Inspiration: Ephesians 1:1-14, Order

Dear Inspiration Seekers,

The Vicar’s Dad has started another series of Life Group classes at the Bridge’s Church this winter.  I learned this while visiting recently.  This round is on Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.  I am a couple of weeks behind, but shall try to catch up, as I did when he taught lessons on Galatians and Romans a couple of years back.  If you did not follow those sequences of blogs, my intent is to parallel the text for each of his lessons, adding my thoughts on the themes that stand out to me.  You might be glad to know that this will conclude with eight lessons.

Paul begins Ephesians with a salutation to the “saints in Ephesus”.  Let’s just skip that “saints” issue for now, and notice the broader theme of the passage, as well as the full text: Order.  Within the narrative of Christianity is the idea that creation, nature and social structures, occur because of Order.  In contrast, Paul will assert that the opposite of God’s Order is Disobedience, but that is for discussion in Chapters 2 & 5.

Paul aligns Order with God’s Will.  Right up with side-stepping the concept of saints, I shall not dwell on the word, “predestination”, in verse 1:5 and 1:11.  I have discussed this previously.  Let’s just say that it falls into the concept of Order and Will.  Rather, I shall follow more the line of discussion about Will as taught by the Vicar in his sermon, “With” recently at the Westgate Church.  The labor of Christians is not follow the Law but to adhere to the Will.

The fulfillment of this Will has less to do with following a single line of actions, but in my view, acting in accordance with the many options we have for doing what is right.  Order has many possibilities, and every possibility provides us with many others possibilities.  Christ gives us a short list of commandments and sums them us as
“love your neighbor”.  We merely complicate the issue by expecting that following God’s Will means finding the One, correct answer to a multiple choice question.

If a friend talks with you about some issues in his family, you should:

  1. tell him/her what you might do in such a situation
  2. direct him to seek counseling
  3. recommend a book that you found helpful when you had similar issues
  4. offer to meet occasionally at a coffee shop to discuss how the situation is going
  5. any of the above.

Paul uses many descriptive words in his salutation regarding the Purpose of this Will: holy and blameless, praise of his glorious grace, redemption, forgiveness, wisdom and understanding, to bring all things together, guaranteeing our inheritance…  Order brings Fulfillment.

Embedded in the middle of this salutation is the word “Mystery”.  Many cultural groups, historically and currently, have considered the concept of God beyond definition.  Some things are best to be left to Mystery.  With a God beyond our comprehension, should not  Order and Will also be a Mystery?  How we either discover this Will, or how it becomes revealed to us can remain a Mystery for me.

Until next time Inspiration Seekers


About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
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2 Responses to Inspiration: Ephesians 1:1-14, Order

  1. The Vicar says:

    In our world, “order” is something that is most often imposed. Consider governments, industry, academic and religious institutions and all of the laws and rules that have been created to dictate order. Paul points out that there is an order that exist over all of our attempts to structure life that does not demand submission, but rather invites us to choose wisely. It is a will that is “good, pleasing, and perfect” (Rom 12:2), yet it may look different for you than it does for me. God’s will is not a one size fits all mandate, but rather (as you state) a plethora options. Instead of defining narrowly the will of God, Jesus invites us to seek first the Kingdom of God… and all these things will be added unto you (Matthew 5:33).

    If we choose to follow our own will, we find like Solomon in Ecclesiastes or Linkin Park that “I tried so hard, and got so far, in the end it didn’t really matter…. and then we blame the God we did not follow for the results. Mystery necessitates faith.

    • hermitsdoor says:

      We shall, certainly, be coming back to the theme of wills, which I put in the plural form, as these may conform, coordinate, or conflict. Blame is rarely attributed when we get what we will.

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