Day 350 Ephesians 1-6

Day 350
Ephesians 1-6

In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he made reference to an epistle he also wrote to the Laodiceans while under house arrest in Rome (cf. Colossians 4:16). The New Testament canon does not contain a letter to the Laodiceans coming from the pen of the Apostle Paul. It may be lost to history. It is quite possible, however, that Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and his epistle to the Laodiceans are one and the same. Perhaps it is more than coincidental that three of the earliest and most reliable manuscripts of this particular letter omit the words, “at Ephesus” in verse 1. It would not be an extraordinary thing to surmise that Paul entrusted to Tychicus three letters–Colossians, Philemon and the Ephesian/Laodiean epistle–to be carried by him as he returned to western Asia Minor. Furthermore, the absence of any personal references (a common practice for Paul) or direct issues to be addressed may offer additional confirmation that the Ephesian letter is the Laodicean epistle. As it happened, half of the verses in Ephesians are also found in Colossians, suggesting a similar time-frame, thugh each letter bears its own distinct style and purpose. It was also intended to be distributed from church to church giving it its classical and timeless quality.

Ephesians has been called “the sublimest and the most majestic expression” of the gospel (D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones). Categorized as a “prison epistle,” it ironically brims with the incomparable riches of God’s gracious “freedom” given to all who trust in Christ. In typical Pauline fashion, the letter is divided into two general parts, the doctrinal exultation (Chapters 1-3) and the practical application (Chapters 4-6). The letter explodes right from the start with an exalted run-on sentence in the original that relishes in divine redemption (1:3-14). Paul’s outburst of praise spanned the grand epoch between God’s sovereign choice before foundation of the world to the adoption of sons through Christ for all who believe to the cosmic plan to reconcile all things in heaven and on earth for His glory.

One of the more striking features of this letter was that a significant portion of it contains the prayers the Apostle prayed to God and on behalf of his fellow believers (1:3-14, 15-23; 3:14-20; 6:23-24). Paul thanked God for the display of His grace in their lives and asked for the enlightenment of the Spirit so that they might grasp their position in Christ and His appointed place of dominion over all things and His headship over the church. Because of God’s mercy, those who believe do not receive His wrath. Instead, by His grace, they receive His love. All of this is of God so that even the faith to believe is a divine gift apart from works (2:8-9).

In the first century, many churches struggled to overcome the hostility that characterized Jewish and Gentile relations. In an extraordinary passage, Paul presented Christ as the Destroyer of differences and the Warrior against all man-made walls of division. The Church was not to be an assembly of races, but the gathering of one race with everyone who believes welcomed as full members of God’s household (2:11-22). When Paul stopped to think about what God had done, it drove him to his knees out of deep emotion and reverence (3:14-21). He prayed that they all believers might know the height of spiritual reality revealed in the depth of God’s love and being filled with His fullness.

In the second half of his letter, Paul applied his doctrine with an appeal for believers to maintain their unity in Christ (4:1-6) and to appreciate the gifts God has given to the Church in order to keep its unity and foster its maturity in Christ (7-16). In addition, Gentile believers were not to live like the rest of humanity, alienated as it is from God, but to put off the old self and clothed themselves with the new self that is being conformed to the likeness of God Himself. They were to live as children of the light and resist the darkness of the unbelieving culture all around them by working hard to resolve relational problems in the Church (25-31). They were to be filled with the Spirit so that they might experience transformed relationships in church, between husbands and wives, parents and children, and employers and employees.

As it happened, Paul closed his letter be reminding them of the spiritual conflict they were engaged in on a daily basis. He urged them to out on the armor of God and to fight the battle of the mind, the battle in their homes, at work, and in the world. In every sphere of life, Paul appealed to believers to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might (6:10-20). The Christian life is a struggle. The goal is to stand against the Evil One with the offensive weapons of the Word of God and prayer.

O God, thank You for the surpassing riches of Your grace. You loved us when we did not deserve it. You have made us alive in Christ and blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Now help us to live in such a way that we display Your grace to others, forgive as we have been forgiven, and build homes that are transformed by Your grace. We know that there is an Enemy who seeks to hinder Your work in our lives. Make us strong in Christ, committed to Your Word, and praying with power in the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, we pray, Amen.

Greeting – 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. Spiritual…