Ephesians 1 (Part III)

View from Arcadiane to The Great Theatre, Ephesus

As I explained in Part I of this series, when the Apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he probably believed it was the last time he would ever communicate with them.

He had much to tell them, but there were two things that were foundational. In Part II I mentioned that the first thing Paul wanted the Ephesian Christians to understand was their identity in Christ.

Paul told them they were chosen, adopted sons of God, redeemed and forgiven. It was essential the Ephesian Christians understood their identity because without that understanding they could not understand their destiny.

Their destiny, Paul said, was an inheritance in an administration whose purpose was the “summing up of all things in Christ….” (v. 9-12).

Their destiny was not in the Bush administration or the Obama administration but the Jesus administration, i.e., the kingdom of God.

“Summing up” means reconciling. (Col. 1:19-20). Paul was telling the Ephesian Christians that their destiny was with a kingdom that would reconcile their city to God. Paul made the same point to the Corinthians, telling them that Jesus was reconciling the world to Himself and they had been given the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Cor. 5:18-19).

To the Ephesian Christians the idea that Jesus would reconcile and transform their city must have bordered on the unbelievable. They were persecuted by the Jews who considered them a cult and by the pagans who considered them atheists. Ephesus was one of the largest and most famous pagan cities in the world and the Christians there would have seen the Temple of Artemis every day as proof of that. But that is all the more reason Paul needed them to understand their identity in Christ as chosen, forgiven and redeemed adopted sons and daughters of the true God.

Paul wanted the Ephesian Christians to understand their identity and their destiny. He wanted them to know who they were and what they were called to do. He wanted them to understand they had been chosen to change the world. GS

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