Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The city of Ephesus was home to one of the seven wonders of the world, which was the temple of Artemis (or Diana). It was a city that thrived on pagan cults, pagan worship and the making of idols. This letter was written from a Roman prison where Paul was jailed for preaching the Gospel of Christ. Here in the opening verses we see Paul was an Apostle, called directly by Jesus Himself, while on the road to Damascus where he was heading to persecute Christians. The word “apostle” means messenger, and Paul along with the twelve disciples were the only Apostles of the church who were given authority directly by Jesus to start His church. All of them having seen the risen Christ, were chosen by God directly to lay the foundation for the church. They were given authority by Jesus Himself for the preaching, teaching and writing of scripture.
The rest of the believers, those who are not part of the twelve, are called saints, and the word “saints” refers to the godly men and women made holy before God by the blood of Christ. The phrase “in Christ” is repeated by Paul more than one hundred and thirty times in his New Testament epistles. And it refers to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who through the process of “sanctification” keeps us in communion with Jesus. Sanctification is God’s process of spiritual growth carried out in the hearts and minds of all followers of Jesus. The Holy Spirit does this through our prayer, our study of God’s word and our reflection on the Gospel and the person of Jesus. In this greeting Paul blesses us with peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. The word “and” used in this phrase is a word which indicates that Jesus and God the Father are equal in essence, character and divinity. Paul deliberately uses this terminology in reference to the Trinity. He does so to help us better understand who Jesus is and what He has done for us.