Paul an apostle
Paul introduces himself here as the author of the letter to the Ephesians. He also identifies himself here as an apostle of Christ Jesus. The word apostle comes from the Greek word apostolos which has the meaning of a delegate or envoy or a "sent out one". The title means that Paul has been sent out and commissioned by Jesus. Paul can say this because the resurrected Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and called him.
He says that he is an apostle of Christ Jesus. Contrary to popular thought, Christ is not Jesus' last name. Its actually His title. Xristos is the Greek word it comes from which means "annointed one". It is the Greek version of the word Messiah which also means "annointed one". Jesus actually wouldn't have had a last name like we do today. Culturally, people would have called Him Jesus bar Joseph (or Yeshua bar Yusheph as they would have likely pronounced it) which means Jesus son of Joseph. Anyway, its cool to remember that when you say Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus, you are not simply naming Jesus. You are also declaring His identity as King, Messiah, Savior, Chosen One of God, and all of that. When you read the word Christ in the Bible, let the fulness of that title sink in before you continue reading.
By the will of God
Paul puts a clear emphasis on the fact that he is an apostle of God because God willed it so. Paul was not simply some rogue guy claiming to be an apostle because he wanted the title or authority. He emphasizes that his calling is indeed from God. I think perhaps Paul emphasized this because he is definitely not quite like the other apostles. The other apostles walked with Jesus during His earthly ministry. Lots of people saw the other apostles with Jesus and knew Jesus treated them as his prime disciples. The other apostles knew each other and their apostlehood was never questioned. Paul, on the other hand, used to oppose Jesus. It wasn't clear that people should treat him as an apostle right away. His life ultimately proved his identity as an apostle, but Paul found himself facing those who questioned his apostolic authority on multiple occasions. Maybe that's why he stressed this being the will of God.
Regardless, what is it you do? What do you do for a living? What do you do to serve at church? Can you say with certainty that God has called you to do those things? Is there something God is calling you to do that you are still not doing?
To the saints who are in Ephesus
Some people view the word "saint" as signifying a very rare and special kind of holy person recognized by the church as having lived virtuously and performed miracles. But notice the word saints here is plural. Paul is writing to the city of Ephesus and he is specifically writing to the saints there. If "saint" really means an extremely rare holy individual, then how many saints could there possibly be in the city of Ephesus in the first century AD?
Instead, the writers of the New Testament use the word "saint" to refer to all believers in Christ. The word saint is a strange one. In the New Testament, the Greek word is "hagios" which means "holy" or "holy one". Are all Christians holy? Aren't we all sinners? Yes and yes. We are sinners, but we have been cleansed and washed and purified by the blood of Jesus. This process is called sanctification which comes from the word sanctify which means "to make something holy". This is where we get the word "saint" in English which based on the words it comes from means "one who has been made holy". If you are a Christian, then you are a saint! So, Paul is writing his letter to all of the people who have been made holy by Christ which means all of the Christians in Ephesus.
And are faithful in Christ Jesus:
I'm using the ESV but I'm also reading from my Greek New Testament. I think this is better translated "and the believing ones in Christ Jesus". The reason I believe this is because the word translated is "pistois" which stems from the word "pisteuo" which is the verb that means "to believe". So if you are a "pistois" you are a "believing one". This might make some difference in the sense that this letter is not addressed only to those who have always been faithful to Jesus because we have all proved faithless at times. Instead it is addressed to those who believe, which is interconnected to the earlier "holy ones" description. If you are a holy one, then you are also a believing one because it is by believing in Jesus that we are made holy. If you are a believing one in Jesus, then you have been made a holy one.
So how do you view yourself? Do you look down on yourself? Do you wrap your identity up in your failings? You shouldn't! Wrap your identity up in what Christ has done for you! If you believe in Him, then you are holy! You are clean and pure and set apart for a special purpose. You have great worth. You don't have to act holy in order for this to be true. You need to accept what Jesus has done and it is true. Don't view yourself as a failure but remember how God sees you. If you are in Christ, then in His sight you are holy and worth a great deal. Let that penetrate your thoughts and attitude and it will be a source of encouragement as well as a source of empowerment to live well for God.
Grace to you
Grace means unmerited favor. It is undeserved, unearned blessing. Grace is when out of the blue and for no reason mom or dad buys you a gift. Its not your birthday. You didn't ace some test or class. They just love you and wanted to bless you for no other reason than because they wanted to. Paul is praying that for the Ephesians. May God bless you for no other reason than because He loves you. The word grace is at the heart of the gospel as God blesses us with salvation while we were still His enemies.
Peace is something we all long for. Peace is hard to define. There is external peace. No fights or violence. No drama and yelling between family, friends, and coworkers. Nobody out to get you and one up you. No stressful situations like financial problems or overwhelming schedules threatening to wreck your life as you know it. Then there is internal peace. This one is trickier to define. No worries. No stress. No tossing and turning in your sleep. No tears troubling your day. No pain in your heart over circumstances. No franticness. Just calm joy. Paul prays this into their lives as well.
from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
Notice where grace and peace come from. They come from God alone. True grace comes from God. True peace comes from God. If you desire to know these things, you must turn to God. Nothing else can give you true grace and peace.
Notice how Paul puts the Lord Jesus up there with God the Father. This is a hint at Paul's belief in the Trinity. The Holy Spirit doesn't make an appearance here, but at least we see that Jesus is on the same level as the Father.
So where do you turn to for peace? When life gets rough and stress gets to you, do you turn to ice cream, TV, another person? Or do you turn to the only source of true peace? Do you look to God?
When you pray for people, I'd encourage you to pray like Paul did. Pray for God's grace and peace to flood into their lives. Pray that they would know His grace especially in a saving way and pray that they would learn to turn to Him alone for peace.