Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: (ESV)
As we continue to look at these opening words of the letter Paul writes to the Ephesians, we come to an important element in any letter; the recipients. Who is Paul writing to? The saints. Now that raises a question. Who are the saints? We know that the Roman Catholic Church has elevated certain people who have lived especially godly lives to the status of saint. However, one of the stipulations about Catholic saints is this: they are dead! Paul is writing to saints whom he expects to read his letter. So clearly the saints that Paul is referring to are not dead.
The saints in Ephesus are those who have placed their faith in Christ Jesus. There is an important distinction to be made here. The Catholic notion of being a saint is a reward for earthly behavior that was deemed godly. The Biblical notion of being a saint is where those whose behavior has not been godly place their faith completely in Christ Jesus, who alone is holy, and are thereby declared to be holy, and set apart for good works in Him. What a beautiful difference. Our holiness, or saintliness, is based on the righteousness of Christ, which is given to those who place their faith in him. It is not based on us. Paul was a murderer. Now, by the will of God he is an apostle. Those in the church at Ephesus were all variety of sinners, but are now saints. All of this is by the will of God, as they surrendered their will to God.
Are you a saint? Have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ? Are you depending on the efforts of your will to achieve sainthood? Or have you surrendered your will to Jesus Christ? If you can, complete this sentence with your name in the blank:
I, ______________________, am a saint, by my faith in Christ Jesus.