Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ephesians 1:1-2

Ephesians 1:1-2
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through a will of God, to the holy ones who are in Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus.  Grace to you all and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

Paul begins this letter as he does almost every single letter that he wrote.  Paul claims apostleship in the Lord.  We need to understand this claim, however.  In modern days we think that by using the world “apostle” that Paul is calling himself a leader or someone important.  This is just not the case.  Paul is claiming two things.  First, Paul is claiming himself to be a person who focuses on doing mission to and for people who do not have a relationship with Christ.  Second, Paul is claiming that he is sent by God to do God’s will to the people of God’s choosing.  Notice the emphasis of what I just said.  An apostle is inherently someone sent by someone else to do someone else’s mission.  Being an apostle is never about your own agenda or your own plans.  Being an apostle is about someone else.  Being an apostle of Jesus Christ is all about Christ’s agenda and His plans.  Paul is a part of Jesus’ task force, not trying to create his own.

Are you an apostle of Jesus Christ?  Are you about His plans or your own?

Second Thought:

Notice also that Paul says that he is an apostle through a will of God.  Yes, this is another time to point to God’s action not his own.  But I think it’s more than that.  As you read those words, it is easy to read them with an air of amazement.  I think as Paul writes these words that he is still amazed that God would call one such as him.  After all, he had many things wrong with him at the time of his calling.  But God still chose him.  That’s downright incredible.

Are you amazed that God would call you?  What are all the negatives that you can think of why you shouldn’t have been called into discipleship and apostleship under Christ?  Why don’t any of these things actually matter in Christ?

Third Thought:

When Paul writes, he writes about grace and peace coming from God.  These are two huge theological concepts. 
  • Remember that we are sinners by definition.  Grace deals with our sinful nature.  By grace, we are forgiven and saved.  This is why Paul says “grace to you all. 
  • Peace deals with our relationship.  Because our nature is sin and our flesh is corrupt, we are by default at war with God – enemies to His righteousness.  Through Christ, that status has been removed and we now have peace with Him.  This is why Paul says “peace from God.

When Paul begins this letter with grace and peace, he’s not just using words.  He’s describing the status of our relationship with God.  These are probably the two greatest concepts that we as human beings need to base our life upon.  For the record, when pastors begin the church service with these same words, we’re doing the same thing.  It’s not just an address; it is a call to the greatest reality we can ever know with respect to relationships.

What does grace mean to you and for your life?  What does it mean for you to be at peace with God?

Passage for Tomorrow: Ephesians 1:3-6
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