We Are Christ’s Mystical Body: Ephesians by Peter Kreeft

My notes:

Ephesians is to the epistles what John’s Gospel is to the Gospels: the most mystical, profound, and universal of them all.

Ephesians seems to be an encyclical (circulating) letter for all the churches in the region (Asia Minor), for it mentions no specific problems or controversies in any local church. Its topic is universal — totally universal, in fact. We may call it Paul’s treatise on the “cosmic Christ”.

  1. The mystery of predestination — that God “chose us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world” (1:4) and “destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ” (1:5).
  2. How big is Christ? Gigantic, colossal, cosmic. See Ephesians 3:14-21 (2nd most exalted passage in Scripture, next to Romans 8:31-39).
  3. Christian wisdom means perceiving the size, the all-inclusiveness, of Christ. (see Eph 1:17-19).
  4. The central theme of Ephesians is the Church as Christ’s Mystical Body, an invisible organism, not just a visible organization. GK Chesterton said the Church is not in the world, the world is in the Church, as a setting is in a play. God created the whole universe for the Church, for His Son’s Body, for his Family.
  5. In the Body, Jews and Gentiles are united (2:11-21).
  6. “The unsearchable riches of Christ… in whom we have boldness and confidence of access” to God (3: 8, 12) are infinite. All are based on our being “in Christ” — a phrase Paul uses over 30 times in this short letter.
  7. These infinite riches are pure grace, pure gift.
  8. What we have received is the most radical change conceivable: not only a new mind but a new life (see 2:1).
  9. We must grow into this new life, to “mature manhood” (see 4:13, 15).
  10. In this body we are “members one of another” (4:25) because we are members of Christ. As Pascal says, “imagine a body of thinking members”.
  11. In this body there are 3 main relationships — husband-wife, parent-child, ruler-ruled — with reciprocal but diverse duties to owe a different form of love to each other b/c Christ has transformed this relationship — obedience is not based on that of the world, but that of Christ, based on faith and love.
    1. See Ephesians 5:21-33 for the most profound passage in Scripture on marriage.
  12. Though this new life in Christ is love and marriage, it is also war.
    1. See Ephesians 6:12-17 for Scripture’s most famous passage on spiritual warfare.

You don’t read Ephesians aright unless it makes you want to shout, “Hallelujah!”

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