But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: - 1 Peter 2:9
Through his entire epistle to the Ephesians, Paul labored to reveal the realities of God’s love and grace to those who are His chosen people. In Ephesians 1:4, God of His own sovereign grace chose us before the foundation of the world. In 1:11 and 18, we learned that as His chosen people we have been promised the extravagant promises of a future with God and an eternal promise of His power and provision.
After seeing the grandeur of God’s grace and glory, in chapter 2 Paul turned to the darkness of undeserving mankind. In disobedience and wickedness, every person has rejected God and followed after their own hedonistic desires. Whether comfort or pleasure, all have departed from obedience and worship and have become followers of Satan himself. Being set against this depraved situation, the grace of God sparkles with an even greater luster. It was not that in grace we merely received what we did not deserve, rather, in His grace God blessed us with the exact opposite of what we deserved. Without pulling any punches, Paul reminded us that it is by grace that we are saved and that we are God’s workmanship.
Having established these truths of God’s grace to believers, Paul continued his letter by explaining the need for believers to live in response to those truths. As undeserving recipients of the grace of God, Christians should respond according to Ephesians 4:2 with lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering and with forbearing love. Furthermore, every avenue of the believer’s life should reflect a transformed and converted nature. Whether a husband or wife, father or mother, child or employee, every believer must view themselves in light of the transforming work of God in their lives.
Paul finally concluded his epistle with a reminder that believers will face spiritual battle but that God has provided an unending fountain of help. Every Christian must rely on the power of God and should turn constantly in faith and trust in God. Here we see that the entire Epistle to the Ephesians mirrors 1 Peter 2 in that we have been chosen and transformed that we might show forth the praise of God in our lives.
Closing his letter to his friends in Asia Minor, Paul sent his parting love and care to them. He was never simply a cold and distant teacher. Paul’s life was consumed with relationships and serving others. He genuinely loved the believers in Ephesus and longed for them to continue to grow in love and faith long after he was gone. Awaiting a trial and ultimately execution, Paul was moved with care for the brothers and sisters that were hundreds of miles away from him. Clearly he had already been transformed by the truth that he was teaching. Perhaps we can see his final teaching revealed by his own heart and be challenged to compassionately love and care for those around us.
Reflect: What are some of the emotions that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 6:21-24?