Introduction to Ephesians

At the close of the Epistle to the Romans we noticed that the Apostle Paul earnestly desired the establishment of the saints in a two-fold way; first, "according to my Gospel," and second, "according to the revelation of the mystery." Romans gives us a full unfolding of the former, while Ephesians more fully than any other epistle reveals to us the latter.

Romans moreover, while instructing us in the fulness of the grace of God, presents it to us as meeting in all particulars our need which has been created by sin. Ephesians, on the other hand, unfolds to us that grace of God which is according to His purpose. The words, "according as," or "according to," occur no less than six times in chapter 1, and always in connection with His will, His pleasure, His purpose, His power, rather than our need.

A benevolent man of wealth might show great kindness to a poor lad of the streets charged with some petty offence. He might for instance, not only deliver him from the clutch of the law by paying a fine but deliver him from ignorance by having him educated, and from poverty by paying for his keep. That would be kindness in reference to his need. But if he formed designs to place him in a position of great nearness to himself and of great wealth and influence, that would be not according to his actual need but according to the pleasure and purpose of his own benevolent mind. This may serve as an illustration.