After Paul spends two paragraphs digressing in an effort to make sure the necessity of
God’s grace in him and for the Ephesians is understood, he comes back to reinforce the reason he is laboring so hard for the gospel and for them.
Unity was the reason. One kingdom body formed from two people groups who happen to comprise the entire human race – Jews and Gentiles. (Ephesians 2:17-22)
For this, not only was Paul willingly imprisoned and persecuted, but he was also earnestly praying on his knees for the men and women he formerly hated enough to kill. He asked that they’d be strengthened through the Holy Spirit, in faith, in love, in knowledge, and with the fullness of God.
Note how he describes the one he is praying to:
“…the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named…”
Paul is focusing on the concept of family. Why?
Families were God’s idea. Paul says he “named” each one indicating his headship authority over them. Beginning with Adam and Eve and culminating at the end of all things with the international family of believers – a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages (Revelation 7:9) – God is the Father. God is the Father. God is the Father.
Therefore, Jews and Gentiles do not have the right to exclude each other based on their earthly fathers. God did a new thing in Christ. He made room for every dead sinner his Father gave to him and he told us all to live in peace together. The Ephesians needed to understand that they were indeed God’s children. The Jews needed to understand that no matter how pristine their ancestry line traced, only those who had God as their Father were his children. And the same wisdom is needed for us today.
Unbelievers who come to Christ apart from a Christian family and clean upbringing need to understand that they are indeed God’s children just as much as anyone else who is in the faith. Likewise, those who are steeped in religion and church culture from the time they exit the womb need to understand that their earthly line grants them neither automatic nor superior citizenship in God’s kingdom. God is the Father of his true children and he adopts all those who are his. We are being built into his kingdom equally together. Therefore, let us strengthen one another regardless of how diverse our earthly backgrounds are. Let us remember that God is our father and that he can do far more abundantly than all we ask or think. Let us pray for the family of God. He will get all the glory.
“to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”