Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thoughts on Ephesians

One might call the letter to the Ephesians the "Deep Gospel" or the "Full Gospel".  It moves beyond the core teaching of the substitutionary death of Christ and of salvation by grace through faith to consider "the mystery of (God's) will" regarding His plan for the whole sweep of history and for all the nations of the world.  The core teaching of the gospel is restated and affirmed, of course, but its underpinnings in God's intentions and choices before the foundation of the world, and its goal for the fullness of time, these are the ideas which excite Paul's exuberant praises, thanksgivings, and encouragements to his brethren in Asia Minor.  God has had an incredible plan all along, since before the creation, key parts of which had remained hidden from the understanding of mankind but which are now revealed to His people in the current, last days of the world:  all things created, whether in Heaven or Earth, are to be united in Christ, and all his people, from all the nations (not just or even primarily Jews) are to be united into one body, which will manifest this fullness of all-in-all.  And we are and will be part of that body.

This letter answers the question, what are we saved for?  To what end our salvation?  Why all these ages before and after the coming of Jesus?  I am a Christian, I have left the bondage of sin and the world, but into what have I entered?  What is the point?  What is God's purpose in history, whether the history of the whole world down through the ages, or the history of my own relatively brief life?

An understanding of these mysteries is the great news that Paul is sharing with the Ephesians, and it is in light of this understanding that we are to live as befits a people with such a glorious past and future.


I am currently teaching Ephesians to an adult Sunday school class.  As a reference for those students, and an exercise for myself, I will in the coming days attempt to place in this blog space some thoughts on that text.  

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