Tucked into the New Testament after Galatians and the Corinthian correspondence, the Epistle to the Ephesians casts a warm, quieting glow when compared to the strident character of Galatians and the rather tough lines that Paul penned to former associates in Corinth, one of the first branches established on European soil. In Ephesians, by contrast, the Apostle Paul has shown a bright light on both an overly generous God the Father, who “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that
we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20), and the Gentiles whom he has recently welcomed into the celestial fold, making them “no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (2:19). These are two aspects that commentators always feature. But there is much more, for the letter opens on the scene of the premortal council and ends with church members clothed in God’s sacred, protective armor that helps them “to stand against the wiles of the devil,” an indicator of the looming apostasy (6:11). In addition, enfolded within Ephesians are not only
a tightly woven strand of family-centered interests, including an expectation of eternal families, but sharpened pointers to sacred rituals. Furthermore, the letter spells out the joyous assurance to believers that Christ “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (2:6). This exalted position is made possible because of one of the grandest gifts that comes from the Father through the Son—“redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins” (2:7). Hallelujah!