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: 2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul wrote this book to the city of Ephesus around 62 AD. Ephesus was known for its goddess Diana (Semiramis) and was known for its great zeal for the Lord. This is a prison epistle since Paul was writing it when he was in prison. The book of Ephesians has 6 chapters, 155 verses, and 3,022 words.
-Chapters 1-2: Exalting Christ
-Chapters 3-4: Mystery of the church
-Chapters 5-6: Walk + warfare
In verse 1, Paul introduces himself as an apostle. He says it is the will of God for him to be an apostle. It was a direct will of God, which is different from the permissive will of God.
Permissive will: God will allow you to do it. You have permission, but it is not something He would approve of or like. Sometimes, parents will allow their child to do something, but that does not mean they approve of it.
Direct will: You have to do it.
Now we can look at God’s permissive will and direct will from scripture:
James 4:13 “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:”
This saying sounds like us in our typical daily living. But, notice in verse 15 (below) that you cannot think that you can go shopping or do whatever you want. Look also at verse 14. It can vanish. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. Therefore you hear many Christians saying, “Lord willing…”.
James 4:14-15 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”
Everything we do: shopping, working, and so on, is under the permissive will of God.
Back in Ephesians 1:1, we see that it is written to saved believers since it says, “to the saints…”.
Looking at verse 2, “grace to you,” Paul often writes this in his epistles. Also, this is the one reason why many think Paul is the author of the book of Hebrews.
In verse 2, it says, “grace be to you, and peace, from God our father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” Many think that this “grace” means salvation, but Paul addresses them already as saints and therefore saved. This grace is not about salvation.
The definition of grace is it’s something we receive but do not deserve. When we say we are saved by grace, that is indeed the case. We receive the salvation that we do not deserve.
Hebrews 4:16 “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”
God’s throne is described as grace. Grace is something God gives to you in your time of need; it’s a benefit, extra strength, and extra help. We Christians need the grace of God daily. If you think you can live without the grace of God, you are wrong.
2 Corinthians 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
The verse above shows the grace of God is better than just eliminating the problem.