Us in Ephesians 1
Whenever an article or written story appears in a newspaper or magazine, most often the pronouns used are in the third person - using “he” or “they.” When “we” is used, the story is an eyewitness account of a specific group of people which includes the writer and those who belong to the group. “We” or “us” are thus inclusive terms and can only be used when one belongs to a group. Something definitive sets the “we” and “us” apart from those outside of the group.
Throughout the book of Ephesians, there are key sections which are emphasized by the use of “we” and “us.” Specific phrases describe the group to which “us” refers and what that group has that makes it unique and special. The group is the church of the one body and it has had some very definite and wonderful things given to it in Christ Jesus. This study is about “us” and what is so special about “us.”
In Aramaic, the pronoun “us” can be attached as a suffix to a verb or to a preposition. These are the places that are noted in the verses in this study. Now, since “you” most likely are a member of the one body of Christ (and if not, can be so by believing Romans 10:9-10), “you” can now include yourself in the “us” of the following verses from the Aramaic translation of Ephesians 1:3-14 and think about how special you are:
1:3 God… who has blessed US with all blessings of the spirit…
1:4 even as he chose US beforehand in him (from before the foundations of the world)…And in love he marked US out beforehand for himself
1:5 and he placed US as sons in Jesus Christ as was pleasing to his will,
1:6 …grace…which he has poured forth upon US by the hand of his beloved [one]
1:7 in whom WE have redemption (literally, there is to US) and by his blood, remission of sins
1:8 [grace] which he has caused to abound in US in all wisdom and in all understanding.
1:9 And he has made known to US the mystery of his will…
1:11 …even as he marked US out beforehand…
After this section, the pronouns change to “you” and “I” for a while until 1:19 where the “us” is interjected again for emphasis on the one body.
[that you may know]…what is the abundance of the majesty of his power in US, in those who believe…
The “us” here is even especially qualified by explaining that this abundance of power is experienced by those (we) who believe.
“We” begins again in chapter 2, verse 3, which actually describes a different group (those not born again). But then verse 4 begins with “but” and again has multiple times a verb is used with the pronoun suffix in Aramaic to show what God has given to us.
Ephesians 2:4-7 …because of his great love [with] which he loved US,
when we were dead in our sins, he gave US life with Christ, and by his grace, he delivered US
and he raised US with him, and he seated US with him in Jesus Christ,
that he might show to the ages that are coming, the majesty of the riches of his grace and his kindness which was upon US in Jesus Christ.
After Ephesians 2:10, the rest of the book is primarily written in the first person “I” or second person, “you.” But there are several key verses where abruptly the pronouns change to “we” and “us” for emphasis on the one body at that point. They bring out something very specific to note about the “us.” In the section of Ephesians 2:10-21, the one verse is Ephesians 2:18 which is written with “we”: “because in him we both have access by one spirit unto the Father.” In Aramaic, the literal rendering of “we have” is “there is to US”. To us there is access by one spirit to the Father. That is the heart of the mystery explained.
In chapter 3, verses 12 and 20 are the key verses and boldness to approach the Father is again emphasized. The words in Aramaic for access in 2:18 and 3:12 both come from the same root verb, which means “to draw near.” We can draw near to God at anytime. And by His almighty power, He will do more than we ask.
Ephesians 3:12 in whom we have (lit., there is to US) boldness and access in the confidence of his faith
Ephesians 3:20 Now to him who is able, by [his] almighty power, to do ever more for US than what we ask and think…
Chapter 4 has only one verse with “us”. It states that the oneness and unity of the body of Christ will be completely accomplished in the fullness of times.
Ephesians 4:13 until all of US become one and the same in the faith and in the knowledge of the son of God and one mature man, according to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
The key characteristic emphasized here is that every member of the body will have the fullness of Jesus Christ - his resurrected body, his relationship with the Father. We will know even as we are known.
The practical walk in Ephesians 5 is emphasized in two places by this change in pronouns.
Ephesians 5:2 and walk in love, according as Christ also loved US and delivered himself on our behalf.
Ephesians 5:30 because WE are members of his body and of his flesh…
We are to walk in love. Love is the bond, the glue, that holds the body together and we have a perfect example of that love of God when we study what Jesus Christ did for us. We are members, with Christ as the head of the body. It is one body, like the physical body. None of the parts of the body can be separated out and function on their own. They must work together in order for the body to move and accomplish something.
To summarize the things about the one body which are emphasized in Ephesians by the use of the pronouns “we” and “us,” I have put together a six-point list:
We have been blessed in Christ: chosen, marked out, adopted, grace poured out, redeemed, God’s will make known;
We can experientially know the abundance of his power;
We are identified with Christ - loved us, gave us life, delivered us, raised us, seated us, grace and kindness upon us;
We have access by one spirit to the Father, who will do more than we ask or think;
We will all be one at Christ’s return with his same stature;
We can walk in love and live together in unity, because we are members of his body.
“Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all blessings of the Spirit in heaven in Christ!”