There is nothing redundant in God’s Word. Men write books and very frequently pad them in order to give quantity as well as quality, but there is nothing like that in the Bible. God’s words are tried—“as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times”—and therefore we may well give our most careful attention to every item and every expression used.
What is the outstanding theme of the Epistle to the Ephesians? It opens up the truth of the privileges and responsibilities of the church as the body and bride of Christ. It brings before us our position as believers who have been quickened, raised, and seated in Christ in heavenly places.
There are very remarkable similarities between certain Old Testament books and New Testament Epistles. The Epistle to the Romans, for instance, corresponds to the book of Exodus; the letter to the Hebrews is the counterpart of Leviticus; and the Epistle to the Ephesians is the New Testament book of Joshua. In Joshua we have the people of Israel entering the possession of their inheritance. In Ephesians believers are called to enter now by faith into the possession of that inheritance which eventually we shall enjoy in all its fullness. We are far richer than we realize. All things are ours, and yet how little we appropriate!
It is said in the prophecy of Obadiah that when the Lord returns and His kingdom is established, the people of Israel shall “possess their possessions.” This is a challenge to us. Do you possess your possessions? Or are your heavenly estates like castles in Spain about which you dream, but never really possess? I trust the Spirit of God may lead us into the present enjoyment of our inheritance in Christ. For our purpose the Epistle may be divided very simply, without breaking it up into many portions that would be difficult to carry in our memories. We shall divide it into two parts, the first three chapters giving us the doctrine, and the last three, the practical outcome; the first division gives us our inheritance, and the last, the behavior that should characterize those who are so richly blessed. Often that is the divine order of Scripture: instruction in the truth first, practice in accordance with the truth afterwards.