Ephesians: One in Christ!
The Letter to the Ephesians is a unique book, full of rich doctrine and theology. Ephesus was home to one of the world’s seven wonders, the temple of Artemis, who was the daughter of Zeus. Ephesus was also known for its luxury, lack of legal or moral restraints, and disregard for sexual restraints. Ephesus was a busy city filled with commerce and was known as the highway into Asia from Rome.
This Epistle has a tone of great cheerfulness and spiritual elevation. The frequent use of expressions like “fullness,” “riches,” “abounded,” “exceeding riches,” “riches of glory,” and “exceeding abundantly” shows that Paul was in high spirits and delighted at the thought of God’s provision for the wants of sinners.
As the Pulpit Commentary puts it:
“No part of Scripture presents in a more striking light the riches of the grace of God, or furnishes his people with stronger inducements to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called.”
Paul, while writing to mostly Gentiles and Jews, asked them with excitement, “Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith they are called.” This vocation is being children of the most High God.
We also get this from Ephesians 4:1
“I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.”
This lands us on one of the major themes of this book, the Mystery that gentiles are fellow heirs and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel
Which we see in Ephesians 3:6
“This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
A Truth found throughout Ephesians is that the Church isn’t an organization but more of an organism with different parts and functions, and the Church is meant to reflect Christ. Many Churches say to the people outside the Church, “Don’t look at us,” “Look at Christ,” but Paul wants outsiders to see Christ in the Church.
The New Bible Commentary
“Ephesians challenges all of us to find better ways of making our local churches real communities of people who live and worship together as a church witness to the cosmic unity begun in Christ, and are deeply imbued with his presence.”
The central teaching in Ephesians is the unity we have in Christ 2:11-3:13; the Gentiles were grafted into the tree, and we Gentiles are brought in with the Jewish people. These two people groups cover everyone on the whole planet; Gentiles are just non-Jewish people, so whereas before, the Israelites were just God’s people, but now after what Christ has done on the cross, both Jews and Gentiles are brought together, making one unified body in Christ. So now those who are Christians are God’s people, not just the Israelites. All these different teachings we will get to while studying Ephesians are all found in Christ. And I believe these teaching and the whole book surround the central theme of this mystery that has been hidden for ages in God. This mystery is the unity that we have as one body through Christ. This mystery that has been revealed is that we Gentiles are part of God’s people and form one body.
I hope that in these next few months, we as individuals can learn to better “walk in a manner worthy of the calling,” and we, as BBC, can resemble Christ more and look like one unified organism working to advance the Gospel.