The Peace and Purity of the Church
“Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.”- Ephesians 6:23–24
Paul’s final greeting to us in Ephesians includes a benediction that both “peace” and “love with faith” would be ours “from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Eph. 6:23). This is a fitting way to end the epistle, for peace has been an important theme of Ephesians, both the peace we have with God in Christ Jesus and the peace that results between brothers and sisters in Christ as we strive for unity based on love (Eph. 1:2; 2:14–15, 17; 4:1–3; 6:15). Unity is not based on just any kind of love but on the love of God revealed in the gospel — the Lord’s objective disclosure of Himself. This love is possible only if we trust in the God who has revealed Himself, hence the significance of “love with faith” in Ephesians 6:23.
The twin themes of peace with God and others based on the revealed truth of the Lord’s Word — the peace and the purity of the church — encapsulate the central message of Ephesians. Having ministered in Ephesus (Acts 19:1–10), Paul remained concerned for the believers there and in the surrounding geographical regions. While he was in prison awaiting an audience with the caesar, the apostle became aware of a need for the Christians in Ephesus to have the major doctrines of the faith summarized. So, he wrote to the Ephesians to remind them (and us) that Christ’s work in their behalf was based on the work of the triune God (Eph. 1:1–14). Believing in this Lord brings many blessings to the saints, blessings we can hardly fathom but that we begin to grasp as others pray for our understanding (vv. 11–23). This inheritance is ours not because of our own works but because of the work of Jesus, the benefits of which we receive by faith alone (2:1–9). Nonetheless, this faith proves itself in good works, and we demonstrate our belief in the work of love and our striving for Christian unity. After all, we believe in One who has torn down sinful divisions among His people (2:10–3:21). The grounding for this love is the gospel itself, which creates a people who glorify the Lord by abandoning the ways of this world and manifesting the reality of Christ (4:1–6:9). We persist in such a life only as we don the armor of God and war against Satan (6:10–20).
Christ demands peace and purity in His church. May we strive for both with a fervent and righteous passion to see God’s glory manifested among His people.
Take time today to read back through Ephesians and thank God for what we have learned. Ask Him to make you more loving and more willing to stand for the essential truths of the Christian faith. Also, ask Him that you would be willing and able to serve as a model to other believers as one who promotes with fervor the church’s peace and purity. Seek the help of other Christians in working to foster unity and truth in Christ’s body.
Passages for Further Study
Ephesians 1:15–23; 3:14–21; 4:25–32