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.