Updated: Dec 17, 2020
Paul describes God's plan in Chapter 1and how to enter the plan in Chapter 2. In this chapter, he describes his own involvement in God's eternal plan. After identifying himself as a prisoner of Christ—instead of Ephesus or Rome—his train of thought shifts abruptly to the responsibility placed on his shoulders by God, preaching God's mysterious plan regarding Christ—kept secret since creation now revealed to the apostles and prophets—to the Gentiles. Chapter 3 is a short read, after which I'll add my 2-cents worth with a few closing comments.
Paul proclaims part of God's plan is a union of Gentile and Jew, one body belonging to Christ with the same promised inheritance. Paul prides himself in being a servant of Christ, and in the very next verse admonishes himself as the least deserving of God's people (probably a reference to his earlier transgressions against followers of Jesus). He echos an earlier comment (Chapter 1:21), writing of another realm in "the heavenly places." Paul affirms it's Christ's sacrifice—rather than good works—that enables believers to enter boldly into God's presence.
Paul returns to his opening thoughts in verse 14, expressing his love and hopes for the Ephesians with a closing prayer. Paul prayed for their greater understanding in Chapter 1. In this chapter, he prays for their spiritual growth and empowerment. His prayer is laid out sequentially, He prayed for God the Father to empower the Ephesians with the Holy Spirit, so that Christ would make His home in their hearts, so that their roots would grow strong in God's love, so that they might comprehend how vast God's love for them really is. Paul goes on to explain that in Christ Jesus we have within us the power of God the Father, Christ Jesus, and the Holy Spirit—if we believe we have it and rely on Him to lead us and meet our day-to-day needs. Easier said than done?
Well, here’s some good news. God is the Creator of everything and gladly gives of his endless riches to His children. How does this work? Good question. By believing in Christ Jesus, His resurrection, and by trusting in Him, you make a place in your heart for the Spirit and become part of God’s family. Paul explains that we become more like Christ each day we grow in the knowledge of God’s grace and the love of Christ. That’s the essence. Hard to understand? Ok. This may help. Christ’s love for us is beyond our limited human understanding. It expands out in every direction, beyond our limited 3rd dimension. This makes it hard for anyone to understand. You’re not alone. This is where faith comes in.
You must remember having faith in your parents. You once had faith in your very best friends—until you got involved with politics—and maybe you had faith in other things as well. In dark times, when people all around are losing faith in everything from government to church and in between, it’s time to have faith in what matters, the risen Lord Jesus. Open a place in your heart for Jesus, give your burden over to him, and let it go. From there it’s a growth process. Don’t expect overnight changes. It’s a time to exercise patience and find the blessing when things don’t go as planned. There’s a reason for everything.
As things begin to get better, faith grows greater and stronger. Here’s more good news. All you need do is open your heart and make room for the Spirit, who by working in and through you will transform you in the process. Like I said, complete understanding isn’t possible, so don’t strain your brain. Just remember. Chapters 1—3:1-13 talk about the power. In Chapter 3:14-21, we're told how this power works, and it's just getting better! Our next study Chapter 4, is the road map to the power within us! If you seek a deeper understanding of God, join the discussion of Ephesians 4 next week. And in the time in between, believe and partake in the glory of God!
Food for thought:
What does Paul hope we learn from reading this letter?
What is the mighty power of God that works in and through believers?
How are we empowered through our faith in Christ?
What did Paul ask for in his 2nd prayer for the Ephesians?