The Epistle to the Ephesians is filled with great teachings about the church, grace, redemption, holiness, unity and more. Yet, to really get the most out of the epistle, we must slow down and notice the small words. There we will find buried treasure.
It’s easy to go too fast when we study the Bible, hoping to catch the major principles. But, we can look at the first chapter of Ephesians and learn the error of our ways. Paul is very precise as a writer and each word is loaded with power.
Paul’s theme is the Church and his approach is one we should teach as often as possible. Those who are “in Christ” are God’s people. We’re added to the Lord’s body (Acts 2:47) when we’re immersed into Christ (Romans 6:3-4; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:26-27).
We can discuss which religious groups are close to the truth but it’s immaterial if the members aren’t in Christ. As we examine Ephesians chapter one, we see why we must be there.
Notice, “faithful in Christ” (Ephesians 1:1, NKJV); “in the heavenly places in Christ” (1:3); “chose us in Him” (1:4); “before him in love” (1:4); “accepted in the beloved” (1:6); “In Him we have redemption” (1:7); “purposed in Himself” (1:9); “both which are in heaven and which are on earth-in Him” (1:10); “in whom also we have obtained an inheritance” (1:11); “trusted in Christ” (1:12-13).
Paul writes that “we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (1:4). “Before” him is crucial because God is always watching (Psalm 139:7-12; Luke 1:75) and we’re always accountable (Ephesians 4:1).
He “predestined us ‘to’ adoption” (1:5). God decided that he would have a group of people who were his disciples (Matthew 16:18). He brought us to this moment that we must use to accept him.
Thanks to his redemptive blood and grace “which he made to abound ‘toward’ us.” Once again, God places righteousness before us and we choose whether to accept his offer (Ezekiel 18:19-21).
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth” (1:13). We heard the truth and accepted it. Now we have a responsibility to live it. We, “having believed, [we] were sealed, with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance ‘until’ the redemption…” (1:13-14).
The Lord’s Church will be returned to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24) and Christ will do whatever it takes to keep it pure. We must continue to serve God with diligence and perseverance until we draw our last breath. Until the end comes, we fight in the Lord’s army (Ephesians 6:11ff).
We miss a lot when we fast forward through the text. Bible study requires that we pay very close attention to the Word, so Christ can be seen in technicolor.