Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Ephesians 1:1-10

Off the top of one's head, one might think there is not much to write about in the opening verses of a letter. I mean what can Paul say in the first 10 verses? The opening of a letter is usually just filled with pleasantries and telling the recipient how your life is going. But this is not the case with the opening of Paul's letter to the Ephesians. These opening verses have some powerful messages. Let's take a look.

Paul tells us that God is to be praised because He has given us "every spiritual blessing" in Christ. I do not know about you, but I do not always feel spiritually blessed. Sometimes I wonder if I missed out on one or two of these blessings. Paul helps us here as well. To make sure we do not misunderstand what he means by "every spiritual blessing", Paul spells them out.

First, we have received the blessing of being adopted by God as His spiritual children. Please remember that Paul wrote this letter form a prison in Rome. In ancient Roman times, when someone adopted you, you received the same rights and privileges as a natural born child. Thus, when Paul says God adopted us, we receive His grace like a father gives forgiveness to his own children.

The second spiritual blessing comes to us through God's son, Jesus. Here four items are listed that make up this blessing - redemption, forgiveness, enlightenment, and enrichment. To be redeemed means to be brought back. By being redeemed by Christ we are freed from sin. To forgive means to give up the right to punish for that transgression. Enlightenment means understanding, or knowing, God's will. Finally, we are enriched when we give up living by our will and live following the will of God.

Yes, there is much in the opening of Ephesians. Paul outlines clearly how each of us has received spiritual blessings and how lucky we are to have received them. With so much in the opening, one can just imagine what must be in the remainder of the letter.

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