February 17, 2020 • Life for Leaders
Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
As Paul wraps up his letter known as Ephesians, he offers a “wish prayer” to the letter’s readers, underscoring key themes he has emphasized throughout his writing.
Peace, for example, appeared in the letter’s opening greeting (1:2). It figured prominently in chapter 2, where Christ was identified as “our peace” (2:14). Christ made peace between former enemies, creating “one new humanity” through the cross (2:15). The peace of Christ was given to all human beings, both Jews and Gentiles (2:17). In Ephesians 4, we were exhorted to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (4:3). As Christ forged peace through the cross, the Holy Spirit unified all who accepted the grace of God through Christ. We who belong to the Lord by grace are responsible, therefore, to maintain the peace-filled unity of Christ. So, when Paul offers peace “to the brothers and sisters” in chapter 6, he invites them to participate in the healing, renewing, unifying work of Christ.
Similarly, Paul wishes prayerfully that his readers would experience “love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (6:23). Love has received repeated attention throughout Ephesians. In love God chose us to be his children (1:4-5) and saved us from pervasive death (2:1-4). In chapter 3, Paul prayed that we would be “rooted and established in love” and that we would “grasp how wide and long and deep is the love of Christ” so that we might “know this love that surpasses all knowledge” (3:17-19). Love should also permeate our relationships with each other as we “bear with one another in love” and “speak the truth in love” (4:2, 15). Our love for each other is based on and mirrors God’s love for us in Christ (5:1). When Paul wishes that the readers of his letter experience “love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” he understands that this kind of love transforms everything.
The words “peace” and “love” are so overused that it would be easy to miss the significance of Paul’s concluding prayer in Ephesians. But if we remember what we have read earlier, we recognize that peace and love are absolutely central to God’s character and work. Moreover, we understand that genuine peace and genuine love are essential to our character and work. We are to be people who, because we know peace with God, offer peace to each other. And because we have been loved by God so profoundly, we are able to love others in every context of life, at home and at church, in our workplaces and neighborhoods, in our financial choices and our citizenship. We keep every before us the call of Ephesians 5:1-2: “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
Something to Think About:
How have you experienced the peace of God in your life?
In what ways do you pass along God’s peace to others?
How have you experienced the love of God in Christ?
In what ways do you pass along this love to others?
Something to Do:
Choose this week to demonstrate the peace and love of God in your relationships—at work, at home, and beyond.
Gracious God, thank you for your peace. Thank you for giving me peace with you through Jesus Christ. Thank you for making peace among people through the cross of Christ. Help me to know your peace and to share it with others. May I be a peacemaker in all my relationships.
God, thank you also for your love poured out in Christ. May I continue to grow in the experience of your love for me and, as a result, in my ability to share your love with others. Help me, I pray, to love just as you have loved me through Christ. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online
Summary & Conclusion to Ephesians
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.