There is debate on the authorship of Ephesians due to the lack of introduction as found in all of Paul’s other letters. However, if these letters were written by Paul, he wrote them to be passed around from Church to Church. Speculative, these 7 Churches in Ephesians are the Churches referenced in Revelations. The goal of these letters is to help readers understand God’s purpose, and how believers are saved by the grace of God through their faith, not the law, expounding on Galatians. At the time, Ephesus was the most important city in what is now called Turkey due to its strategic placement on major trade routes in Asia.
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Eph 1: 2)
Verse 5 brings a bit of controversy into Christianity. Predestination is a strongly debated between differing denominations of Christianity. Calvinists believe each person has a predetermined destiny before they are birthed, where Arminianism believes that God’s will and man’s free will are both in play and compliment each other. Continuing the controversy starting in verse 11 the subject of predestination is again brought up, but verse 11 is not completely understood without finishing the sentence in verse 12. This reader questions these verses and asks, ‘Perhaps it was the Saints who were predestined, and the rest of the believers were ordained through their free will and faith,’ “in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of the truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory.” (Eph 1: 12-14)
You were included when:
- you heard the message of truth
- you believed
- then you are marked with the seal of the promise
- guaranteeing your inheritance
This break down really puts into question the theology of Calvinism. Now, this author has the upmost respect for Calvinist, and believes that they are also saved by their faith. He, however, does not believe that only persons predestined to be saved are the only ones who will ever benefit from the grace of God. Eph 1: 11-14 truly emphasize God’s grace and that it is for anyone who would approach God in faith and believe on the birth, life, death, resurrection, and accession of Christ to Heaven.
Eph 1 completes with Paul expounding on Christ’s role in the Church and in Heaven and how God has put Christ in dominion with authority and power in the earthly and heavenly realms, in this life and the next.
- NIV Study Bible: (Eph 1: 2, 11-14)