As a heads up, if I could outline Ephesians, chapter one would be redemption, chapter two would be reconciliation, chapter three would be revelation. Its a broad brush I know but hopefully we will begin to see this unfold.
Before we really dive in it would be irresponsible to give only a cursory glance to verse 2 as if it remains solely in the “address” category. Yes, this is typically how Paul begins his letters but have you ever stopped to wonder why he begins his letters in this way?
“Grace and peace to you” is more than just a nice thought or an old fashioned way to begin a letter. Paul sees these two blessings as foundational, as necessary and that without them, the rest of his letter will fall on deaf ears.
Grace is not only amazing and a nice old fashioned song. Its God’s favor to the undeserving. A lot has been written on it. Paul doesn’t define what it is but he demonstrates it by setting forth the Savior and what he has accomplished on our behalf.
Similarly we see the word “peace”. In our culture we want peace. Beauty contestants may even state a desire for “world peace”.
Paul doesn’t assume grace and peace exists. He knows they do not. Why not? Why is grace needed? Why is peace needed? Whatever happened in the world that such an admonition or basic request would even be deemed necessary? Why is their evil and war and hatred in the world?
There was a time when a man and a woman had peaceful, blessed fellowship with God and “walked in the garden alone” with him. Then rebellion, war, one simple choice, one act of defiance, one usurpation of authority, one attempt to debase God and exalt man and the rest of human history was set into action.
God has shown sinful men and women grace (theologians call it common grace) for centuries. We certainly don’t deserve it and we all too often presume upon it.
Peace gave way to war between God and man and between each other. Then in the fullness of time God sent forth His Son. The Prince of Peace came but he brought peace in a most unusual way.
But what is this peace exactly? Why does it still seem to allude us? Why can’t we grasp it and bottle it and sell it for a profit at convenience stores world wide? Because the Gospel doesn’t come like that. It doesn’t come through media or through self-esteem efforts or through Washington D.C. or walking in the woods of Maine. How it came, Paul is about to let us know.
Join me and Paul as we look deeper into the unsearchable riches of Christ.