Paul addresses Ephesians to God’s holy ones/saints and blesses with grace and peace. As saints, they believed in Christ Jesus as the Redeemer that had atoned for all their sins, and by this faith they were consecrated and sanctified to God. Grace and peace are blessings which come from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. These same blessings come to us (Eph 2:8).
To holy ones/saints/hagios
Saints is a kingdom word identifying believers made holy by the death of Jesus’ physical body (Col 1:22, Heb 10:10) and cleansed from all sin by His blood (1 Jn 1:7). God has made us holy and consecrated us to Himself in His kingdom. We saints are called to turn away from following our own will and follow Messiah Jesus our King. In the text of the Bible, saint is never used as a title for an individual.
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: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:1-2
If we believe in Messiah Jesus, we are saints in the kingdom. Even if we don’t consider ourselves saints, our Father in heaven does. Some days, we certainly don’t seem holy. We might be grumpy, grim, and caught in sin. What Paul wants us to see is reality to lift us out of those ruts. Paul helps us set our sight on the things that are above. He wants us to see ourselves as our Father in heaven sees us.
To be holy is to be set apart. The same Greek word is used in the NT for both “holy” and, in the plural, “saints” (VWS).
Prior to Jesus death, resurrection and ascension, the Holy Spirit had not been poured out and followers of Jesus were not born again, new creatures created m the Messiah. They were identified as disciples. After the middle of the book of Acts, you will not find the word “disciples” in the New Testament. You will find those who trust in Jesus identified as saints.
Grace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
Grace/charis, here, is undeserved favor with the emphasis on favor from God. The one who extends grace has something to give to the recipient, who lacks what is needed and lacks the means to acquire it. Unlike an investor, the gracious giver gives out of love, with no expectation of a return favor. God didn’t hold back on extending His grace to each one of us. He measured it out in portions proportionate to the gift of His Son. “The gift of the Messiah is the measure after which grace/charis was given to each one of us” (Eph 4:7 Anchor Bible). Jesus the Messiah brought grace and truth. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17 KJV).
Another meaning of grace/charis is God’s power working in us to will and to do His good pleasure (Ph 2:13). “Since we have gifts/charisma that differ according to the grace/charis given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness”.(Ro 12:6-8 NASB).
Paul wrote of himself. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Cor 15:10 ESV). “‘But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”‘ 2 Cor 12:9 ESV
Paul to Timothy. “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 2:1 ESV).
Paul to the Corinthians. “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge” (1 Cor 1:4-5 ESV).
Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
The Hebrew word for peace is shalom. God our Father has blessed us by lavishing the riches of His grace upon us in His dear Son and giving us shalom. By the blood of the Lamb, God our Father has made us holy from the inside out and by His Spirit, He helps us relate according to His righteousness, in the grace mode. The kingdom of God is “righteousness and peace/shalom and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Ro 14:17). Shalom is the environment of God’s kingdom in which His community of people thrives. This shalom comes to us because God makes things right between Him and us and one another and to an extent His creation; incubating supernatural, harmonious, wellbeing.
We thrive in peace in the body of Christ. Messiah Jesus continues to bring His peace to us as we live in the kingdom of God, serving our Lord Jesus the Messiah as King. That’s living in the light. If we by our own reason or strength try to attain peace with God, ourselves, our spouse, our children, our neighbor or God’s creation, we ultimately fail. In the Messiah, we have peace. Messiah Jesus leads us in the paths of righteousness, beside the still waters, and restores our souls. Nothing on this earth, no pills, no religion, no human leader can bring us that kind of peace.
Ephesians series 1 Grace and peace to Gods holy ones 2 God has a plan for all who trust in Jesus 3 Our Personal Identity and Purpose 4 Jews and Gentiles made one in Christ 5 Growing up to work in the body of Christ 6 Walking as God’s dear children 7 Godly family and work relationships 8 Let the Lord make you strong