Full reading: Ephesians 1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the first in a long series of expositional devotionals from Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. My intention is that when we have completed the book of Ephesians, you will have an intimate knowledge of the words given by God through Paul, and intimate knowledge of the apostle’s spirit that appears in this text. Each day, I encourage you to read the fullness of the assignment listed in the header. It will usually be a full chapter, whichever chapter we happen to be in. By the time we finish a chapter, you may have read it forty times. This may feel strange to some, but this is the only way we can effectively fill our hearts and minds with God’s word. I find that as a read books repetitively, I learn something new every time I read it. This intimate knowledge is precisely what is meant by Moses when he writes in Deuteronomy 11:18, ” “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.” Fill your mind with these words of the Lord, and they will be powerful to transform your life.
I have given my introduction, as the Apostle does here in the first two verses of this epistle. This epistle is unlike the epistles to the Corinthians or the epistle to the Galatians. These epistles were intended to correct errors in the respective churches. The letter to the Ephesians is a letter of encouragement and of theological teaching. I pray that it encourages you as it has encouraged me. On to the text.
Paul introduces himself in similar manner to many of his other letters. He writes that he is an “apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God”. He highlights that the authority of his apostleship is derived from the authority given him by God. The words of this letter are authoritative as from God because they are from God. We see further that Paul removes his own involvement in his apostleship. His apostleship is by the will of God. Paul had nothing to do with becoming an apostle, Jesus knocked him off his horse while he was on his way to kill Christians! And Oh! How we are like the apostle. We live in rebellion to God, lost in our sin. God, through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, knocks us to the ground, from off our sinful horses, and reveals to us the light of His Gospel, through the Word of God!
We need this Gospel every day, beloved. Every single day I climb back atop my sinful horse and ride toward destruction and the Gospel knocks me off again. Every day I look to the righteousness of Christ because everyday looking at myself reveals my own unrighteousness. This is the Gospel: that in our stead Jesus Christ took upon himself the sins of those who believe in him. There is no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus because Christ’s righteousness has been made their own. “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!” If you believe in the finished work of Christ in his life, death, and resurrection, as he died for sinful man, and was raised on the third day because he is God, this grace and peace is yours today. This very same grace and peace Paul extends to the people of the Ephesian churches is grasped by you through belief in the Gospel.
I encourage you, read the word of God. Read Ephesians 1 everyday until we finish it. You’ll have it memorized by the time we get to Ephesians 2. Probably. Maybe.