Eph 1:1. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.
Paul presents himself here as “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God.” In this series, we will see the sovereign will of a sovereign God being very prominent. Note also that when Paul speaks of himself as a “apostle,” the accent in his voice is not that of pride but of sheer amazement. To the end of the day Paul was amazed that God could have chosen a man like him to do his work. I can definitely relate to this. I have often wondered why God would reach down over the portals of heaven and pick me up from the miry clay to stand on the solid rock of Christ, eternally saved. It reminds me of a poem I once saw. I have no idea who wrote it but it says:
“How Thou canst think so well of us,
And be the God Thou art,
Is darkness to my intellect,
But sunshine to my heart.”
But there is another point that will be referred back to later on and that is to “the saints which are at Ephesus.” We must remember throughout this series that Paul is writing to “the saints’ or those who are saved by the sovereign grace of God. We will see why this is important when we get to verse 4 and 5.
Eph 1:2. Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace has always two main ideas in it. The Greek word is charis (pronounced “khar’-ece”) and means graciousness, of manner or act. There must be a certain loveliness in the Christian life. A Christianity which is unattractive is no real Christianity. Grace always describes a gift; and a gift which it would have been impossible for a man to procure for himself, and which he never earned and in no way deserved. Whenever we mention the word grace, we must think of the sheer loveliness of the Christian life and the sheer undeserved generosity of the heart of God.
When we think of the word peace In connection with the Christian life we must be careful. In Greek the word is eirene (ei-ray’-nay), and according to Thayer, means;
the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.
Christian peace is something quite independent of outward circumstances. Just this past year, a young actor, Lee Thompson Young, whom I really enjoyed watching on TV, died of suicide. Here was a young fellow, only 29-years-old, who by worldly standards had everything anyone would want, money, popularity, nice home, nice car, etc., but did not have peace. So you see that a person might live in ease and luxury and yet not have peace; on the other hand, someone might be living a life of poverty with none of the advantages of the rich and famous, and be at perfect peace. The explanation is that there is only one source of peace in all the world, and that is doing the will of God. When we are doing something which we know we ought not to do or are evading something that we know we ought to do, there is always a haunting uneasiness at the back of our minds; but if we are doing something very difficult, even something we do not want to do, so long as we know that it is the right thing there is a certain contentment in our hearts. “In his will is our peace.”
Personal Study: Post your answers in the comments section below.
1) Have you had someone in your life that modeled the principles in these verses?
2) What are some of the benefits of applying this verse to our lives?