The Gospel is grand but jolly ordinary

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians very naturally divides into two parts; chapters 1-3 are a theological outline of God’s enormous plan to renew creation in Christ, which has begun in the church, chapters 4-6 is the ‘therefore’ – ethical teaching for the church in light of what God is doing.

When looking at these two sections side by side, it can feel like a bit like looking at the Sistine Chapel and Duke Street Church (or perhaps a simple block of flats) side by side. One is breathtaking and beautiful, the other is very functional.

It’s so important that we see the vital connection between the two halves of the book though. The way God’s cross-won, spirit empowered, word renewing mission (described in ch 1-3) is going forwards is through the ordinary situations described in chapters 4-6, the church pulling together, marriages being characterised by self sacrificial love, children obeying their parents, employees working hard and employers being kind and fair.

It’s in the nitty gritty of life that the spiritual battle described in ch 6:10-20 takes place too. That passage is not talking about dramatic power encounters and but the battle to live the Christian life in the church, at home and at work.

Christians who love their high level theology need to see that true theology plays out in rock solid situations. At the same time, those who think it’s all about miracles and wonders need to see the Christian life isn’t all about the supernatural but it is radically ordinary. Each one of us needs to draw on the resources of God’s enormous plan for inspiration, vision and direction in the ordinary world of church, home and work; because that’s where his transforming work is most shown and where it most matters.


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