The church in Ephesus is now six or more years old and they are a mix of Jews and Gentiles. But they are also still in the midst of a pagan religious center. This is the city where the crowd reacted to Paul in Acts 19:28 And … they began to shout, saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”. But these in the church now have a revelation of who God is and they are encouraged to press in to this revelation because they are God’s adopted sons and daughters. These who believe in Jesus Christ have been reconciled to God and are now a part of His family.
Ephesus was one of the largest cities of the Roman empire, a port city, a wealthy city, a place of commerce. and a religious center with the temple of Artemus (Diana to the Romans). “Magic was also prominent there, as attested by the interconnected stories of the sons of Sceva and the burning of the magic books in Acts 19:13–20″ … Paul spent more than two years in Ephesus at the end of his third missionary journey (Acts 19). By the time he wrote Ephesians it had been six years since he had left to go to Jerusalem for Passover. He had stayed in touch, though;”1
The themes are clear, as Osborne lays them out, 1. The atoning sacrifice and reconciliation 2. Christ is Lord 3. United Church with Jew and Gentile together 4. Spiritual warfare.
Adoption Through Jesus Christ
This letter is to a community that was the a religious center for pagan culture, magic, and worship of “the gods”. So it is right that it would begin with a clear restatement of the gospel of salvation. God has “blessed us” in Ephesians 1:3 and “he chose us” in Ephesians 1:4 and “predestined us to adoption” in Ephesians 1:5 and “his grace that he bestowed on us” in Ephesians 1:6 so that “when you heard the word of truth” in Ephesians 1:13 and “when you believed you were sealed with the promise of the Holy Spirit”.
The emphasis is on the work that God has done to invoke adoption,”So, why did Paul use υἱοθεσία (huiothesia)? It may be significant that he chose a word that contains the word (υἱὸς, huios), which means “son.” … Paul’s use of terms such as brothers and sisters, father, and adoption allows him to construct a family of people who are not biologically related—the community of believers (Rom 8:15–21; Gal 4:4–6). “Christ has enabled Jews and Gentiles to become related to each other”2
Our relationship with God is not based on our DNA, the blood line from our parents or the tribe we were born into. Because of Jesus Christ, we are adopted in to Gods family when we believe.
The Hope of His Calling
We are not born into this world knowing or understanding in Ephesians 1:16 “the hope of his calling” or “the riches of the glory of his inheritance”. These come as “wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” in Ephesians 1:17. Gods power was demonstrated for us in Ephesians 1:19-23 when he raised Christ “from the dead” and seated him “at his right hand”. At that moment, Jesus took his place as the “head over all things to the church”.
This salvation is not through our keeping of the law or our acts of goodness or kindness, it is through the blood of Jesus Christ. This is the work spoken of in
Revelation 5:9–10 And they were singing a new song, saying, “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slaughtered, and bought people for God by your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
Alive Together with Christ
He says in Ephesians 2:1 “although you were dead”. Most people don’t understand that they are physically alive in the world, but cut-off, dead to God. As it says in Ephesians 2:3 “we were children of wrath by nature, as also the rest of them were” so it wasn’t just us, but every living human soul. Then it says in Ephesians 2:4-7 “But God, being rich in mercy, … raised us together and seated us together”. We have a place in God’s kingdom if we will accept it.
He Broke Down the Dividing Wall
Of the Gentiles he says
Ephesians 2:12 that you were at that time apart from Christ, alienated from the citizenship of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, not having hope, and without God in the world.
But Jesus did something no one saw coming, by
Ephesians 2:15–16 invalidating the law of commandments in ordinances, in order that he might create the two in himself into one new man, thus* making peace, 16 and might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, killing the enmity in himself.
In Other Generations Was Not Made Known
This is the revelation of the work that Jesus Christ did
Ephesians 3:5–6 (which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit): 6 that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, and fellow members of the body, and fellow sharers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,
- Ephesians 1:1–14 Adoption Through Jesus Christ
- Ephesians 1:15–23 The Hope of His Calling
- Ephesians 2:1–10 Alive Together with Christ
- Ephesians 1:1-23
- Ephesians 2:1-22
- Ephesians 3:1-13
- 1. Osborne, G. R. (2017). Ephesians: Verse by Verse (p. 4). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- 2. Morris, M. J. (2016). Adoption. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.