refers to the body of
Christ (Ephesians 2:16). The author appears to have coined this new
express a revolutionary new oneness and unity.
contents of Ephesians 3 develop on the interconnections from preceding
especially 2:11-22. The three-fold syn compounds, joint-heir,
joint-partaker of 3:6 which describe the new community to which Gentile
believers belong is foreshadowed in the terminology found in chapter 2:
fellow-citizens, fitted together, and built together (2:19-22). As
mention in 2:18 of the direct access of the Gentile community to God
the reader for the boldness of the intercessory prayer (3:12). Other
reoccurring ideas from previous sections are inheritance, mystery,
revelation, body, and grace.
joint-heirs and joint-body and joint-partakers in the promise in Christ
through the gospel.
mystery that all will be brought into Christ is clarified and
mystery now revealed is that the Gentiles are being included in a
new community in Christ that transcends old labels, barriers and
author uses three terms to explain this secret: joint heir, joint body,
joint partaker. The syn-prefix "joint" is common within Ephesians and
functions to link the ideas of several passages to the mystery. In
Gentiles have been made citizens together (2:19) and therefore joint
They are fitted together (2:21, 4:16) and therefore joint body. They
together (2:22) as the temple of God.
body, building and inheritance themes are all interconnected so that
whole body fitted together and put together by every supporting joint
builds itself up in love as each part does its work" (4:16). Therefore
body of Christ, the temple of God
and is filled or is completed as each member does its part.
these ways the use of the syn-prefixes reveal much about the manner in
the mystery (or the administration of the mystery) is worked out. As
three terms in 3:6 are loaded with meaning. Joint-heirs can imply both
inheritance with Israel
and with Christ. Paul's prayer is that we might experientially know
"glorious inheritance in the saints" (1:18). This suggests that we
share Christ's inheritance. As well, 2:11-22, suggests that the
in the inheritance of Israel.
Paul taught that Gentile believers are fellow heirs of all the
pledged to Abraham and his seed which is Christ (Rom. 4:13, 16, Gal.
and are therefore heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17).
Therefore to be in Christ and to share in his inheritance is also to
participate in the promise to Abraham and his descendants.
body refers to the
body of Christ (2:16). The author appears to have coined this new word
express this revolutionary new unity between Jews and Gentiles that is
in Christ Jesus (2:13-22). It is in this body that Jews and Gentiles
reconciled to God by the cross (2:16). The use of body terminology is
reminder of the body which Christ himself fills with all things (1:10,
well it prepares the reader for the mixing of metaphors in the husband
analogy. The author declares that this is a great mystery (5:32).
the church and suffered on a cross, separated from his Father, that he
sanctify and cleanse the church by the washing of the word, that he
present the church to himself in marriage. Christ and the church then
one perfect man. Christ is the savior of the body (5:23). This is such
mystery, but it becomes even greater when one remembers that all things
eventually be joined in the body '.This perfect man (4:13) who is every
perfect in Christ Jesus (Col. 1:27) becomes the means of sanctifying
cleansing the rest of creation in much the same way that Paul had to
that which was lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the Gentiles
1:24-25). This perfect man shall leave father (the Heavenly Father) and
(the Heavenly Jerusalem which is the mother of us all. Gal. 4:26, Rev.
and shall be joined unto his wife (the rest of creation), and they two
one flesh. At this point, Christ will be filled and the temple will be
partakers of the
promise is also a loaded term. The word promise occurs several places
Ephesians each revealing the meaning of the term (1:13, 2:12, 3:6,
Chapter six verse three is a quotation of Exodus 20:12. "Honor your
and your mother so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God
giving you." In 6:3 the promise is that you may enjoy long life on the
earth. The author is suggesting that the land God is giving his
children is the
entire earth. The Gentiles will be partakers or enjoyers of the promise
Abraham and his descendants would be given the entire world (Rom.
is what it will mean to share in the covenants of promise (2:12). The
Spirit of promise has sealed the believers guaranteeing this
inheritance of the
earth (1:13). The riches of our inheritance becomes all things in
new humanity in Christ
that is described by these three terms is replacing the old humanity in
(2:15, 4:22, 24). This new humanity makes it possible for man to rule
universe as God had designed it (1:22, Ps. 8), and for the universe to
the glorious liberty of the sons of God (Rom. 8:21). It is in these
joint-heirs, joint-body, and joint-partakers of the promise explain the
church" suggests that by viewing the unity created amongst Jews and
Gentiles the celestials will see in germ God's plan of ultimate
The church becomes an object lesson of the Wisdom of God. "Through the
church" also implies that the church will be the means through which
ultimate reconciliation and universal lordship of Christ is brought
powers, that are also mentioned in 6:12, will be defeated and brought
submission by truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, and by
church will accomplish this through the word of God and prayer for all
participate in salvation rather than a mere domination by Christ is
display of kindness, grace, and salvation rather than mere domination
throughout Ephesians (1:3, 2:7, 3:10, 6:11, 12). This can be seen
well in the churches' battle with these forces. What does it mean for
church to subdue these forces with the gospel and by salvation?
the declared reconciliation of all things, and the uniting of all in
submission must also involve salvation.
Solomon" prepares the reader for God's plan of salvation for the
The author of Wisdom explains that God created all things that they
and the creative forces of the earth are good. There is no destructive
in them, nor in the kingdom of hell on earth (Wisdom 1:14).
through the envy of the devil, death came into the world; the shameful
the Son of God (Wisdom 2:18-20, 24). Explaining this, Paul declares
princes of this world would not have crucified the Lord of glory had
understood God's secret Wisdom and understood what God had prepared for
Cor. 2:8-9). Nevertheless, those who served the devil in crucifying the
glory experience death (Wisdom 2:25). That is the bad news. The good
that God has a plan of salvation.
salvation is brought
out more clearly by a simple study of the multi-faceted Wisdom of God
described in Wisdom 7:22. For in Wisdom is "an understanding spirit,
manifold, subtle, lively, active, undefiled, plain, not subject to
the thing that is good, quick, irresistible, ready to do good, kind to
steadfast, sure, free from care, having all power, overseeing all
containing all spirits, intelligible, pure and perceptive" (Wisdom
writer of Wisdom asks
"who is there among men who can know the counsel of God, or who can
what the will of the Lord is?" (Wisdom 9:13). Wisdom declares of God,
"You can show your great strength at all times, and who will withstand
power of your arm, for the whole world before you is as a little
you have mercy on all the things that are made, for never would you
any thing if you hated it. And how could anything have endured if it
been your will? Or been preserved if not called by you. But you spare
they are yours. Oh Lord (Wisdom 11:22-27).
wisdom… is described
within Wisdom as the "unspotted mirror of the power of God and the
of his goodness... she can do all things...she makes all things new:
and in all
ages entering into holy souls, and makes them friends of God" (Wisdom
7:26-27). In Colossians Christ is the image of the invisible God
all powers are created and reconciled (Colossian 1:15-16, 20).
is this manifold
Wisdom that the church declares to the principalities and powers? It is
God is overseeing all things. He has reconciled all to God and is
and irresistible. He makes all things new and will make them the
God. He would not have made them if that had not been His will. God
and will spare them by uniting them in Christ, by including them in His
has also ordained
through wisdom that humankind should have dominion over all the
were made and that humankind should order the world according to equity
9:2). It is the church's duty to inform the principalities of this
of this is according to the eternal purpose of God that He accomplished
Christ Jesus (3:11).