I read this on Twitter yesterday, posted by a fellow Christian:
“When I let my desires form my beliefs, then essentially I begin talking to Scripture rather than it talking to me.”
I believe the Lord Jesus led me to read this tweet, and so I inquired of the Lord what he wanted to teach me from it. What immediately came to mind was the cheap grace gospel which is a belief formed by sinful desires of the flesh, which tells Scripture what to say rather than hearing Scripture speak.
We must be so careful that we don’t read into Scripture what we want it to say, rather than hearing the word of God speak to our hearts what God wants us to hear from his word. We don’t go into the word of God to prove what we want to believe, but we study the Scriptures, in context, with a desire to learn from the Lord what they really say.
So, I am praying that the Lord Jesus would speak to me today through this passage the message that he has from his word and that I would not read into it anything that might be coming from my own desires and not from the Lord: “Lord Jesus, teach me what you want me to learn today from this passage of Scripture, and help me not to read into it what I want it to say.”
Blessed us with Spiritual Blessings
Ephesians 1:1-4 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.”
We who are in Christ Jesus, by God-given faith in him, are being blessed by God with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. So, what are those spiritual blessings? Certainly, they include our salvation from slavery to sin, and forgiveness of sins, and new lives in Christ Jesus created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness, empowered by God’s Spirit.
Included in these spiritual blessings is the faith to believe in Jesus Christ, and the ability to repent and to obey our Lord. For we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ and persuades us to believe in him. And our faith is a gift from God, and it is founded in Christ, and he is the one who is the perfecter of our faith, too.
And they include the strength and the power to obey the Lord and to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. And they include eternal life promised to all who obey the Lord and who turn from their sinful lifestyles to walk in fellowship with him in doing his will and in surrendering our lives to him. And they include the ability to endure severe trials.
Even being chosen by God before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him, is a spiritual blessing, and it is a gift from God. And Jesus’ sacrifice on that cross for our sins is a blessing. And being able to live holy and blameless lives to the glory of God is a blessing, for we can do none of this in and of our own flesh. None of it!
According to His Purpose
Ephesians 1:4-6 ESV
“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.”
We don’t choose God of our own selves. We don’t just decide to believe in Jesus for salvation from sin. Yes, we must choose, and yes, it is our choice to believe or to not believe, but we can’t muster up the faith to believe in Jesus from our own flesh. If he did not decide to save us, and if he did not persuade us to believe in him, we could not have faith for salvation.
Also, we can’t choose the criteria for our own salvation based off our own desires or how we think that salvation should look like. Our salvation from sin, and our adoption into the family of God, is all according to the purpose of his will. So, how do we know what that purpose is? We have to read the Scriptures, in context, and then we will know his purpose and his will.
His purpose for our lives and his will for us is that we be holy and blameless in his sight. It is that we die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. It is that we forsake our sinful practices and that we walk in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). And it is that we honor him as Lord and that we walk in his ways and in his truth, by his grace.
And all of this is to the praise of his glorious grace. Yes, Jesus saved us so we would be free from enslavement to sin, but he also saved us that we would become servants of his righteousness and that we would do his bidding. Yes, he redeemed us, but that means he purchased us back for God so that we would now honor God with our lives (and bodies).
For, Jesus Christ did not die for us just so we could be forgiven our sins and have eternal life with him in heaven. He died that we might die with him 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. Our salvation from sin is so we will now give glory to God with how we live our lives.
In Him we Have Redemption
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, when Jesus redeemed us with his blood, he bought us back for God so that we would be God’s possession, and so that we would now honor God with our lives. His purpose in this is that our flesh would be put to death so that “I” (the flesh) no longer lives but Christ lives in our lives, and he lives his life out through our lives as we yield control of our lives over to him.
And forgiveness of sins is not carte blanche to continue living in sin, only now without guilt or punishment. When Jesus forgives, he says, “Go and sin no more.” He delivers us from our addiction to sin so that we can become slaves of his righteousness. He doesn’t just forgive us and then just let us go live however we want. His forgiveness involves heart transformation.
For the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, instruct us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return. For, Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
So, please don’t read this passage and only hear the stuff that you think Jesus did for you, forgiving you your sins, adopting you into God’s family, and providing for you every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus. Hear the words “according to his will and purpose,” and “holy and blameless before him,” and “to the praise of his glorious grace,” not according to our own will.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2]
Lord, Move Me
An Original Work / October 16, 2011
Be my desire, my heart set on fire,
Lord, move me to worship You only, I pray.
Fill with Your Spirit, my heart overflow.
Lord, may I long for You; Your word to know.
Teach me to walk with You, Lord, in Your power,
And may I serve You, Lord, right now in this hour.
Lord, how I want to obey You forever.
Help me to hear You, Lord, so I will not stray.
Teach me to love You; adore You always.
Envelope me, Lord, with Your grace today.
Meet me in my need, and show me Your mercy.
Forgive me for all things, as I humbly pray.
Counsel me, lead me, direct me, and guide me,
So I follow You, Lord, where’er You lead now.
I love to hear You speak Your words to me.
I am so grateful that You set me free.
Wash me, and cleanse me, and make me like You, Lord,
And I will live with You for eternity.