Today we begin the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians. Some key background information about his book is that it was probably written between A.D. 60 to 62 while Paul was under house arrest in Rome. Paul had spent many of the early years of his ministry in and around Ephesus and by all accounts the Church had grown steadily. Unlike most of Paul’s other letters there was no great controversy in Ephesus which necessitated the writing of the letter. Thus, the letter is a more thoughtful and detailed work than some of Paul’s other writings. It seems to represent an advanced lesson for his oldest converts to help the Church there to continue to strengthen and grow.

There are two highlights from Chapter 1 that I would like to point out. First, Paul again addresses predestination:

…4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. 5 He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

Paul begins immediately by pointing out that God has chosen us from before the foundation of the world to be Holy, clearly we are predestined.

But look at HOW and WHY God did this. Paul says, “He predestined us in love.” Is it surprising to anyone that God’s will for us is based on his love for us? I should think not, of course we are chosen to be with God in heaven because of God’s love for us. But think carefully, if you love someone, can you force them to be with you? Of course not. Therefore, God will not force you to be with him. God’s predestination of us is based on his omniscient knowledge of our free will decisions, not on his omnipotent power to overwhelm our choice. God loves us – and because he loves us he will not force us to be with him – but at the same time he foreknows whether or not we will choose to be with him.

Second, notice what Paul says about the Church

… which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; 22 and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

So Christ is the head of the church which is his body … fair enough, that seems logical. But notice, the body is “the fullness of him…” What is “fullness”? Fullness implies completeness, nothing more can be added, nothing more can be fit in, etc. So the Church, the one that existed at the time of this writing in A.D. 60, was the fullness of Christ. In other words, it lacked nothing. What then is a Church that started after this writing? A church started later, any Church other than Paul’s Church, is not the fullness, it lacks something.

Consider also that the verse says that God raised Jesus to the highest place in heaven and “he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things FOR the church.” So the purpose of (or part of the purpose of) God’s raising Jesus to Glory in heaven is to establish the Church. Jesus is given the glory of heaven (in part) to convey it to the Church. As the Church is the body of Christ, it takes on his characteristics. Therefore the Church also occupies the highest place in heaven.

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20 Responses to Bible 1 Yr – Day 199 – THE LETTER OF PAUL TO THE EPHESIANS

  1. Jon musso says:

    I love how Catholics limit God love to some human form of love. God love is not anything like human love. The passage is saying omniscient, it’s God free will to choose who will be with him, and who will not live with him in glory. God choice who will be with him from eternity past. You want to twist predestination because point us away from catholic theology, but you can’t, please embrace God sovereignty don’t limit it to man view. We must start with God not man. This is doctrine that separate man from God, it’s the creator, creation distinction.

    The church he talking about is the temple of his body, not the Catholic Church, but the savior from eternity past!

  2. Justin Ihnat (St. Ignatius of Loyola) says:

    As the Body is the fullness, also, nothing can be taken away.

    • Jon musso says:

      I know Justin what makes more sense is that the Catholic Church is the true church, let us all worship Mary, I don’t no what I was thinking! The Catholic Church is not the true church, Jesus is the only way to heaven, you guys remove the gospel for tradition, you guys keep putting Christ back on the cross, sorry he has resurrected! Catholic want to put him back on the cross!

      • Jon musso says:

        These conversations go know where I worship Christ you worship catholic theology! I believed the reformers and the puritans are correct you believe they are heretics. I believe in grace through faith, and you believe in man ability to save himself through his own power, we just don’t agree, but I appreciate your perspective and I appreciate you both!

      • Justin Ihnat (St. Ignatius of Loyola) says:

        All that you spewed is a lie. We’ve been over this time and tike, again.

  3. Jon musso says:

    1 john 2:18 a good verse for Catholics!

    • Justin Ihnat (St. Ignatius of Loyola) says:

      We would know as a Catholic wrote it for the Universal Church. Every last rejection of the Truth and denial of what is here is the work of evil.

  4. Jon – this is the first time I am disappointed with your posts. I’m just guessing but by now I would estimate that between FB, email and this blog you have read hundreds of things I have written composed of thousands of words. NO where, not once – would you be able to point out anything that I wrote that suggests the worship of Mary. For you to through that out there is something I might expect from someone I was speaking to for the first time, not someone I have for so long labored in dialogue with.

    You also know, as we have discussed recently on this blog, that Catholics believe we are saved by God’s grace through his son, Jesus Christ. You know that I have said, many times, including very recently that a Catholic can properly say that we are saved “by grace alone.” I have written to you that we see even faith, as possible only because of grace. We can argue endlessly on what is the meaning of faith – on whether or not it is a work – you know that I think that it is an act of the will and therefore a work. But when I have said repeatedly that “everything is grace” from my next breath to faith to all my works, how exactly am I limiting the sovereignty of God?

    Further, I have repeatedly acknowledged that the “body of Christ” consists of the universal body of all believers and have stated, repeatedly, that the Catholic Chruch teaches that. However, you know that that does not end the issue. The Body of Christ is the Universal body of believers AND the visible Church. We know this because while he was alive Jesus said, “(ESV) “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, TELL IT TO THE CHURCH. And if he refuses to listen EVEN TO THE CHURCH, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Mat 18:15-17. Now for us to “tell it to the Church” that Church must be a visible organization. And since Jesus also said that the lamp is not for hiding under the basket we know the Chruch will be easy to find. And since he said the gates of hell will not prevail against it we know the Church will survive. And since he is God, he knew these things would be recorded in Scripture and we would search for the Chruch he instructs us to go to. So tell me, where is it? Where is the Church I can go to and ask questions of? The one that can treat an offender “as a gentile and tax collector”, that can kick someone out if they don’t listen.

    Finally, all verses in the bible are good for Catholics b/c the bible is the word of God and the Church is his Body on earth. I fail to see on 1 John 2:18 is otherwise. it says:

    “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.” 1Jo 2:18-22

    It speaks of anti-christ that “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us.” In a sense that means that the anti-christ will come out of the one true Church in that THEY WILL BREAK AWAY FROM IT b/c otherwise “they would have continued with us”. But as Catholics, we would not immediately label those who break away from the Church as an anti-christ b/c it also says, “Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? his is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son” So the anti-christ will deny Jesus is the Christ. Therefore, the anti-christ will not simply be someone who separates himself from the Church but who does so and then denies the divinity of Christ. We can this has happened already with the Mormons and the Jehovah Witnesses. Which off shoot will eventually spawn the final anti-christ we cannot say.

    Regardless, while I admit that in the past I may have failed in not throwing around apocalyptic pronouncements as I have learned more I have done the best i can to stop doing that. There is very little we can truly know and be confident about the end times and we should avoid using those verses in accusation at all times.

    Take care.

    • Jon musso says:

      Your 100 percent right I have no excuse I’m truly sorry!

      • Jon musso says:

        I think my comments are over stated and to broad, but I stand by the fact that the Catholic Church doesn’t hold to the cross to level I believe the bible whoe to, it’s about the resurrection and catholic don’t emphasis it enough there to busy fighting to much for ultimate authority!

        God bless


      • Justin Ihnat (St. Ignatius of Loyola) says:

        The Church gave you the book you’re worshipping.

  5. I accept you position and please know that i am not upset.

    I would only make one minor point. I don’t see myself fighting for authority. Saint Peter says, “always be ready to give reasons for the joy that is within you.” Being a Catholic is a great joy. It is a great joy because I know my questions about truth and doctrine can be answered with authority. It is a great joy because I look to the Fathers or the Church and know with confidence that I believe the same things that Jesus taught the Apostles and that they taught the first converts. Being Catholic is a great joy because I know that the Eucharist is the real presence of Jesus Christ and I am given the privilege by God to humble myself and sit at the table of the Wedding Feast Of Lamb every Sunday and at that moment I am untied to Jesus is the most intimate personal relationship possible.

    I am not fighting for authority. I am giving you the reasons for the great joy that is within me.

    • Jon musso says:

      I appreciate that,my joy comes from knowing that the gospel saved me, Christ saved me! so what is the gospel it’s saving works of Christ! When I hear Justin say things like the church gave me the book, I worship that just not true the book comes from the power of the spirit which comes from God, and the reformers have been protecting scripture ever since! Anyone who deny the redemptive authority of the savior I’m sorry is living out of a false authority! The bible not a man made book it’s God word it’s God breath out, so when I hear Catholics say such statement like this I admit I allow myself to make to broad statement! We just hold to different authorities, I hold to scripture as final authority, you hold to scripture and the church, and this is where we just don’t agree! Again I know you love God Dave and I know you truly believe in the Catholic Church, I’m just convinced that the resurrection is central to all other things it’s the heart of the New Testament! traditions undermine that, but like I said I may to many broad statement and for that I again apologize!

      • Justin Ihnat (St. Ignatius of Loyola) says:

        The Church came before the Bible. How would you have known what is and is not Truth without hearing the Word from Christ’s Apostles? Would you have rejected their authority the way you do to the current Apostolic Church today?

      • Jon musso says:

        John 1 in the beginning was the word and the word was God. The bible authority comes from God he always was!

  6. Jon musso says:

    I don’t reject the apostles I reject the Catholic Church as the universal authority, because scripture does!

    • Justin Ihnat (St. Ignatius of Loyola) says:

      No scripture you quote removes credibility and legitimacy from the Roman Catholic Church. It only solidifies Her as the Body of Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

      • Jon musso says:

        The scripture I quoted promotes that the word of God was from the beginning, not given by the Catholic Church, but again we just don’t agree you believe the church is the driver to your theology, I believe God word driver! Have a good day!

      • Justin Ihnat (St. Ignatius of Loyola) says:

        No, duh, Jon. This isn’t a matter of what came first, the chicken or the egg? God is the driver, the Church gave us the Bible, and your so-called “reformers” altered it to pervert so easily without any authority to do so. Through men we have been given the True Word, explained by the Church Christ founded, and through men outside the Truth we have seen the lies come to be. If the Bible is your claim to truth, how come the sola scriptura crowd agrees on nothing? There can only be One Truth. “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!”

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