When the prophets of old had penned the very words of God, they no doubt laid down the pen of inspiration, and in some instances may have even asked themselves, "What have I just written?" Peter informs us that those inspired men "sought and searched diligently…of the grace that should come unto you: searching what time or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point unto, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow them" (1 Peter 1:10). So profound were the words of men like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Amos and Daniel (just to mention a few), that even the "angels desired to look into" the message from heaven (1 Peter 1:12).
This student began a journey through Ephesians that has spanned more than four decades, and I hope to complete my commentary on this wonderful epistle in this New Year. No wonder men have marveled at masterpiece from the Holy Spirit! It is Heaven's Gallery of Spiritual Wealth, deposited in Christ, located in heavenly places, and it rests upon He Who is the foundation of the greatest institution ever to exist upon the face of this earth, being Himself the chief corner stone. The picture of the church that emerges from a careful study of this epistle is one of holiness and harmony (1:4; 4:4). If men would put aside their prejudice and preconceived notions concerning the church, and drink deeply from the pen of this inspired apostle, they would walk away with a concept of the church unlike the modern day concept of a divided, denominated, and materialistic church. In the six chapters of this epistle God unfolds for us the eternal majesty of the church, the beautiful bride of Christ. We are permitted to look backward into the recesses of eternity and get a small glimpse – just a glimpse – of the majesty and wisdom of our God as He foreordained us unto adoption as sons through Jesus Christ (1:5). The door is opened into the vault of heaven's wealth, and we are invited to partake of the "riches" of God's grace for men. We are granted entrance into the library of wisdom and knowledge that surpasses that of the sages of this world, "having the eyes of your heart enlightened" by the "revelation in the knowledge of him" (1:17-18). We are given a panoramic view of God's grace as He lifted us out of spiritual death, and "raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places" (2:6). We have been granted citizenship in that heavenly kingdom (2:19), adoption into God's family (3:15), admittance into the "temple in the Lord" (2:21-22), and experienced the wonderful "love of Christ which passeth knowledge (3:19). But we have also been reminded that with these wonderful privileges comes great obligation and responsibility. We are to be "holy and without blemish" (1:4), "worthy of the calling wherewith you were called" (4;1), looking "carefully how ye walk, not as unwise, but as wise" (5:15). Clad with heaven's armor (6:13-20), we are encouraged to march forward "to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel" (6:19).
If men would study this letter they would learn that the church is not some after-thought in the mind of God; they would learn that you cannot have Christ without the church; they would learn that how we live has a direct bearing upon our salvation; that the forces of evil are real and dangerous, but that God gives us strength in the hour of adversity. Paul's description of the church as it appears in this letter is a masterpiece of inspired literature. From the depths of sin, men can be lifted out of their spiritual poverty to participate in the wealth and riches of God's grace. The power to live holy lives as members of that church is promised to those who would but embrace the truths contained herein.
Ours is an age of apathy and indifference. Unfortunately, members of the Lord's church have been lulled to sleep by the steady noise of worldliness and the satanic lies of post-modern relativism. Perhaps it is time to wipe the dust off our Bibles, and drink deeply from God's inspired description of the church as contained specifically in Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus. The infidel and skeptic might scoff at God's word; modern day theologians might ridicule the simplicity of heaven's pattern; the weak Christian may not appreciate what he holds in his hands. But the faithful child of God knows that he has been privileged to walk through heaven's gallery of spiritual wealth.