“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God” (Ephesians 1:1a)
In beginning this expository examination of the Book of Ephesians, let us not overlook the first word the epistle: Paul. The Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21) used the apostle to produce this inerrant portion of Scripture. Ephesians is one of thirteen New Testament books written by the Apostle Paul. Most likely, Ephesians was written while Paul experienced his first imprisonment by the Roman government (Acts 28:30-31).
How does Paul identify himself to the believers in Ephesus? He said that he was an apostle. An apostle (ἀπόστολος; apostolos) was a special messenger. He was God’s special representative who was commissioned and called to communicate the Lord’s message and revelation. An apostle did not originate the news he proclaimed. He was a herald of the king he served charged with preaching the King’s good news.
Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “An apostle was an authorized delegate commissioned and sent by the risen Lord Jesus with the authority to receive and declare His special revelation.”
Paul continued by saying that he was an apostle of Christ Jesus. This meant that Paul was exclusively a messenger for the Lord. He was an apostle for no one else. He was an apostle who solely belonged to Christ Jesus and whose apostleship originated solely in Christ Jesus. The title Christ means the only Anointed One and Jesus means the only Savior.
Paul was not only an apostle solely belonging to Christ Jesus, but also by the will of God the Father. The apostle solely served God the Father’s purpose, plan and intent.
Dr. John Walvoord writes, “Paul was made an apostle of Christ Jesus through God’s will or decision. It was not his own choosing or plan. Thus he had God’s authority behind him. As an apostle Paul was commissioned and sent by God with the gospel message.”
The Apostle Paul clearly stated what the Lord’s purpose was for him: to be an apostle. What about you? What is God’s purpose and plan for you? Whatever it may be, carry out God’s purpose with a passion for God to be glorified through you (I Corinthians 10:31).
Soli deo Gloria!