“Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints in Ephesus, faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
As we begin, let us take note that what we are reading and considering in this letter is not just any old nice thoughts or challenges. It is the word of King Jesus, the head of the church, through his authorised messenger, Paul, an Apostle. That is what Apostle means in this context. What is more Paul’s appointment as such a messenger is not his own idea, but by the will of God the Father, the highest authority there is. If we take the information we receive from the government in these days as important, if we take their advice, guidance and commands seriously, concerned about the consequences of not doing so, how much more seriously should we take the contents of this letter!
For meditation and prayer – How seriously do you take God’s word in your life? How does that show in your life?
Unfortunately over the centuries confusion has been sown in the church over the word “saints.” The New Testament writers have been specially designated as “saints” in the titles to their writings in versions of the bible, Saint John, Saint Paul etc. Also, by the claimed authority of a particular church certain special people have been designated as “saints” over the years. The word ‘saint” in the bible simply means something like “set apart or consecrated by God to himself.” Paul clearly uses it here for the faithful in Christ Jesus. That is not a special group of Christians within the church but all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and so are faithful in obedience to him, which is the definition of a Christian.
For meditation and prayer – What does it mean for you as a Christian to realise that you are “set apart by God for himself.” How can or does that make a difference to living your daily life, even in these unusual days?
As we will see, particularly in Ephesians chapter 2 God’s “grace” has a special place in our becoming Christians. However as Christians we are brought to live in the realm of God’s grace, in other words, he now looks upon us always with his favour as his dearly loved children and all the resources of his goodness and power are available to us to do his will in our lives, becoming holy and serving him. It is grace in this sense that Paul prays for Christians. The peace that Paul prays for Christians is not just the knowledge of no longer being an enemy of God in conflict with him but at peace with him through Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. It is also the wellbeing and spiritual prosperity experienced by being at peace with God and blessed by him as one of his people. How Christians need to be receiving the grace and peace that come from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ in these days!
For meditation and prayer – Consider more deeply the grace and peace that are yours in Christ Jesus and rejoice in them, praying for them for one another in the church.