:1 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
Something that is very important to know about the book of Ephesians is it is an epistle written during a time of Paul's imprisonment. There are some that speculate that he was under house arrest and other believe that he served his time in a prison, either way, whether he was in a jail cell or confined to the quarters of a home, he at the time was a prisoner. Most would say he was a prisoner of Rome and I'm sure the believers in the regions round about him and even the Ephesians to which he was writing referred to him as such, but not Paul. He didn't consider Himself to be the prisoner of Rome or the emperor but of Christ. One would not even know that this book of the Bible was written during a time of suffering and tril in the life of the writter had it not been for subtle verses like this one and for the history that states it so. This epistle is one I would think was written on the mountain peak of a mans life when all was well, when the sun was always bright and not a care in sight but the this couldn't be further from the experience Paul was having at the time. Ruth Paxson said this in her book: The Wealth, Walk and Warfare of the Christian: "There is no smell of a prison in the book of Ephesians. As you open the book it is just like going into some vast expanse and breathing the fresh air of heaven. There is no clank of prison chains to be heard, for Paul is not bound in spirit." He, at least in the earthly realm, was about as far down as a man could get, yet in the heavenly realm He is as high as we ever find a man in the scripture. In chapter one, from his cell, he visits eternity past from before the foundations of the world, from there He goes to Calvary, reaching into eternity future. I guess you could say Paul was somewhat of a heavenly time traveler. Now this is a position that Christians find them self in from time to time in our christian experience, not in a jail cell or under arrest per say but in a situation to which we find ourselves powerless to change anything. This year of 2020 has proven that true in the lives of countless millions, we seem to be prisoner to the situation we are in, to the authorities of the country we reside in, and as much as we would like to change things and resume life as we had planned it seems that we are prisoners. These times come and this epistle is a testament to all who may pass through a season of imprisonment that all though our hands and feet and even our mouth may be subject to powers above us that we are at full liberty in Christ. I can't fly to my home country and neither can ones from there fly to me but that doesn't keep me from fellowship with the Father. I can visit the heavenly realm with Paul through the avenue of the Scripture with The Spirit as my guide.
This epistle is also a testament to the right attitude toward suffering. Paul considered himself to be a prisoner to Christ and not to Rome. He understood that it was Christ that lead him into the position of imprisonment and His serving Christ is what caused him to be there. Maybe Paul considered his past life as he sat there in confinement, how he was murderous and a blasphemer until that glorious day on the road to Damascus when Christ saved him and set him on a new path and called him to preach the gospel to the gentiles. It was for that very cause that he is imprisoned. Had he not been preaching Christ to the gentiles he would not be in prison but I believe he wouldn't change one thing if he could. He would take prison and Christ over a palace without Christ and so should be the attitude of the Christian. Give me Jesus, if He comes with trials, persecutions, heart ache then so be it. I'll have Jesus over all this world has to offer and Ephesians is a testament to the fact that even a jail cell can be heaven so long as Christ is your warden. He makes fiery furnaces places of freedom, He makes lions dens places of rest and jail cells heavenly chambers. This year I've been guilty of feeling like a prisoner to the current situation but this book of Ephesians has taught me to view Christ as my prison master and not chance and circumstance. There's not been one year of my life that I've missed so much church, but in the chambers of my home and in the private times of my days Christ is there and while the outside world looks dim and dark, the heavenly world grows brighter and brighter. I see Paul there in his quarters in a dark, dim, candle lit room, squinting to see the paper he was writing on but he is far from that low estate. How far? Read the book of Ephesians and you'll see that he is light-years away from that place of imprisonment.
According to the riches of His Grace!!