1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
Paul wrote this epistle around 61AD while in prison in Rome. Although the letter is addressed to the Ephesian Christians, it is quite likely that Paul readily intended it to be read as a circular letter to the seven fellowships recorded in Revelation chapters 2-3. It is evident from Colossians 4v16 that Paul wanted to encourage that his communications to individual fellowships have a wider circulation. Without doubt Paul’s intention in writing this epistle is to convey to believers the corporate purpose of the Church and to underline the incredibly privileged relationship that believers now have with Jesus Christ.
In the very first verse we read that Paul recognises that he is an apostle (which means one who is sent) by the will of God. In other words, it was not Paul’s idea or intention to preach this wonderful message. In fact we know from the book of Acts chapter 9 that Paul was ardently opposed to the Gospel until he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. But it was God’s will to change the course of Paul’s life from one of murderous intent to that of compete abandon for the Gospel. So we are confronted from the very start of this epistle with the matter of God’s choice over ours! We did not choose Him, as Jesus Himself confirmed in John 15v16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” The Church Father Augustine stated this accurately when he said that man could not choose God unless God first led him (or her) to that point of decision. Again Jesus spells out this truth in John 6v44, “no one can come to Me unless the Father first draws him.”
We still have a part to play in accepting God’s will for our lives, because God never forces His will on us. When we surrender and agree with God the effect is that we are working in partnership with Him. But we must always remind ourselves that it is God Who works in us to will and to act according to His good pleasure (chapter 1v5). We are not our own, we were bought at a price therefore we must glorify God in our bodies and in our spirit because they are God’s. See 1 Corinthians 6v20 below.
This fundamental truth – God’s choice of us, should fill us with both eternal gratitude and immense humility. Who are we? We were once in darkness, but now we are CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT; once we were not a people, but now we are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; once we were enemies in our minds and behaviour, but now we are the very FRIENDS OF GOD; once we were slaves to sin and selfish living, but now we are SERVANTS OF THE KING OF KINGS; once we were empty, but now we are the DWELLING PLACE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!
As we continue our study together of this wonderful epistle all this and so much more will be explored and revealed. For the time being let us bare this in mind… We deserve none of this Divine attention; we are simply recipients of God’s marvellous grace. So let us each take time to worship God our Creator for the revelation of these eternal truths to our hearts and minds.
Let us take a moment to pray this prayer realising that as we pray for each other we are praying for ourselves too…
OUR PRAYER FOR TODAY
“Heavenly Father, we thank You that we did not choose You but that You chose us. May we be of those who “are sent” of Jesus Christ by the will of God into Your world today to share Your grace and truth. Amen.
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
1 Peter 2