Ephesians 1:1, 2
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:…
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. The words set before us three of the greatest things in human life.
I. THE HIGHEST OFFICE IN THE WORLD. "Can apostle of Jesus Christ."
1. He was a messenger of the greatest Person. How great was his Master! Messengers of inferior personages are often but little esteemed, whilst those of illustrious ones are held in high honor. He who represents a king receives something of kingly homage. An "apostle" is a representative of "Jesus Christ," who is the Son of God, the Creator of the universe, and the Head of all "principalities and powers." But what was his message?
2. He was the bearer of the grandest message. He who bears an important message - a message on which the interest of a neighborhood or the destiny of a nation depends, will stamp the hearts of men with awe. An apostle of Christ delivers the highest message - pardon to the guilty, light to the benighted, freedom to the slave, immortality to the dying, salvation to the lost.
3. He was a messenger of Christ by the "will of God." Many go out in the name of Christ, but not according to the Divine will. The Eternal has never called them to missions so holy and momentous, and hence they misrepresent the doctrines and the genius of his blessed Son. This was not Paul's case. He was called to be an "apostle," "separated unto the gospel of God" (Romans 1:1). He felt this. "When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by grace," etc. What office in the world approaches this in sublimity? A messenger of Christ by the "will of God"! He who by the "will of God" bears Christ's message to the hearts of men sustains a position, compared with which the most elevated offices amongst men sink into contempt.
II. THE HIGHEST CHARACTERS IN THE WOULD. "To the saints," etc. "Saints" and "faithful." Who are they? They are those who are consecrated in soul to truth, and love and God, and this because they are faithful. They are made holy through their faith in Christ. All moral excellence in man is derived in this way and in no other. Philosophy, history, and the Bible show this. Notice, these saints resided at "Ephesus." This, the chief city in Asia Minor, was the center and stronghold of paganism; it had the temple of Diana, one of the greatest wonders of the world. Its influence upon millions was immense, and its appeal was to men's superstition, sensualism, and selfishness. Albeit there were Christians there, holy and believing men. This shows:
1. Man is not necessarily the creature of circumstances.
2. That, with the possession of the gospel, a religious life is practicable everywhere. What characters in society are equal to those of genuine "saints"? None. They are "lights;" without them the social heavens would be midnight. They are "living stones; "without them the social temple would fall to ruins. They are "salt;" without them the social body would become putrescent and pestilential.
III. THE HIGHEST BLESSINGS IS THE WORLD. "Grace and peace." Here are two blessings.
1. Divine favor. "Grace." The love, the benediction, the approbation of God. What a boon this!
2. Spiritual peace. "Peace," not insensibility, not stagnation, but a repose of the soul in God. Men through sin have lost peace. "The wicked are like the troubled sea." Sinners are at war with themselves, society, the universe, God. But through God's love, through. Christ souls are at one with all. "Peace" - sweet word, blessed thing! To the mariner after a storm, to a nation after a war, how blessed! But far more blessed to the soul after a life-war with self and its Maker. "He will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed upon God." Who will say that there are any higher things on earth than are found in this text? And these highest things, thank God, we may all possess. We may all, in a sense, be apostles of Christ. We may be all "saints and faithful." We may all partake of the "grace" of God and possess the blessed "εἰρήνη." - D.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: