Ephesians 1. In these introductory verses, we are told three things. 1st, Paul is an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. 2nd, this letter was written to the believers in Ephesus who were faithful in Christ Jesus. 3rd, Paul commends grace and peace to the believers which come from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:1-2, NKJV
Paul was certainly an apostle who was one who was born out of due time. In other words, he did not walk and talk with the Lord Jesus Christ during His years of public ministry on this earth, as did the other apostles. Yet, he was chosen to be an apostle, not by men, but by the will of God.
The history of Paul's conversion and training is given to us in Acts 9. Through a miraculous appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was converted while on his way to Damascus. God then appeared to Ananias, giving him instructions to go to Saul and bring him to the believers in Damascus.
Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake.
Though our personal conversion to Christ was probably much less dramatic than the conversion of Paul, it is also true of us that our conversions are by the will of God. That theme will be covered more extensively as we walk through Ephesians 1.
Second, as we read through this letter to the Ephesians, let us keep in mind that this book was written to believers, i. e. those who were faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many misconceptions in our day as to what it means to be a believer. There are those that think that just believing in God makes one a Christian, or living in a Christian nation, or going to church. None of these things were mentioned by Paul here in this verse. These believers were faithful in Christ Jesus. The true believers forsake the things of this world and cast themselves upon Christ, alone. Even the devils believe in God and tremble, but that does not make them believers!
Third, Paul commends these believers to have grace and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ. Grace, the unmerited favor of God, is a gift of God. It is not something we can earn, but rather something we are given by Christ. Second, true peace is a gift of God. We rest in God and in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In a day when tension, wars, and world-wide troubles seem to rule the day, we are comforted in the knowledge that God rules over all things. Nothing happens apart from His good and loving hand. Though the future may seem clouded and wickedness seems to abound, God will conquer all of the sin and evil that consumes this world. He will end this time of trouble with the glorious appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. Understanding that principle gives to God's children a great sense of peace.
May you, as a child of God, grow in the knowledge of Him. May your heart be lifted up to look to Christ for grace and peace!
More devotionals from the 1st chapter of Ephesians