'Created in Christ Jesus for good works' : the integration of soteriology and ethics in Ephesians
The present thesis is a study of the relationship between the so-called 'theological' (Eph 1-3) and 'paraenetic' (Eph 4-6) sections of Ephesians. A critical review of the major contributions towards an understanding of the relationship between the two halves reveals that scholarship up to the present day has failed to provide an accurate account of the cohesive ties within the soteriological pattern, which envelops the whole of the letter, including the paraenesis. We firstly examine how the conceptual background to Ephesians has its roots in the theological framework of Second Temple Judaism, whereby the soteriological pattern involves the spiritual transformation of God’s people that leads to moral and social renewal. We then demonstrate that humanity’s former existence was involved in a cosmic rebellion against God and is characterized in terms of a corrupt structure of perception and knowledge, which leads to immoral behaviour and social dislocation (Eph 2:1-3; 2:11-22). Moreover, we suggest that the soteriological pattern entails the spiritual transformation of Jews and Gentiles through the knowledge of the gospel and through an intimate relationship with God and Christ mediated by the Spirit (Eph 1:17-23; 3:16-19). The Christ-event brings into effect a new resurrection-life (Eph 2:5-6) empowered by the Holy Spirit, so that believers might live ethically the new existence of the age to come (Eph 2:4-7, 10). Furthermore, the language of 'new creation' and 'in one Spirit' (Eph 2:15, 18, 22) indicates that the existential transformation of Jews and Gentiles enables the growth and unity of the church (Eph 2:19-22; cf. Eph 4:7-16). Furthermore, we argue that the soteriology of Ephesians 1-3 is further explained and expanded in Ephesians 4-6. We demonstrate that the refashioning of the self with the knowledge of the gospel (Eph. 4:4-6, 12, 20-21, 5:10, 17; 5:22-33; 6:4, 8, 9, 15, 17) and the empowering presence of God and Christ through the Spirit (Eph. 4:2-3, 15-16; 30， 32; 5:1-2, 8, 14, 18; 6:1, 14- 19) enable and sustains the unity and harmony of the Christian community and the household. This study concludes that the paraenesis clarifies and expands the soteriology of Ephesians.