God’s Saving Word: Faith
Ephesians 1:1-23: Today we begin reading the letter to the Ephesians. The apostle Paul had been in Ephesus where he preached in the synagogue and also lectured in the hall of Tyrannus, who was believed to be a teacher or the owner of the lecture hall (see Acts 19:1-10). The opening chapter describes the unfolding of God’s plan and our relationship with God. The chapter concludes with a prayer of thanksgiving for God’s “wonderful blessings.”
1 From Paul, who by God’s will is an apostle of Christ Jesus—
To God’s people in Ephesus, who are faithful in their life in union with Christ Jesus:
2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
Spiritual Blessings in Christ
3 Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! For in our union with Christ he has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world. 4 Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him.
Because of his love 5 God had already decided that through Jesus Christ he would make us his children—this was his pleasure and purpose. 6 Let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift he gave us in his dear Son! 7 For by the blood of Christ we are set free, that is, our sins are forgiven. How great is the grace of God, 8 which he gave to us in such large measure!
In all his wisdom and insight 9 God did what he had purposed, and made known to us the secret plan he had already decided to complete by means of Christ. 10 This plan, which God will complete when the time is right, is to bring all creation together, everything in heaven and on earth, with Christ as head.
11 All things are done according to God’s plan and decision; and God chose us to be his own people in union with Christ because of his own purpose, based on what he had decided from the very beginning. 12 Let us, then, who were the first to hope in Christ, praise God’s glory!
13 And you also became God’s people when you heard the true message, the Good News that brought you salvation. You believed in Christ, and God put his stamp of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit he had promised. 14 The Spirit is the guarantee that we shall receive what God has promised his people, and this assures us that God will give complete freedom to those who are his. Let us praise his glory!
15 For this reason, ever since I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks to God for you. I remember you in my prayers 17 and ask the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you the Spirit, who will make you wise and reveal God to you, so that you will know him. 18 I ask that your minds may be opened to see his light, so that you will know what is the hope to which he has called you, how rich are the wonderful blessings he promises his people, 19 and how very great is his power at work in us who believe. This power working in us is the same as the mighty strength 20 which he used when he raised Christ from death and seated him at his right side in the heavenly world. 21 Christ rules there above all heavenly rulers, authorities, powers, and lords; he has a title superior to all titles of authority in this world and in the next. 22 God put all things under Christ’s feet and gave him to the church as supreme Lord over all things. 23 The church is Christ’s body, the completion of him who himself completes all things everywhere.
Today’s Key Verse: Ephesians 1:6
Let us praise God for his glorious grace, for the free gift he gave us in his dear Son!
Verses 3-14 comprise a beatitude, or blessing, in which we read about God “giving us every spiritual blessing” (verse 3). In Greek, the language in which the letter was written, these verses are actually one sentence, constructed as a series of clauses that describe God as Creator who has redeemed us through Christ and bestowed on us the Holy Spirit. What blessings are recounted in these verses? How is our relationship with God described (verse 5)? What is your understanding of God’s “secret plan” (verses 9, 10)?
Holy God, source of every spiritual blessing, draw me close to you. Daily remind me of your grace which you have given me in such large measure. I praise you, Lord God, for your glorious grace. Amen.
Ephesians 2:1-22: God’s abundant mercy and grace brings us from death to life with Christ.