To the saints. . . . and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.--Here, as in Colossians 1:2 ("the saints and faithful brethren") the same persons are described by both epithets. They are "saints," as "called" (see Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2) into "the communion of saints" by the grace of God; they are "faithful," as by their own act believing in Christ and holding fast that faith. The two epithets are correlative to each other. Without the call and the grace of God, men cannot believe; without the energy of faith they cannot be, in effect as well as in opportunity, "saints." Both epithets belong in capacity and profession to all members of the Church militant; and St. Paul applies them accordingly to the whole body of any church which he addresses, without hesitation or distinction. In living reality they belong only to the "Invisible Church" of the present, which shall form the "Church triumphant" of the hereafter. It has been noted that the use of the word "saints," as the regular and ordinary name of Christians, is more especially traceable in the later Epistles of St. Paul. So in his speech before Agrippa he says, "Many of the saints did I shut up in prison" (Acts 27:10). The phrase, "in Christ Jesus," belongs to both the words "saints" and "faithful;" but it is here more closely connected with the latter.
Which are at Ephesus.--On these words, omitted in the oldest MSS., see the Introduction.
To the saints which are at Ephesus; of this place, see the note above upon the title of the epistle, and See Gill on Acts 18:19. The persons residing there, to whom the epistle is written, are described by their character, as "saints"; being separated by the grace of God the Father in eternal election; whose sins were expiated by the blood and sacrifice of Christ; and to whom he himself was made sanctification; and who were internally sanctified by the Spirit of God, and lived holy lives and conversations. The Alexandrian copy, and some others, and the Vulgate Latin version, read, "to all the saints"; whether officers of the church, or private members, whether rich or poor, bond or free, strong or weak believers, of greater or lesser abilities.
And to the faithful in Christ Jesus: who were in Christ, not only by electing grace, but were openly and manifestly in him, through converting grace; and abode in him as branches in the vine; continued constant, and persevered in faith and holiness; and were faithful to the cause and interest of Christ, and to his Gospel and ordinances; and were hearty and sincere in the profession of their faith in Christ, and love to him and his: or, as the Arabic version renders it, "and to them that believe in Jesus Christ"; with all their hearts, to the saving of their souls; who look unto him, venture on him, rely upon him, and trust in him for life and salvation, and who shall certainly be saved; of such the church at Ephesus consisted, to whom this epistle was written: of the church there; see Gill on Acts 20:17.
(a) L. 5. c. 29. (b) Plin. ib. Justin ex Trogo, l. 2. c. 4. (c) Philostrat. Vita Apollon. l. 8. c. 3.