Ephesians 2:18 – The Son, the Spirit, and Father

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POSTED 08 FEBRUARY, 2018

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume II

“for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.”

In writing to the Believers in Asia Minor, Paul stresses how Jewish and non-Jewish Believers have been joined together as “one new man” (Ephesians 2:15) or “one new humanity” (NRSV) by the sacrificial work of Yeshua the Messiah.[1] He says that this was with the intention, that “[He] might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR [Isaiah 57:19; 52:7; Zechariah 9:10]” (Ephesians 2:16-17). Paul associates Jewish and non-Jewish Believers in Israel’s Messiah as participating together in the restoration of Israel’s Kingdom realm.

Paul’s priority on all people believing in Yeshua the Messiah is very clear. He says, “through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). Believers in Yeshua have prosagōgē, to the Father, via the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. In a classical sense, prosagōgē was “approach, access to a person, esp. to a king’s presence” (LS), but it can also notably be “a bringing to or up to, a bringing up” (LS).[2] Some have thought that the kind of “access” to which Paul is referring would be similar to how the Torah instructs people to bring specific offerings before the Lord (i.e., Leviticus 1:3; 3:3; 4:14) in either entreating His mercy, or perhaps also in thanksgiving. Hebrews 4:16 tells us, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” And, the eschatological expectation regarding the restoration of Israel includes the nations swarming to God’s Temple and knowing Him (Isaiah 56:6-8; Zechariah 8:20-23; cf. 1 Kings 8:41-43).

What need not escape readers of Ephesians 2:18 is that what is intended is that “for through Him,” hoti di’ autou, “we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.” The first personal pronoun is intended to be Yeshua or Jesus, noted by a number of paraphrased versions: “Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us” (NLT); “We both have access to the Father through Christ by the one Spirit” (Common English Bible). It is unavoidable that within Ephesians 2:18, spiritual and supernatural activity is present which involves the Son, the Spirit, and the Father. While today’s Messianic people may have various critiques or criticisms of traditional Christian Trinitarianism, the presence of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit working together on behalf of the redeemed—a tri-unity, or perhaps better a unity in plurality—is something that theologians and examiners have deduced from the Biblical text.


NOTES

[1] This entry has been adapted from the author’s commentary Ephesians for the Practical Messianic.

[2] LS, 685.