Reading through the Bible together

Sunday, April 19, 2015

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Someone has described Ephesians as the Alps of the New Testament. Our mountaineering guide, the Apostle Paul, takes us on a rapid ascent. We are quickly breathless and amazed at the vistas open before us.

Vv. 3-14 function like a map at a mountain’s summit that identifies the peaks on the horizon, as Paul orients us to our privileged place in the vast landscape of the Plan of Salvation. The scenery covers the full span of salvation history, from eternity past, through God’s grace-filled actions in Christ, to eternity future. God’s redemption of believers is rooted in divine initiatives taken “before the foundation of the world” (v. 4), which are now being worked out in our lives (see vv. 7-8; 13-14). These pre-creation strategies will be fully accomplished at the end of time when God’s plan will come to fruition (vv. 9-10). Then, “all things”, both “in heaven” and “on earth” will be “gathered together” or “united” in Christ and God’s plan for “the fullness of time” will be fulfilled (v. 10). Then, we will fully experience God’s mysterious plan (v. 9). In the present, though, we may be certain that the marvelous, Christ-centered salvation in which we stand is an important part of God’s wide-reaching plan for the redemption of “all things.”

Being on a mountaintop inspires thanksgiving to the Creator. In vv. 15-19 Paul gives thanks to God as he prays that believers may experience the salvation God has planned for them. And we find ourselves on another steep climb as he points us upward to the risen, ascended, coronated Christ, who rules over every imaginable power for all time (vv. 20-23).

Live this day on the mountaintop!

John McVay
Walla Walla University
United States