A few notes regarding the Book of Ephesians.
Do you strive to Elucidate* all of Holy Scripture?
Do you Elide** verses that do not agree with your beliefs?
*Elucidate: To make clear and comprehensible.
**Elide: To ignore or to omit.
Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace you are saved through faith: and that not of
yourselves, for it is the gift of God. Not of works, that no man may glory."
These verses are a classic example of those who elide parts of Holy Scripture and who
take one verse and run with it to try and make a case against what Holy Scripture truly
Many non-Catholics take these verses as 'proof' that we are not saved by works
but by faith alone working through the grace of GOD. If that were true then how can
they ever reconcile Ephesians 2:8-9 with the following verses and yet not admit that there
are indeed conflicts within Holy Scripture?
"Work out your salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2:12. See also 1Corinthians 9:24-27.
"...who will render to every man according to his works." Romans 2:6
"But their end will be according to their works." 2Corinthians 11:15
"And I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord henceforth.
Yes, says the Spirit, let them rest from their labors, FOR THEIR WORKS FOLLOW THEM'." Revelation 14:13
Go here for many more verses which extol the value of good works.
So what is the answer of how to reconcile Ephesians 2:8-9 with all of those other examples given?
What does Haydock, one of the finest Bible commentaries ever written, have to say:
"Ver. 8. Faith is the beginning, foundation, and the root of justification, and the first of all other virtues,
without which it is impossible to please God. (Bristow)
Ver. 9. Not of works, as of our own growth, or from ourselves: but as from the grace of God. (Challoner)."
So now you can readily see that the key to resolving this 'conflict' is in verse 8,
"and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God".
So Ephesians 2:8-9 teach us of a distinction between works inspired through the grace of GOD, and works
performed by man alone. See, there are no conflicts within Holy Scripture, only apparent conflicts.
The entire Bible is harmonious. It has many books, yet it is one book.
To properly understand a verse there may be many other verses even in
other books that must be considered for extraction of its true meaning.
If the readers had not compounded their error by eliding the very next verse, maybe they could
have found the true meaning themselves:
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works,
which God hath prepared that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10
Ephesians 2:19-22, "Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners:
but you are fellow citizens with the saints and the domestics of God,
Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ
himself being the chief corner stone: In whom all the building, being
framed together, groweth up into an holy temple in the Lord. In whom
you also are built together into an habitation of God in the Spirit."
Did you understand the meaning of these verses?
They are a metaphor of the one Church which Jesus Christ founded.
Here we have a foundation, a chief corner stone, a building, framed together,
a temple, built together, and a habitation of GOD in the Spirit.
The singular nature of the wording seems to rule out the thousands of sects that call
themselves Christian that have sprung up starting with the Reformation, do they not?
Do any of those sects have a true "habitation of God in the Spirit" within them?
In each Catholic Church there is a tabernacle of which therein is a habitation for GOD in the Spirit.
Ephesians 3:6, "That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs and of the same body:
and copartners of his promise in Christ Jesus, by the gospel..."
This is an easy one to understand. His Church is expanding. First came the Jews, then add Gentiles,
(who make up all the rest of the world) into the Universal Church.
Here is another verse regarding the expansion of the Church which Jesus Christ founded:
"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you;
and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem (local) and in all Judea and Samaria (expanding past local)
and to the end of the earth (encompassing the entire earth)." Acts 1:8
Ephesians 3:8-10, "...and to enlighten all men as to what is the dispensation of
the mystery which has been hidden from eternity in GOD, who created all things;
IN ORDER THAT THROUGH THE CHURCH THERE BE MADE KNOWN to
the Principalities and the Powers in the heavens the manifold wisdom
of GOD according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in
Christ Jesus our Lord."
Who or what do these verses say dispenses the manifold wisdom of GOD?
I see it as being the Church which Jesus Christ founded.
Ephesians 3:21, "To Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus down through
all the ages of time without end. Amen."
Here is yet another verse which proclaims that the Church which Jesus Christ founded
will last for all eternity. Why then do some continue to elide this verse and instead declare
that His Church fell into apostasy soon after it was founded? Do you prefer to believe
those who cannot supply a single genuine historical document of proof of what they claim,
and not even a date of such a monumental happening, or do you believe the Word of GOD
in Holy Scripture? See Acts 5:29 for the Holy Scripture answer to that one.
Ephesians 4:4-6, "One body and one Spirit, even as you were called in one hope
of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one GOD and Father
of all, who is above all, and throughout all, and in us all."
It cannot be denied that "One faith" = One Church.
How many 'ones' can you count in those verses?
What part of 'one' is simply not understood by millions of non-Catholics?
Ephesians 4:11, "And He Himself gave some men as Apostles, and some as prophets,
others again as evangelists, and others as pastors and teachers."
This is yet another verse regarding those who are sent by GOD with the authority to preach in His behalf.
There are false preachers and teachers who claim they were sent by GOD, but were they really?
How can you tell who were truly sent by GOD and who were not?
The question that you must ask yourself is what does Holy Scripture say regarding authority?
Who has it and who does not?
Go to this link to find out who or what entity was given the only authority to speak in behalf of GOD?
Ephesians 4:14, "And this he has done that we may be now no longer children,
tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine devised
in the wickedness of men, in craftiness, according to the wiles of error."
Wouldn't you agree that the last two lines of this verse are running rampant what with
the tens of thousands of sects that call themselves Christian that have sprung up like weeds
in our era?
Ephesians 4:16, "For from Him the whole body...derives its increase to the
building up of itself in love."
Is the splintering and dissentions of Christianity a building up the whole body in love?
It is yet another verse elided by those who do the splintering and dissention.
Ephesians 4:17-18, "...you are not to walk as the Gentiles walk in the futility
of their mind, having their understanding clouded in darkness,
estranged from the life of GOD through the ignorance that is in them,
because of the blindness of their heart."
How many ex-Gentiles that now call themselves Christian are clouded in darkness today
because they continue to follow the false prophet and are not members of the the one and
only Church that Jesus Christ founded?
Ephesians 4:25, "...put away lying and speak the truth."
What can be added to this one? Just remember that truth is a person, the person of Jesus Christ who said
in John 14:6, "I Am the way, and the truth, and the life".
There is only one Jesus Christ so therefore there can be only one truth.
With only one truth, then how could there ever be even one splinter in Christianity,
much less that the tens of thousands of splinters that we find today?
Ephesians 4:29, "Let no ill speech proceed from your mouth."
Why then do so many elide this verse and espouse ill speech against the only
Church that Jesus Christ founded?
Ephesians 4:30, "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit..."
Are we grieving the Holy Spirit when we ignore, the plea of Jesus Christ that we may be one?
Ephesians 4:31, "Let all bitterness and wrath, and indignation, and clamor, and
reviling be removed from you, along with all malice."
Why then do so many elide this verse and espouse bitterness and wrath, and indignation, and clamor,
and reviling against the only Church that Jesus Christ founded?
Ephesians 5:6-7, "Let no one lead you astray with empty words; for because of
these things the wrath of GOD comes upon the children of disobedience.
Do not, then, become partakers with them."
These verses would cause me trepidation if I were guilty of leading others astray.
Can you imagine your being subjected to "the wrath of GOD"?
It is no wonder that those who do lead others astray would elide these verses.
Ephesians 5:8, "..once you were in darkness, but now you are light in the world."
Yes, the light of the world so long as we follow all of the teachings of the "Light of the World".
Ephesians 5:11, "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but
rather expose them."
When we see error we must expose it else we are guilty of abetting those who are in error.
Exposing error and those who are in error is one of my axioms that motivated me to write
what I have posted on this site.
Ephesians 5:14, "Awake sleeper, and arise from among the dead, and Christ will
This is an interesting verse in that it seems to apply to those who are asleep in mind to the truth.
The hardest thing to open is a closed mind. If those with a closed mind to the truth would
simply awaken and open themselves to search for the truth, then I believe that Christ will surely enlighten them.
Ephesians 5:23-24, "...just as Christ is head of the Church, being Himself savior
of the body. But just as the Church is subject to Christ..."
Who is "the body" spoken of here? It is His Church and its members, meaning all of us who are baptized into it.
Who is the "savior of the body"? It is none other than Jesus the Christ Himself.
So for those who persecute His Church, who are they really persecuting?
They persecute Jesus the Christ, its founder.
Acts 9:4, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?".
Why didn't Jesus say "Why do you persecute my Church" instead?
After all, Saul thought he was persecuting His Church did he not?
Ephesians 5:25, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the
Church, and delivered Himself up for her."
Christ delivered Himself up for His Church. That is very clear in that verse.
For those who persecute His Church, aren't you really crucifying Him again?
Ephesians 5:26-27, "that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the
washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to
himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that
she might be holy and without blemish."
Those who persecute His Church, aren't they saying that it is not without spot or wrinkle?
Aren't they accusing it of apostasy, and of many other faults, and saying that it is not the
true Church that Jesus Christ founded? Do they elide these verses also simply because
they do not agree with what they teach?
They fail to realize that His only Church has two sides to it, the Heavenly side without
spot or wrinkle, and the human side comprisied of sinners and future saints.
Ephesians 5:32, "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church."
The Haydock Bible commentary has this to say regarding this "great mystery":
Ver. 32. This....sacrament, (or mystery)....in Christ, and in the Church. This sacrament, in construction,
must be referred to what immediately went before, i.e. to the conjunction of marriage betwixt man and wife;
and this is called a great sacrament, or mystery, as representing the union or spiritual nuptials of Christ with his spouse, the Church. (Witham)
You can read more about the mystery of Christ and His spouse, the Church, in the Book of Canticles or Songs.
Ephesians 6:12, "For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against
the Principalities and the Powers, against the world rulers of this darkness,
against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high."
Ver. 12. Flesh and blood, which may either signify temptations of the flesh, or raised by mortal men.
--- Principalities and powers; i.e. devils, or apostate angels, who before their fall were in such ranks of spirits,
and who are permitted to rule over the wicked in this world of darkness. (Witham) -
-- By which we are to understand the fallen angels. For as by nature, and from their creation, they were the governors
of this corporeal world, and were deprived of this their power on account of their pride, they received it (though limited
by certain restrictions) in order to tempt man. (Estius) --- Rulers of the world of this darkness. By these are meant the
devils who exercise their power and authority in our inferior and dark atmosphere, by raising winds, storms, tempests, &c.
By darkness may be understood the wicked, in whom Satan reigns as in a citadel. (Menochius)
--- Our inferior world is called dark and misty in comparison of the world above, which is always bright, serene, and clear.
Our atmosphere is called the cloudy and dark heavenly.
--- Against the spirits of wickedness: or wicked spirits in the air, says St. Jerome. Literally, in celestials. (Witham)
--- High places. That is to say, in the air, the lowest of the celestial regions in which God permits these wicked
spirits or fallen angels to wander. (Challoner)
Written by Bob Stanley
January 16, 2012
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