This week we will continue our study of Paul’s letter to the believers in Ephesus. We have explored through the middle of Chapter 4 and have been reminded of the amazing commitment that Paul had to sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. Paul was a
Jew having been born the son of a Pharisee who lived in the city of Tarsus located in what was then Asia Minor and is part of Turkey today.
So with his Jewish heritage, his Roman citizenship, and being raised away from Israel, Paul was perfectly positioned for the ministry to which God called him to engage. His family fervently supported Jewish nationalism and strict obedience to the Law of Moses. Yet, all around him were people who were not Jews and therefore, Gentiles. His parents would have been committed to guard Paul and his siblings against being contaminated. They really could not even have any association with the Gentile children.
Paul held very strong opinions and preconceived ideas regarding the status of the Gentiles in light of his perspective of the elevated position into which he had been born. This contrast created some very strong barriers in his own mind between him and all those around him. But this only underscores the magnitude of the transformation that he experienced when he met Jesus face to face. Because of the power of Grace that was extended to him by the One Who was willing to go to the cross for everyone, Jew and non-Jew alike, Paul came to see all people as brothers and sisters who were as valuable in the eyes of Jesus as he was.
The back story of his life shines an even brighter light on the difference the end of his life was compared to its beginning. That’s what happens when someone meets Jesus and that, my friends, can be our story as well.
Instructions for Christian Living
4:17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must
no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
5:1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children.
2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave
himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 4:17 & 5:1-2(NIV)