Ephesians 1:1-2 ESV
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.
This message is to the saints of God who are faithful in Christ Jesus.
Saints of God
The word “saint” here is basically the same word as “holy.” It means to be set apart by (or for) God. And, it means “likeness of nature with the Lord” because “different from the world” (1). And, God has commanded that we be holy in all of our conduct, because he is holy (1 Pet. 1:15-16).
We, as believers in Jesus Christ, are to be different (unlike) the world of sin, for God called us out from the world, so the world should no longer love us as their own. In fact, we should be hated by those who are still like the world because we are different (unique), and we don’t fit in with them.
But, we are not supposed to fit in with them, for we are to be no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world. But, we are to be transformed (of the Spirit of God) in the renewing of our minds away from living to sin to living to God and to his righteousness, in his power (See: Rom. 12:1-2).
In fact, the Bible teaches that if we love (prefer, embrace, desire, take pleasure in, esteem) the world (not speaking of the people of the world) or the things in the world, the love of the Father is not in us (1 Jn. 2:15). Do we hear this? It means the love of the Father IS NOT IN US.
For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world (1 Jn. 2:16).
We need to take this seriously, and take it to heart!
Faithful in Christ Jesus
This word “faithful” means “trustworthy, faithful, believing, loyalty to faith, fullness of faith, and believing the faith God imparts, referring to persuasion,” i.e. to divine persuasion (2).
Basically, the word “faith” means persuasion. With regard to the faith necessary for our salvation, it means to be persuaded of God as to his righteousness and holiness and of our need to walk with him in his holiness and righteousness, for even the faith to believe in Jesus is a gift of God’s grace to us (See: Eph. 2:8-10; see also 1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 8:1-17).
And, faithful, thus, is full of this divine persuasion of God’s holiness and of our command to be holy in all of our conduct. And, it is loyalty to that faith – devoted, trustworthy, dedicated and reliable.
So, our faith is not just some thought or feeling or expression of some belief in the existence of Jesus Christ, or even of some belief that he truly did die in our place so that we could be forgiven our sins and have the hope of eternal life with God.
But, it is devoted to the Lord and to his righteousness, holiness, honor, glory, praise, purity, and love, etc. And, this is to be lived out daily in our lives by his grace and in his power at work within us, because he first loved us, and because we love him back.
Ephesians 1:3-6 ESV
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.
These promises, thus, are to the saints (the holy, set apart) who are the faithful (loyal, dedicated) in Christ Jesus. We are blessed. We benefit greatly from this relationship with our Lord via our God-given faith (divine persuasion) in him. We are provided with what is for our best, i.e. what is God’s best for us that we might serve our Lord and walk in his ways.
We were chosen by God before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless before him, not just positionally, but in all of our conduct. For, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He gave his life up for us on that cross that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him. He bought us back for God with his blood, so we should honor God by our lives in all that we do (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; 1 Co. 6:20).
He predestined that we should become one of his children, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace.
And, what is the purpose of his will? That we should die to sin and live to righteousness; that we should no longer walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, and that we should be holy in all of our conduct, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world.
And, what is his grace to us? Certainly it is forgiveness of our sins, and it is eternity with him in glory. But, that is not all. It is deliverance from slavery (addiction) to sin so that we might now be slaves (servants) of his righteousness (See: Rom. 6:1-23).
For, his grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await his soon return (Tit. 2:11-14).
So, if we were predestined to be to the praise of his glorious grace, then we were predestined to live holy lives in all of our conduct, free from the control of sin over our lives, walking in His Spirit, and according to his righteousness, for this is the purpose of his grace to us.
Ephesians 1:7-10 ESV
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.
Again, these promises are for the saints (holy, set apart) of God who are the faithful (persuaded, dedicated) of God in Christ Jesus.
We have redemption through his blood. We have been bought back for God by his blood, so our lives are no longer our own to be lived how we want, because we have been bought with a price. Therefore, we are to honor our Lord in all that we do (be holy in all of our conduct). For, this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus, that we live for him, and no longer for our flesh.
We have forgiveness of sins. Our sins are no longer charged against us with regard to eternal punishment in hell. We now have the hope of eternal life with God. But, forgiveness means also “Go and sin no more!” It means the punishment for our sin has been paid for, we are no longer condemned, and so we are now to no longer live in sin but to God and to his righteousness.
And, again the message is one of according to his will and purpose and plan for our lives, which he had purposed even before the creation of the world.
Jesus set us free so that we would no longer live our lives by our flesh and to sin (Rom. 6:1-23). We have the hope of eternal life with him, thus, if, by his grace, and in his Spirit, we no longer conduct our lives according to our sinful flesh but we now live by the Spirit and walk in the ways of Christ (See: Rom. 8:1-17; Lu. 9:23-25; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).
BUT, this is not to say that we will never sin (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2). We still live in flesh bodies, and so we still have the propensity to sin against God. But, it should no longer be what rules our lives. It should no longer be what we practice. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live (See: Rom. 8:1-17; cf. Lu. 9:23-25).
It all comes down to lifestyle, and our lifestyles are what give evidence to the fact that we are or we are not truly in Christ Jesus by faith in him. For, James says that even the demons believe and they shudder, and the demons have no hope of salvation from sin.
The crux of it all is in understanding what it means to believe in Jesus Christ and in having the correct understanding of what his grace means, as well. For, our salvation is not just deliverance from hell and eternity in heaven. It is a heart change, and a lifestyle change, and a life dedicated to living for our Lord and no longer for our flesh. For, this is why Jesus died.
For Our Nation
An Original Work / September 11, 2012
Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.
Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.
Thursday, November 1, 2018 –