17. Ephesians 1:1-4 Introduction~The Blessing of Peace XVII.
December 2, 2017
Ephesians 1: 1 “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 GRACE to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing IN THE HEAVENLY PLACES IN CHRIST, 4 just as He chose us IN HIM before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love” (NASB)
In every letter that has Paul named as its author, the Grace of God is always accompanied by “peace from God The Father and the LORD Jesus Christ”. Peace is one of the closest nouns to our tree of Grace. Think of it as fruit that naturally grows on that tree, wherever you find these trees, you’re sure to find peace. First and second Timothy has one more added ingredient; Mercy. Eventually we will talk about that, but right now, I personally would like to understand a little more about “peace”. It appears that Paul is saying one thing while Christ says another. People will read passages like this and immediately fall back on the excuse “you can’t trust the Bible because there are too many contradictions”.
Matthew 10: 34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. 37 “He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.”
Unfortunately, that is what happens when we pull one or two verses of scripture out of context and pit them against each other. However, when we consider the entire revelation of Christ being the Savior of mankind the contradictions tend to fade away bringing enlightenment. Luke 2: 14 Tells a story about peace that we usually gloss over every Christmas. The angelic choir sang “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Did you notice that condition; “with whom He is pleased.” Therefore, this ‘peace’ is not about peace between nations or men in general. It’s not even about peace in the family. God The Father through The LORD Jesus Christ has extended His peace to men with whom “He is pleased”. He is not saying that at the birth of Christ all wars will cease, and discrimination will just disappear…that would be great. God is making peace between Himself and any man, women, boy, or girl who will call upon the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. With those people, He is pleased. Divisions will occur within the family over The Messiah, who He is or who He is not. Jesus is only interested in those who will put Him above any member of your family, even your children. If your loved ones will not pick up their own personal cross, that’s on them, you pick yours up anyway, follow Him, and don’t look back.
Hebrews 4: 12 “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”
While back at the ranch, mankind has talked about peace throughout all recorded history. In this country, we choose elected officials every four years hoping that they will be able to resolve the bigotry in this country only to find out some will encourage and even embrace it. Others have tried to bring about at least a reasonable facsimile of peace between nations and men. In other countries, dictators dictate their brand of peace, which means they should have all the power, while their own people stay oppressed and poor. Mankind as a whole has tried to fix this fallen world since, like forever. In addition, this world still cannot shake itself awake from the nightmare of its own design, and accept the fact that THEY NEED TO BE IN CHRIST. This world needs the Peace that God has extended to us all IN CHRIST. You’ve probably already heard the definition of madness; doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting different results, well history just keeps repeating itself. A musical group called The Temptations did a song that described this world as a “Ball of Confusion, that’s what the world is today”, boy were they on the money.
John 14: 27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful; 16: 33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” The peace of God is not the same peace this world has to offer, His peace is only for those with whom He is pleased. 2nd Cor. 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
King David was a man after God’s own heart…in spite of his flawed nature. However, in our case, under The New Covenant: 2nd Peter 1: says “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” We have peace with God because of what Christ has done in us, not because of what we have done. It grows on the Grace Tree. To be continued…