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Ephesians: The Calling of the Saints

By Ray C. Stedman

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Description

The Epistle to the Ephesians is, in many ways, the crowning glory of the New Testament. But perhaps this letter ought not to be called "Ephesians" for we do not really know to whom it was written. The Christians at Ephesus were certainly among the recipients of this letter, but undoubtedly there were others. In many of the original Greek manuscripts there is a blank where the King James translation has the words "at Ephesus;" just a line where the names of other recipients were apparently to be filled in. That is why the Revised Standard Version does not say, "To the saints at Ephesus," but simply "To the saints who are also faithful in Christ Jesus..." In Paul's letter to the Colossians there is a reference to a letter he wrote to the Laodiceans. Our Bible does not include an epistle called "A Letter to the Laodiceans," but many have felt that it is the same one we call "The Letter to the Ephesians." The reason is that the Revelation of John (the last book in the Bible) begins with letters to the seven churches of Asia, the first being to Ephesus and the last to Laodicea. These cities were grouped in a rather rough circle in Asia Minor, and it evidently was customary for anyone who wrote to one of the churches to have the letter sent along to each of the others in turn, continuing around the circle until it came at last to the church at Laodicea. This may account for what would otherwise seem to be a lost letter from the Apostle Paul to the Laodiceans. At any rate, this letter sets forth, in a marvelous way, what no other book of the New Testament describes so completely -- the nature of the body of Christ, the true Church. The first four letters of the New Testament -- Romans, First and Second Corinthians, and Galatians -- are the development of the phrase, "Christ in you," teaching us what the indwelling life of Christ is intended to do. But beginning with the letter to the church at Ephesus, we are to learn and understand what it means for us to be "in Christ" and to share the body life of the Lord Jesus Christ -- "you in Christ." Here is the great theme of this letter -- the believer in Christ, or the nature of the Church. Verse three of the first chapter is in many ways the theme of the letter -- in Christ -- is the key: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places... (Ephesians 1:3 RSV) There are many who take the phrase, "the heavenly places," which appears several times in this letter, as a reference to heaven after we die, but if you do this, you will miss the whole import of Paul's letter. While it does talk about going to heaven some day, it is talking primarily about the life you live right now. The heavenly places are not off in some distant reach of space or on some planet or star; they are simply the realm of invisible reality in which the Christian lives now, in contact with God, and in the conflict with the devil in which we are all daily engaged. The heavenly places are the seat of Christ's power and glory. In chapter two, verse six we are told, [God] raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (Ephesians 2:6 RSV) But in chapter three we learn that here also are the headquarters of the principalities and powers of evil: ...that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 3:10 RSV) The conflict that occurs is set forth in chapter six: For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:10-12 RSV) So you can see that this is not a reference to heaven at all, but to earth. It is to the invis

Customer Reviews

Thankful for this word

This is a great series of teaching. Especially the teaching on the armor of God. What a blessing. I am applying this teaching to my life and I am blessed for the ways God is growing me in prayer and praise

Inspirational and Uplifting

Thank you for this podcast. I found it to be very informative. More importantly, it touched my soul and has inspired me to further study the Epistles, taking my time to see and feel the depth and unity that is in The Word of our Father and His Son.

Ephesians: The Calling of the Saints
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  • Category: Christianity
  • Language: English

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