According to the introduction provided by the Holman Christian Standard Bible, “Structurally, the letter of Ephesians divides in half. After Paul’s greetings, the first half consists of a theological exposition that spells out the identity of, and the benefits for, those who are in Christ. The letter’s second half details Paul’s ethical exhortations—the responsibilities of those who find their identity in Christ.”

1:4-6: “for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will, to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.” God had already chosen us before we chose Him. Because we are made in His image, we are designed to be His children. This accounts for the reason that if a person does not have Christ in their life, then they feel an empty space inside. They are always yearning for someone or something, but they have no idea what can fill this space. We read a little later in 1:17-18: “I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints.”

William Klein has pointed out that, “Debates over whether God has chosen specific individuals for salvation or whether they choose to believe in Christ may miss Paul’s point here. He affirmed the corporate election of the church “in Him.” Individuals are elect because they are in Christ. Paul affirmed predestination—a divine action that determines future realities. God predestined that those in Christ will be adopted as His children so that God will receive praise and that they will live for the praise to God’s glory. Paul did not claim that humans have no self-determining free will. As Romans 9 indicates, God is able to use even sinful human choices for His purposes. But the point here is that whatever God does for those in Christ, He does according to a carefully orchestrated plan for their benefit. Being “dead” in sins does not imply that unbelievers can do no good or that they cannot respond to the message of salvation through God’s initiating grace. This describes their hopeless condition as separated from God. Salvation removes that separation and locates believers “in Christ Jesus.”

2:8-10: “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—not from works, so that no one can boast. For we are His creation—created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” Klein observed that these verses are best interpreted as follows: “While good works cannot merit right standing with God, good works are the fruit borne in the lives of those whom God has saved. Good works are neither an afterthought nor optional in the lives of believers. God created and saved them for the very purpose of doing good works.”

2:13, 19-22: “But now in Christ Jesus, you who were far away have been brought near by the blood of the Messiah. So then you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with the saints, and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the cornerstone. The whole building is being fitted together in Him and is growing into a holy sanctuary in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for God’s dwelling in the Spirit.” As we mature individually in our faith, it is imperative to support others in maturing in their faith as well in order to have strong unity with each other as a church (body of believers). We all have gifts to make use of from the Spirit and we need each other to bring harmony with the gifts given. Back in 1 Corinthians 12, we discovered that although there is a diversity of gifts, there is one Spirit that is active in all of them. In 1 Co 12:20 we read, “Now there are many parts, yet one body.”

Returning to Ephesians, we discover the purpose of our gifts in 3:7, 11-12: “I was made a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of His power. This is according to the purpose of the ages, which He made in the Messiah, Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness, access, and confidence through faith in Him.” God does not want us to be reclusive with our faith. We are meant to live our lives with our heart on our sleeves and our heads held high knowing that God is with us every step of the way. We have been appointed to be living examples of what it means to be believers of Christ to engender a feeling of curiosity to those who do not yet believe. 3:16-19: “I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

4:25-27, 31-32: “Since you put away lying, Speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the Devil an opportunity. All bitterness, anger and wrath, insult and slander must be removed from you, along with all wickedness. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.” It is natural for a person to get angry at either a circumstance or another individual. What we do with our anger is what makes a difference of how others form their opinions on our personality and faith. Nobody is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, God still loves us all, and we should follow His example of grace and mercy. Notice what is said in 5:15-18: “Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise—making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless actions, but be filled with the Spirit.”

In regards to 6:5-9, “Paul did not condone slavery when urging both slaves and masters to live as responsible Christians; his concern was to change Christian’s attitudes toward each other. The gospel is opposed to slavery. Where the gospel permeates lives, the institution of slavery will be undermined and abolished. It is worth noting that the first generation of Christians who had been freed from slavery to sin, gladly called themselves “slaves” of God or of Christ. Paradoxically, this latter slavery is the highest human freedom.” (Klein) 6:6-7: “Don’t work only while being watched, in order to please men, but as slaves of Christ, do God’s will from your heart. Render service with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men.”

6:10-11: “Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.” The armor of God is found in 6:14-17: belt of truth; armor of righteousness; sandals of readiness for the gospel of peace; shield of faith; helmet of salvation; and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. By putting on God’s armor on a daily basis, we will be able to fight stronger all of the temptations that the Devil throws our way and be able to increase our trust in God knowing He is in control. Following the list of armor in Ephesians we find more guidance, 6:18: “With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and stay alert in this, with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” We need to always be observant and prayer regularly for not just ourselves, but for everyone and be able to listen for God’s answer in that still small voice that He gives. 6:24: “Grace be with all who have undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.”

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