Last week’s readings were all from Ephesians. That is one special piece of scripture. Whoever wrote this toward the end of the first century had some very strong opinions. He(!) had a strong sense of living in the latter days and basically describes what life in the kingdom of Christ is supposed to look like if it were for him. He knows what’s right and wrong and you have to listen to him. Ever heard this type of preacher? He even claims Paul’s authority even though most of his ideas strictly oppose core beliefs that Jesus and Paul stood for.
Following a list of special twists that are unknown to Jesus or Paul:
– Resurrection a thing of the past (Ephesians 2:1-10): “In our union with Christ Jesus he raised us up with him to rule with him in the heavenly world.”
Paul hopes for future resurrection, taking this life and world serious (1 Corinthians 15): “But the truth is that Christ has been raised from death, as the guarantee that those who sleep in death will also be raised.”
– Law abolished (Ephesians 2:11-22): “He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace.”
Jesus makes clear (Matthew 5:18): “Remember that as long as heaven and earth last, not the least point nor the smallest detail of the Law will be done away with—not until the end of all things.”
– Church concerned about itself (Ephesians 4:1-16): “And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ’s full stature.”
The movement that Jesus intended was about outreach not inreach (Matthew 5:13): “You are like salt for the whole human race.”
– Be ye kind (Ephesians 4:32): “and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
Jesus opposes kindness wholeheartedly (Matthew 10:34): “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the world. No, I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
– Male dominance (Ephesians 5:21-33): “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands as to the Lord.”
Jesus knew better (Mark 10:43): “This, however, is not the way it is among you. If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest;”
– Obedient children (Ephesians 6:1-4): “Children, it is your Christian duty to obey your parents, for this is the right thing to do.”
The law is not geared toward children but grown-ups: You must feed your elderly parents even though they are unproductive for the household.
Whoever wrote this letter sure knows what he wants heaven to look like – the conservative world he has always dreamed about. Tell me what you heaven looks like and I tell you what your worldview is.