Grounded In Love
Holy God, deliver me from the spirit of fear. I want to face today with calmness, resoluteness, and determination.
Read Ephesians 3:14-21
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“The universalization of the gospel means that it is for all people from the last, least, and lost to the first, most, and found” (Ben Witherington).
Ephesians is a circular letter by Paul (the best manuscripts don’t have “in Ephesus” in 1:1) and, like Romans, sets out themes and contours in Paul’s understanding of the gospel. Those who read Romans as focusing on how individuals are put right with God see Ephesians as having a very different agenda. Still, this passage has much in common with Romans 5-8, as it explores our part in God’s plan of redemption for the whole cosmos.
Paul picks up the thread he started in 3:1, before he began exploring this plan in vs. 2-13. He clearly sees our encounter with God as part of a bigger picture; patterns of all life somehow reflect the fatherhood of God (15). Paul’s prayer centers on the indwelling of the Spirit (16), which is the indwelling of Christ (17), that it will bring power into our lives. This is the same power that raised Jesus from death: not a power that crushes others but one that brings life where there is no life. He longs that his readers’ heartsﾗthe seat of the will, not the emotionsﾗwill become fit dwelling places for the Messiah to make his home.
As in Romans, the focus is having our assurance based on the love of God made known in Jesus; as his “branches,” we hold tightly to him, our vine, and as his temple our foundations are laid on what he has done for us. For Paul, faith is not something we actively do or achieve. It is a simply receiving the good things God has for us. As we do this, we find that we have become part of a global, united gathering of God’s people (“the church,” v. 21) who all joined the same way.
What barriers do you see in the church that need to be broken down by the love of God? How might this passage change your understanding of faith?
Lord, what a privilege to be a part of the Body of Christ, the Church of Jesus Christ. I thank You that I am accepted by You and others because of Your acceptance of me.
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