Paul's letter to the Ephesians is composed of two major parts. The first (chapters 1-3) is distinctly DOCTRINAL. With a heart that thrills in the revelation of an age-old secret, Paul yearns for his brethren to know the blessedness that is already theirs through identity with God's dear Son. Thus, he sets forth the Redemptive Purpose of God in calling out a people for His Kingdom -- with special emphasis on the role of the church (in which Jews and Gentiles are now united) as "the body of Christ", or "one new man".
Ours is a high, holy and heavenly calling to partnership with Jesus Christ. The very wealth of Heaven is at our disposal! What wealth of spiritual riches are available to all those "in Christ Jesus"! (1:3) The Holy Spirit has come down to direct our steps, and to energize our lives, with such divine dynamic as was manifested in the raising of our Lord from the dead!
Paul wants his brethren to know that the wealth of God's loving provision is greater than they fully comprehend. He is "able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think -- according to the power that worketh in us!"
Chapter 3 closes with the revelation that the church (the present incarnate manifestation of the Christ) is the ONE INSTITUTION through which He purposes to receive glory in every generation of THIS PRESENT AGE, out of all ages. Thus, TODAY if one hears his voice, calling to sanctification and service, there must be no hardening of heart against it! There will be NO CHURCH IN THE MILLENNIUM! Only NOW may we prepare to share the glory of Christ in the coming NEW AGE!
The second part of this letter begins with chapter 4 and runs to the end. Here Paul will be making PRACTICAL APPLICATION of the doctrines set forth in the previous section. Doctrine is worthless if it has no practical effect on one's LIVING! Thus, he urges his brethren to translate right understanding into RIGHT LIVING.
The word "walk" is characteristic of this last section, (4:1, 17; 5:2, 8, 15). This word, as used in the Scriptures, defines one's COURSE OF LIFE -- the manner of our living. We are to "WALK in the steps of the faith of our father Abraham", (Rom. 4:12).
"Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be....He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness." (Romans 4:18, 20-22).
Enoch "WALKED with God" (Gen. 5:22; comp. 1 John 2:6), and God TOOK HIM! What a glorious prospect for ALL who will walk in the way of God's appointment!
In preparing these studies, as a part of the teaching ministry of the Landmark Missionary Baptist Church, of Rockford, Illinois, the author has read as widely as possible. Though an attempt has been made to avoid direct quotations, the thoughts and influence of others will be discovered throughout this work. In various areas, the author is especially indebted to the works of: F. F. Bruce, Grace Paxton Ray Stedman and Fred Stevenson.
Enriched, encouraged and enthralled by the beauty and blessedness of this Ephesian letter, the author has felt constrained to submit the fruit of his studies to those who share a common love for Christ and a professed DEDICATION OF OBEDIENCE to what He has commanded. May these words tend to enrich the faith and challenge the hearts of others -- to the glory of the Father and of our risen, ascended, interceding and soon-coming Head, High Priest and EVERLASTING KING!
Eugene L. Garner
Rockford, IL 61109
November 10, 1990