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A light study of Ephesians chapter 1, verses 1 and 2.Word Studies of; G652 apostle, G2307 will, G40 saints and G4103 faithful.
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.
The Almighty chose Paul to rock the world. Paul, who was a professional student of his religion. Paul who excelled at his studies to the point of surpassing his contemporaries and who believed that it was his duty to guard the teachings that made him a religious man. He was so zealous that he, at some point , began to embrace rage as if it was a tool to control those less devoted then himself to tradition. Paul made it his mission to punish his countrymen for straying from his religion. The religious man became a terrorist who drove believers in Y'shua-Jesus from their homes, incarcerating the faithful in Christ, even being a witness without protest to the murder of men who trusted in Y'shua.
I (Y'shua) am The Way, the truth, and the life; no one comes the Father but through me. John 14:6How does a person come to have eternal life? I can only speculate how Paul thought a person came to life after the grave. The one fact I know is that he did not think that it was through Y'shua of Nazareth. The little bit I know of Pharisees leads me to believe that Paul thought a man must work hard at keeping the rules and traditions of his religion in order to be found acceptable to the Almighty. Confronted by believers in God's word through Y'shua, who made amazing claims about the son of Joseph of Nazareth, if in fact he was actually Joseph's son; Paul had heard stories. He made the stopping the spread of the wild tales about the Nazarene his personal mission. It would have been easy to dismiss the leaders of "The Way" (the popular name of the early believers) for their lack of traditional education, but the stories they were telling about the man! They claimed he had changed water into wine, that he had even walked on water. There were claims that he healed the sick, people who had been born crippled were able to walk. Maybe the wildest of the tales from The Way was that Y'shua brought the dead back to life; or even harder to believe, that he, himself arose from the dead. This MAN who had been heard telling people, "Your sins are forgiven." Only God himself could forgive sin. Why, Paul may have wondered, wouldn't this Y'shua have simply come down from his cross if he has so much power? Why rise from the dead in secret instead of come down publicly from the cross?
The uneducated followers of Y'shua had an answer even for the last question. They said that YHVH (the LORD God) so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him would have everlasting life! (John 3:16) What must it have been like for the professional religion student, Paul to hear that those who do not work at keeping their religion as he does could have eternal life as a free gift from the Son of YHVH?
Paul's road to belief in Y'shua went from Jerusalem to Damascus. You can (and should) read the whole story in Acts 9:1-31. The bottom line is that there was a day that Paul the terrorist was delivering letters of condemnation to believers when he had a supernatural meeting with Y'shua. Years later, as an apostle, he was writing letters of life to encourage the faithful. What an awesome turn-around!
What is an apostle?
Our English word is a transliteration of a Greek word, apostolos (G652)* apostolos is someone sent from the kingdom as an ambassador.
We often hear that Peter, John, Paul and the rest have an "office" of apostle. An apostolos was appointed by the king (thus we say that it is an office) to represent his kingdom. Paul sent God's message of life and encouragement to the faithful in Y'shua as the representative of our King (Lord) Y'shua.
Paul became an apostle by the will of YHVH (the LORD). His will is love. If you are interested, I have already done an Ephesians word study of will - thelema G2307 on my other blog, The Toy Box:
Click here to read it: by the WILL of YHVH
Another word that is important to understand is "saints" Saint has become such a common word that it is easy to forget it has a specific meaning. We use the word to describe someone who is patient... the mother of a difficult to handle child is sometimes referred to as a "saint" when she keeps her temper. There is a football team called "the saints." For some reason, the Roman church thinks that they get to vote on who qualifies as a saint. What does the word mean?
Saint is translated from the Greek word hagios G40 It means "sacred" The first half of the word hag indicates that it has to do with being "inside the curtain" meaning the inner room of the Jewish temple. The basic idea of hagios -saint is living a life that is consecrated, separated. You must be born again to live life this close to the Almighty. Someone who has been born again is hagios a saint but not all saints are sanctified. That is the work of choosing to live as Y'shua-Jesus lived, a life of faith according to the Word of YHVH.
Hagios - saints is a spirit realm word. You may have heard that believers in Y'shua-Jesus are "in the world but not of it." That has to do with being Hagios. We who have been born again live our life in the presence of the Almighty. Stop and think about that. If you know anything about the Jewish Tabernacle or Temple, you know that a person cannot simply go skipping to the presence of God. We must all come to him through his Son, Y'shua-Jesus. It is no longer a physical curtain in a physical temple that separates us from the throne of God. We have access through His Son... but this is another study. For now it is enough to know that you must be born again to have access, to be Hagios.
Finally, Paul's letter is to those who are faithful in Christ Jesus. Believe and faith are related words. One is a noun, a descriptive title. The other is a verb, action. Both of these words, believe and faith, come from the Hebrew word Amen. For most of my young Christian life, I thought that saying Amen was like saying "over and out" (ending a radio conversation). I was never sure why someone would shout out AMEN as encouragement to a preacher during his sermon. I was surprised to find out what this word actually means! The word Paul uses here is faithful (faith) translated from pistos G4103. This is the noun form of Amen H539 and used in this sentence as an adjective. In case you have forgot your grade school English, an adjective describes a noun. ...those (saints-hagios) is the noun (ok, those is a pronoun for the word saints). Faithful-pistos is the adjective that describes which saints Paul is addressing. As an adjective it means "established, someone who is trustworthy" Our faithfulness is in Y'shua-Jesus. It is not something we are able to do on our own but neither can we ignore the responsibility.
My Father in law once told me that he became a Christian as a young man. His life changed completely. You know the story. He started going to church, quit drinking, cleaned up his language, he was good. One day he was building something from wood. While hammering a nail, he hammered his finger. He said a cuss word burst from his mouth for the pain. He told me that he paused for a moment and thought to himself, "well so much for being a Christian." He thought he blew it. As an older man, he attended church with myself and his youngest son. We all found out that not only are to be born again by Jesus, we are also kept by him. 1 John 1:9 is a gift that keeps giving.
If you confess your sins, He (Y'shua-Jesus) is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9The Almighty brought us near by the blood of Jesus. That is Hagios. He keeps us near by forgiveness of confessed sin because of the powerful, precious gift of Jesus! That is the grace, that is the peace that comes from the Father and his Son Y'shua-Jesus.
Until next time,
Debs, August 18, 2017
* I use Strong's numbering system, G indicates the word is from the Greek dictionary, H is for Hebrew.
All Scripture references are from the New American Standard (NAS)