For His Praise

Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 6:11 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “The Ransom.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 1 (ESV).

Chosen by God (vv. 1-10)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Who are the saints of God? They are all of us who have put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. This is speaking to us. Even before the creation of the world, God had already chosen us to be holy, which means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world, and to be set apart to Christ, to follow him in obedience to his ways. He had also chosen us to be blameless in his sight, i.e. through the death of his Son on a cross. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, in his death became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. On that cross he put sin to death. When he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell and death on our behalf. Through faith in him, his righteousness is credited to our accounts so that we, the faithful in Christ, are no longer condemned to hell, but we have the promise and hope of eternal life with God in heaven.

God, in love, predestined (foreordained, predetermined) that we would be his children, by his grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will. And, what is his will for us? Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He died, too, that we might no longer walk (conduct our lives) according to our sinful flesh, but according to his Spirit, and to his righteousness and holiness. His grace to us is not merely forgiveness of sins, an escape from hell, and a promise of heaven when we die. His grace instructs us to say “NO” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await his return. All this is his will for us, which he foreordained for us.

Faith in Jesus Christ is not a mere assent to who he was, and is, or a mere acknowledgment and acceptance of his sacrifice for our sins or his forgiveness of our sins. When God the Father draws us to Christ, if it is him drawing us, and not some humanistic philosophy intended to pacify sin, he makes known to us his will and purpose. His Holy Spirit convicts our hearts of sin, of righteousness and judgment. We are pricked to the conscience with regard to our sins, we confess them, turn from them, and we turn to follow our Lord in obedience. For, when we believe in Jesus, we are crucified with him in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like God (in his likeness) in true righteousness and holiness.

God, in his love and grace, foreordained that we should be to the praise of his glory (his divine approval). So, his will and purpose for us is that, if we want to come after Christ, we must deny (humble) ourselves, take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said that his sheep listen to his voice, and they follow (obey) him. He said that if we love him, we will keep his word, and he and the Father will make their home with us. He also said, in essence, that if we hold on to our former lives of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity. But, if we lose our lives (die with him to sin), for his sake, we will gain eternal life with him (Lu. 9:23-25; Jn. 10:27-30; Jn. 14:23-24; cf. Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24).

Called to Hope (vv. 15-23)

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, that is not the finished product. We have just begun our spiritual journey with our Lord. Our salvation is a process of a lifetime, not a one-time experience, and then that is it until we go to heaven one day. We must walk by the Spirit and not fulfill the lusts of our flesh. We must walk in the light as Christ is in the light. Daily we must put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us. Daily, by the Spirit, we are to be putting the deeds of the flesh to death, and we should be putting on Christ and his righteousness. We must get rid of all things in our lives which hinder our walks of faith, all sins which so easily entangle us, and everything which weighs us down or which leads us into temptation, so we can run with perseverance the race God has marked out for us, i.e. this spiritual journey he has us on.

Daily we must be in the Word of God, drinking in its truths, relying on the Holy Spirit to teach us with all wisdom the way in which we are to walk. And, then we must be walking in that light (enlightenment) we are given, and not walk away from it forgetting what we look like. If we don’t walk in the truth we have already been given, then gaining more knowledge, just for the sake of knowledge, is useless, because we do not put it into practice. In God’s Word we learn to know him and his will for our lives and the purpose for which he created and chose us in him. As believers in Christ, we have the Holy Spirit living within us guiding us into all truth, too, so he makes the Word of God come alive to us in all practical application to our daily lives. And, this is how we come to know, too, his specific and individual callings (assignments, gifts) for our lives, so that we can walk in them.

Also, when we believe in Jesus, we become members of his body, his church, the people of God, who are of faith in Jesus Christ, of whom he is the head. He purposed that we should work together as a body in his service, according to his will, for the praise of his glory, as each one of us does our part. So, part of his will, also, is that we regularly meet together, according to his will, wherever possible, to study together his word, to pray with and for one another, to encourage one another in the faith, and for Spirit-filled and Spirit-led fellowship in Christ. We, as well, are to build one another up in the faith, speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, for the mutual spiritual growth and maturity of one another.

Basically, the Christian life is not just a saved life, but it is a life of following our Lord wherever he leads us, doing what he says, going where he sends us, and saying whatever he commands us to say. It is a life committed to Christ and to his service, recognizing that our lives are no longer our own, but we belong to God, so now our lives should be his to do with what he wants. They are not perfect lives, but they are lives which walk in the light of Christ and no longer in the darkness of sin. They are also lives surrendered to Christ, separate from the world, and committed to holiness, godliness, purity, uprightness, honesty and integrity – all for the praise of God’s glory, and all in his wisdom, strength and power. Amen!

The Ransom
An Original Work / September 8, 2011

Jesus paid the ransom,
so we’d be forgiven;
Purified from our sin,
so we’d be set free.
Crucified on a tree;
took on him our sin.
Buried our sin with Him;
rose in victory.
Jesus calls us to Him;
asks that we flee from sin;
Obey His commandments;
live eternally.

God our Father loves us,
which is why He gave us
His Son to die for us
on a cruel tree.
God created us to
walk in fellowship with Him,
daily trusting in His righteousness.
He has a plan for us
to abide in His grace;
Be transformed in our hearts;
live for him always.

Won’t you trust in Jesus?
Be your Lord and Master?
He wants to forgive you;
give you victory
Over sin and yourself;
Jesus set you free.
Daily walking with Him,
live victoriously.
Invite Him in your heart.
He’ll give you a new start.
Your old life behind you,
a new creature be.

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