We are beginning this Sunday a systematic exposition of the epistle to the Ephesians. I have been stuck in the book for the past month and a half and stuck in the first half of the first chapter for the past few days. The thing about this letter is that it is exceedingly glorious. Right from the beginning you are going in at the deep end, you stagger at the passion and unbridled enthusiasm in the first few verses; and gasp as you take in the very involved and lengthy sentence that spans more than ten verses and is inevitably broken down in the English to make it readable. You bring out pen and paper, and split it into equations and corresponding propositions and when it is done (even before), it is a matter for marvel.
There lies before you a view of God’s heart, of His eternal purpose, of where the believer fits into it that is breathtakingly wonderful.
Ephesians is one of the prison letters, written, scholars agree, while Paul was most likely chained to a Roman soldier in prison in Rome. It is one letter that does not deal with any specific circumstance or problem in the church. It simply sets forth the glorious gospel. And many believe that explains the change in style and the flourishing eloquence of this book. This is good news pondered and proclaimed with feeling, with conviction, with wonder. Paul displays yet again this amazing marriage of reason and revelation, of razor sharp intellect and consuming passion, and Ephesians carries us into deep contemplation and joyous celebration. It is life changing.
What does it tell us? It expresses the greatness of God’s work in Christ, its impact on us as we are in Christ and God’s finality in sending Christ. Some of the most sublime truths of the faith are encapsulated in these few hundred verses – redemption, the victory and heavenly glory of Christ, the position of the believer seated with Christ, divine election, the new life, and unity in Christ. It is theology constantly breaking into doxology; prayers, and praise abound as the purpose of God is set forth. It is the picture of the kind of wonder and worship that should be attendant upon revelation and understanding of the mind of God. It is good news.