Ephesians:1:1-6 “Overview, Salutations, and Introduction”
1.1. AUTHORSHIP: The author tells us with the very first word of the epistle that he is “Paul,” and there has never been any doubt throughout history that the author of this letter is the apostle Paul.
1.2. DATE: The date of the writing of the book is sometime between 60 and 62 AD.
SETTING: Paul wrote this book from
INTENDED RECIPIENTS: In the oldest manuscripts, the
word “Ephesians” is not found in verse 1 identifying to whom this book
is written. In addition, there are no
personal references in the book, in spite of the fact that Paul had pastored
the church in
1.5. PURPOSE FOR WRITING: The book of Ephesians is similar in nature to the book of Romans, also written by Paul, because of the fact that it is primarily a book written to teach theology. Though touching on all doctrines of the Christian faith, the book of Romans primarily emphasizes in its theology the doctrine of salvation, showing mankind’s need for salvation as well as the method for receiving that salvation. The book of Ephesians however takes a wider view of doctrine teaching the ultimate purposes of God relative to the plan of salvation for mankind. It also discusses the nature and purpose of the church in detail. The true nature of all conflict for the Christian as being spiritual in nature is discussed as is the means for waging war in the spiritual realm.
ABOUT THE CITY OF
1.7. WRITING STYLE: The book of Ephesians contains the most sublime of truths concerning the nature of God, salvation through Christ, the life of a Christian, etc., and therefore the book has been called many things by people, including:
1.7.1. “The queen of the epistles” - William Barclay.
1.7.2. “The divinest composition of man” – Smauel Taylor Coleridge.
1.7.3. “The greatest…maturist…[and] for our time the most relevant” of all Paul’s epistles – John Mackay.
1.7.4. “The crown and climax of Pauline theology” – unknown.
1.8. TREATISE PROCEEDS APPLICATION: As Paul tends to do in his epistles, the first three chapters of this book deal with what the Lord has done for us. It is not until verse 1 of chapter 4 that the reader is admonished to apply personally the great truths that have been taught in the book.
1.8.1. By the way in the same manner as Paul’s writing style in this book, good preaching should never start with what we ought to do for the Lord. Personally, I do not think that it should end there either. Personal application of truth is extremely important and needs to be a part of all good preaching, however the emphasis should also be even more so upon God and what He has done for us. Christian living does not begin with us, nor is it sustained by us or completed by us. It is as we place our focus upon the Lord and draw upon the resources that He has provided for us that we are able to walk in such a way as pleases Him. However, if we focus primarily upon ourselves or look to our own resources we shall never attain spiritual success. In 2 Cor. 3:18 the apostle Paul wrote about the fact that it is as we focus on and behold the Lord that we are being transformed into His image, “18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
1.9. GREAT THEMES OF THE BOOK:
22.214.171.124. The book reveals that everything begins with God, not man.
126.96.36.199. The great purpose of everything is the “praise of the glory of His grace.”
188.8.131.52. The sovereignty of God is seen throughout. God is doing all things according to His purposes and desires.
184.108.40.206. God accomplishes everything in His own timing and is in control of time and nature.
220.127.116.11. Before all eternity the three members of the godhead determined the plan of salvation for mankind as well as chose every single person who would ever come to salvation.
18.104.22.168. The word is found six times in the epistle.
22.214.171.124. The mysteries of God are not profound truths that are obscured or hidden in this book, rather they are seen as that which is being plainly revealed by the apostle for all of us as Christians.
126.96.36.199. The wonderful mysteries of God capture our attention and produce awe and worshipful praise within us.
188.8.131.52. The grace of God is taught right from the beginning.
184.108.40.206. The book reveals that everything that we have has come to us through the grace of God.
1.9.4. THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
220.127.116.11. The name is used frequently.
18.104.22.168. Each word in the title has significance.
22.214.171.124. All of God’s blessings for mankind come through the Lord Jesus Christ.
126.96.36.199. Paul attempts to reveal to us as Christians more than anything the great riches that are part of our inheritance through the Lord Jesus Christ.
1.9.5. THE RICHES WE HAVE BECAUSE WE ARE IN CHRIST.
188.8.131.52. Jon MacArthur writes about the following story, “For many years Hetty
Green was called
1.9.6. THE PARTITIONS THAT DIVIDE MANKIND HAVE ALL BEEN BROUGHT DOWN BY THE LORD.
184.108.40.206. Salvation is for Jews as well as Gentiles, men as well as women, for all are one in Christ.
1.9.7. THE NATURE AND PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH.
1.9.8. SPIRITUAL WARFARE.
220.127.116.11. The fact that the underlying cause of all of our difficulties has a spiritual connection.
18.104.22.168. How to fight the spiritual battles that we go through is taught.
1:1 - “1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at
2.1. Paul introduces himself as the author of the book with no attempt to explain who he is. This fact plus all of the writings of the early church in which the apostle Paul is attributed as being the author of the epistle, lead us to accept the Pauline authorship. The internal evidence of the epistle would of course lead to the same conclusion for there is no one of the early church era who could have explained the truths as found in this epistle other than the apostle Paul.
2.2. After over thirty years of service for the Lord, after having planted numerous churches all throughout the then known world during his three missionary journeys, after having written numerous letters to the various churches by this time, and after suffering the great hardships recounted by Paul during his ministry (as recounted in the books of 1 and 2 Corinthians), Paul could have begun this letter with a discourse about his long list of credentials and accomplishments. However, instead he simply states that he is ‘an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.’
Paul does not write this epistle as
if he were a down and dejected prisoner in
2.4. Notice that this epistle begins with ‘God’ :
2.4.1. Paul declares that his apostleship was not the product of his doing, nor did it come about as a result of the decisions and sanctions of the church. Paul’s apostleship came about ‘by the will of God.’
2.4.2. It is so important for us as Christians to realize that everything regarding our own salvation as well as the formation and organization of the church is from God. He brought it into being. He designed it, He established it, He called each one to salvation, He called each one into the churches, and He is the one who produces growth in our lives personally and who also builds the church. Jesus said to Peter in Matt. 16:18 after Peter’s declaration that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, “18 “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.”
2.4.3. In every realm, if we begin with God, instead of beginning with ourselves, we go in much different directions. In the church today, I believe that one of the biggest reasons we see such coldness towards the Lord and apostasy in some, is the fact that concerning the church so many are beginning with themselves. People in the churches are more concerned about being happy and how the church can serve them rather than what God’s word teaches and how they need to conform their life to the teachings of God’s word. Today there is a huge consumer attitude amongst Christians as well as a self-serving attitude.
2.5. Paul addresses this letter to the ‘saints.’ The word ‘saint’ denotes one who is set apart a holy thing for the Lord. The Roman Catholic church canonizes exceptional servants in the church to be ‘saints,’ however the scripture tells us that everyone who is a genuine believer in Christ is a ‘saint.’ Every Christian is a ‘saint,’ and every ‘saint’ is a Christian. Being designated a ‘saint’ is a positional truth for the Christian irrespective of his present state and character.
2.5.1. Christian observe that if you are truly one of God’s people that you are set apart to the Lord. In that sense, your life is to be lived differently than the people of this world. You are called to live a life that is holy and pleasing to the Lord.
2.5.2. If a person refuses to attempt to live a holy life set apart to the Lord then there is a real doubt that he/she has ever come to salvation.
2.6. We have already mentioned that the word ‘Ephesus’ is not found in the earliest manuscripts and that this letter was really meant to be a circular letter to all of the churches in Asia Minor.
2.7. Not only is the Christian called to be a saint, and thus set apart as a holy thing unto the Lord¸ he is also called to be ‘faithful in Christ Jesus.’ By this is it is meant that he is primarily to remain in the faith, adhering to the teaching of the word of God for his life. In John 8:31 we read that Jesus taught that those who would be His disciples must continue or remain in His word, “31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine.”
2.7.1. Implied here is the fact that if you are a Christian you must also be one who is always striving to live your life in such a way as to be ‘faithful’ to the Lord. This means to remain in the faith, continue in the study and teaching of God’s word, and strive to live your life according to God’s word. Doing this isn’t the means of coming to salvation, but rather the result (or fruit) of having come to salvation.
3. VS 1:2 - “2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” - Paul greets his readers.
3.1. These salutations to the readers of the book of Ephesians are typical of Paul and also of the people of his day.
3.2. These greetings are not just warm sentiments expressed from Paul but are conveyed to his readers as coming from ‘God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.’
3.3. ‘Grace’ is one of the grand themes of the epistle. The word means “undeserved merit, that which is received as a gift from God without any conditions.” God’s ‘grace’ has been defined using the following acrostic for each letter of the word, “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”
3.3.1. Because of what Jesus did for mankind upon Calvary’s cross in taking the full wrath of God which each of us deserved because of our sins, every man, woman, and child is able to come to have redemption through the forgiveness of his/her sins because of the ‘grace’ of God that has been extended to us.
3.3.2. God has not merely allowed us entrance into His kingdom through His grace, rather we who know the Lord experience His grace constantly in our life as the Lord extends grace after grace to us.
22.214.171.124. In 1 Peter 4:10, Peter wrote about the “manifold grace of God”, “10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
126.96.36.199. In Ephesians 1:7-8, Paul wrote about how God has lavished His grace upon us, “7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight.”
188.8.131.52. Everything in our lives as God’s people has come to us as a result of the grace of God.
3.4. Paul’s use of the word ‘Peace’ in his salutations is very similar to the common Jewish greeting of “Shalom.” It speaks of general well being and contentment, blessings that come to God’s people as a result of their relationship to God their Father. We have peace with God and peace from God:
3.4.1. Salvation comes to us through Jesus Christ because of the peace treaty that the Lord has written up, so to speak, through the sending of His Son to die upon the cross and thus pacify the wrongs done by us to God. When we receive Jesus Christ by faith we go from being at enmity against God due to offenses caused by disobedience to His commandments, to having peace with God, as Rom. 5:1-2 tells us, “1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”
3.4.2. Experimentally, one of the greatest blessings that we as God’s people have in our lives as a result of having received salvation and renewing through the Holy Spirit, is the “peace of God which surpasses all comprehension,” as Phil. 4:6-7 teaches us about, “6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
3.5. The doctrine of the “Trinity” is the belief that we as Christians have from the scriptures that God is composed of three persons who are distinct, and at the same time one in essence. Though this term is not found in scripture it is implied all throughout and is the only satisfactory explanation for many passages. Here in the book of Ephesians this doctrine is clearly seen, and it is evident right here in this verse. The ‘Trinity’ is implied in the order of the names listed here: ‘God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.’ In the wisdom of God, from all eternity it was determined that God the Father should be the primary person of interest. ‘Jesus Christ,’ the eternal Son of God was determined to exist in a subservient role to His Father and humble Himself to such an extent so that He could come and be immaculately born as a human and live in humble circumstances. He was determined to be the one to come to earth and be the sin sacrifice for all of the sins of mankind in order that salvation might be able to be received by all mankind. The “Holy Spirit” who is the third person of the ‘Trinity’ was determined to be the prime agent responsible for all of the workings in bringing all of this about. The Holy Spirit enters later in this chapter.
3.6. In this title for Jesus, ‘The Lord Jesus Christ,’ we see several things implied:
3.6.1. ‘Lord’ was the term written in the Old Testament when the Name of the Lord was implied. God’s Name was considered to be too precious to write so instead the term ‘LORD’ (all capitals in the Old Testament) is always used in its place. Calling Jesus ‘Lord’ is tantamount to calling Him “Yahwey” or “Jehovah.” This term used for Jesus means that “Jesus is divine.” Jesus is God the Son from all eternity who became flesh at a point in time for the sake of the redemption of mankind.
3.6.2. ‘Jesus’ is the name given by the angel Gabriel to Mary for naming Jesus (Luke 1:31) and is the same word as “Joshua” in the Old Testament. The name means “Yahweh saves.”
is the Greek word for “Messiah’ which we see in the Old Testament. He is the one whom
4. VS 1:3 - “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,” - God is ‘blessed’ and He has given us every spiritual blessing in Christ
4.1. Paul tells us here that God is ‘blessed.’ This Greek word, “eulogitos” is not the word for “blessed” used in the Sermon On The Mount” that means “happy,” that Greek word is “makarios.” Instead the word in this verse means “blessed” or “praised” and implies that the Lord is worthy of our worship and praise. Truly, whenever we take the time to focus our attention upon the Lord as He is revealed to us in the scripture we realize how ‘blessed’ (or worthy to be praised) He is. If a person truly knows the Lord, he cannot help but to be led to worship and praise the Lord.
4.2. Paul directs the object of our praise and worship to be “God The Father.” In the previous verse we saw the doctrine of the Trinity implied as well as the fact that the title “The Lord Jesus Christ” implied the divinity of Christ. Now we see that there is an order of worship given and intended here in this verse that Paul directs us to concerning the Trinity. We are to worship first of all, God the Father, then the Lord Jesus Christ, and then the Holy Spirit. Though God is one in essence consisting of three equal persons, in the wisdom of God we are directed to consider the godhead in this order in our focus and worship. Doing this helps us to remember the nature of our God.
4.3. The Trinity is expressed here in the term ‘The Lord Jesus Christ’ implies deity in the Son of God from all eternity who came to earth, while yet in another regard ‘The Lord Jesus Christ’ (incarnate Son of God in a special and unique relationship to God as Son) has a ‘God and Father.’ God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, they all make up the Trinity. Can we fully understand this concept? No. Can we apprehend and appreciate the concept? Absolutely, and we are ‘blessed’ (happy in this case) because through the scriptures we can know the true nature of God.
4.4. Paul writes here that God has ‘blessed’ us (all true believers in Christ) with ‘every’ spiritual blessing, and these blessings are received by us because we are ‘in Christ.’ This leaves no room for any other blessings to be found anywhere else but in Christ. All blessings come from only one source, Jesus Christ.
4.5. This verse speaks to us also about the “sufficiency of Christ” for all that we need, as do many other verses in scripture, including:
4.5.1. Paul wrote to the Colossians in Col. 2:1-3 explaining that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are to be found in Christ, “1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
4.5.2. We are complete in Christ: Colossians 2:8-10, “8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. 9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.”
4.5.3. We have all we need in Christ: 2 Peter 1:3-4, “3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”
4.6. These blessings are to be found in the ‘heavenly places.’ All of us as Christians have a new citizenship which is in heaven, and we are not of this world. It is true that we are in the world but we are not to be transformed by it for we are waiting to go to our real home in heaven and be with the Lord for eternity. The blessings that we have in Christ are also not the blessings of this life, nor of the flesh. They are spiritual blessings received through the agency of the Holy Spirit and they pertain to spiritual truth and the spiritual world that is unseen yet all around us. Truly, we who are Christians are living in the ‘heavenly’ realm right now through Christ, and we will see soon in the book of Ephesians that right now we are “seated in the heavenly places in Christ.” We are presently enjoying blessings in the ‘heavenly places’ in Christ, we are in heaven you see.
4.7. Again, these blessings all come to us through Christ. We are receiving them only because we are presently ‘in Christ.’
5. VS 1:4 - “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” - We were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world
5.1. Again, we see that it is God who is the originator. It is God who ‘chose us in Him’ and He did this not after the creation of the world, not after the fall of Lucifer, not after the fall of man, but ‘before the foundation of the world.’ Redemption through Christ was never an afterthought by the Lord, never God’s “Plan B” for mankind. Before anything was created God chose those who would come to salvation through Christ.
5.2. Being chosen by Christ to come to salvation does not mean that we do not make a choice for Him. Some people think that there is no use in believing in Christ or trying to be and live like a Christian since God chose those who will come to salvation in the first place. However, this is foolishness and nonsensical. All are called by God to come to salvation (“Whosoever calls upon the Lord shall be saved.”) and those who choose to believe in Christ and accept Him as their Lord and Savior end up being the ones who were chosen by God from the foundation of the world.
5.3. The fact that men and women are chosen for salvation before the foundation of the world does not relieve the church of the commission to go out and preach the gospel to all creation. We who preach the gospel end up being a part of God’s wonderful plan of reaching lost souls and bringing them to have eternal redemption through Christ. If we refuse to fulfill our part God uses someone else and we lose out on all the blessings we could have had.
5.4. It is not the case that the Lord chose those who would go to hell. That is the doctrine of “Double Predestination.” All are given a general call to come to salvation, some will and some will not. Those who of their own free will (and via the gumption of the Holy Spirit of course) determine to choose Christ as Lord and Savior end up being those whom the Lord chose for Himself before all was created.
5.5. Some argue that if God chooses who will be saved that He is unjust. However, this is not true. First of all, everyone has the chance to come to salvation for the call to be saved goes out to all. Plus, the scriptures reveal that every single person who refused to come to and serve the Lord in this life will have only themselves to blame on that day in which they stand before the Lord, for they refused to believe in the Lord in spite of His attempting in many many ways to woo them to Himself.
5.6. God’s plan in choosing those who would come to salvation includes also the fact that those who have truly been chosen by Him will also choose of their own free will to live a ‘holy’ and ‘blameless’ life before Him. This does not mean that God’s people will be perfect and sinless, for this could never be the case in this life. However, it does mean that they will continue to live in a state of repentance and strive to be holy as He is holy, and, they will seek to honor the Lord with their lips and behavior.
5.7. It was the ‘love’ of God (agape—God’s unconditional love) that caused Him to choose us to come to salvation. God’s ‘love’ for us is not a love that is triggered by any loveliness in us, nor because we are loveable. In fact, the opposite is true. In Rom. 5:8 Paul wrote about how completely undeserving any of us are of the ‘love’ that God has for us, “8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” We deserved the wrath of God because of our sins, not the ‘love’ of God yet in His grace and mercy He loved us in spite of ourselves.
5.8. 1Charles Spurgeon, the English preacher of a century and a half ago once said, “God certainly must have chosen me before I came into this world or He never would have done so afterwards.”
6. VS 1:5 - “5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,” - We have been predestined to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ
6.1. The Lord chose and ‘predestined’ each of us who are Christians to come into a relationship with Him as our Father. Christ is the only truly legitimate Son of God, while all who come to Christ come to Him through His ‘adoption’ of us as a son or daughter.
6.2. In John 1:12-13, the apostle John wrote about the fact that all of those who believe in Christ become sons of God, “12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
6.3. Being adopted children of the Lord, we are not treated or considered by the Lord as unwanted step children, nor as slaves. Rather, we immediately become co-heirs with Christ and all that He has as a Son He shares with us. We are resurrected with a body like His, we will reign with Him in His kingdom, His Father is now our Father, and in every way we share equally with Jesus. In fact, “The Lord Jesus Christ” is pleased to even consider us friends and brothers.
6.4. This coming to be a son or daughter of God through Jesus Christ does not occur because there is anything within us that is deserving of such an honor and privilege. It comes about only by the grace of God and ‘according to the kind intention of His will.’
6.5. Again, it is God who brings all of this about. It has all come about because it was His will to do these things before the foundation of the world.
7. VS 1:6 - “6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” - Our being chosen and predestined to adoption as sons is to result in the ‘praise of the glory of His grace’
7.1. God’s grand intentions are seen here—The Big Picture. Why has the Lord done all these things for sinful mankind, looking past our sins by His grace, love, and mercy and providing a way for us to come to salvation and then become sons of God through Christ? In the “sovereign will of God” He did these things because they would be ‘to the praise of the glory of His grace.’ This is why we exist.
7.2. Mankind was created, mankind and angels fell, Christ came to provide redemption, all so that God’s ‘grace’ could be seen in all of its ‘glory.’ This is a story that no man and no men could or would ever invent. It is a story that is too good to be true. It is a story that leaves no room for anyone but the Lord to receive ‘glory,’ for the only one who is worthy of praise, glory, honor, and worship is the Lord.
7.3. God’s grace through Christ was ‘freely bestowed on us.’ Salvation is a free gift, and all of God’s gifts and graces are given to us not with a demand or expectation that they be repaid. There is nothing that we could give in return that comes near to what we have received through the grace of God in Christ Jesus. God has given us these things only because they reveal how glorious He is in His ‘grace.’
7.4. These blessings all come to us ‘in the Beloved,’ or in Christ.
8.1. Oh, the grace of God, so unbelievable so undeserved… All of these blessings which we Christians receive because we are simply in Christ. None of these do we deserve.
8.2. Do you know personally the grace of God in Christ Jesus? Do you realize that now you are in Christ and that in Him you now have peace with God?
Do you realize that there is
nothing that you can add to what Jesus has already done on your behalf on
If you do not know these things, I
would ask you today to surrender your will and your life to the Lord to walk
before Him in holiness as a saint. Trust
in the finished work of Jesus upon the cross as your only righteousness and
only means of salvation. Give up trying
to please God or deserve His favor through the things that you do and simply
trust what He (Jesus) has done for you on
8.5. H.A. Ironside tells the following story that illustrates God’s grace shown to mankind, “You may remember the case of the woman who attempted the assassination of Queen Elizabeth I. She was dressed as a page, and had hid herself in the queen’s boudoir awaiting the convenient moment to stab her to death, not realizing that the queen’s attendants would be very careful to search the rooms before her majesty was permitted to retire. Hidden there among the gowns they found this woman and brought her into the presence of the queen. The took from her the dagger that she had hoped to plant in the heart of her sovereign. She realized that her case, humanly speaking, was hopeless, and so she threw herself down on her knees and pleaded and begged the queen to have compassion on her and show her grace. Queen Elizabeth looked at her quietly, and coolly said, “If I show you grace, what promise will you make for the future?” The woman looked up and said, “Grace that hath conditions, grace that is fettered by precautions, is not grace at all.” Queen Elizabeth understood immediately and said, “You are right; I pardon you of my grace,” and they led her away a free woman. History tells us that from that moment Queen Elizabeth had no more faithful devoted servant than that woman who had intended to take her life.” Is this not how the Lord has shown His grace to us through Jesus and the salvation He has provided for us?