Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Ephesians 1:2 - (2nd Meditation)

This is the second meditation on Ephesians chapter one.

1:2 - "Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."

Each of Paul's Epistles opens with "Grace to you." This is proof that God's primary means of grace in our life is His written Word! Let us not fool ourselves into thinking that we are desirous of the grace of God in our lives if we are not also diligently seeking Him through His written word. The Word of God is like the great conveyor belt of eternal grace! Live upon it, believe it, pray for eyes to behold the wonders of God in it, and we will be joyful for endless ages! Neglect it, and it will prove to be the most miserable measuring rod on the day of judgment.

"Peace to you" is a wonderful phrase! Paul doesn't say, "Never another non-peaceful circumstance to you," but just, "peace to you!" For the believer, there is no other path to peace than the one marked with difficulty! Over and over again the truth is stated, "...for we rejoice in our sufferings..." (Romans 5:3). What?! It's true, the believing Christian has the grand privilege of being shaped by difficulties, through which God produces greater hope in God (Romans 5:5). Therein lies the only kind of peace that matters! "Peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!"

Pronouns are so infinitely important! "OUR Father." Who is the "our" Paul is writing of? The previous verse answers the question. "Those who are faithful in (or, by) Christ Jesus." Indeed, only those who are persevering in the preserving power of the grace of God are those who manifestly have God as their Father! Many can claim God as their Father, but it takes demonstrable living in His grace in order to be included in the Apostle Paul's "our."

Definite articles are infinitely important as well! "THE Lord Jesus Christ." He is THE ONLY Lord! Notice also, that grace and peace are inextricably linked as the provisions of the Trinity. You cannot play favorites with the Persons of the Godhead. He is Three in One, One in Three. Ephesians chapter one is an exaltation of the saving grace of our Triune God (vv 1-14 mentions each Person of the Trinity repetitively).

As I mentioned in the first meditation, I believe the proper translation of verse one would conclude, "...who are faithful BY Jesus Christ." One of the many reasons found in this chapter is here in verse two. We see clearly that grace and peace flow from both the Father and Son toward believers "who are faithful." But why? How was the river of grace opened to us? The reason I believe Christ is mentioned in verse two, instead of only God the Father (Such as in Colossians 1:2, the mirror letter of Ephesians), is because Christ is the one who purchased believers and eternal promises for them through His work on the cross (this is what remains in 1:1-14).

Seeing Christ's finished work on the cross as an ocean of purchased benefits for justification, sanctification, and glorification is what Paul is aiming at. "Grace (yet to come) and peace (yet to come) to you from...the Lord Jesus Christ." Christ has indeed purchased sinners as well as infinite storehouses of grace and peace for them through His death, burial, and resurrection! We are faithful "BY" Christ Jesus!

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