These are notes collected from studying with brothers in Christ. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!
I’ve recently been struck with how Paul introduces a lot of his letters: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph. 1:2). I generally fly by that part, but pause for a moment. It sounds like Paul is giving a personal greeting from God/Jesus as if he were right there with them. If I wrote and said, “Shana sends her grace and peace to you both,” that makes sense because you’d expect me to be in that close of contact with Shana. But here Paul does this with God Almighty! There is a sense of personal communication and intimacy that this really seems to speak to for me.
Love how Jesus’ person and work is the basis of their position before God and the beginning of Ephesians. If you lean all on Jesus and His atoning work, then you can never falter. If it’s your work you are leaning on, talk about unstable!!
I also love how God leaves us with a “stamp”, if you will, that we have truly trusted in Jesus: the Holy Spirit. He indwelling in us is our “seal” and “guarantee” of our inheritance. He enters us when we receive the gospel (Ephesians 1:13). And then He becomes the evidence (to others…but also to us) that we have truly received the true gospel. Again, the Spirit is a life separate from your own sinful life. So we have 2 lives in us (I think of our wives when they were pregnant–a life inside a life). Thankfully, the Spirit is the greater life of the 2 (see Rom. 8 ) so He always finds ways to poke Himself out of us. In this sense, again, it’s not reliant on us, but the Spirit within us to prove our position is unwavering in Christ.
I’m struck by how far away we all were from God before Jesus atoned our sins. It reads so hopeless: dead in our transgressions; far off from God; following the spirit of this age; etc. BUT GOD… steps in and all is made well. I’m deeply thankful for the gospel
“one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and IN ALL.” (Eph. 4:6)
This is talking about God being in all believers. It’s a powerful thought that the God over all would now condescend to live inside us little grasshoppers (compared to Him).
It’s also powerful that Paul talks about God (the Father) being in us, whereas earlier it talks about the Spirit being in us and Christ being in us. Shows very early on a solid trinitarian understanding of God in the church–which should be true today!
Also speaks to why they were called a temple (God lives in us).
And I think the picture of Eve coming “from Adam” but then Adam going “in Eve” (via his seed) is a powerful allusion to how we are in Christ and yet Christ is in us too (Paul actually draws from this in talking about husband-wife / Christ-church in Eph. 5). I could go on and talk about how Adam was put to sleep, and his side was pierced…just like Christ was put to sleep (temporary death) and his side was pierced on the cross…and from that the Spirit goes out to the church to form her and be inside her, that we might produce Christ’s offspring (so to speak) in discipling the nations!!
For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous ( that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
Wow. This challenges me bigtime. How far we’ve fallen from upholding his righteous standard.
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
This is another one that really challenges me to consider. “Everything” is a big word. I can see how it had been abused to mean slavish obedience (as opposed to yielded heart that can pose questions, give input, and even disobey when it’s clear Christ the heavenly husband is speaking contrary to the earthly husband). Saying that, I see a more flippant “egalitarian” ethos we fight against today. I think it really can do harm in speaking to the greater picture of Christ and the church.
Of course, men, our calling is no easier:
- love her completely sacrificially (not as a doormat, but a sacrificial leader)
- love and cherish her as you do yourself
- wash her by your words—especially pointing to Gods word.
Surely such service would go a long way in raising up wives who wanted to submit in everything.