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Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Gospel According to Paul # 20

In His Letter to the Ephesians

Ephesians 1:13; 3:6, 7; 6:15; 6:19,20

When we come to consider the Gospel according to Paul in the Letter to the Ephesians, we find that we have the word "gospel" in the noun form four times. We have it also, on one or two other occasions, in verb form, as in chapter two, verse seventeen - 

"...And He came and preached peace to you that were far of ..."

You notice the margin says "preached good tidings of peace". Now that is just an English way of juggling with the Greek word. The Greek word is the verb of which "the gospel" is the noun; and, as I have tried to point out before, what it really says - it cannot be translated literally into English - is: "came and good-tidings" or "good-newsed" peace. That is impossible in English, but it is just the verb of the noun "gospel". It occurs again in chapter three, verse eight -

"... to preach unto the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ ..." - that is, "to good-news unto the Gentiles", "to proclaim unto the Gentiles the good tidings of ..." It is the verb again for "gospel". I think that gives us ground for saying that this letter is about the gospel.

Many people have the idea that when you reach the Letter to the Ephesians you have left the gospel behind, you are further on than the gospel, you must really now have got a long way beyond the gospel. I do not think we can get further than this letter, so far as Divine revelation is concerned: as we shall see, it takes us a very long way indeed in Divine things; but it is still the gospel. The gospel is something very vast, very comprehensive, very far-reaching indeed.

A Letter of Superlatives

This leads us to note that the Letter to the Ephesians is the letter of superlatives. An expression adjective has come into vogue of recent years, by which people try to convey the idea that a thing is very great, or of the highest quality. They say it is "super". Now here, in this letter, everything is - may I use the word? - "super."! The whole letter is written in terms of what is superlative; and I must take it for granted that you can recall something of what is here. Superlatives relate to almost everything in this letter.

There is the superlative of time. Time is altogether transcended: we are taken into the realm of timelessness. By this letter we are taken back into eternity past, before the foundation of the world, and on into eternity to come, unto the age of the ages. It is the superlative of time - transcending time.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 21)

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