You don’t have to read too far into the book of Ephesians to surmise that Paul is addressing the Church in Ephesus with this letter. But, almost 2,000 years later we can sometimes miss the particular audience of Paul’s letter by applying our own understanding of “Church” to Paul’s writing. In the first two verses of the first chapter of Ephesians, Paul is addressing his audience and, in doing so, he identifies them. It reads, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” It is striking that Paul explicitly identifies his audience—the Church—as those who are “faithful in Christ Jesus,” and not as those who are present or connected to this local body of believers.
This isn’t to say that Paul wants to exclude these others who may be attending but who are not “faithful in Christ Jesus,” but rather that Paul understands that the letter that will follow this greeting will only be understood by those who are fully invested in the work of Jesus Christ and have demonstrated this by their deeds and confessions. As we look back, nearly 2,000 years after the fact, we should not simply pass over this greeting as we often pass over the introductions of books. Instead, we should take a moment to thoughtfully consider whether or not we can be counted as “faithful in Christ Jesus,” that is to say as people of the Kingdom of God who are busy doing the work of the Kingdom.
This inspirational word was brought to you by Joshua Hearne of Grace & Main Fellowship. www.thirdchanceministries.wordpress.com