Home > Uncategorized > The Letter of Paul to the Ephesians (Part 2 of 155)

The Letter of Paul to the Ephesians (Part 2 of 155)

September 15, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Ephesians 1.2: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Yesterday, we left off with Paul addressing the saints, who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus. Today’s verse concludes this address. The greeting that Paul offers is on behalf of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thought about this a bit; what does it mean to offer a greeting in the name of God Almighty and his only Son?

This greeting is used in other letters, and it is used by the pastors of my church whenever they greet the congregation for the first time during a service. I suppose it is a sort of prayer: the greeter is, by offering the words, asking God to provide these things to these people, and he is confident, because of his role as a shepherd of these people, that the chief shepherd–Jesus–will provide them.

But what is offered? Two things: grace and peace. And, I just realized something now that might be important. Paul says, “grace to you and peace from…” It occurs to me that perhaps the word “grace” is only being used as a standard greeting, and not in its full theological sense of the abundant and unmerited love and mercy of God poured out on us sinners. The grace is perhaps just simply a gracious greeting from Paul himself. Whereas the peace is then what is offered on God’s behalf. I’m not convinced of this, however. Looking at the greetings that begin some other letters in the New Testament, it seems these things are often offered together on God’s behalf. For example, in first Timothy Paul writes “Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”

In any case, the verses that follow have much to do with grace in the full theological sense, and so we will have a lot to say about that in the next few days. But for now, peace. God gives us peace–somewhere else in the bible, the peace that he gives us is referred to as “the peace that passes all understanding.” It is more than just a peaceful feeling or a sense of harmony. It is true, genuine rest for our troubled souls, an inner reconciliation that takes place at every level of our character, flowing from the forgiveness of our sins and the presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, God himself rebuilding us to be as he means us to be.

But it is not just an individual thing–the peace that God offers also has to do with making wars cease to the ends of the earth, with putting an ultimate end to conflict and oppression. Nation shall not rise up against nation, and neither shall they learn war, anymore. Such peace cannot be brought about by governments or ideologies: it is a social quality unique to the new creation, something that flows from the shalom that only God can bring.

For tomorrow:

1.3: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…

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