Wednesday, 24 August 2016
…from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, Ephesians 3:15
In this verse, an immediate question arises. “Is ‘from whom’ speaking of the Father, or of Jesus?” Here is the previous verse included with this one –
“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named…”
There is a subtle play on words in the Greek. “Father” is pater and the word rendered as “family” is patria. This may indicate Paul’s connection between the two. However, it is through Christ that son-ship is realized. He is the Son of God, and through Him we are included as sons. Thus, the naming of the family does seem more likely to be from Christ. If so, the play on words is showing the connection to Christ, the Son of the Father, and to the family who derives its name from Christ as well. It is hard to be dogmatic though. Either way, Jesus Christ is fully God, and so it doesn’t change the overall intent of what is being said.
Whether from God, be it Father or Son, “the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” What this means is that all of the saints, alive now or having passed on, share in the same family privileges. This includes Jew and Gentile, male and female, and without distinction to color, creed, or culture. Any and all who have called on Jesus are brought into the family of God through the work of Christ and are so named. A good example of this is the bringing of Ephraim and Manasseh as co-equals into the family of Jacob –
“And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.” Genesis 48:5
Such is true with any who are “in Christ.” They are named by God as family members because of His work.
Life application: Although we must speak against heretical doctrine, and correcting bad doctrine is also a necessary part of our allegiance to the Lord, we need to remember that those who are truly saved are members of our one family. Let us endeavor to treat them as such.
Lord God, Your word says that because of the work of Christ Jesus, all who believe in Him are brought into one family. All are named in this single household, and yet we too often tear one another apart over little issues which have no bearing on our standing in this family. Help us to not act in this manner, but to be willing to overlook the faults of others who bear Your name. It’s a hard sell in today’s world, but grant us wisdom to act faithfully towards our fellow family members. Amen.