The book of Ephesians is a book that offers great hope to Christians, It offers hope as it lays out a Christians identity – what it means to be “in Christ”; and it offers hope that Christians can live lives that please the Lord in a world broken by sin. These truths are seen even here, in the introduction to his letter. We see it first in his introduction of himself as “an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.” Paul stresses this not only to assert his authority (so that his readers might listen as they would to Christ), but also because it reveals God’s grace. Paul was not at apostle because he was deserved it – he was actually fighting against Christ by persecuting his followers. He was an apostle by grace – solely by the will of God. We also receive hope from Paul’s description of the recipients of the letter – they are “saints” (set aside by God for his purposes); they are “faithful” – having trusted in Christ; and they are “in Christ” – they are in union with Christ in such a way that what is true of him is also true of them (more on this in weeks to come!). Finally we see hope in the greeting he extends – “grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Grace – which is God’s favor and blessing even though we merit the opposite is ours – we are not under the law or under condemnation in Him. Peace, which refers to a state of “shalom” in our hearts – is also ours – peace with God, the peace of God and peace with one another. These two words reveal the first of many spiritual blessings that our ours in Christ. The question is, will we live out of these two realities as we go through our days?