From Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus. I am an apostle because that is what God wanted. To God's holy people living in Ephesus, believers in Christ Jesus:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In Christ, God has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world.
That is, in Christ, he chose us before the world was made so that we would be his holy people -- people without blame before him.
Because of his love, God had already decided to make us his own children through Jesus Christ. That was what he wanted and what pleased him,
and it brings praise to God because of his wonderful grace. God gave that grace to us freely, in Christ, the One he loves.
In Christ we are set free by the blood of his death, and so we have forgiveness of sins. How rich is God's grace,
which he has given to us so fully and freely. God, with full wisdom and understanding,
let us know his secret purpose. This was what God wanted, and he planned to do it through Christ.
His goal was to carry out his plan, when the right time came, that all things in heaven and on earth would be joined together in Christ as the head.
In Christ we were chosen to be God's people, because from the very beginning God had decided this in keeping with his plan. And he is the One who makes everything agree with what he decides and wants.
We are the first people who hoped in Christ, and we were chosen so that we would bring praise to God's glory.
So it is with you. When you heard the true teaching -- the Good News about your salvation -- you believed in Christ. And in Christ, God put his special mark of ownership on you by giving you the Holy Spirit that he had promised.
That Holy Spirit is the guarantee that we will receive what God promised for his people until God gives full freedom to those who are his -- to bring praise to God's glory.
That is why since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God's people,
I have not stopped giving thanks to God for you. I always remember you in my prayers,
asking the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you will know him better.
I pray also that you will have greater understanding in your heart so you will know the hope to which he has called us and that you will know how rich and glorious are the blessings God has promised his holy people.
And you will know that God's power is very great for us who believe. That power is the same as the great strength
God used to raise Christ from the dead and put him at his right side in the heavenly world.
God has put Christ over all rulers, authorities, powers, and kings, not only in this world but also in the next.
God put everything under his power and made him the head over everything for the church,
which is Christ's body. The church is filled with Christ, and Christ fills everything in every way.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.