Paul organized the church at Ephesus during his third missionary journey (Acts 19:1), spending three years there (20:31). He wrote this letter during his fist imprisonment in Rome (Acts 28:16ff). Ephesians has two main sections: (1) The doctrine of the church, chapters 1-3, and (2) The duty of the church, chapters 4-6.
Paul begins by praising God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for their sovereign, gracious work of salvation (1:3-14). He then thanks the Lord for the Ephesians and prays they will better understand the riches of Christ’s salvation (vv. 15-23).
Truths to Nail Down and Meditate On
- Election (vv. 4-5, 11) is God’s choice before the foundation of the world to bring some sinners to salvation in Jesus Christ. It is of individual sinners, not merely the plan of salvation. God’s choice was not based on any “foreseen” human act, but solely his grace, love, perfect will, and good pleasure (Eph 1:4-5, 11; 2 Tim 1:9). Election is not based on faith, it results in faith.
- The right response to the doctrine of election—and any and every aspect of God’s salvation in Jesus Christ—is humble praise and thanksgiving. Believers should ask the Lord to better grasp their salvation (1:18-21). Right knowledge is essential for right worship and right living.
- God saves his elect as the gospel is preached to the lost and they repent of their sins and trust in Christ (v. 13; cf. Acts 13:48). The gospel must be preached to the lost—this is an issue of obedience to Jesus’ command (Matt 28:19; Luke 24:47).
- Any and every spiritual blessing is found only in Jesus Christ, granted only by the Father’s love and good will, imparted only by the Holy Spirit, communicated only through the gospel message, and received only by faith.