.” (“mercy exults in triumph - Kenneth Wuest NT). Those who judge on a legalistic basis are not deserving of mercy, however, mercy is greater than judgement and therefore triumphs. Thank God!
The marvel of it all is that this lovingkindness is demonstrated to us, “Children of wrath, dead in our transgressions.” Regardless of how wicked one may be, “mercy - lovingkindness stands up and shouts, “The love of God in Jesus Christ triumphs! You have been set free!”
Verse 5b: “made us alive together with Christ ( by grace you have been saved),”
Suzoopoieo is the Greek word translated as “alive together.” It means to reanimate conjointly and to thus share in a common life. (See Colossians 2:13 for same the word). We are made to share his life! . We can truly say, “For me to live is Christ,” because Christ is our life. We are not spiritual worms hanging onto the end, which is the lie of religion and poor self worth, and of our failure to grasp the worthiness by which we have been graced.
Verse 6: “and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” The NEB puts it, “And in union with Christ Jesus he raised us up and enthroned us with him in the heavenly realms,”
The truth of how we were raised was demonstrated on me (literally) by a visiting preacher many years ago. I was asked to sit in the front pew, then he sat beside me, grabbed my arm and proceeded to stand up. Then still linked together, we sat down, and up and down until he had made his point. We have been raised together, we are not waiting for some mystical event to take place, but already have “gone to heaven” This is the realm we now dwell in. We have been raised/roused from the dead, for we died in Christ, and were made alive when he was made alive/resurrected, and then raised into the glory realm in Christ.
Since Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:33) and we are IN him, are we seated not there also? According to George Lamsa, among the Semitic peoples the right and is a symbol of blessing and right action, with the right hand symbolizing power. Also it must be remembered that sitting is a position of rest. Since our position is one of rest, why do so many struggle and work so much? The battle has been won and the war is over, we are free, as the curse of sin and the Law have been broken!
Verse 7: “so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Again we read of ages to come (1:21), the age then was still that of the Law. There is a progressiveness in the ways of our Father that we often miss in our rush to have things instantly. The Law was over and done. However, it was being phased (Hebrews 8:13) out until dealt the final clean up blow in 70 AD.
What happened in 70 AD is described by Jan Antonsson in her 2011 blog article, Does God Controls Governments? “ ... the age of the Law dealt a final blow by the Roman General Titus. He destroyed the temple and burned the remains, fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy that not one stone would be left on another. There was no temple where the people were to offer sacrifices, and the records showing the lineage of the priestly tribe of Levi were destroyed. The age of Judaism was over.”
The new age was now 100% in effect. Judaism was over and gone, yet sadly some want to hang onto what Jesus called, “Dead mens bones,” which makes mockery of Jesus death. Those who speak of Judeao-Christianity speak of an aberration, dare I say comparable to a freak of nature, far from what God intended.
Some wonder how many ages are there to come, and there is no definitive Biblical answer. The Kenneth Wuest NT words it this way, “in the ages that will pile themselves one upon another in continuous succession,” Daniel 7:18 reads, “'But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.” This is confirmed in Revelation 11:15. “The kingdom of the world (kosmos) has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." We the Body of Christ are “his Christ.”
Verses 8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
In his article Marvelous Grace, John Gavazzoni wrote, “By far, most Christians think of the grace of God as that which, if accessed in accordance with the dictates of the church or the scriptures, provides escape from hell and entrance into heaven. Coming generally from a Reformed tradition, with certain differences, grace is linked to faith and is granted to one on the basis of one's acceptance of Christ as Savior.”
The words from an old hymn proves what John Gavazzoni said: “Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, Freely bestowed on all who believe!” What this is saying is that unless you believe you don’t get grace. That is actually works and not grace.
If asked to define grace most would parrot the words, “Unmerited favor” but is that really grace? John Gavazzoni defines it this way, “the divine influence on the soul, initiated by God, without any qualification on our part; an influence which is intensified as needed in its particular applications, so as to, on its own, overcome all resistance to its benevolent intrusion into the heart, leading to and consummating in the fulfillment of God's purposes in our lives.” Many years ago I heard grace defined as, “Divine enablement” and I have found this active sense to be correct as grace is not wishy washy as some believe but the power of God in action toward us.
Faith is something that God imparts to us, like grace it is not based on any personal merit or based upon how many scripture we can recite. Charles S. Price (The Real Faith) defined faith as, “A divinely imparted grace of the heart.” Clearly what is a “gift of God” leaves no room for boasting, but rather humbleness of heart and mind.
Verse 10: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
We are his! Our very existence is dependant on upon him. “His workmanship,” comes from the Greek word “poiema.” Romans 1:20 uses this word for “things that are made.” Think of creation, the beauty, the size both down to minuscule dimensions that are almost unbelievable to the vastness of the universe, the color, the sounds and the music of creation, and the secrets hidden within our DNA. So much could be said, but the crowning “poiema” — some say this word is the basis of the word poetry and that we are God’s poem — of it all is each and all of us. We are created to be in his image, the dwelling place of God.
While some spend a good deal of effort trying to find themselves, as believers we are not in that position. For us it is a case of recognizing that we don’t have to find ourselves for we are not our own which 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us. The following 1960's chorus emphasizes this truth. The singing of the chorus below was followed by the recognition, “We’re not our own, We’re His, etc”
Your not your own,
Your mine, I’ve chosen you,
Bought with a price,
The blood of Jesus,
Your not your own your mine.
The Jonathan Mitchell NT describes all of this in Verse 10 this way. “for you see, we are (we continually exist being) the result of His work (or: His creation; the thing He has constructed; what He did; His achievement; His opus; the effect of His Deed): folks being reduced from a state of disorder and wildness (people being built, framed, founded, created), within and in union with Christ Jesus, upon good works (virtuous actions; excellent deeds) which God made (or: makes) ready (prepared; or: prepares) beforehand, to the end that we may walk about (= live our lives) within and in union with them.”
The result of being who we are IN Christ means that the life of Christ should flow out from the members of the Body of Christ in many ways to the glory of God our Father.
Verse 11: “Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called " Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcision," which is performed in the flesh by human hands —“
Notice the words, “so-called.” (That which is called/habitually termed). Paul is pointing out a sense of superiority held by some Jews who had become Christians, who seemed to feel that they were of a higher class. It reminds me of the brother I met in Los Angeles who had been born Jewish. Now that he was saved, he called himself “a completed Jew.” Like many, he had mistaken his culture and religion for being part of the real thing.
The word “ethnos” (gentiles) should be translated as nations or ethnic groups, and not gentiles. The word gentile comes from the translation of the Latin word gentes which was used to translate the Hebrew word goyim. In Romans 2:25-29 circumcision is considered to be uncircumcision if one breaks the Law. The uncircumcised person who obeys the Law is considered circumcised. Being a Jew is not an outward thing, and true circumcision is not fleshly but of the heart, not by human hands. To mistake anything other than being IN Christ as having merit, is erroneousness. Abraham had only one “seed” line (singular) and it led to the birth of Jesus the Christ. Galatians 3:29 is clear. If we are in Christ then we are descendants (seed) of Abraham. (Isaiah 53:10).
Verse 12: “remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
God had a commitment with Abraham for not just a “seed” line (singular), but for a large family, land, etc. A careful study will reveal that God kept all of his promises, even though the descendants of Abraham failed miserably to the eventual point of killing off the SEED of Abraham. Those not born or added to the Israelite family along the way are Non-Israelites and therefore not included in the blessings of the covenants, and it must be added, the curses for breaking the covenant.
Verse 13: “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
While we rightly look at the blood of Jesus dealing with sin, it must be emphasized that it is by the blood that we are included in the New ALL-INCLUSIVE Covenant. Jonathan Mitchell translated it this way, “came to be (were birthed; are generated; are suddenly become) near, immersed within and in union with the blood of the Christ (the Anointed One).” Hebrews Eight and Nine have much to say on this matter. Our Father has made us “servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6). Amen!
Verse 14: “For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
Many have stressed that Jesus is our peace, our rest, our tranquility and indeed it is so> However, it must be said the Jesus Christ is our peacemaker. As Peacemaker by his death he rendered useless and nullified, abrogated and dissolved the Old Covenant of Law. That wall of division was destroyed! Christians who think they are under the Law given to Moses have failed to learn that there is a higher Law that is not based on deeds, but love. It is the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus! His Life overpowers death and knocks flat anything in it’s way. IN Christ there are no Jews (Israelites) and Non-Israelites/Jews for all are ONE. We are at peace in him our peace/peacemaker who has reconciled us fully and irrevocably to himself.
Verses 17-19d: “and he came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, ”
“It is finished!”
These last words of Jesus on the cross mean that the entire past be it sins or the Law is over and gone, and that the New Covenant in/by his blood was established. There was only one way to our Father for all, no separations based on culture, religion, or otherwise for all have freedom of access within one Spirit to, not just mine, but our Father for we are all family with no favorites. Now no one is excluded from “the commonwealth of Israel” and all have full citizenship for being IN Christ and ALL are the Israel of God.
Verses 19e-20: “and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,
There is a sense of belonging in this household for it is based upon family as there are no outsiders. It was established, set in place, by the apostolic and prophetic ministries which functioned in union with Christ the Cornerstone. The first example of these ministries functioning was Peter on the Day of Pentecost. The cornerstone was the point of reference to which everything else had to be correctly related. Failure to be correctly related to Christ by putting anything or anyone else as equal to him, or required in addition to him (legalism), puts us off course. I am reminded of these words of Blaise Pascal.
“Jesus Christ is the center of everything, and the object of everything; and he who does not know him, knows nothing of the order of the world, and nothing of himself.”
Verse 21-22: “in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”
Within this family there is activity for we are “God’s building” and the work of constructing us, joining us, together is indeed a process. It would be great to say that instantly we arrived at full maturity with all the fruit (singular) of the Spirit active in our lives, however it isn’t so. Some wonder if they will ever make it, so take heart, for the process takes time.
Having lived in Canada’s Okanagan Valley where fruit orchards were in abundance, I recall the amount of time it took to get ripe fruit. In the spring the leaves first came back on the apple trees and next the flowers would bloom, and how beautiful the tree looked.. But, soon the petals fell off. The beauty was gone. It was like a new believer who blossomed and then the luster, the joy, of being saved had worn off. So, what was left was a bit of dried up flower stem that very slowly began to form the shape of a hard green ball. It got larger and larger, and soon you knew it had to be a baby apple. The sun shone upon it, the rain pelted down on it, and it time its color began to change as it was ripening. If you picked it too soon, it would be hard and taste bitter. In the fullness of time it became ripe. Oh! it tasted so good! Now what was it all of those months on the tree? It was an apple, but not fully developed. This is how it is in our lives, the beauty of Christ displayed as the “fruit of the Spirit,” will surely be seen in us as we submit to all of the time and processing that our Father has for us. I am reminded of this old chorus that I learned as a child.
Let the beauty of Jesus of Jesus be seen in me,
All his wondrous compassion and purity,
Oh thou Spirit Divine, all my nature refine,
Till the beauty of Jesus is seen in me.
We are being built, transformed, and changed into a holy temple, the very dwelling place of the Most High where our Father is at home us, the corporate expression of Christ in this earth.
To Be Continued...
|Chapter 1||Chapter 2||Chapter 3||Chapter 4||Chapter 5||Chapter 6|
Verse 1: “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles (ethnos)”
Paul declares himself to be a prisoner, a bound one. Notice that he is a prisoner of the Highest Authority. Not of Rome, or even one surrendered to Rome by the Jews who hated him, but as the Moffatt translation put it, “one whom Jesus Christ has made.” Like Job of old who recognized, not Satan, but God in his trials, Paul recognized Christ. This is a lesson for all of us to take to heart. IF we are not our own and truly belong to him, then regardless of the apparent/seeming cause of a problem we may have, it is only permitted as God wills.
Why should Paul have been cut off from what was a fruitful ministry? His reason seems a bit odd, “for the sake of you Gentiles-ethnos,” when we know that he was busy preaching among the Gentiles, with churches being established. However, his imprisonment was for more than the folks in the then Roman Empire. It was to reach forward into the centuries for you and me as well as for the folks back then. To him it seemed that all he could do was to write a few letters of encouragement to the folks he knew or hoped to know if he got out of prison.
Verse 2: “if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace which was given to me for you;”
Paul realizes that part of his duties while a prisoner is to continue his God given responsibility of sharing the grace of God. Remember his greetings of “grace to you and peace.” This he is now doing by writing to those who are unable to visit him. The father-heart care that he has for the “called out ones” (churches) is not diminished, and is probably increased as he now has more time to contemplate about their needs and the revelation he has to share with them, and ultimately through the ages to us.
Verses 3-5: “that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, (“The mystery which is Christ” - Vincent) which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;“
Paul, as a good Pharisee, was steeped in the religion of the Jews, believing that they, and they alone, were God’s chosen people and that all others are inferior. Without a doubt ancient Israel was the womb for the seed line (singular) of Abraham which is Jesus Christ. However, as so often is the case with most al of us, it took a special revelation to open up his understanding to the unveiling of the mystery of the all-inclusiveness of the whole of the human race in our Father’s plans and family.
The word Mystery, from the Greek “musterion, as already mention when we looked into Chapter One, verses 9-10, was unlike the pagan religions meaning. It was an indicator of a New Covenant truth that was to be made known to all, not just a special inner circle such as the disciples whom Jesus told that they were given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God. With the New Covenant established we can relate the word mystery to some new unfolding revelation. It is found twenty-one times in Pauls writings with six of them being in Ephesians.
In Verse 6 Paul continues to explain: “to be specific, that the gentiles-ethnos are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,” God’s chosen people are all people, no special race or previous covenant relationship was required for IN Christ all have become one.
In his book, “The Unshakable Kingdom and Unchanging Person,” E. Stanley Jones wrote, “In it [i.e., the Kingdom] there is no room for Greek and Jew [racial distinctions], circumcised and uncircumcised [religious ritual distinctions], barbarian and Scythian [cultural distinctions], slave or free man [social or economic distinctions]” (Col 3:11 Moffatt). In another list he added: “male and female” [sex distinction] (Gal 3:28 Moffatt). Here is the simplest of solutions: There is room.”
Paul spells out the mystery in detail in Colossians 1:26-27. “the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” The truth is that Christ is the positive expectation of the glorification of all mankind. Whatever form of pre-creation form we may have had, there is a longing for Father and home. An old chorus expressed this thought well. “Back to my Father and home, Back to my Father and home, I will arise and go, Back to my Father and home.”
Verses 7-8: “of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,”
At the beginning of this book Paul introduced himself as an apostle. Now we find out his view as to what an apostle is. All folks infatuated with this title, presumed to be “Big Wheels” or some would say “God’s Generals,” need to understand that an apostle is, not just simply a sent one, but a diakonos. A diakonos is a servant, a table waiter or may function as a deacon who is simply a servant to/in a gathering of the “called out ones.” One might suggest that that is a bit humbling. Furthermore Paul is only capable of doing this because of the grace-divine enablement, the energizing power of God. This enabled him to preach the revelation of Christ. In his parting address to the Ephesian elders he could declare to them, "For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.” (Acts 20:27).
Verse 9: “and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things;”
This proclamation of Paul illuminates (from Greek photizo) for all who will to see, the unveiling of the truth, which in particular had been given to him. This gospel-glorious news had been reserved, until the fullness of time, just as Jesus had been born in the fullness of time. Now this long kept hidden, secret plan, that had been concealed from the wise and the prudent by our Father was entrusted to Paul for all to know. The middle wall of partition had been busted down and all are called to be a holy nation.
Verse 10: “so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.”
Like a cut diamond, there are many facets to the wisdom of God with each facet revealing something new and precious to us. This revealed wisdom of God is to now be made known by the ekklesia-the called out ones to the rulers with authority as decreed in heavenly realms. Whomever these rulers are, they are now informed that it is a new day. The old order with its limitations is over and gone for all time. As the words to an old chorus says:
This is God’s new day, This is God’s new day.
The day of his Lordship, This day of his triump,
This is God’s new day!
Verse 11: “This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,”
According to the plan, the purposes of God for the ages were to be, and were, carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord. As scriptures make clear, not only were all included in our earthly father Adam’s sin, but ALL were and are included IN Christ. We, that is ALL of humanity past, present and yet to be born having been included in his death, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of our Father where we sit IN Christ. We readers are but a part of the vast multitude in the family of God. We are called into a relationship that to use common vernacular is “mind blowing.”
Yet again I would like to share with you a chorus from the past that has been precious to me. As a 75-year-old I do have a wee bit of a past and I reserve the right to bring forth some precious gems (to me anyway), so please bear with me. This chorus is based on John 17:3 where it is clearly stated that ‘eternal life’ has to do with a quality of life and relationship, and not some endless pie in the sky hope as per Evangelical doctrines.
This is the purpose of life eternal,
That we might know the Lord,
This is the purpose of life eternal,
That we might know the Lord,
In his presence, Filled with his glory,
Ever hearing the living word,
This is the purpose of life eternal,
That we might know the Lord!
Verse 12: “in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him. Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.”
We may have access without fear and doubting, or works, of any kind to our Father. Because of our position IN Christ giving us the full rights of heavenly citizenship, it is with confidence we “now draw nigh and Father Abba Father cry,” as an old hymn says.
Paul continues with the thought of, “Folks, I may have some problems but don’t get depressed over them. This time of tribulation (thlipsis meaning pressure) is designed to work out really great for your benefit, so please let me explain the end result to you.”
In Romans 5:3-4 Paul wrote, “we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope;” It is hard for us to imagine that Paul could say that he was happy and rejoicing with all of the pressure (thlipsis) that he had applies to him, yet he and others were able to rise above the temporary affliction because they could see the big picture.
Have you ever thought of yourself as a treasure? Sometimes we hear that so and so are “such a treasure.” Well, what is more important is the fact that we within our humanness are treasure containers. We are told in 2 Corinthians 4:7-9
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves;”
But wait, there is a cost. Verses 8 and 9 continue,
“we are afflicted (thlibo - the root of thlipsis) in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” Notice that no matter what happened, be it beatings, shipwrecks, betrayal, riots, or hunger, that the end result was victorious. “For momentary, light affliction (thlipsis) is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,” Verse: 17.
Verses 14-15: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,”
We recall that Paul spoke of been given a “thorn in the flesh” because of “the surpassing greatness of the revelations,” he had received which worked as a constant reminder that it was all of God and that he was simply a vessel. With humbleness of heart he bows in adoration and worship before our Father.
Kampto is the Greek word for “bow” and it is used three times in the New Testament. I think its usage is import so I’m going to quote what I said in my 2004 article, “Death for All, Reconciliation for All.”
“The Greek word for BOW used, in Philippians 2:10 is KAMPTO. Perhaps the best way to give its meaning is to quote part of Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14, “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father.” Paul bowed in prayer and worship. In Romans 11:4 Paul quotes 1 Kings 19:18, “Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him." It must be said that this was a willing, and not forced, act of idol worship.
“Kampto is also used in Romans 14:11, “For it is written, “As I live says the LORD, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.” This is a quotation of Isaiah 45:23. “I have sworn by myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to me every knee will BOW, every tongue will SWEAR allegiance.“ It is enlightening to know that the Hebrew word for SWEAR is SHABA. The idea is to “seven oneself. The root Hebrew word for “seven” and “swear” are the same. Seven is always considered a perfect number. So the “oath” is one of perfection.” End of quotation.
As he bows in worship, Paul recognizes that the master source, the generator of all is God. Jonathan Mitchell’s NT words part of verse Fifteen this way. “forth from Where (or: out of the midst of Whom) every family (lineage; kindred; descent; paternal group) within heaven and upon earth (or: in [the] sky or atmosphere, and on [the] land) is one after another being named (or: spoken of, or to, by name; or: designated),” Truly we are out from him our Source, through or by means of him, and our destination our goal is to him. All glory is his!
Verses 16-19: “that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
The prayer is that the richness of the glory that is resident in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19) be the source of the empowering of our inner spirit man by the Spirit. Christ does dwell in our hearts by faith, but it is not something that we worked up, confessed or claimed, but rather a divinely imparted grace of the heart causing us to be securely established like a firm foundation is because of the love of God dwelling within.
This inner spirit empowering is the source that enables us as members of the Corporate Christ to at least grasp to some extent the vastness of the love of Christ which goes beyond our human abilities to explain. Perhaps a personal note from my wife Dale’s brief death experience in 1974 is in order here.
“I was in the presence of our Lord. It was unbelievable! I cannot describe what it was like, it was so incredible. Such peace, such joy, it was so .... But His love, WOW! His love surrounds us like the sea and that does not even come close to describing His love for everyone of us. God's love, I can only describe in such an inadequate way. I love my husband with all of my living being, he is my best friend, my lover, my everything that my tangible body and mind can feel. .... Yet, my love for Kenneth can only be described as inexplicable hatred in comparison to the love God has for us. “His love goes through and around, and surrounds, and encircles, and engulfs every atom of our being. It is pure, unselfish and unadulterating love that encompasses us. This description is totally unjust and inadequate in attempting to describe the love of God.” End of quotation.
All of this is so that we might be, to quote Verse 19 from the NEB, “So you may attend to fullness of being, the fullness of God himself.” Yes, and in Christ dwells all the fullness of deity and we are complete, not by ourselves in any way, but IN him!
The last two verses of this chapter are at times used as a doxology. Now the word may seem religious and indeed it can be, however the concept is that of pronouncing a blessing upon a gathering of saints. “Doxology” comes from the medieval Latin doxologia, which is from the Greek doxa opinion, glory (from dokein to seem, seem good) + logia - logy. (Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary).
Verses 20-21: “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
There is going to be a change of thought in this letter to the Ephesians with more of an emphasis on day to day living and functions. So it seems that the writer felt the need to encourage the saints with the reminder that there is One dwelling in us, who is able to bless, enable, energize, and much more in an over-superabundant way, not just a few “showers of blessing” but in rivers of glory. Therefore, to HIM be glory, honor, esteem, worth, and “the manifestation which calls forth praise” (Jonathan Mitchell NT), in the ekklesia-the called out ones by the indwelling Christ Jesus from generation to generation throughout all the ages. Unto him be glory in the church! Hallelujah!
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Verses 1-2: “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love,” (NASU).
Paul had much that he could boast about in his personal history (Philippians 3:5-6), yet he continues to remind the Ephesians that as “the prisoner of the Lord,” he really is not special of himself. He however, as their spiritual father does speak with God given authority. Now he is saying, “You’ve heard something of the plans and purposes of God, and your place in Christ, now you folks need to get your act in order or you will bring disgrace on your Lord.” Paul also had this same concern for the church/ekklesia at Colessae.
It must be said that there is a difference between being worthy, and a worthy Christ honoring walk. All of humanity, including the worst possible person you can name, has been made worthy IN Christ, even though we may personally think some of them should be rejected and the kindest thing we might permit is annihilation. We however, do not judge in righteousness as our Father does or where would some of us be.
We have a high calling which is heavenly in nature, goal and source. Nothing is based on personal merit but because of this calling/vocation we are Christ’s ambassadors and our personal walk, that is, how we live our life matters, because the only sermon that many will see or read is you and I. There are twelve verses to the old poem “Sermons We See” by Edgar Guest. The first two verses read:
I'd rather see a sermon
than hear one any day;
I'd rather one should walk with me
than merely tell the way.
The eye's a better pupil
and more willing than the ear,
Fine counsel is confusing,
but example's always clear;
When we read the list of how we should live with humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance for one another in love, we are reminded that there is really only one way to achieve these qualities. It is the same way they are achieved in Galatians 5:22-23.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;”
These virtues don’t come by human effort! In face we must give up trying to bear fruit will not be present in our lives based upon our self-effort. These virtues are however the FRUIT (singular) of the Spirit, manifested in variegated forms. It is the manifestation of the indwelling Christ living his life in us.
Verse 3: “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Be rightly connected to the Spirit in a peaceful union of rest, free from self effort, and by this union the oneness of spirit, ours with the Holy Spirit, is maintained both in the personal and corporate sense. The Greek word for unity comes from the word “heis” the primary numeral one a unity in and of itself. The Spirit then teaches us seven aspects of oneness, of unity in the next verses.
Verses 4-6: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”
Perhaps the one thing that gets your attention is how often the word “one” is used in these two verses. It all could have been said using the word “one” just once, with all else following, however, the Spirit clearly wants to bring the importance of the seven “ones” to our attention as both the number seven and one have significance.
ONE is a symbol of unity and denotes primacy, is indivisible into other whole numbers and it isn’t made of other numbers. The word One is from the Greek heis (5 five times) which is considered a primary numeral and twice from mia a feminine version of heis.
SEVEN: This number has been called the symbol of spiritual and natural perfection, and also the symbol of rest. Concerning “seven,” E.W. Bullinger says, “As a symbolic number, its signification is indicated by the meaning of the Hebrew word meaning, to be or become satisfied, satiated, or filled the primary idea being that of abundance.” He then goes on to mention things in nature like the seven notes of music, the seven colors, etc., as well numerous Biblical examples.
The concept of ONE BODY speaks of the unified IN Christ many members of His Body from all nations/ethnos/peoples. IN Christ all become one with no divisions. Those who would divide for any reason must respond to Paul’s question in 1 Corinthians, “Has been Christ divided?”
Jesus said that God is Spirit. Not A spirit for that would infer that there is a multiplicity of possibly equal spirits. In fact we do of course read of many spirits and each of us is a spirit being, so how can there be just ONE SPIRIT when we know there are many? We have to look at the word and concept of fatherhood. We know that the power and deity of God were manifest in creation as he spoke into being. God did not create out of nothing, as nothing generates nothing, so therefore he had to create out of Himself. All spirits of every kind go back to their original source — Father God as our generator/begetter. As Hebrew 12:9 tells us,
“Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?”
Long before Hebrews was written Moses had some understanding of fatherhood as Numbers 16:22 and 27:16 records.
“But they fell on their faces and said, "O God, God of the spirits of all flesh,” " May the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation,”
It must be said that one cannot be a parent without having one or more children. In our natural order of life, one cannot be a father of children without a mother to bear them. While Scripture emphasizes the fathering aspect of God, there is within the heart of God also a mothering aspect. Truly our heavenly Father is our progenitor, our originator, the child birthing Spirit, from Whom we have come into being!
When discussing this matter of ONE SPIRIT with John Gavazzoni, he replied,
“God is not A Spirit, He is Spirit, and as Spirit, He gives birth to spirit(s) .... That which is born of the Spirit is spirit, so that begins to clarify for us how there can be only One Spirit, yet more than one, for the many were birthed out from the One, so the many are still constituted by the One Spirit. ... This relates to us having our being in Him, according to Paul. He's not the Big Being, who all us little beings worship, He, as Tillich said, is the Ground of all Being. Or as per Barth, He is our Primal Origin, and we carry that Origin with us in our being forever. Then from that birthing, and birthed being, God took spirit substance, and formed from "IT" our eonian creaturehood. That's why all creation is waiting for the children of God to be revealed, because creation is ontologically connected to our very spirit/being-substance. As go the children of God, so goes creation.” End of quotation.
As we give consideration to the words, ONE HOPE our desire is to get a glimpse of what the Spirit means, and we are reminded of Paul’s words; “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,” (Titus 2:13). Also in, Titus 1:2 we read, “in the hope of eternal life,”
Jonathan Mitchell’s NTT puts it this way,
“being folks continuously receiving with welcoming focus, and granting access and admittance to, the happy expectation – even the full manifestation (the complete display in clear light) of the glory of our great God and Deliverer (or: Savior): Jesus Christ,”
Many of us have been taught that the “blessed hope” is a rapture which we were led to believe could happen at any moment. Dear aged saints have declared they would be alive when Jesus came, only to find that he came for them alone. So, was this early church doctrine? If Paul was expecting an any minute rapture, why would he have said in 2 Timothy 4:6-7, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.” It seems likely that his death sentence had been passed and he was now ready, not to be rapture from it, but to die a martyr.
It seems that Peter wasn’t looking to get raptured either. Consider, 2 Peter 1:14-15,
“knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.” (KJV).
While Paul spoke of various aspects of hope, there is one that stands out above all others, in fact it was the basis of his defence for his various trials.
Acts 23:6: "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!"
Acts 24:15-16: "15 having a hope in God, ... that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.”
Acts 26:6, 8: "And now I am standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers; ... "Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?”
Paul’s view of the resurrection is critical to our understanding of truth. In the first few verses of First Corinthians Fifteen he lists what he had received. Christ died for our sins, he was buried, and he was raised from the dead — all according to the Scriptures. He then lists the witnesses to his resurrection. These witnesses are imperative to the proof of the resurrection record as there were more than 500 of them."
He then goes on to argue in verses 13-14,
“But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.”
The basis of our faith hangs on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It also gives us the expectation of our personal physical resurrection from whatever specks of DNA may be left of us. However, or whenever is not part of this discussion. If humans can grow body parts, and may even some day grow a whole body from DNA, there is no limitation to the power of our Creator who made our bodies from the dust of the earth to recreate and fill with life.
Many a time while conducting a funeral service, I have said, “We are a people of hope.” We expect to be reunited with our loved ones because of the hope of the resurrection. For now our loved one is, “Absent from the body, present with our Lord.” They have become a part of that “cloud of many witnesses,” and we “exult in the hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2).
Our ultimate “adoption as sons” is something that some of us folks with older bodies are patiently/impatiently desiring as described in Romans 8:23, “waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” Whether by glorification now or a glorious resurrection in due time we are ready for this aspect of redemption, which is the setting free, the liberation from the curse, until we are like HIM!
The ONE HOPE glorious hope is transformation into his glorious image for we will be changed into his glorious image and likeness. As the words of the old hymn say, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness,”
In the Roman Empire, various kings and local rulers were permitted for administrative purposes, however, all owed their position and authority to Caesar. There could be only ONE LORD in Caesar’s empire In fact many emperors considered themselves to be a god and worthy of worship, which was then demanded.
A true believer in Jesus Christ could not bow his knee and say that Caesar was Lord, for that was a denial of Christ. The question was, Iesous Christos Kurios, or Kaisar/Caesar Kurios. Those who refused to bow to Caesar usually forfeited their lives.
The word “Lord” speaks of one having the power, authority and right of ownership over a people or territory. In Matthew 28:18 we read,
“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
This authority (exousia) is described by the Jonathan Mitchell NT as, “Every right and privilege from out of Being.”
This “right and privilege from out of Being” is made clear to us in Acts 2:36, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ — this Jesus whom you crucified." He who divested himself of his deity to become our Savior was now exalted to the right hand of our Father and made both Lord and Christ. The importance of this is that, not to Caesar will the knee bow, but that, “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” We have ONE LORD — His name is Jesus Christ.
In today’s world there are many religions, often called “faiths,” with multiple variants of most of them. We are led to believe that it really doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you believe, and even atheism the religion of not-believing in a god is OK. In NT times the choice was between the various pagan religions, Judaism, or Christ.
Paul’s primary struggle was with the Judaisers who wanted to mix the light of the Gospel of Christ with the stale manna of the Law. He called it “Jewish fables.” Much of Evangelical Christianity has been more influence by Law than Grace as we have been condition to believe that some kind of effort is required on our part to be holy or even to be saved. Another area of “Jewish fables” is the dispensational hypothesises that are so popular with the supposed reestablishment, not only of the Jewish nation (Many view the current secular Israel as such), but the rebuilding of the temple and reestablishment of sacrificial worship. This is contrary to Hebrews 10:9-10 “He takes away the first in order to establish the second. By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
The Ephesians are being assured that there is only ONE FAITH that is only ONE place of “loyalty, confidence, assurance and trust” (Jonathan Mitchell NT), which is IN the ONE who has been resurrected from the dead. We read, “The one whom God raised from the dead, ... And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus.” (Acts 3:15-16). This ONE FAITH rests in the claim that Judaism, etc. cannot make, that, “there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12).
There are various understandings of baptism — the how, the when, the word formula; the significance, is it ceremonial, covenantal, sacramental, symbolic, or whether it is even required today. Historical the Jews baptised proselytes, as did some pagan religions and John the Baptist living under the Old Covenant did it for the remission of sins. There also were forms of baptism/washings in temple worship, and the early ekklesia/called out ones, baptised in obedience to our Lord’s command in “the great commission,” as well as the baptism of/in the Holy Spirit, and the baptism of fire. Our point of consideration is none of these as we consider the matter of ONE BAPTISM.
Please recall that I earlier wrote, “ONE is a symbol of unity and denotes primacy.” What aspect of baptism promotes unity? I’m not convinced that it is the act of getting wet, be it by a few drops of water or total immersion, nor by the word formula used however important it may seem to be, as most of these have been or are divisive. It must, I believe be something more than that.
We read in Galatians 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized INTO Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” This “into” means to have been placed IN Christ. The NEB says, “baptized into union.” In other words’ baptism is union, no longer separate, but united into one.
Now Paul gives us some details in Romans 6:3-5. “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized INTO Christ Jesus have been baptized INTO His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism INTO death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become UNITED (planted together) with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection,”
Contrary to what many of the worlds religions believe, there is only “ONE GOD and FATHER of all” and as Paul told the men in Athens (See Acts 17:22-31) “in him we live and move and exist.” In him there is the unity of ONE for as Moses said, “The Lord our God is one.” Now we religious humans tend to get all tangled up trying to put God into number boxes such as, One-ness, Two-ness (Yes, some hold this view), Three-ness (trinity) and some Four-ness (Father, Mother, Son, Daughter), and miss the point that our God reveals himself, in many forms and ways and the various OT names of God cast light on his nature, and ways.
It is of interest that the description of God as Father is used here. We are caused to see something of the Fatherhood of God aside from his being the Source of all. Many wounded individuals have a problem with their father who may have abandoned them or been cruel and loveless toward them. Some women hate all men because of this kind of painful childhood. A true and loving father will discipline his child when required, but not without an ending, unlike the pagan doctrine of endless punishment.
It must also be pointed out that many of the pagan religions then required human sacrifice. We know that babies were offered (burned alive) to Moloch in the Valley of Hinnom, known as Gehenna. Our Father God is not like this, yet millions believe he is for they expect multitudes to burn without ending.
Truly our One God and Father are a God of love, who is rightly relating all to himself. I’m reminded of a line from a song, “tenderly he watches over you, every step and every mile of the way.”
It must be stated that regardless of what some teach, God has never surrendered his sovereignty. In what we may regard to be the darkest hour in history, he has alway been there, controlling and working out his purposes his way. He is indeed “over all and through all and in all.” Laudate Dominum!
Verse 7: “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.”
We now learn about divine enablement/grace being imparted to the degree required for each one of us, with no gender implied, for the enabling of Christ’s gifting to us to function for his glory. Grace, as always, is bestowed without regard to personal merit or ability. This gifting was because of the descending and ascending of our Lord.
Verse 8: “Therefore it says, "When He ascended on high, he led captive a host of captives, and He gave gifts to men.”“
It is clear that this verse is a quotation of Psalm 68:18 with one change. In the Psalm the “gifts” were received, whereas in Ephesians they are given. One is from a natural setting the other spiritual.
Verses 9-10: “(Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.)”
There are several things we could look into here such as: Where is this “lower parts of the earth? Who were these captives? Why did Christ take a side-trip down for them when he could have gone strait up? While Christ was ascending, why were they still captives? Was this ascension, before the one recorded in Acts, or at the time of his personal resurrection, or could there have been in two stages?
The term “lower part of the earth” is figurative language and is used to describe the “nether world” called Sheol in the O.T. and Hades in the NT. The captives that Jesus took with him on his ascent were those who until then had been under the authority of death. In Hebrews 2:14-15 we learn that Satan had a degree of authority over death and that by his death Jesus destroyed, and rendered it null and void. Folks in bondage to the fear of dying need no longer be afraid Jesus has conquered death. A comforting verse is Revelation 1:18. “I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” To have keys means that one has authority to open and close. If I’ve given you the keys to my house it means that I have given you the authority to enter my house.
Jonathan Mitchell in his commentary on Revelation 1:18 wrote: “But what does it mean that He "constantly holds the keys of Death and the Unseen (Hades)"? Simply put, He controls the access into and out of Death. "And the Lord Yahweh has the outgoings of death (or: And to Yahweh, my Lord, belong the exits from death; CVOT)" (Ps. 68:20). In Isa. 22:20-22 we see "the One Whom God has set up" (normally transliterated, "Eliakim"), "the Son of Yah's portion" (normally trans., "Hilkiah"), clothed, strengthened, and the government committed into His hand, "and the key of the house of David will I lay upon His shoulder; so he shall open and none shall shut; and he shall shut and none shall open." See also Rev. 3:7. In Matt 16:18-19 we see the church given the Keys of the Kingdom (sovereign reign) with the ability to bind and to loose – and the gates (which need keys) of the Unseen (Hades) unable to prevail against her.” End of quotation.
There are two passages of interest to consider as both tell us that folks who didn’t know the Lord in whatever way was available prior to his death and resurrection had the gospel preached to them while in Sheol — remember the trip down instead of straight up. These scriptures tend to rule out the common belief that once you have died all hope is gone and that the love of God reigns supreme. Does not scripture tell us that every knee will bow in worship? Is anything too hard for God as to how he will bring the salvation of all to pass? As has been said, “Let God be true and every man a liar.”
1 Peter 3:18d-20a “having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah,” Then we have the later passage Peter wrote where there appears to have been no limit, other than being dead to be preached to in 1 Peter 4:6. “For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.”
In the ascension spoken of in verses 9 and 10 Jesus brings “captives” with him. Since they had been set free from death and taken out of Sheol, they were no longer captives. However, like a slave legally set free could do, they appear to have chosen to again be captives, but as his — love slaves, or bond slaves.
The record of Jesus personal physical ascension from terra firma is recorded in Acts 1:9, however, the ascension of Verses 8 and 9 was most likely earlier. This ascension in Ephesians describes it as being from "the lower parts" and seems to indicate something that was spiritual. Let us consider the John 20:17 instance where Mary sees the risen Jesus at the tomb, rushed and grabbing onto him, got this reaction. “Jesus said to her, "Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father;”
Later on we have the post resurrection situation where Thomas, who questioned the resurrection, was challenged to do what he said he needed to do, touch Jesus to believe. We read about this in John 20:26-27. “After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, " Peace be with you." Then He said to Thomas, " Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side;” This “put it” into my side is literally to thrust, to push or to force.
One wonders why Mary couldn’t touch but Thomas was told to touch. What happened in the week after the day of his resurrection? Why the change, other than ascension to the Father with the captives, or like his decent to Sheol, which began with his decent to live on earth with us, and then down to Sheol, could it have been in two stages, this is something we will never fully understand.
John Gavazzoni has said, “There seems to be one ascension, but in two phases, and as far as that goes, one descent in two phases. He came into the world, descending out from heaven, out of eternity, into time, out of the bosom of the Father into earthen embodiment, the Word made flesh, stayed at that level — on the earth for 33 years, at which time through death, he continued his descent into hades, which involved the full bearing of mankind's soul-death, for He at that point, had left His body in the tomb.
“There, having left His body in the tomb, yet retaining His soulical humanity with its Spirit-constitution, having summarily gathered together the soul-death of all mankind, He preached to the spirits in prison (they were, like Him at that point, soulical spirits,). Their state was one of death, that is of estrangement, and alienation from the life of God, but existent, for death is not non-existence.
As the pre-existent Son, the Christ, speaking through the prophet David, He said, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hades...." a prophecy referenced by Peter in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost. He ascended out of hades, picked up, so to speak His body in resurrection, and spent 40 days among His disciples in full resurrection humanity, but still short of that full ascension back into the glory which He had with the Father before the world began, whereby His full resurrected bodily humanity would be fully glorified, that is, in Him, all eonion separateness between Deity and humanity, would be completely dissolved to the fullest measure of partaking of the Divine Nature.” End of quotation.
In Acts 1:9 we read that he was received into a Cloud. The Greek word for received is, hupolambanoo; which means to take up in order to raise, to bear on high, to take up and carry away. We know the clouds we can see are not capable of doing that, so it would have been what Hebrews 12:1 calls “a cloud of witnesses surrounding us,” Clearly those who had gone on ahead would be in this “cloud.”
We know that Jesus ascended far above the heavens/atmosphere that we know, for it was into the heavenly realm of our Father so that he could, as the Jonathan Mitchell NT words it, “to the end that He would at once fill the Whole (permeate and saturate everything; or: make all things full; bring all things to full measure and completion).“ (See Ephesians 1:23).
Verse 11: “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,” (Note: “as” not in the Greek text).
Here in Ephesians we read that our Lord “gave,” yet in 1 Corinthians 12:28 he “appointed“ apostles, prophets, teachers and several other ministries. Is there a significant difference in the “how” that matters or in the variation of the two lists that make a significant difference?
Previously I’ve referred to apostles in a manner that stressed them as ordinary folks who were send of God to whomever and wherever he desired. There has been so much elevating of persons functioning in any of what people called “the fivefold ministries” that we need to realize that however one may function does not make that person anything special such as Apostle Greatorex or, Prophet Greatorex, etc. I’ve had most of these “titles” tossed my way, but, it was still just plain me and no one special.
At the beginning of this series I wrote, “Lest we get caught up with religious words like apostle, we need to know that it simply means, “a sent one” who represents Jesus Christ by our Father’s, not man’s intention. Contrary to some opinions, a person who may function in an apostolic manner, makes that one no more important in the body of Christ, than the lowest just saved person. Apostles are not God’s generals! Rather it is the ministry of Christ in the vessel, not the vessel that counts. Those who speak of the “Office of a Prophet, etc.” have elevated the ministry of Christ in us to something that was not intended. We are but vessels of clay (Some of us may seem to be cracked pots), designed to express his glory.”
Having made the above remarks does not diminish the importance to the Body of Christ of these various ministry gifts of Christ, as they wouldn’t have been given without a purpose. I do have a concern about those who seem to feel that they can be “lone rangers” and, “need no man to teach them.” Truthfully many have been hurt by the teachings of men and that is the problem — the carnal religious teachings that can be imposed with godlike authority. We clearly need to receive the affirmation of the Holy Spirit in what we hear or read, and trust the Spirit to lead us into all truth. Many today have been set aside from the church system for various reasons, so one needs to be clear that it is God speaking. I rather like the wisdom of 1 Corinthians 14:29, “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment.”
These ministry gifts may be described as, Commissioned/Establishing/Oversight, Hearing and Speaking forth, Imparting knowledge, Caring, and Proclaiming/Bringing which are all aspects of Christ now ministering to and through his Body. Was not Jesus the Given One? Was not Jesus the Apostle — the Sent One? Was he not the Prophet? Was he not the Pastor — Shepherd? Was he not the Teacher? Was he not the Evangelist — the proclaimer of the good news of the Kingdom of God?
Verses 12: “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;”
The first thing to notice is that these gifts were not given for the evangelization of the world, but for the ekklesia/the called out ones. The NCV version words it, “Christ gave those gifts to prepare God's holy people for the work of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger.”
Whether you use the word perfecting or equipping the concept is that of the preparation and change that may be required to make us fit as able servants within the body of Christ. This may involve the stripping away of natural talents and of learning until we are clay to mold in the Master Potter’s hands. Watchman Nee was strong on the concept that all natural abilities had to go through a “spiritual death” and only if the Lord chose, would they be usable. It is true that the church world is filled with a lot of natural talents that are simply religious performances with no true anointing.
The word ministry has taken on a meaning larger than the meaning of the Greek word “diakonia” from where it came. It literally means being a servant, or a deacon. We are all called to be deacons, to in love serve one another as there is no Mr/Ms Big shot in God’s kingdom regardless of what some may think.
The function of every member in the body of Christ is to impart life one to another. Each one of us as individual members has something of Christ that the other may need. We have not been made from cookie cutters but are as unique as snowflakes, and together each one of us forms a part of the whole. We need one another, as we are incomplete on our own.
Verse 13: “until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
If we say the “unity of the faith” is doctrinal unity then we may be without hope. Even the apostles had their differences of understanding, so we learn the need to respect each other regardless of our understanding. However, any belief that does disrespect to the son of God or takes any honor from him is wrong. Notice the words “knowledge of,” which is not “about” the son of God. We don’t need more information, or gruesome accounts of his death which may move our soul to tears but do nothing in bringing us further into an experimental and intimate relationship in Christ.
We are destined to come into sonship as we progressively grow in Christ until we come to maturity/perfection in development or of spiritual age, thus being a part of the fullness, the completeness of “The Christ” which is Christ the Head and Body.
Verse 14: “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
The message is clear — grow up, or you may get conned so stop behaving like a bunch of little kids. It is not just in our day that there are those whose goal is self gain at the expense of others, either by taking an area of truth to an extreme or by twisting it by just a little bit until one gradually veers of course. Our centrality must always be Jesus Christ who died physically and was resurrected, and has ascended to the right hand of our Father with the final proof of his ascension being the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. We are to grow in love with the truth as our word, not nonsensical imaginations, like Jewish fables, which Paul warned about. Our focus is Christ our head.
Within our human bodies little takes place that is not directed by the head. Even those automatic things like one’s heart beating is controlled by the brain. We have been designed to function as a unit which depends upon the interrelatedness of our various parts. When every spiritual “joint” supplies properly, then the body is being built up in love. We need one another. The spirit of independence is a curse.
Verses 17-19: “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.”
The guiding principle in life changes when Jesus comes into one’s heart and life. There is a change from the mental and spiritual darkness, the inability to believe, so evident in a person that doesn’t believe in God. But, an atheist does believe in “a god” who is themselves. It was the pride of becoming “as God” that appealed to Adam. This “self-god” may place no limitations on what is acceptable behavior which doesn’t imply that all atheists are immoral, as some are more moral in conduct than professing Christians. This self-dependance, and professed rejection of God is because man is assumed to be complete in and of himself having successfully evolved from the slime to what he is today, and it may mean that any “animal” urges can be legitimately entered into, assuming that no one is hurt by them.
Verses 20-22: “But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,”
We did not come to understand Christ based upon our mental reasonings. One may have a philosophical view based upon carnal thinking as to the reality of Christ, or if God exists or not, however, what we have is based upon spiritual revelation. Christ is perceived within our spirit. One doesn’t need Five Spiritual Laws to believe in order to get saved as it is the Spirit of God who draws, or drags us to him. When Peter was preaching at the house of Cornelius (Acts Ten) the Spirit caused people to be saved and filled with the Holy Spirit at the same time. Christ within is now our teacher, and guide in righteous living. The life of Christ should cause a change in our lifestyle, perhaps not to the standards that some legalist may set, but a progressive change nevertheless. As the old song goes, “What a change in my life has been wrought, since Jesus came into my heart.” We read in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
Verses 23-24: “and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”
A progressive change should come into effect that changes our thinking. As we understand that it is Christ who is to reign on the throne of our hearts, and not self, we begin to see life in a new perspective. Our prayer becomes, “Take your throne Lord, for my eyes have seen the King in all his glory. Change my heart and make it all thine own.” As we worship him, our desire is to be like him in all of our ways. Our new man now walks in the holiness of Christ, not by man’s rules, but in the righteousness of Christ our life.
Verses 25-28: “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. Be angry, and, yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”
Be honest with each other and don’t put on a false front, be real, for we are members together of Christ. You can get upset with someone or something but don’t go and act wrong and cuss them out. When you do get angry, cool it as holding it is harmful to you and your relationships no matter how wrong the situation may be. Don’t give any grounds to the Slanderer to wreck your reputation as a believer. Remember just because you are in Christ’s body doesn’t mean you can help your self to your brothers possessions, or to anyone else for that matter. Clean up your act! Get of your butt and get a job when one is available and then share your blessings with the truly needy.
We are to watch our language both in the choice of words used and the attitude displayed with them even when the words used are wholesome. When we hear so much filthy language from others, or on the TV etc. it is very easy to repeat the same kind of words. So, we speak good stuff and bless others, but we don’t get into religious terms as do some who seem to think they have to say, “Praise the Lord,” or “Hallelujah” to others. It can be a turn off. We Grace others with the Spirit of Christ in us and let him shine through.
Verse 29: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”
We have been sealed, as with a signet ring, as a mark of ownership and we must remember who we belong to for we are not our own, we are his. Therefore as his possession we should look forward to the day of our total emancipation in every aspect of our lives, spirit, soul, body from the result of the curse caused by Adam.
Verses 31-32: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
It is to our benefit to deal with the bitterness that we may hold as it can eat away at us like a cancer and cause much harm in our relationship with others. This bitterness over wrongs done to us can cause ugly kinds of anger takes over our lives and we can end up saying anything, including what may be true, just to get even and bring harm to the wrong doer. Rather than letting our hearts grow hard and scarred because of hurts we must allow the Spirit of God to soften them so that there is a spirit of forgiveness. Remember that we all have been forgiven by God and are now in our union with Christ.
|Chapter 1||Chapter 2||Chapter 3||Chapter 4||Chapter 5||Chapter 6|
Verses 1-2: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” NASU.
Clearly we are not to be phoney in our walk, but rather to be imitators in the sense of wanting to be like someone you look up to and admire. A child will often want to be like either daddy or mommy when they grow up. How often have folks sung, “To be like Jesus, all I ask to be like him.” We are reminded that Christ walked in the giving kind of love, not the mushy sentimental, but one that led to the ultimate gift.
The sacrifices of the OT looked forward to the once-for-all final sacrifice. Despite what some theorize, the old order is over and done, never to be restored in some millennial kingdom, as to do such would denigrate and made a fraud of his ultimate sacrifice. That the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was the final and last one is confirmed in Hebrews 10:12-14. “but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until his enemies be made a footstool for his feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” There is no need for any other as his remains a sweet smelling aroma to God.
Verse 3: “But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;”
The Greek word for immorality is porneia is most often translated as fornication, and may include various kinds of sexual intercourse between two persons not married to each other, including incest and pagan temple worship. Impurity may involve lustful thinking, and evil thinking with scheming to harm others.
There is a Canadian commercial for TV a business talk show with a real-life millionaire saying, “Greed is good, and I love money.” The problem is that while it is good to be better off financially, te greed of gain may lead to all kinds of excesses regardless of the cost. Many Christians believe in the wealth gospel which is based on greed. The preacher will tell you to give to there ministry and God will bless you financially. Most often the poorest folks give and end up worse off, while the preacher becomes wealthy. I know of one well-known person who beguiled people into believing that they, and they alone, were responsible for keeping his ministry alive. This kind of behavior by some has smeared the church in the eyes of many.
Verse four: “and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.”
Next we get into how we talk, is it wholesome, or the same the ungodly? Some Christians, and I don’t mean spiritual newborns, seem to think that it is OK to use obscenities, be vulgar and use sexually suggestive language. Some talk very negative and constantly confess the worst negative things, including fear of the devil and demons, and that they will be left behind in a secret rapture as they are not good enough. They have yet to learn and believe what John wrote. “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4).
This reminds me of an incident in a church service many years ago. The custom was to allow people to get up and testify of the blessings of the Lord in their lives, however, a number were moaning about the devil causing them problems and then ending with, ‘Please pray for me that I’ll hang onto the end.” After this was repeated several times I found myself on my feet singing this:
Greater is he that is within you,
Than he that is in the world,
Greater is he that is within you,
Than he that is in the world,
Greater than angels or powers,
Greater than this life or death,
Greater is he!
Greater is he!
Greater is Christ our Lord!
It is essential that our hearts be filled with thanksgiving. As our mouths speak it out, it demonstrates a heart attitude of appreciation. My own father was one who was always thankful and his expressions of gratitude seemed at times to be overdone. However, when I researched his family history, and I learned about what he had come from as a child (I knew his life had been rough), I began to understand. I clearly saw the hand of God lifting him out of a bad situation by guiding him to reform school (He kept running away), and then to Canada and for a new life. At life’s end he was taken to the hospital and so he thanked the ambulance attendants, the nursing staff and more for their care. When a hospital chaplain came to help him die, she left in tears after praying for her, and no doubt thanked her for coming.
Verse 5: “For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”
We will consider this verse in the reverse order of how it was written. When some read “inheritance in the kingdom,” they immediately assume that it means salvation, however, it must be remembered that Paul is writing to the saved “saints who are at Ephesus.” Romans 14:17 gives us an appropriate definition of kingdom life. “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” One can hardly have an inheritance in, that is, be a partaker of righteousness, peace and joy when one’s life is caught up in carnal living.
Ephesus was a major idol worshiping center with Artemis/Diana being their main goddess (See Acts 19:28-35). The worshiping of images, objects and statues takes away from the worship of the true and living God. Such worship shows a heart that is not committed to our Lord Jesus Christ who taught that true worship is in spirit.
Interestingly covetousness is included in this list, and the reason is that the desire for someone or something has control of the persons life. The “someone’ may be another persons’ spouse or the desire to be like a person who is greatly admired. Certainly the greed of financial or material gain is included and as the scripture points out, “the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith.” (1 Timothy 6:10). The teachers of the “prosperity gospel” may well have caused a lust for money and what it could buy. Giving to get (Includes OT tithing), is not giving, it is a form of investing or gambling, with the hope of gain.
This word impure can mean in the religious ceremonial sense or life style. The Greek word for impure is “akathartos” and it may imply the need to cleanse. It is most often used with reference to unclean spirits. It is clear that we need to keep spiritually clean which includes in our thought life.
Finally we come to the word immoral. While they are various forms of immorality what we have here is based upon the meaning of the Greek word “pornos” which seems to be the base for three related words. From the Strong’s Concordance we begin with number #4205 pornos from which comes the feminine form #4204 porne, from which comes #4203 porneuo, from which comes #4202 porneia, with all meanings of sexual sin. However, it is the word pornos in this verse that we will briefly look into.
While the word, pornos is often translated as fornicator/s, it is also translated as whoremongers and means one who is involved in prostitution. This may not be just your everyday kind where a man or woman sells their body to someone else, be they the same or opposite gender, but can have the meaning of being a temple prostitute as sex was often a part of idol worship. It must be remembered that this was the normal way in the Greek world, and therefore a coming out from involvement in temple idol worship was required. This may well be what Paul’s injunction in 1 Corinthians 6:18-19 was about. “Flee immorality (porneia). Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral (porneuo) man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”
Verses 6-7: “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath (provoked to anger and thus to correction?) of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them;”
Don’t let anyone kid you that it is okay to live however we want, because if we keep living after the flesh we will reap what we have sowed. Just because we may believe in universal salvation does not give us license to live carnally as we are to grow in Christ. We must not “continue in sin so that grace may increase.” Should we stubbornly continue this way, then as Colossians 3:5-6 also points out we will be subjected to the strong corrective discipline of the Lord. It is imperative that we stop being involved with those who participate in these things.
Verse 8: “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light”
Our formerly dead spirits were indeed darkness for they were without life. Now a new day has dawned as life fills our being for “in him is life, and his life is the Light of men.” We have come from the dead darkness of sin to the light of Christ our life shining within us, and our lives are now to demonstrate this as we are now the light/s of the world. (Matthew 5:14-16).
Verses 9-10: “(for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.”
The light (Some MSS — spirit) brings forth fruit as we are now in union with the Light of the world. Christ our life is the light source which produces moral excellence or virtue and we are “right-wised” to live a life in truth, which is well pleasing to our Lord as we are progressively being conformed to his glorious image and likeness.
Verse 11-13 “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.”
It brings disgrace to our Lord when a believer gets caught up in wrong behavior. To associate or to be actively close friends with someone doing immoral things, secretly or openly can also dishonor Christ. We must get away from the them lest we become impacted by there sinning and the stain of it attaches to us, as well as Christ and his body. So we need to convince such a person to come to a place of repentance and to get help from spiritual leadership for their sake and the body of Christ, as sooner or later it will become public knowledge.
Verse 14: “For this reason it says, " Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you."
We must wake up and be spiritually alive at all times! We must get away from the dead darkness that we may have gotten into, and Christ our Life, Christ our Light will shine in us bringing the light of his glory.
Verses 15-17: “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
How we believers live is important as we are living epistles read by many. As the present “light of our world” it is imperative that our light is clear as crystal. Wisdom on our part means that we seize the karios/now moment to let Christ be glorified in our walk even as these times are full of toils, annoyances, with many reports of various disasters constantly in the news. So let’s not get sidelined by focusing on religious proclamations of natural events as God’s punishment, instead see the hand of God in working “all things together for good.”
Verse 18: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,”
Perhaps this should begin, “And do not get drunk with anything but the wine of the Spirit.” Coming from a religious background where to drink an alcoholic beverage was sin. We loved to say, “Too much champagne at night gives real pain in the morning.” Some used to like to get, what they called, “Drunk in the Spirit.” What this of experience did for one’s spiritual growth is questionable, as is the being “slain in the Spirit” experience that some overemphasis (Formerly called, “being under the power”). Our experience should be that of constantly being filled with the Spirit which should lead to spiritual expression of value to others.
Verses 19- 20: “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;” always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;”
There is a realm of the anointing that we always need to have functioning in our lives and it should lead to our fellowshipping with each other, not in religious chatter, but in sacred songs of praise to God, and not in some of the man centered stuff that is so common. Rather it should be that which glorifies, not only what has been done for and in us, but our Lord himself. One doesn’t have to be gathered together with others (best) to let the song of the Lord (singing in the Spirit) flow through our mouths, from our spirit, in worship and adoration. Such singing is really Christ singing in the midst of his congregation (Hebrews 2:12).
The concept of “making melody” has to do with the playing of stringed instruments. The Greek word is, “psallo” which is also found in 1 Corinthians 14:15 twice. “I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing (psallo) with the spirit and I will sing (psallo) with the mind also.” If we don’t have thanksgiving in our heart and mind prior to this praise, one should now.
Admittedly this “giving thanks FOR ALL things” may seem to be a heavy command, so let’s begin what filled my spirit in December 1974. It was 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” My son and I were gravely injured, my wife Dale more serious than first thought was to suffer a major stroke with life long consequences and briefly pass into our Lord’s presence. Yet, here I was in a state of glory with this verse constantly going through me with a confidence that God was in it and would bring us through. In everything, even for everything we give thanks as we allow the Spirit within to rise above our humanity.
Verse 21: “and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.”
When officiating at a marriage service I usually read Scriptures and have always included this verse as it really connects us to the following ones, yet most Bibles, for whatever reason, have them separated. It deals with our attitude one to another in general, and in the case of marriage it causes us to know that the submission demanded of the wife applies to the husband as well. In other words, it is mutual. The Greek word for subject/submission is “hupotasso” which means to "to rank under," a military term. Hupotasso comes from two words: hupo, "under," tasso, "to arrange." This means that there is no place for superiority, and we consider the other better than ourselves. If you have ever marched in a military formation, you would have been arranged in ranks/rows, which often was according to height. The taller guys at the rear were no better than the short ones in the front. You all marched together according to the cadence as called.
Comments on this verse end with the rendering given in Jonathan Mitchell’s NT.
“while continually setting and arranging yourselves under (placing yourselves in humble alignment; subordinating yourselves; being submissive) so as to support one another, in respect for Christ (or: in union with the reverence which is Christ; within Christ's fear; in reverence pertaining to, and the source of which is [the] Anointed One [other MSS: God]).”
Verse 22-24: “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.”
Dale and I planned to be married in the apartment we were to live in, but our church arranged the service to be in Mrs H’s back yard which had a beautiful flower garden. We had only met six weeks earlier, although I had tried to meet her sooner. When I first saw Dale, the Lord spoke to my heart that I was to marry her. At the wedding a sign was placed over our heads which read, “HEIRS TOGETHER OF THE GRACE OF LIFE.” This “heirs’ togetherness” and commitment one to the other has carried us through many blessed, yet extremely challenging years.
The words “headship” and “submission” are too often misunderstood. I will now share my understanding of them from a personal aspect. Prior to marriage, I had a tremendous “revelation” of how marriage worked. Wives were to be in “subjection” to their master husband. Dale, will tell you she tried, but sometimes failed. Her father had been in the army (WW2) and was not well when he came home. He then died from cancer when she was young, so her mother had to be in charge. So Dale thought the woman should rule in the house, while I could rule elsewhere. We clashed and I ordered! I assumed my bossing authority based upon Ephesians 5:22-24 and Colossians 3:18. This is the view that many of us Christian husbands tend to hold.
This “headship” thing is used to make one person superior to the other. “I’m on top and you jump when I say so, and kiss my feet when you land.” Many years ago I read these excellent comments by Lawrence O. Richards on 1 Corinthians 11:3, “... and the head of Christ is God (v3). This defines the flow of the creation order: Christ flowed from God the Father, man came into being by Christ’s activity as Creator, and the woman was taken from the side of man. In this verse, then, the order of creation is established. There is no suggestion here of inferiority, for Jesus has always been the complete equal of the Father.” End of quotation.
The ekklesia/called out ones, as members of the Body of Christ function in submission to Christ the Head. Dare I reverently say that as part of Christ and our union IN him, there is a sense of equality of person, yet a variation in function. Likewise in the relationship of husband and wife one to the other, each will function differently, but in union and depending on natural capabilities, responsibilities may be held by either one.
Now going back to the rocky, early years of our marriage, one day, after scripturally confirming MY Lordship status, I read the next few verses. I was shocked at what I read! It was like a dagger had stabbed me through the heart!
Verse 25: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,”
As I read this verse, it hit me — he died for the church, he was crucified. This is what my love for my wife is to be! Ouch! That dug in deep. His love was a to death-love. Even if she was mean and nasty to me, which she wasn’t, there was no escape, it was to be a life-giving death-love.
Verses 26-27 “so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
Christ loved the ekklesia by surrendering himself, and yielded up his life to bring it into being. Before we were strangers and foreigners without hope, now we are members together of his body, his church, called of him to be filled with his glory. This continuing process now involves “the washing of water with the word.” The catharsis of sanctification is brought about by the Spirit’s washing us with the word — the Rhema — the presently Spirit spoken personal word to us, such as I had received. We are to become a “church full of glory” manifesting his holiness and glory. "Holiness by any other definition than Christ likeness, isn't holiness at all." (Source unknown).
My religious 1960's psyche was to receive yet another painful shock, another catharsis, as I my attention was drawn to the next two verses.
Verses 28-30: “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body”
If you love yourself, and you should in the self-respecting sense, you must love your wife at least equally. That is the right thing for us husbands to do. We don’t go and selfishly spend money on stuff for ourselves. What is yours is hers and what is hers is yours. Because we love, we are not to be thoughtless and inconsiderate, rather to love and treasure God’s personal love gift to us. If we don’t love our wives properly, it shows that we really don’t as husbands love ourselves properly. It must also be said that these remarks apply to wives also as part of our mutual submission and love for each other.
Verses 31-32: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.”
Christ loves the church-his called out ones and gave his life to bring them corporately into being. The ekklesia is a corporation, not in the legal sense, yet in the united sense with oneness of being and purpose. A married couple are also a corporation with oneness of being and purpose. It is not any legal document that makes it so, but rather the fact that true marriage is a covenant relationship between a woman and a man. The prophet Malachi said: "she is your companion and your wife by covenant." (2:14). A covenant is a solemn union, or agreement, entered into by two or more persons, in which they agree to share all of their strengths and all of their weaknesses; all of their assets and all of their liabilities. Which may include the sharing, or giving of their lives for each other? Our example is Jesus Christ who made the New Covenant, which we are all part of it.
Verse 33: “Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.”
Since our Lord loves us, do we as husbands have the right to love less than we love ourselves? As we men love our wives in the right manner, our wives in turn are to love us and respect our function, as more than bill payers (Not that the woman can’t be employed) or impregnators. Some wives speak in a negative way, putting husbands down and make them feel like less than a man. This belittling is hurtful and wrong from either spouse and demonstrates self-love, not purity of love.
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We have now arrived at the last chapter of Ephesians. Our journey this far has had some surprises along the way, as the light of his glory has shone upon us both in the revelatory and practical aspects of this epistle. This chapter continues on the topic of family relationships regarding children after an illogical division from the previous one. It then moves to employee-employer relationships. This is followed by teaching on what some would call spiritual warfare, but is it really so? The chapter ends with words of comfort and some words that seem taken from the very beginning of this epistle.
Verse 1: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”
Paul continues his discourse family relationships by dealing next with the raising of children. “Children obey your parents” was often heard in our home when our children were growing up. I was raised in a strict but loving home, and later during military training I learned the following statement, “When I say “Jump!” you ask “How high?” on the way up.” So, my expectation was instant obedience.
The meaning of the English word obey, is to comply with commands/instructions, for doing or not doing. The Greek word has the concept of “listening” which may lead to willing, rather than forced obedience. Jonathan Mitchell translates the first part of Verse One like this. “You children make it a habit to humbly listen and pay attention to, and thus submissively obey,” While instant obedience is at times required such as to save the person from a danger, informed obedience may be best.
The words, “in the Lord,” could be interpreted by some as only obeying Christian authorities, or, more likely, as “unto and in union with the Lord.“ The verse ends with, “for this is right.” The Greek word here most often means righteous. Obedience can demonstrate the quality of righteousness.
Verses 2-3: “Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.”
In addition to obeying, Paul says that children should honor, respect and value their parents. He then refers to the promise of blessing from the Ten Commandments for children who honor their parents. Now we must ask if Paul was trying to impose part of The Law on mainly non-Jewish Christians If so, what about James — if you break one part you are guilty of all? Is he suggesting that the law was still in effect, or is this a principle he introduced?
It may be argued that the benefit of obedience is salvatory in nature. An obedient child may not get into the various negative aspects of life, and thus be saved from prison, diseases, failure in school, etc. and thus a blessing is gained from heeding instruction, and therefore it should go well with them and increase their life span.
Verse 4: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
One of our children memorized this verse and reminded me of it more often than I cared to hear. It is all too easy to be zealots and apply the “rod of correction” (All forms of punishment, or discipline) to excess and produce a counterproductive result which many of our prisons do. A hurt or sullen child may well end up seeking comfort outside of the family with others like them. An outcast from family society may become an outcast from society in general or end up on drugs, alcohol, etc.
The word “discipline” means training which may involve correction, but not in the sense of punishment. Regretfully too many politicians think that costly, endless punishment/incarceration will reduce crime. One wonders why Christian America has the highest crime rate and the highest prison rate in the world if punishment/revenge works. We are to instruction our children in that which is right based on godly principles, but never with the fear of hell-fire should they not listen
Verse 5-8: “Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eye service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.”
The next set of verses, from five to nine deals with employee-employer relationships as that is what it would be in our modern times, but admittedly some folks probably feel like slaves on their jobs. Slaves were the order of the day in New Testament times, and some families had several. There was no attempt by the apostles to teach against slavery as the survival of the early church/ekklesia was critical at that time and they had enough false accusations to deal with.
The things that Paul said may be applied to modern day employees. Have the right attitude, do the job well, and even if no appreciation is shown, do it as unto the Lord and remember you are “living epistles.” You are paid to work, so don’t preach your religion on the job — live it.
Verse 9: “And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.”
Again the word to slave owners are valid to modern day employers. When employers treat their works as a valuable investment rather than a means to fulfil their greed of money probably most labor discord would cease. It should be remembered that, the laborer deserves to be paid a proper (not stingy) amount.
Verse 10: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.
Be strong in the Lord,
And the power of his might.
No longer to serve,
But to be sons of light.
Delivered from doubt,
And all bondage to fear,
Break forth into singing,
Your King is here!
Yes, another chorus from the ancient past which I believe portrays well what this verse is about. Paul is saying to be increasing, not in natural abilities, but in strength and dominion with our Lord’s glorious enablement, which is ours because of the union we have IN Christ. Since we are partakers together of his very life, why do so many Christians walk about in fear of the devil, demons and more? There seems to be a lot of fearful “turkey,” rather than triumphant “eagle” Christians.
This epistle has the name Ephesians yet many scholars believe that it was actually a letter for circulation to all the churches in Asia. As we look at these verses, we need to consider the problems and failures within the Seven Churches in Asia as recorded in that great book of unveiling known as Revelation. It seems clear that some didn’t heed the instructions in this epistle.
As we continue, we find that the Ephesian saints are now encouraged to be clothed in spiritual armor. For our discussion purposes it seems better to group these verses on armor different to the order in which they were written.
Verse 11a & 13-17: “Put on the full armor of God, .... Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word (rhema) of God.”
The concept of “putting on” occurs in several others scriptures and they give us some insights. In Romans 13:12 to “put on the armor of light,” in Romans 13:14, “the Lord Jesus Christ,” in Galatians 3:27, “have clothed (put on) yourselves with Christ,” in Ephesians 4:24 and Colossians 3:10, “the new self.” In Colossians 3:12 & 14 we have several things - “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, ... put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.” Then in 1 Thessalonians 5:8 we find a slightly different version of spiritual armor. “having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.”
Concerning this “putting on” John Gavazzoni has said, “We put on, on earth, what has been already put on us in heaven, and it is ALL of God. It is not that we need to contribute something to the completion, it is that God is bringing forth on the earth what is in heaven by the imperative word that is self-fulfilling. By "commanding" the Ephesian believers to arm themselves, Paul is participating in the Word that goes forth from God's mouth that never returns void, so that Word (as Jonathan has uncovered) is God's "implanted goal" in us.”
Much is made of the warfare aspect of armor by some, however, everything described in Ephesians appears to be for defense as there was no spear for attacking. The order is to maintain position, as we are to just stand, we are not in attack mode. Jesus is the mighty conqueror and his victory is complete even if not apparent to all. There are some scripture passages that maybe used to support a non defense mode, so we will take a brief look into some of them.
In Philippians 2:25-30 we read of sick Epaphroditus as a fellow worker and a fellow soldier. Likewise, Archippus in Philemon 2, and Timothy was encouraged to suffer hardship like a soldier. The word “soldier” seems to be used as a metaphor and speaks of the of their commitment and obedience to our Lord. We all use both metaphors and at times hyperbole in our speech as does the NT. It must also be remembered that the Roman occupation army was everywhere, and so military examples were easy to use as it was with sports as an example - “run the race,” etc.
The word “armor” is also used in Romans 13:12-14 where the ekklesia/called out ones, were told to clean up their act, get their lives in order and to put on the covering and protection of the armor — the covering — of light, which is, Christ our true Light.
In 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 we have what would seem to be a reference to OK Christian warfare, but against whom? May I suggest that it is against the human carnal mind with its high minded vain reasonings? Every thought is to be “brought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Refusing to hear instruction leads to disobedience and requires such discipline that will lead us to submissively paying attention to Christ.
As we consider armor, it must be emphasised that the putting on of it is just putting on Christ. Truth, which he is, surrounds us (loins), we are the righteousness of God in Christ, our gospel is the good news of peace with God for the war is over, our talk is that of faith and not fear with our confession being the glories of his once and for all total victory. Within our minds’ Christ is being formed and we are being enabled to stand against mental attacks. The sword we carry is that of the Spirit who places within our spirits the rhema word to be spoken at the right time.
Concerning the sword, Jonathan Mitchell wrote, “It is not a sword to fight demons, but rather a word of goodness and release to those who would use their tongues to send barbed words against us. In speaking of this “utterance from God,” this “sword,” note how the writer of Hebrews sets the environment of its work, in 4:12,” The NEB renders it, “For the word of God is alive and active. It cuts more keenly than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the place where life and spirit, joints and marrow divide.” Verse 13 continues, “It sifts the purposes and thoughts of the heart.” In other words the living Word deals with the inner man.
Verses 11b-12: “so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Where does the devil attack us? In our minds by way of temptations and also false accusations such as, “You are not good enough.” Or, “Do you really think that God can love a low life like you?” Or he may attack us by leading us away from truth with every wind of appealing doctrine. His schemes will carry on and on until we shut them off and stand firm in our position IN Christ.
John Gavazzoni has said, “Our "struggle" needs to be clearly understood as holding the position we've already been made to occupy in Christ, namely, that we've been made to sit in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus — holding that place against the onslaughts of the Lie in all its’ many forms. Logically, the Lie seeks to contradict the Reality of our union with Christ, and to get us to accept that the contradiction is the reality.” It really doesn’t matter how our circumstances appear to be, what matters is that God has included us IN Christ and we are sitting at the Father’s right hand.
Sadly some live in a world where they don’t really seem to believe in the total victory of Jesus Christ, the One to whom ALL authority has (past tense) been given, and who on the cross in triump shouted — “It is finished!” It is very easy to get caught up with the devil, demons and fear raising take-over schemes by evil people (Satanists), who along with Satan are supposedly going to take over. Conspiracy theories abound and sadly many are snared by them and live in fear with no amount of claiming/pleading the blood, or repeating Jesus’ name, like a mantra, seems enough for protection, because somehow those rascals are gonna win. Many of us, at one time or another, have been conned into believing such bunkum because the devil is an excellent trickster and liar. A real state of war goes on in the dark recesses of our minds, the place where attacks arrive when we get our eyes off of Jesus.
Deception which is designed to throw us off the course may be ever so slight, and seem so right, yet it will cause us to veer an ever increasing distance from truth, the purity that is in Christ. Much of Christendom supplements the grace of God with works because, it seems logical that we are so unworthy and must do something to gain or keep God’s approval. Much of Paul’s writing has to do with correcting those who want to carry on the OT Law and things related to it. The Mosaic law is over and done away with according to Hebrews, yet the desire to follow parts of it and things related to it, continues to persist.
Was not the OT record inspired of God? Yes, and what was once types and shadows of the real things are past for the new day, the new order dawned about 2000 years ago. It has been said that in the OT, “God meant what he said, but in the NT he says what he meant in the OT.” Even Jesus who lived under the Law superceded the Ten Commandments with a higher order of love.
For too long the church/ekklesia have lived in fear of the devil, demons, of burning in a pagan hell, an any-minute rapture that leaves billions behind without hope for the antichrist (Where is the God who is Love in this?), or struggling to be a good Christian and constantly failing because of religious non-spiritual expectations that they have been taught to think is the walk of a believer in Christ. All of this is so because segments of Christianity have been moved away from the purity that is in Christ and have latched onto that which was birthed to throw it onto a different course.
This passage speaks of “powers, darkness, and spiritual forces of wickedness.” Since we know that Jesus is Lord of all, what could this mean? No doubt it has to do with the spiritual authorities of both the pagan and Jewish religions as well as the Greek intellectual reasonings which tried to destroy the early church, and failing that infiltrated it with deception. Their light was darkness which caused the church to progressively sink into the twilight for hundreds of years until God brought forth restoration.
We are called to “stand firm” and the Galatians 5:1 is imperative to remember. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”
Verses 18-19: “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,”
In every season of our lives we are to be, “praying in the Spirit.” Contrary to some Charismatic folks this doesn’t mean praying in tongues as such, but rather IN UNION with the Spirit so that one prays according to the will of God and the mind of Christ. There is a realm of prayer that is not always in our conscious mind, but is happening nevertheless and at times may burst forth like a dam that has just given way. Romans 8:26-27 comes to mind. “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”
Certainly there are specific prayers, such as Paul’s request that “utterance” be given him and for “boldness” and as one prays our desire should be for them to be, not as we desire, but according to the mind of the Spirit. The idea that one can throw some scripture verse at God and say, “See you said it, now you have to do it,” is ignorant. At times our Lord may give us a scriptural word of assurance to stand upon which is faith building and a different thing to trying to force the hand of God to act. There is a prayer in my heart many mornings as I awake. It is based on another chorus from the past which I will now share for all of us.
Let thy will be done Lord,
Let thy will be done,
Create in us the mind of Christ,
The Father in the Son,
In His shining glory,
We see thy Holy One,
Our hope is to be like him,
Let thy will be done!
Verses 20- 22: “for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts.”
Imprisonment has not released Paul from his commission to proclaim Christ, nor has it diminished his care for the various gatherings of saints/the ekklesia that came into existence because of his becoming a “prisoner of Christ.” It seems that his influence while in prison was great, he was able to receive guests, and to write his apostolic letters/epistles that have reached forward through the ages to us.
Verses 23-24: “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.”
We have arrived at Paul’s farewell remarks and as I read them was reminded of his opening salutation in 1:2, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Notice, “Peace” and “grace” from “God our/the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” in both the beginning and the ending, to which he adds the word “love” at this closing remark directed to those with living purity in their love to our Lord.
We have been directed to the blessings which are our IN Christ and have been given a glimpse of the plans and purposes of our Father, all of which are accomplished in Christ Jesus. Many times our hearts have rejoiced, and perhaps at times some of us may have felt like physically taking off from this earth into the heavenly realm that we are now seated in spiritually. How we walk and stand in all aspects of life have been stressed as together we corporately move forward IN Christ. Now I can think of nothing better in bidding you “Adieu!” than the chorus I learned back in 1961 in Toronto.
Unto Him be glory in the church,
Both now and evermore,
Unto Him be glory in the church,
Both now and evermore.
Unto Him be glory in the church,
Both now and evermore!
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