Thought # 1: The Writer and the Recipients
Text: Eph. 1:1
When people wrote letters back in Biblical times they put their name at the beginning of the letter. We do just the opposite. This is called the “salutation.” The Apostle Paul, at the beginning of this epistle, lets his readers know who he is, what his credentials are for writing the letter and to whom he is writing the letter.
All of this is included in Eph. 1:1. Verse 2 is his greeting. Paul was not one of the original 12 Apostles. His Apostleship is by special appointment from the Lord Jesus. He received this assignment to be an apostle to the Gentiles. Thank the Lord that he took this privilege and honor seriously. If he and others whom he reached with the Gospel had not, then we would not be here today enjoying the blessings of salvation.
“…By the will of God.” It was and is God’s will that all mankind be saved and He has provided a way through His Son that all may be saved. But we all know that the majority of mankind, both past, present and future will not accept that way of salvation. Paul was faithful in his ministry (2 Tim. 4:6-8).
Those whom Paul is writing to are named in the latter part of Eph. 1:1. The primary audience of the writers of the Word of God was locally those in the first century, but we can share in these titles that Paul used for the Ephesian Christians on the basis of our faith and obedience to the Gospel.
The recipients of Paul’s letter were the Christians in Ephesus. Ephesus was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire. Paul gives at least 2 names, perhaps 3, for Christians in verse 1. He calls them (1) “Saints; (2) faithful, and (3) in Christ Jesus.”
A “saint” in the New Testament, is not a sinless person, but a saved sinner. Faithfulness to the Lord is required if one wants to enjoy all that God has for him or her. Paul stresses that Christians are “in Christ.” As I said earlier in this devotion: Christians are saved by grace, through faith, in baptism, for good works. Let all of us strive to dedicate our lives to the Lord and His Church and help others find their way out of darkness into the marvelous light of the Gospel.