Many of the citizens of Ephesus were proud of their city, of its wealth and of its false religion (Acts 19:23-28). However, many people also lived there who were not citizens of that city.
So, Ephesians 6:5-9 reminds us that many slaves had to live and work there. They had no legal rights; they belonged to their masters. Also, of course, there were many traders and visitors to the city (for example Acts 18-24), and many people passed through it (Acts 18:18-21). They did not have the full rights that a citizen had; they did not belong to that city.
However, no city on earth offers true security. Our present cities cannot keep their wealth and power always. We need to be citizens of heaven, and of the New Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22-24). Only there will we find true security, peace and goodness. We may live our whole lives as strangers and foreigners on earth - but God has prepared a wonderful home for his people (John 14:1-2; Hebrews 11:13-16).
This is not just a hope for the future. A person who lives abroad can remain a citizen of his own city and his own country. While we are still in this world, we can become citizens of heaven. That was what happened to Ephesusís Christians - and it can happen in our lives too. They did not earn the right to be Godís people (2:8-9). By his death for them, Christ gave them that right (2:13). They turned from their evil deeds (2:1-3) and they believed and trusted Christ (1:13). Then, by the power of the Holy Spirit, God changed their lives completely (2:4-7). Before they were not holy people - but now they joined Godís holy people (1 Peter 2:9-10). Before, they had no right to benefit from Godís promises - but now, they became sons and daughters in his family (John 1:12-13).
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© 2018, Keith Simons.