Ephesians 1:1-2

Ok, let’s get started…

Ephesians 1:1-2 ESV

[1] Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
[2] Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

As is common with the Pauline letters, Paul introduces himself as an apostle of Jesus, one specifically called by Christ, having seen the risen Lord Jesus, and who established and governed the church. Paul then makes it a point to note that he is an apostle by the “will of God” so that there is no mistake in whose decision it was for him to be an apostle, and subsequently where his authority to speak to the church comes from: his authority comes from God through Christ Jesus.

Next, we see that Paul addresses the church at Ephesus as “saints”, not sinners. This is important, because Paul recognizes the work that Christ has done to change their identity from that of one who is  “dead in our trespasses” to that of one who is “made alive in Christ”.

Paul extends grace and peace from “God our Father” and the “Lord Jesus Christ”. This is huge, because it further shows the relationship change between God and man. It is not only “God the Father”; it is “God our Father”. God the Father has adopted we who were once “followers of the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2), so we are now adopted children of God!

Romans 8:12-17 ESV

[12] So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. [13] For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. [14] For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
[15] For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” [16] The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, [17] and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Furthermore, Paul’s usage of “Lord Jesus Christ” says that the physical man Jesus is the Christ (Messiah, Anointed One), and that Jesus the Christ is no mere Prophet or Priest, but that He is Lord, He is God come to earth as the physical man Jesus, fully God and fully man. This doctrine is called the Hypostatic Union of Jesus. This is one of the great mysteries of the Bible, in that we can’t really explain this fully either logically or scientifically, but instead requires faith to believe in the absence of concrete evidence.

It is crucial and central to Christianity in that if the physical man Jesus was not God, then, as C.S. Lewis puts it, He was a liar or a lunatic for claiming to be God. If Jesus were merely a man, then there is no way He could have lived the perfect life that Adam failed to live, that we fail to live, and as such He could not have atoned for our sins on the cross as He would not have been spotless and without blemish in relation to sin. This would also pose problems with His resurrection.

Admittedly, this concept is a bit much for me to explain in the blog. For those who wish to do further reading on this, Mark Driscoll does a fantastic job explaining this on his blog. I do have to warn you, it’s some intense reading. You may prefer to either watch the sermon or get his book Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe to do more of an in depth study of basic Christian doctrine.

This also strikes against a heresy called Gnosticism. Gnosticism has been around in some form or fashion since the days of Plato. Gnosticism is the idea that only the spiritual is good, and the physical is bad, and was somehow created that way.

The implications of this are two-fold:

1) Some took this separation of body and spirit to a different level by saying and living like nothing they did physically affected them spiritually. Meaning that they could do whatever they want with their bodies and it not affect them spiritually. They could, in effect, sin physically, and as long as they didn’t sin spiritually, they were ok.
2) Others took this to mean that if the spirit is good, and the physical is bad, then God which is good could never be physical, but only Spirit.

Not only does the creation account in Genesis contradict this nonsense, but the fact that God DID take of physical form, being born of a virgin, says that all things physical are not bad. The physical does not corrupt the spirit, but in fact, it’s the spiritual state and acts that corrupt the physical. They are so intertwined that when one sins, he sins from the spirit and (most times) by the physical. God created all things physical and spiritual as good, and then through spiritual acts of sin, both the spiritual and physical became totally corrupted. Therefore, when God redeems someone, He redeems them both spiritually and physically.

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