Monday, January 05, 2015

Both Sainted and Faithful: Interrogating Ephesians 1:1,2

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. (Ephesians 1:1, 2, ESV)

Paul combines his apostle status "by the will of God," with the Ephesians believers' history of exercising faith: those who are saints AND are faithful.

Why two clauses to define his audience? Who could be a saint and not faithful,
Or not a saint, but faithful?
-- "saint" has the idea of being consecrated
-- faithfulness includes being consistent in the responsibilities and duties.
-- So Paul is writing to folks who were both consecrated to God through Jesus, and also consistently following God's doctrine.

Is there some special purpose in that opening?

-- Col 1:2 has a similar idea. 
-- Faithfulness, like of Abraham, is a really key attribute God wants in his people
-- A single experience of dedication isn't qualification to be a follower of God. It takes a life of faithfulness.

See also ephesians 2:10 -- faithfulness = created to do good works prepared for us

Ephesians 1:2 

Why wish grace to his readers?
Didn't they already have a large measure of grace? (Eph 6:1)
-- this was a favorite greeting of Paul
-- A standard Greek greeting would use a different word that meant only "greetings"
-- Paul seems to be emphasizing that grace comes before peace.

-- especially cessation of war or civil conflict.
-- why wish peace to his readers?
-- Ephesus was the home of Artemis, goddess of war
-- Matthew 10:34, Jesus said: I did not come to bring peace to the earth, but a sword
-- greeting to other books also brings peace: Romans, Corinthians, Colossians, Timothys, etc.

Grace comes first; and it makes peace.

In later letters, grace and peace are wished along with Mercy, but not here. Why not?

From God the Father and Jesus -- but why not grace and peace from the Holy Spirit also?
-- perhaps the Spirit only does as directed by the son, so that the Spirit is implicated in any wish or will of the son?

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