Paul spent two years quarantined. Can you imagine? Paul spent two years quarantined as a Roman prisoner. Can you imagine that? That’s a bit different than being quarantined in the comfort of your own home for a few weeks. Well, what did the apostle Paul do with himself for two years? Scripture tells us what he spent much of his time doing: “he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God” (Acts 28:23). Paul focused on the church. He even wrote a letter to his Christian friends in Ephesus extoling and glorifying the beauty of Christ’s church.
While in quarantine, Paul focused on the abundant blessings possessed by those in Christ’s church. Paul wanted his friends to be reminded that “God…has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). He went on in this chapter to enumerate and emphasize a number of these blessings provided only to those in Christ’s church. “He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…He made us accepted in the Beloved…In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins…In Him also we have obtained an inheritance…in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (1:4, 6, 7, 11, 13). Although isolated, there are numerous spiritual blessings available only to those in the Lord’s church, which is the reason the first chapter ends by describing the church as “the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (1:23). Do you focus on these exclusive blessings?
While in quarantine, Paul focused on the incredible unity enjoyed by those in Christ’s church. The church is made up of people who were all, at one time, “dead in trespasses and sins” (2:1), but had been “saved” by the “grace” of God (2:4-9). The church is made up of people who were not only estranged from Christ (2:12), but were also estranged from each other and needed to be “brought near by the blood of Christ” (2:13) and reconciled “to God in one body through the cross” (2:16). Once in the church, these peoples from such varied backgrounds and even sharp enmity, all now “have access by one Spirit to the Father,” all are “fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,” and all are “built together for a dwelling place of God” (2:18-22). Although isolated, there should still exist a genuine unity and cross-shaped bond that ties us together no matter what. Do you focus on the unity of God’s people?
Although Paul was separated from his dear friends in the church, he counted his blessings to be a part of God’s family. In the rest of the letter, he focused on the amazing transformation experienced by those in Christ’s church. What a glorious blessing to a part of the beautiful church of Christ. Let’s not take it for granted! Let us glorify Him in it (3:21)!