Paul begins the Ephesian letter in a very different way from his other letters. Almost all thirteen of his letters begin with an introduction (I Paul, to you…Grace to you…) and immediately move to a prayer of thanksgiving and a prayer of petition. Ephesians is different. Paul has a prayer of thanksgiving and petition (Ephesians 1:15-18) but not until after he bursts into praise for what God has done for us “in Christ”.
Ephesians 1:3-14 is eleven verses with eleven statements about Jesus. I wonder why? The apostle does not explicitly state his motive; however, it is implied in chapters two and three that these Gentile Christians struggled with confidence in their salvation. They either had an inferiority complex as opposed to the confident Jewish Christians, or they just had a general insecurity in their salvation. In any case the solution is the same: make your salvation more about who Jesus is and what Jesus does for us and less about who we are and what we do to save ourselves.
Can you identify with these Christians in this letter? Then my spiritual prescription to you as your loco…I mean local preacher, is read and reread Ephesians 1:3-14 and then listen to In Christ Alone by Keith and Kristyn Getty along with Alison Krauss.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.