By Stan Brown
Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:
Paul begins his letter to the Ephesians with a greeting that designates him as the author of this letter. He declares himself to be an apostle as he does in nine out of his thirteen letters that are included in the New Testament. He states that his apostleship is due to God’s will rather than his own. His authority comes from God and not from men. (Just a quick thought in regard to that as it relates to our own lives; God has a role for each of us to play in this world and in the church. Paul will have something more to say about this later in Ephesians. As he reveals that role to us, we accept that gifted responsibility with humility. It is tremendous to realize that God cares about us to the point of trusting us with responsibilities as part of His body. As we speak and live His word we speak and live with the same authority as did Paul.
Paul is writing to believers who are in Ephesus. In fact, the second half of the verse might well be translated to the saints who are at Ephesus, that is those who are believers in Christ Jesus. It is interesting that very early in this epistle where Paul will celebrate God’s choice of us as His children, he also begins with the parallel celebration of our responsibility to place our faith in Him. There will certainly be some tension in this epistle as the two thoughts are laid out in concert but there is no tension in the mind of God as Paul celebrates God’s magnificence and our responsibility together. We would not want to live without either truth.
John’s epistle, which we just completed, was certainly an epistle of love. The letter to the Ephesians is also a letter of love. Paul will speak of “agape” love twenty times in this book. Just as did John, he will speak of the love that God displays to us being played out in the love we exhibit for one another. The letter to the Ephesians is also a letter of faith and belief. The Greek family of words translated faith/belief are used twelve times in this book.