Eph 1 Longest Greeting pt 3

Jul 4, 2021 // By:Dave // No Comment

we are still deep in Paul’s greeting to the Ephesian Church. His introduction to a letter written around 60-61 AD, one of four epistles commonly known as the Prison Epistles. 

what are the prison epistles ?

(The others are Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.)

not Galatians (it was written around 49-51 AD, just before Paul goes to attend the Jerusalem council in Acts 15:1-30 over the very issues he writes about in the Galatian epistle.


  • Paul has just returned from his first missionary journey (which included founding a group of believers (commonly known as a church)
  • he receives a report that judaizers have been convincing them that the Mosaic covenant is a requirement for salvation)  
  • He writes what is accepted to be his angriest letter ever recorded.  
  • He even takes the pen from his scribe and finishes the letter in his own hand to drive the point home (see Gal 6:11 where he points out how he is writing in bigger letters) oldest manuscripts written by Paul are in Uncial (capital letters).  Later letters, done by scribes, and copies use cursive (lower letters)


The point of personal ending with big letters ?

  • to add authenticity to the letter (his writing would likely have been recognizable since he was not trained as a writer)
  • to add emphasis to a point (unlikely since the entire letter was his point)
  • most likely reason is Paul starts finishing the letter with his own hand for authenticity, sees the striking difference between the scribe’s trained letters and his own sprawling oversized letters (combination of untrained and bad eyesight [Gal 4:15] ) and decides to draw attention to the difference to add to the authentication.

It is commonly accepted that if God had not allowed for Paul to be arrested and imprisoned by Rome, these epistles would likely have never been written (and therefore, not included in the canon of scripture for us to be blessed by their content)

We have begun gleaning and expanding the spiritual blessings Paul provides throughout the first three chapters of this epistle.

Eph. 1:1 ¶ Paul, aan apostle of bChrist Jesus 1cby the will of God, ¶  To the 2dsaints who are 3at eEphesus and fare faithful in bChrist Jesus:

Eph. 1:2 aGrace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph. 1:3aBlessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in bthe heavenly places in Christ,

Eph. 1:4 just as aHe chose us in Him before bthe foundation of the world, that we would be choly and blameless before 1Him. dIn love

Eph. 1:5 1He apredestined us to badoption as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ to Himself, caccording to the good pleasure of His will,

Eph. 1:6 ato the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He favored us in bthe Beloved.

Eph. 1:7 aIn 1Him we have bredemption cthrough His blood, the dforgiveness of our wrongdoings, according to ethe riches of His grace

Eph. 1:8 which He 1lavished on 2us. In all wisdom and insight

note that back in verse 1, he says to the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus.

This does not mean that there are two types of saints (faithful and unfaithful) and Paul is choosing to address only the faithful saints …

rather, He is adding a description of a saint … they are faithful.

What is a saint ?

Can someone be a saint and not be faithful ?

I suppose your answer depends on how you define the words “saint” and “faithful”

saints (68x)  G0040 (247x)

[NIV Greek]

41   [40 & 39]   ἅγιος, hagios, a.  [root of: 39, 40, 42, 43; cf. 54]. holy (moral quality), consecrated ([ceremonially] acceptable to God); holy person/people = set apart by choice

Two sides to this HAGIOS coin

  • positional sanctification
    • bestowed upon us (declared by the Father) at our moment of salvation
    • that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; Rom 10:9
  • experiential sanctification 
    • transformation of thought and behavior which reveals the salvation bestowed upon us
    • Therefore I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Rom 12:1-2

faithful (81x)  G4103 (69x)

[NIV Greek]

4412   [4103]   πιστός, pistos, a.  [root of: 601, 602, 603, 3898, 3899, 4409, 4410, 4411, 4413; cf. 4275]. faithful, trustworthy, reliable, believing, portrays an unshakable loyalty, which is displayed in a number of ways.

We see pistos in the faithful servants of Mt 24:45 and 25:21-23, who prove trustworthy in carrying out their assignments. 

Most often, however, the NT calls our attention to God and describes him as faithful. Because God is faithful, he can be trusted completely to carry out his commitments to us in Christ (1 Co 1:9; 10:13; 2 Co 1:18; 1 Th 5:24; 2 Th 3:3; 2 Ti 2:13; Heb 2:17; 10:23; 11:11; 1 Pe 4:19; 1 Jn 1:9; Rev 1:5; 3:14; 19:11).

“Faithful” is also a word used to commend believers for their quality of steadfast endurance (e.g., 1 Co 4:17; Eph 6:21; Col 1:7; 4:7). Indeed, “the faithful” is used in some passages as a way of saying “believers” (e.g., Eph 1:1).

Paul is particularly aware that God has committed to him, as to every believer, the responsibility of using his gifts to serve others. “It is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful,” 

he writes in 1 Co 4:1“This is the way any person is to regard us: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

2 In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.

trustworthy = πιστός pistos  (it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy, faithful)  

so who is a steward ?

1Cor. 3:23 and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

you” = Corinthian reader (christian), included in “us” in verse 4:1, who are servants of Christ


We know that we can trust God to remain faithful to his commitments (meaning He sticks with His commitments despite changing circumstances). It is wonderful that God entrusts so much to us. 

believers are expected to be trustworthy stewards of what God has given us

  • Specific revelation of God and His purpose and plans (including the Gospel)
  • Spiritual blessings and gifts He has given each and every believer

It does not take long to see people claiming to be “saints” but who’s lives do not reflect their claim to be faithful in Christ.

God provides opportunities for us to show faithfulness/loyalty (in the face of changing circumstances), yet is is often these very tests that we retranslate as obstacles that made it impossible to be faithful.

yet Paul says “saints are faithful”

can there be faithfulness without testing ?

Paul is in agreement with scripture, which is in agreement with God because it is the equivalent of the voice of God, it IS the authority of God

2 Tim 3:16

All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work.

and what does scripture say about saints being faithful ?

James 2:14-24

14 What use is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,

16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?

17 In the same way, faith also, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.

18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

19 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.

20 But are you willing to acknowledge, you foolish person, that faith without works is useless?

21 Was our father Abraham not justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?

22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;

23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called a friend of God.

24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.

Matt. 24:13aBut the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved.

why is endurance to the end a qualifier of a saint ?

1Cor. 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and aGod is faithful, 1so He will not allow you to be btempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

our endurance is proof of God’s faithfulness

1Cor. 13:7 it 1akeeps every confidence, it believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

what is IT ?

Why or how does love endure all things ?

because it is His love within us, empowering us to endure

  • for his glory (showcasing God’s faithfulness)
  • for the sake of showing love even to our enemies 
  • endurance is a key tool used by God for spreading the Gospel

1Cor. 9:12 If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we adid not use this right, but we endure all things bso that we will cause no hindrance to the cgospel of Christ.

2Tim. 2:12  If we endure, awe will also reign with Him;   If we 1bdeny Him, He will also deny us;

1John 2:19 aThey went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, bso that 1it would be evident that they all are not of us.

we have spoken before about this truth … walking away does not mean you lost your salvation, it means you never had it to begin with “so that 1it would be evident that they all are not of us.”

scripture is quite clear that a saint is faithful (because faithfulness is part of being a saint)

faithfulness is part of the job description (it is actually one of the biggest parts expected)

is faith just a “head choice” (an intellectual process) ?

is faith a matter of working up an emotional state shouting “i believe” ?

lets look at what scripture defines as faith:

the passage in James 2 about faith without works is a great starting point as Abraham is cited to provide an example of genuine faith

James 2

21 Was our father Abraham not justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?

22 You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;

23 and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called a friend of God.

Heb. 11:1 ¶ Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen.

Heb. 11:2 For by it the people of old gained approval.

Heb. 11:3 ¶ By faith we understand that the world has been created by the word of God so that what is seen has not been made out of things that are visible.

Heb. 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he was attested to be righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

Heb. 11:5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for before he was taken up, he was attested to have been pleasing to God.

Heb. 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for the one who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He proves to be One who rewards those who seek Him.

Heb. 11:7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

Heb. 11:8 ¶ By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he left, not knowing where he was going.

Heb. 11:9 By faith he lived as a stranger in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;

Heb. 11:10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

Heb. 11:11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.

Heb. 11:12 Therefore even from one man, and one who was as good as dead at that, there were born descendants who were just as the stars of heaven in number, and as the innumerable grains of sand along the seashore.

Heb. 11:13All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen and welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

Heb. 11:14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.

Heb. 11:15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country which they left, they would have had opportunity to return.

Heb. 11:16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

Heb. 11:17 ¶ By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and the one who had received the promises was offering up his only son;

Heb. 11:18 it was he to whom it was said, “THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE NAMED.”

Heb. 11:19 He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.

Heb. 11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come.

Heb. 11:21 By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.

Heb. 11:22 By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones.

Heb. 11:23 ¶ By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.

Heb. 11:24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,

Heb. 11:25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin,

Heb. 11:26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.

Heb. 11:27 By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he persevered, as though seeing Him who is unseen.

Heb. 11:28 By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch them.

Heb. 11:29 By faith they passed through the Red Sea as through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.

Heb. 11:30 ¶ By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after the Israelites had marched around them for seven days.

Heb. 11:31 By faith the prostitute Rahab did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.

Heb. 11:32 ¶ And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,

Heb. 11:33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions,

Heb. 11:34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

Heb. 11:35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection;

Heb. 11:36 and others experienced mocking and flogging, and further, chains and imprisonment.

Heb. 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented

Heb. 11:38 (people of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts, on mountains, and sheltering in caves and holes in the ground.

Heb. 11:39 ¶ And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised,

Heb. 11:40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

faith here is seen in a willingness to put the call of God above our comfort, our self made lives

and being willing, as Abraham, to live as aliens in a foreign land

John 15:18-19

“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.

John 17:16

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Philippians 3:20

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;

Hebrews 11:13-16

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return.read more.

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

1 Peter 2:11

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

We are called out of this world, to persevere in this world, awaiting our world.

perseverance often simply holding our ground (not even making any progress)

(see Eph 6, resisting the devil)

We must understand that saying we have faith means persevering through hardships in this world as we await our own world

(this includes dealing with things that assault our beliefs, our values, our sense of right and wrong) and not caving in on this things in this foreign land.

The spiritual blessings we are going to spend three chapters reading about are meant to enable to to persevere.

motivate us to resist.

empower us to hold our ground while we live as aliens against forces (and false truths) that want to knock us out of place and out of balance

stand firm in Eph 6:11 histemi = stand in place, be established

Eph. 6:13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

resist = anthhistemi = oppose, withstand (be established throughout the application of a force whose purpose it to move or topple us

that is the word used for resist, 

in james 4:7, and 1 Pet 5:8

Sometimes holding present ground is all we are called to do

(just don’t quit)   remain steadfast, faithful, stay in the place of loyalty.

sometimes life feels like rowing against the current of a river.

your eyes tell you that you are not making progress against the current

you have three choices:

  1. row harder and faster than the current’s power (not always possible)
  2. surrender, give up (be carried downstream and into more loss and depression)
  3. maintain your position and wait upon God for guidance , or
    • a motor for the back of the boat
    • a bigger boat to come along
    • for God to dam up the river

We are called to be faithful, trustworthy of all God has “entrusted” to us.

perseverance is the key to faithfulness.

resistance is the key to trustworthiness

Let us be faithful to our Father who is faithful for us and gives us all we need to someday hear: “well done, enter into the joy of the Master” (Matt 25:21)

Mark 13:13 “And you will be hated by everyone because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.

endured ὑπομένω, hypomenō, v.  [5679 + 3531]. to stay behind; to stand firm, endure, persevere

James 1:2aConsider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter bvarious 1trials,

James 1:3 knowing that athe testing of your bfaith produces 1cendurance.

the word here for testing means “proving genuine”

To the saints who are at Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus:


“to the ones in Ephesus who have been called out and set apart, whose faith in Christ has been proven genuine.”


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