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From Paul, chosen by God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus.

To God’s people who live in Ephesus and[a] are faithful followers of Christ Jesus.

I pray that God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ will be kind to you and will bless you with peace!

Christ Brings Spiritual Blessings

Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for the spiritual blessings that Christ has brought us from heaven! Before the world was created, God had Christ choose us to live with him and to be his holy and innocent and loving people. God was kind[b] and decided that Christ would choose us to be God’s own adopted children. God was very kind to us because of the Son he dearly loves, and so we should praise God.

7-8 Christ sacrificed his life’s blood to set us free, which means that our sins are now forgiven. Christ did this because God was so kind to us. God has great wisdom and understanding, and by what Christ has done, God has shown us his own mysterious ways. 10 Then when the time is right, God will do all that he has planned, and Christ will bring together everything in heaven and on earth.

11 God always does what he plans, and that’s why he appointed Christ to choose us. 12 He did this so that we Jews would bring honor to him and be the first ones to have hope because of him. 13 Christ also brought you the truth, which is the good news about how you can be saved. You put your faith in Christ and were given the promised Holy Spirit to show that you belong to God. 14 The Spirit also makes us sure that we will be given what God has stored up for his people. Then we will be set free, and God will be honored and praised.

Paul’s Prayer

15 I have heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all of God’s people. 16 So I never stop being grateful for you, as I mention you in my prayers. 17 I ask the glorious Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you his Spirit. The Spirit will make you wise and let you understand what it means to know God. 18 My prayer is that light will flood your hearts and that you will understand the hope that was given to you when God chose you. Then you will discover the glorious blessings that will be yours together with all of God’s people.

19 I want you to know about the great and mighty power that God has for us followers. It is the same wonderful power he used 20 when he raised Christ from death and let him sit at his right side[c] in heaven. 21 There Christ rules over all forces, authorities, powers, and rulers. He rules over all beings in this world and will rule in the future world as well. 22 God has put all things under the power of Christ, and for the good of the church he has made him the head of everything. 23 The church is Christ’s body and is filled with Christ who completely fills everything.[d]

From Death to Life

In the past you were dead because you sinned and fought against God. You followed the ways of this world and obeyed the devil. He rules the world, and his spirit has power over everyone who doesn’t obey God. Once we were also ruled by the selfish desires of our bodies and minds. We had made God angry, and we were going to be punished like everyone else.

4-5 But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that he made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you. God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and he has given us a place beside Christ in heaven. God did this so that in the future world he could show how truly good and kind he is to us because of what Christ Jesus has done. You were saved by faith in God, who treats us much better than we deserve.[e] This is God’s gift to you, and not anything you have done on your own. It isn’t something you have earned, so there is nothing you can brag about. 10 God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That’s why he sent Christ to make us what we are.

United by Christ

11 Don’t forget that you are Gentiles. In fact, you used to be called “uncircumcised” by those who take pride in being circumcised. 12 At that time you did not know about Christ. You were foreigners to the people of Israel, and you had no part in the promises that God had made to them. You were living in this world without hope and without God, 13 and you were far from God. But Christ offered his life’s blood as a sacrifice and brought you near God.

14 Christ has made peace between Jews and Gentiles, and he has united us by breaking down the wall of hatred that separated us. Christ gave his own body 15 to destroy the Law of Moses with all its rules and commands. He even brought Jews and Gentiles together as though we were only one person, when he united us in peace. 16 On the cross Christ did away with our hatred for each other. He also made peace[f] between us and God by uniting Jews and Gentiles in one body. 17 Christ came and preached peace to you Gentiles, who were far from God, and peace to us Jews, who were near God. 18 And because of Christ, all of us can come to the Father by the same Spirit.

19 You Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens with everyone else who belongs to the family of God. 20 You are like a building with the apostles and prophets as the foundation and with Christ as the most important stone. 21 Christ is the one who holds the building together and makes it grow into a holy temple for the Lord. 22 And you are part of that building Christ has built as a place for God’s own Spirit to live.

Paul’s Mission to the Gentiles

Christ Jesus made me his prisoner, so that I could help you Gentiles. You have surely heard about God’s kindness in choosing me to help you. In fact, this letter tells you a little about how God has shown me his mysterious ways. As you read the letter, you will also find out how well I really do understand the mystery about Christ. No one knew about this mystery until God’s Spirit told it to his holy apostles and prophets. And the mystery is this: Because of Christ Jesus, the good news has given the Gentiles a share in the promises that God gave to the Jews. God has also let the Gentiles be part of the same body.

God treated me with kindness. His power worked in me, and it became my job to spread the good news. I am the least important of all God’s people. But God was kind and chose me to tell the Gentiles that because of Christ there are blessings that cannot be measured. God, who created everything, wanted me to help everyone understand the mysterious plan that had always been hidden in his mind. 10 Then God would use the church to show the powers and authorities in the spiritual world that he has many different kinds of wisdom.

11 God did this according to his eternal plan. And he was able to do what he had planned because of all that Christ Jesus our Lord had done. 12 Christ now gives us courage and confidence, so that we can come to God by faith. 13 That’s why you should not be discouraged when I suffer for you. After all, it will bring honor to you.

Christ’s Love for Us

14 I kneel in prayer to the Father. 15 All beings in heaven and on earth receive their life from him.[g] 16 God is wonderful and glorious. I pray that his Spirit will make you become strong followers 17 and that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. Stand firm and be deeply rooted in his love. 18 I pray that you and all of God’s people will understand what is called wide or long or high or deep.[h] 19 I want you to know all about Christ’s love, although it is too wonderful to be measured. Then your lives will be filled with all that God is.

20-21 I pray that Christ Jesus and the church will forever bring praise to God. His power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine. Amen.

Footnotes

  1. 1.1 live in Ephesus and: Some manuscripts do not have these words.
  2. 1.4,5 holy and innocent and loving people. God was kind: Or <<holy and innocent people. God was loving and kind.’>
  3. 1.20 right side: The place of power and honor.
  4. 1.23 and is filled with Christ who completely fills everything: Or <<which completely fills Christ and fully completes his work.’>
  5. 2.8 treats us much better than we deserve: The Greek word charis, traditionally rendered <<grace,>> is translated here and other places in the CEV to express the overwhelming kindness of God.
  6. 2.16 He also made peace: Or <<The cross also made peace.’>
  7. 3.15 receive their life from him: Or <<know who they really are because of him.’>
  8. 3.18 what is called wide or long or high or deep: This may refer to the heavenly Jerusalem or to God’s love or wisdom or to the meaning of the cross.

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