Greetings from Paul
1 This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.
I am writing to God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.
2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
9 God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. 11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.
Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom
15 Ever since I first heard of your strong faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for God’s people everywhere, 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom[f] and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.[g]
19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power 20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. 21 Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. 22 God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church. 23 And the church is his body; it is made full and complete by Christ, who fills all things everywhere with himself.
There is quite a different tone to start this letter compared to the Galatians. In fact, Galatians is the only letter where Paul does greet or address anyone in his opening remarks. This letter he greets the church of Ephesus with his usual enthusiasm.
I’m going to jump straight to vs 4. Some versions will use the word “predestined”, which tends to ignite a lot of debate as to what that exactly means. I chose this version just because I like the way it’s worded and this is the way I see it as well. God loved us and chose us, even before he created the world, to be in Christ. God loved us and knew us long before we were ever close to being born. He wanted us all to have a relationship with him.
“This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to know the truth fully.” 1 Tim. 2:3 NIV
What an incredibly encouraging chapter. Paul encourages the church by reminding them of the incredible promises and actions of God.
- He blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms
- He chose us even before we even existed to have a relationship with Christ
- He adopted us into His family
- He has poured glorious grace upon us
- Purchased our freedom with blood and forgave our sins
- Showered us with kindness along with wisdom and understanding
- We received an inheritance
- He identified us as His own by giving us the Holy Spirit
- Has put all things under the authority of Christ
- Made Him head of all things to benefit the church
How can you not get excited after reading this list? The Ephesian church had to have been after receiving this reminder of what God had done for them, and what a great foundation for the rest of this letter.
That list of promises is a list we need to reflect on often. It is the fundamentals of our salvation and relationship with God. Let us today take time to reflect on each one and thank and praise Him
God we praise Your Holy name today! You knew and loved us right from the beginning and had a plan for each of us. You loved us so much you purchased us with the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus. And know you call us Your own, Your children. Thank you for Your Holy Spirit. We love you Lord, in Jesus name, amen.