1 From Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.
To God's people who live in Ephesus and are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.
2I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!
Christ Brings Spiritual
3Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the spiritual blessings that Christ has brought us from heaven! 4Before the world was created, God had Christ choose us to live with him and to be his holy and innocent and loving people. 5God was kind and decided that Christ would choose us to be God's own adopted children. 6God treated us with undeserved grace because of the Son he dearly loves, and so we should praise God.
7-8 Christ sacrificed his life's blood to set us free, which means our sins are now forgiven. Christ did this because of God's gift of undeserved grace to us. God has great wisdom and understanding, 9and by what Christ has done, God has shown us his own mysterious ways. 10Then when the time is right, God will do all he has planned, and Christ will bring together everything in heaven and on earth.
11God always does what he plans, and this is why he appointed Christ to choose us. 12He did this so we Jews would bring honor to him and be the first ones to have hope because of him. 13Christ also brought you the truth, which is the good news about how you can be saved. You put your faith in Christ and were given the promised Holy Spirit to show you belong to God. 14The Spirit also makes us sure we will be given what God has stored up for his people. Then we will be set free, and God will be honored and praised.
Most of us know the sense that change is about to take place, and we are not sure where that will lead. Perhaps pressure at work from someone senior saying we should move on, or from personal dissatisfaction that seems to say we’ve served our usefulness, causes us to start looking at job boards and down-loading applications.
But it seems that Paul’s life changing experience had no preparation. He was totally satisfied with his achievements and, as far as he was concerned, so was God. But things were about to change in a way he could never have imagined. On the way to arrest believers in Damascus, he met the risen Jesus.
This was Paul’s call, not only to stop persecuting believers but to give himself unreservedly to Christ and to follow Him. He had been chosen by God, as he makes clear in verse 1.
The concept of God calling people is found throughout the Bible but, surprisingly, while it does refer to individuals being called, the term applies much more commonly to communities or nations. However, in both cases, individual and national, the calling is ultimately to servanthood.
So Israel was called, the remnant in Babylon was called, the Church is called, and individual sinners are called. When we see the doctrine of election through the lens of service, many of its apparent difficulties are removed. While individual people are called to receive salvation, by far the greater emphasis is that they are called to serve God.
As you read the chapter, and then the letter as a whole, you will notice that Paul is continually using Old Testament vocabulary. This is important to keep in mind if you want to follow what he is saying. The best way to understand Paul is by reading your Old Testament!
Dear Father, You choose us to be Your people and to serve You by making Your Gospel known. Please help us to be faithful in doing this. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Tom Holland was born in Liverpool during the Blitz. Converted at 15, he studied Theology and was ordained as a Baptist Pastor. Tom received a PhD from the University of Wales and became a lecturer at what is now Union School of Theology, Oxford, England where he taught undergraduates, postgraduates and supervised PhD’s for 25 years. He is now retired and serves as Senior Research Fellow and is involved in writing and itinerant teaching/preaching ministry. He is married to Barbara; a teacher and they have three daughters and six grandchildren. Publications: Contours of Pauline Theology, Fearn, Ross-shire, Christian Focus Publications, 2004; Romans, Hope for the Nations, Apiary Publishing, London, 2018 , Tom Wright and the Search for Truth, Apiary Publishing, London, 2019, Missing Lense, Apiary Publishing, London, 2019, Romans the Divine Marriage, Apiary Publishing, London, 2020.