I recently finished my series on the Gospel of Luke. I have been systematically going through the New Testament in the order that the Holy Spirit revealed it to the church.
I started with the four foundational books – James, First Thessalonians, Galatians and Mark. The next thing on the Holy Spirit’s agenda was to inspire books that dealt with our personal walk with the Lord. These books include Second Thessalonians, First and Second Corinthians, Romans, and Luke.
After that, the Lord gave us books dealing with our corporate walk. We need to understand life as a church. These epistles are Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.
The end of the book of Acts finds the Apostle Paul standing trial at Rome. This was his first Roman imprisonment. It seems that he had his own apartment while under house arrest.
It was during this time that these books were written. They are also called the prison epistles. It probably gave Paul a lot of time reflect on what it means for the body of Christ to be a living organism. We are not just a social organization.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:1-2 NIV
It’s always important to see how these writings begin. It tells us what to expect and who it’s written to. So often we don’t apply Scripture correctly because we lack this knowledge.
Paul makes it clear who he’s writing to. He addresses this letter to the holy and faithful in Ephesus. We need to understand this.
At this point, the Holy Spirit inspired books that gave a foundation for the faith. He then gave books that taught us how to live out our personal walk with Christ. Paul is assuming that the readers are applying these principles.
So often we read Ephesians and simply try to “confess and claim” all of the wonderful promises it contains. The sad thing is, we don’t realize that there needs to be a foundation of faithfulness before we can walk in the truths of this book.
I need to know how to walk faithfully before God as an individual before I can begin to walk faithfully with others. I think that’s where many problems originate in the church. I don’t know how to walk rightly before God, so it breaks down my relationships with fellow believers.
The next thing I see is Paul pronouncing a blessing over them. He prays grace and peace upon them in the Lord.
Grace is the Lord’s favor upon us in response to our faith. We trust Him, and even though we don’t deserve it, God blesses our lives.
Peace is another important concept. The Greek word used here comes from a root that means to join. It’s the word we use as the opposite of war. You need at least two people in order to have peace. Paul will explain this to us further on in his letter.
As we go through this letter, we’ll learn a lot about God’s grace and peace to us. Of course, we’ll also learn about the spiritual war that we’re a part of. Hopefully you’ll come along with me on this journey.
Question: How does your personal walk with God affect your relationship with others?
© 2023 Nick Zaccardi