Ephesians 1; Ephesians 2; Ephesians 3

1 I, Paul, am writing this letter. I am an apostle of Christ Jesus just as God planned. I am sending this letter to you, God's people in Ephesus. Because you belong to Christ Jesus, you are faithful. 2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 3 Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Those blessings come from the heavenly world. They belong to us because we belong to Christ. 4 God chose us to belong to Christ before the world was created. He chose us to be holy and without blame in his eyes. He loved us. 5 So he decided long ago to adopt us as his children. He did it because of what Jesus Christ has done. It pleased God to do it. 6 All those things bring praise to his glorious grace. God freely gave us his grace because of the One he loves. 7 We have been set free because of what Christ has done. Through his blood our sins have been forgiven. We have been set free because God's grace is so rich. 8 He poured his grace on us by giving us great wisdom and understanding. 9 He showed us the mystery of his plan. It was in keeping with what he wanted to do. It was what he had planned through Christ. 10 It will all come about when history has been completed. God will then bring together all things in heaven and on earth under one ruler. The ruler is Christ. 11 We were also chosen to belong to him. God decided to choose us long ago in keeping with his plan. He works out everything to fit his plan and purpose. 12 We were the first to put our hope in Christ. We were chosen to bring praise to his glory. 13 You also became believers in Christ. That happened when you heard the message of truth. It was the good news about how you could be saved. When you believed, he marked you with a seal. The seal is the Holy Spirit that he promised. 14 The Spirit marks us as God's own. We can now be sure that someday we will receive all that God has promised. That will happen after God sets all of his people completely free. All of those things will bring praise to his glory. 15 I have heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus. I have also heard about your love for all of God's people. That is why 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I always remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is the glorious Father. I keep asking him to give you the wisdom and understanding that come from the Holy Spirit. I want you to know God better. 18 I also pray that your mind might see more clearly. Then you will know the hope God has chosen you to receive. You will know that the things God's people will receive are rich and glorious. 19 And you will know his great power. It can't be compared with anything else. It is at work for us who believe. It is like the mighty strength 20 God showed when he raised Christ from the dead. He seated him at his right hand in his heavenly kingdom. 21 There Christ sits far above all who rule and have authority. He also sits far above all powers and kings. He is above every title that can be given in this world and in the world to come. 22 God placed all things under Christ's rule. He appointed him to be ruler over everything for the church. 23 The church is Christ's body. It is filled by Christ. He fills everything in every way.
1 You were living in your sins and lawless ways. But in fact you were dead. 2 You used to live as sinners when you followed the ways of this world. You served the one who rules over the spiritual forces of evil. He is the spirit who is now at work in those who don't obey God. 3 At one time we all lived among them. We tried to satisfy what our sinful nature wanted to do. We followed its longings and thoughts. God was angry with us and everyone else because of the kind of people we were. 4 But God loves us deeply. He is full of mercy. 5 So he gave us new life because of what Christ has done. He gave us life even when we were dead in sin. God's grace has saved you. 6 God raised us up with Christ. He has seated us with him in his heavenly kingdom because we belong to Christ Jesus. 7 He has done it to show the riches of his grace for all time to come. His grace can't be compared with anything else. He has shown it by being kind to us because of what Christ Jesus has done. 8 God's grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn't come from anything you do. It is God's gift. 9 It is not based on anything you have done. No one can brag about earning it. 10 God made us. He created us to belong to Christ Jesus. Now we can do good things. Long ago God prepared them for us to do. 11 You who are not Jews by birth, here is what I want you to remember. You are called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "circumcised." But they have only been circumcised in their bodies by human hands. 12 Before you believed in Christ, you were separated from him. You were not considered to be citizens of Israel. You were not included in what the covenants promised. You were without hope and without God in the world. 13 At one time you were far away from God. But now you belong to Christ Jesus. He spilled his blood for you. That has brought you near to God. 14 Christ himself is our peace. He has made Jews and non-Jews into one group of people. He has destroyed the hatred that was like a wall between us. 15 Through his body on the cross, Christ put an end to the law with all its commands and rules. He wanted to create one new group of people out of the two. He wanted to make peace between them. 16 He planned to bring both of them as one body back to God because of the cross. Christ put their hatred to death on that cross. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away. He also preached peace to those who were near. 18 Through Christ we both come to the Father by the power of one Holy Spirit. 19 So you are no longer strangers and outsiders. You are citizens together with God's people. You are members of God's family. 20 You are a building that is built on the apostles and prophets. They are the foundation. Christ Jesus himself is the most important stone in the building. 21 The whole building is held together by him. It rises to become a holy temple because it belongs to the Lord. 22 And because you belong to him, you too are being built together. You are being made into a house where God lives through his Spirit.
1 I, Paul, am a prisoner because of Christ Jesus. I am in prison because of my work among you who are not Jews. 2 I am sure you have heard that God appointed me to share his grace with you. 3 I'm talking about the mystery God showed me. I have already written a little about it. 4 By reading it you will be able to understand what I know about the mystery of Christ. 5 The mystery was not made known to people of other times. But now the Holy Spirit has made it known to God's holy apostles and prophets. 6 Here is the mystery. Because of the good news, God's promises are for non-Jews as well as for Jews. Both groups are parts of one body. They share in the promise. It belongs to them because they belong to Christ Jesus. 7 I now serve the good news because God gave me his grace. His power is at work in me. 8 I am by far the least important of all of God's people. But he gave me the grace to preach to the non-Jews about the wonderful riches that Christ gives. 9 God told me to make clear to everyone how the mystery came about. In times past it was kept hidden in the mind of God, who created all things. 10 He wanted the rulers and authorities in the heavenly world to come to know his great wisdom. The church would make it known to them. 11 That was God's plan from the beginning. He has worked it out through Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Through him and through faith in him we can approach God. We can come to him freely. We can come without fear. 13 So here is what I'm asking you to do. Don't lose hope because I am suffering for you. It will lead to the time when God will give you his glory. 14 I bow in prayer to the Father because of my work among you. 15 From the Father his whole family in heaven and on earth gets its name. 16 I pray that he will use his glorious riches to make you strong. May his Holy Spirit give you his power deep down inside you. 17 Then Christ will live in your hearts because you believe in him. And I pray that your love will have deep roots. I pray that it will have a strong foundation. 18 May you have power with all God's people to understand Christ's love. May you know how wide and long and high and deep it is. 19 And may you know his love, even though it can't be known completely. Then you will be filled with everything God has for you. 20 God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by his power that is working in us. 21 Give him glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. Give him glory through all time and for ever and ever. Amen.
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