Reading Ephesians With John Stott

Day 1 of 6 • This day’s reading



Grace to You

Paul claims the same title Jesus had given to the Twelve, designating somebody specially chosen, called and sent to teach with authority. He had not volunteered for this ministry, nor had the church appointed him. On the contrary, his apostleship derived from the will of God and from the choice and commission of Jesus Christ. If this is so, then we must listen to the message of Ephesians with appropriate attention and humility.

The apostle then describes the readers of his letter as saints. He is not referring to some spiritual elite but to all God’s people. They were called “saints” (that is, “holy”) because they had been set apart to belong to him. The expression was first applied to Israel as the “holy nation,” but came to be extended to the whole international Christian community, which is the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16).

His initial message to them is one of grace and peace. Grace indicates God’s free, saving initiative, and peace points to the initiative he has taken to reconcile sinners to himself and to each other in his new community. These are key words in Ephesians. So if we want a concise summary of the good news that the whole letter announces, we could not find a better one than the three monosyllables “peace through grace.”

What then is the vital link between Paul, his readers, and his message? It is the Lord Jesus Christ himself. For Paul the author is “an apostle of Christ Jesus," the readers are themselves in Christ Jesus, and the blessing comes to them both from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, who are bracketed as the single spring from which grace and peace flow. Thus the Lord Jesus Christ dominates Paul’s mind and fills his vision. It seems almost as if he feels compelled to bring Jesus Christ into every sentence he writes, at least at the beginning of this letter. For it is through and in Jesus Christ that God’s new society has come into being.

From Reading Ephesians with John Stott by John Stott with Andrew T. Le Peau.