Ephesians 1:15-23 ESV
“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.”
Distortions of Truth
If the eyes of our hearts are to be enlightened so that we may know the hope to which he has called us, and the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, then we need to be made aware of the counterfeit hope which is being spread far and wide to which the majority of the church has fallen prey, so that we are not deceived.
We need to understand that this counterfeit hope (cheap grace gospel) was put in place on purpose to deceive the church and to lead them astray from their pure devotion to Jesus Christ. They call it the gospel, but it is not the gospel of Jesus, but a fake, a phony, a cheap substitute for the real thing.
This didn’t just happen, though. This was well planned out in advance, and it was taught to seminary students and to pastors of churches who wanted to grow their churches. So, they became convinced that this was what they should teach if they wanted to grow their congregations.
This cheap grace gospel came from high up in the “food chain,” with regard to the institutional (state) church. It was a coordinated effort among multiple church denominations to market the church like any other product or business and to alter the gospel to make it more acceptable to the world and to the flesh so as to draw in large crowds of people.
But this wasn’t just to draw large crowds of people. It had a very diabolical purpose, which is, as already stated, to deceive people’s minds and hearts so that they reject the true gospel of Jesus Christ and so they believe the cheap substitute, in order to lead them away from Christ, and to hell, basically.
So, what is their message? It varies, but essentially it is to claim that faith in Jesus Christ is saying some magic words, or giving an assent to what Jesus did on the cross, or making a public statement of belief in Jesus whereby that person is now forgiven all sin and they are guaranteed heaven when they die, and that it can never be taken away from them, no matter how they live their lives from that moment forward.
There is no death to sin that takes place, so no resurrection to new life in Christ, and no obedience to Christ taught as essential, so no surrender of one’s life to Christ taught as necessary, either. Much of what is being taught today is so watered down it barely resembles the true gospel at all.
Many are taking it to the extreme to where they are saying that if we repent of our sins, if we obey Jesus, and if we submit to him as Lord, that we are trying to earn our salvation by works, and we are not saved by works but by God’s grace and faith alone.
While it is true that we are saved by God’s grace, through faith alone, and not of ourselves, but it is a gift from God, not of works lest any of us should boast, it is not true that repentance, obedience and submission to Christ are works based salvation, and so we are to reject them, or that they are not part of believing faith in Jesus Christ.
So, what this cheap grace does is it gives people free license to continue living in sin, it discourages them from repenting of sin, obeying Jesus, and submitting to him as Lord, and it gives people a false hope of salvation from sin and a false hope of eternal life with God based on a lie from hell.
The Spirit of Wisdom
So, this is why we need to have the eyes of our hearts enlightened, and why we need to be given the Spirit of Wisdom, so that we can discern error and so that we can discover the truth, and so we can reject the lies and embrace the truth and live the truth to the glory and praise of God.
So, what is the truth? What is this immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe?
Jesus Christ died on that cross to put sin to death in our lives, not to give it full reign. He died to deliver us from our slavery to sin, not so we would continue living in our sin now that we are under grace. He died that we might die to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (Rom 6:1-23; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15, 21; 1 Co 6:19-20).
We are not to continue living in sin. We are not to obey its passions and desires. For sin will have no dominion over those who are truly the Lord’s. We are not to be slaves to sin, but slaves to God and to his righteousness. But if sin is what we obey, we are slaves to sin, and it will end in death, not in everlasting life with God (Rom 6:1-23).
We must walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we want salvation from sin and eternal life with God. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins (Rom 8:1-17).
If we don’t obey the Lord, we don’t have a relationship with him and we don’t have eternal life with him (Lu 9:23-26; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6). And if we make sin our practice, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God (Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10).
But we don’t obey God in our flesh. It is impossible to do God’s will in the flesh, in fact, because the flesh is opposed to the Spirit. All holy living is only possible because of God’s grace, and the faith he gives us, too, and because of the Holy Spirit living within us empowering, guiding and directing us in the way we are to go (Tit 2:11-14; Eph 2:10; Gal 2:20; Gal 5:16).
And we can only live holy lives pleasing to God because of God’s power and dominion and sovereignty over all, so that nothing comes into our lives but what God allows it, and he will give us everything we need to endure, to persevere, and to learn from what he allows us to go through. And he has given us that escape from all temptation, too (1 Co 10:13).
So, just know that God is holy, he is righteous, and in him no sin exists, so he is not going to provide a salvation that gives sin free reign in our lives or that denies him as Lord of our lives, or that refuses to obey him.
He saved us from our sins so that we would honor him by our lives in all our conduct. If we refuse, we will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life. So, please take this to heart, for we are all going to have to give an account to God for what we did with him and his salvation, and we will be judged by our works, indeed (Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10).
Jesus, Be Near to Me
Words and music by Tommy Walker
Jesus, be near to me
Let me know You are here
How I need You, how I need You
To reveal Yourself to me
Through Your unchanging truth
Through the breath of Your Spirit
In my questions and pain
Whisper words of Your love
Always the same…
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