Here is my commentary on Ephesians 4:6 . I am publishing these once or twice a week, but you can read all of the available articles at our web-site, http://www.new-life.org.au
“… one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all.”
Paul has been listing the things Christians share- one Lord, one faith, one Spirit, one baptism. Now we come to the climax, the one God and Father.
Christians, like Jews, affirm that there is one God. Unlike the pagans who had gods for different cities and localities, trades and professions, christians say there is one God.
Whereas religious ties divide other groups, christians are united by worshipping the one God.
God has revealed himself as a Trinity, that is as three persons in one God. This isn’t to be interpreted as three gods or as three separate modes which God switches between. Part of the mystery of God is that God is both one and three. The unity of God is real, as is the threefold personality.
When we say that God is Father, we may think of several things.
Firstly he is the creator. He brought the whole of creation into existence for His good pleasure. Nothing was made except through the agency of God. He made all things and He made them good .
In this sense, God is Father even of those parts of creation that rebel against Him. He is Father to sinful people in the sense that He created them.
Secondly, God is Father in the sense that he brings new life to those who desire it. He is like a father of children who have gone off the rails and seeks to be reconciled with them. God the Father sent God the Son into the earth in order to reconcile many sons to himself .
Thirdly, to say God is Father is to say He is relational, and that He loves His creation. He is not a distant, impersonal god or force, but a real person who can and does relate to His creation .
Fourthly, God is a Father who works to bring His sons and daughters to maturity. He wants to impart His character to us so that we can become like him in nature. In Ephesians 4:13, Paul says that God gives His gifts to the Body, “ until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
God is over all, through all, and in all. This is language that needs to be thought about carefully .
We need to say first of all that this is not a form of pantheism. God is not identical to the creation. He is not the spirit of the trees and the mountains. God is separate from the creation.
When we say God is everywhere, we do not mean to imply that He is disguised as the animals and the wind. He is present to every part of creation, but separate from it.
It appears that some of the Greek manuscripts try to soften some of the universality of this verse. Some add the word “you”, others added the similar word “us”. God is over all of us, through all of us, and in all of us. As Christians, this would be acceptable, but it is not what Paul wrote.
God is over all people. He is the supreme ruler, whether we believe this or not. He is over all things, directing human and other events to his final purposes.
At the end of time, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10). God is Lord of all right now whether or not this is recognised by all people.
God is “through all.” This seems to mean that God uses all events, all people, all of creation to His glory and to our good. Nothing happens that he is not already aware of before hand .
To say that God is through all means that I can be confident that God is with me in every situation.
Finally God is “in all”. every person carries the image of God, the stamp of God’s ownership. Every person we see is someone whom God loves and created for His glory. If we see the image of God in all people, then we can love them as we love God.
God is also in all things because everything carries his image. While we must not worship the creation, every part of it is infused with God’s beauty and God’s glory. Therefore, every encounter that I have in this creation should draw me to a place of worship .
Key points in this verse:
- Our worship of one God should bind Christians together
- God has revealed himself as a trinity Kama a perfect community of love
- God is Father of all creation, but has a special Father relationship with those who are born again
- God’s presence is revealed in all of creation