There are three things Paul wants the Ephesians to know that he lists in Chapter 1, verses 15-23. I think these three things (hope, inheritance and God’s power) can shape the reading of the entire letter. But before we get to the list, we need to know how the Gentiles are to gain this knowledge. Verse 17 lets us know that their knowledge of these things will come from God himself. From other scripture, we know that if we ask, seek, and knock, God will provide. Therefore, if we seek after these things, God will reveal them.
The first of the three things is that the Gentiles “may know what is the hope to which He has called you” (v.18, ESV). Verses 11-13 of chapter 2 remind us that Paul is writing to Gentiles, who were previously without Christ, “having no hope and without God in the world (NKJV)”. With Christ, (as beautifully described throughout chapter 2) the Gentiles now have hope– the same promises, the same covenant with God– that the Jews had. Knowing this hope consists of two things: knowing what the promises are and trusting that God will fulfill these promises. The following two things Paul lists include something God has promised and something that encourages trust in Him.
The second in Paul’s list is “the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints”. In verses 3-10, Paul describes the Gentile’s adoption as sons by Jesus’s sacrifice and God’s grace. Paul wants them to know what this adoption means, that they are “holy and blameless before him” (vs. 4). How great is God’s grace to the Gentiles and to us! What an incredible promise, that we can be holy and blameless before God, that we can be God’s children.
The third thing Paul lists is “the immeasurable greatness of His power towards us who believe” (vs. 19). In verse 20, Paul reminds us that this immeasurable power is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and placed all authority beneath His feet. Other scripture reminds us it is the same power that created the world and gave us life and breath. It is the same power that performed the miracles of the Old and New Testaments. And this power is directed towards us who believe. This is the power that lets us trust in God. In my daily experiences and Bible reading, I want to constantly be looking for the hope and inheritance we have through Jesus and looking for examples of God’s immeasurable power. Chapter 3 describes how these things have changed Paul’s life and chapters 4-6 describe a lifestyle that encourages the pursuit of knowing our hope, inheritance and trusting in God’s power, rather than the pursuit of things that really just distract us.