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Paul's letter to the Ephesians stresses the equality and inter-personal unity of all who are united to Jesus Christ by faith.

In Ephesians, Paul's teaching on this interpersonal unity and equality focuses only on the unity and equality between Jew and Gentile. In other letters, he extends his description of this Gospel impact to embrace slave and free, male and female, Greeks, barbarians, and Scythians [Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11]. We are 'all one in Christ Jesus'.

This unity and equality is grounded on:

The fact that salvation, and all the aspects and blessings of salvation, are 'in Christ', totally dependent on him alone, and not in any way dependent on individual, personal, human performance. [Ephesians 1:3]. This 'in Christ', 'in him', foundation is stressed strongly right through the first three chapters of Ephesians.

The fact that there is 'one head' over all who are saved, Jesus Christ [Ephesians 1:10].

The fact that all who are 'in Christ' were placed in that relationship by the same Holy Spirit, and indwelt by that same Spirit [Ephesians 1:13,14; 2:22].

The fact that our individual personal salvation was not achieved by our personal power, but by the operation of the same mighty power of God that raised Christ from the dead [Ephesians 1:18-2:6].

The fact that salvation is by grace, not works [Ephesians 2:8]. Paul also defines this grace based unity in Romans 3:22b-24 - 'for there is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace ...'

The fact that we share a common God-given purpose - that both individually, through our personal lives, and together, in and through our existence as the church, God will be praised and glorified, firstly by our inclusion in salvation and secondly through our existence as his people  [Ephesians 1:6,12,14; 2:10; 3:10,21].

The fact that, through the death of Christ, the law has been abolished and destroyed [Ephesians 2:14-18]. By this Paul does not infer that the law's moral standards for human life have been abolished, but that, for those who are united to Christ,  the law as a means of determining personal acceptance or rejection in the presence of God, has been been fuliflled and abolished by Christ our substitute and mediator.

The fact that we share a common access to God [Ephesians 2:18].

The fact that we are together being built into God's holy temple [2:21,22].

This unity, in which all who are in Christ share a common salvation, a common acceptance with God, is, and always was, God's eternal purpose [Ephesians 3:9].

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2007, 2017