Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1.1-2).
by the will of God
Obeying God is obviously important to Paul. He will later exhort some of his readers, or those listening to his letter read out loud, that they do “the will of God from the heart” (Ephesians 6.6). So it would be natural, in reading this phrase, to think that Paul is simply pointing out that his commission as King Jesus’ ambassador is backed by divine authority.
However, Paul seems to be saying something more here. Consider what Paul says in the next few sentences,
he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory (1.5- 12; emphasis added).
So when Paul announces his Apostleship “through the will of God,” he is saying that God appointed him to the office in order to fulfill His plan to save the world. Jesus’ accomplishments alone are not enough. It was and is essential to God’s purpose that the message of Jesus be announced to the entire world. As he later states, Paul views Jesus himself to be traveling, working, and speaking through his servants (Ephesians 2.17).
who are in Ephesus,
The phrase “who are in Ephesus,” is missing from some manuscripts. This was probably a circular letter that went to several different destinations. But whether in Ephesus or in any other Gentile location, all Christians are in God’s presence. There is no longer an exclusive Holy Land with an exclusive central sanctuary.
TO BE CONTINUED