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.”
As we read through this passage of Scripture today I want us to pay close attention to the words and phrases used here, for these words are chosen for a reason. First of all, I want us to see who this is being addressed to. This is being addressed to the saints who are faithful in Christ Jesus.
Now, the saints are not people chosen by a particular religious organization for sainthood after they are dead. They are God’s holy people who have been called out of the world to be followers of Jesus Christ, to do the will of God. They are (unlike) different from the world because they are being conformed the likeness of Jesus Christ.
They are also faithful in Christ Jesus. And faithful means full of faith, reliable, trustworthy, loyal to the faith which God supplies. For this faith comes from God, and Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith, and we can’t even come to faith in Jesus unless God the Father draws us to Christ, i.e. unless he persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness and of our sinfulness and of our need to be delivered out of our slavery to sin so that we can now walk in obedience to his commands.
And since this faith comes from God and is authored by Jesus, and is perfected by Jesus, then this faith will submit to God’s will and purpose for our lives. Thus, by faith, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Thus we, by God’s grace, forsake our lives of sin to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his commands.
[Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Co 3:17; 1 Co 6:19-20; Eph 1:4; Eph 2:21; Eph 5:27; Col 1:22; Col 3:12; 2 Tim 1:9; 2 Tim 2:21; 1 Pet 1:13-16; 1 Pet 2:5-9; Tit 2:14; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-32]
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.”
Now, many people today teach this passage of Scripture without the context of the first verse which tells us who the “us” is referring to, and they end up applying this broadly to anyone making a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. But since so many professions of faith today are not true conversions to Jesus Christ and to his plan of salvation for our lives, we can’t just apply this to anyone who says he believes in Jesus. Even the demons believe, and they shudder, but not one of them is saved and bound for heaven.
This blessing is being given to the saints who are the faithful in Christ Jesus, to those who have died with Christ to sin and who are living to God and to his righteousness, who are living separate from the world and unto God, and who are dying daily to sin and walking in obedience to Jesus Christ. They are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, for God chose them before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him, but not just as a status, but in practice, in lifestyle, by the grace of God.
And we are adopted as his children, not according to our will, but according to his purpose and will and to the praise of his glorious grace. And his will for us is that we die with him to sin and that we walk in obedience to his commands. Now there are a lot of people praising what they believe is God’s grace for they feel that God no longer looks at their sin or if they do sin their sins are automatically forgiven, or if they admit that they sinned they believe they are forgiven.
But God’s grace frees us from slavery to sin and it empowers us to live righteously in obedience to our Lord. And it instructs 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 return. The free gift is not freedom to keep on sinning only now without guilt. The free gift is freedom from addiction to sin so that we can walk in holiness and righteousness.
[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 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23]
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, apply this to verse one. We are those who are set apart from the world to God and to his service. We are called out of the world to be separate (unlike, different) from the world, to be followers of Jesus Christ, and to do the will of God. Those of us who are faithful to God submit to his will and purposes for our lives, we forsake our lives of living in sin and for self, and now we deny self, die daily to sin, and by the grace of God, and in his strength and power, we walk in obedience to our Lord.
We are the redeemed, those whom Jesus bought back for God with his blood that we might now honor God with our bodies. We have forgiveness of sins. Jesus will not count our past sins against us, and we have now been given a new lease on life in which we are to live free from the control of sin and in which we are to live in holiness and righteousness in obedience to our Lord. And if we want to have this continued cleansing of our sins we must now walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.
And his grace which he lavishes on us is not freedom to now sin without guilt. The grace he gives us empowers us to now walk in holiness and righteousness, no longer in slavery to sin, but now as slaves of God and of his righteousness. And if we want that grace to continue we must not make sin our practice, but righteousness is to be our practice, and obedience is to be our practice, and the forsaking of sins is to be our practice.
And please know this. God can indeed still see when we sin and he will remind us of our sins if we have not truly repented and if we are living in habitual sin and if we have not truly turned from our sin to follow him in his ways. He chided his people in the Old Testament and even reminded them of their ancestors sins and how their sins were even more grievous than those of their ancestors.
And then read the writings of the apostles to the churches. At least half of what they write about is how we need to get sin out of our lives and how we must walk in holiness and righteousness or else we will not inherit eternal life with God. The New Testament is filled with warnings against continued and habitual sin, so God obviously can see the sins of Christians and those who give lip service to him only but who are still living in bondage to sin, for all these matters are addressed in the New Testament Scriptures.
So, if you are living in habitual sin and someone points that out to you, and if this person calls you to repentance and to a genuine walk of faith in Jesus Christ, he is not being judgmental or self-righteous. He cares enough about you to tell you the truth. And even if he has forgiven your past sins but you keep repeating the same sins over and over, proving you have not truly turned from your sins, then he is not being unforgiving, either, if he points out to you that your sins are habitual and need to be cast out.
So, believe what God says about your sin. If sin is what you practice, you will not inherit eternal life with God. But if righteousness is what you practice, and if obedience is what you practice, by God’s Spirit, then you do have eternal life with God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:28-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:3-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23]
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.