By Stan Brown
Ephesians 4:6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
The seventh element that emphasizes the unity that we have as members of the body of Christ is one God and Father. In verse four Paul mentioned three elements that cluster around the Holy Spirit. In verse five he mentioned three elements that center on the Son. In this verse where the Father is central, he describes the Father with three prepositional phrases ((1) who is over all; (2) who is through all; (3) who is in all). The context reveals that the word all (Father of all) refers to all believers and not all humans. Paul is driving home the point that we, as believers are united in one body with God as our one Father. It would be incongruous to have this refer to all of humanity as he emphasizes the point that all believers are united in Christ. He is our Father as we are His children (But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name (John 1:12), For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:26).) When we believe through faith, we together become members of one family with God as one Father.
Although it is true that God is the one who is supreme in all creation, the context would once more suggest that he is speaking of believers. The four uses of all in this verse agree as He is Father of all believers and over all believers and through all believers and in all believers. Paul is emphasizing the unity of all believers. Paul uses three prepositions to describe our relationship with the Father. (1) He is over all. Paul pictures the sovereignty of God in our lives. When we take the sovereignty of God seriously it will result in the realization that He remains in control as we endure trials. We will trust His wisdom in shepherding us through all that occurs in our lives. We will be united together in Him. He is our Father and cares deeply for each one of His children. (2) He is through all. The Father has chosen to work through the lives of believers. He empowers us to accomplish His purpose (Paul will shortly speak of the gifts with which He has entrusted us.). (we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (2:9)). God is alive and active in the world today through the lives of His children united together in one body. (3) He is in all. God indwells us through the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives to perform the tasks to which He has called us. In 3:17 Paul prayed that Christ might be at home in our hearts. Does Christ feel at home in my heart?
The central theme of these three verses is that the one God, in the persons of the Holy Spirit, the Son and the Father, is both our example of unity and provides the enabling of that unity in our lives. Paul goes against most of our statements of faith in these verses as he reverses the order in that he begins with the Holy Spirit and ends with the Father. In context, Paul speaks of the unity of the Spirit (v.3) and continues with a discussion of the gifts of the Spirit in the following verses. It is only natural that he would use the order that he does. (He had probably not read the Apostle’s Creed.) It also serves to emphasize the equality and unity within the Trinity.