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.”
Eyes of Hearts Enlightened
The first thing that comes to mind here is the calling that Jesus Christ gave Paul “to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:18).
And this goes right along with what Jesus quoted about himself from Isaiah 61: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And then Jesus said this, as recorded in John 3: “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
So, if the eyes of our hearts are enlightened, we will turn from darkness (sin, wickedness) to light (Jesus, truth, righteousness) and from the control of sin and Satan over our lives to making Jesus Christ Lord (Owner-Master) of our lives, and we will come underneath the control of our Lord and his righteousness. And, in this way, we receive forgiveness of sins and we are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (see Acts 26:18; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
But this is not a one-time experience. This is what we must be doing in practice every day, saying “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and living self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for Jesus’ return (Titus 2:11-14), and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin (1 Jn 1:5-9). And we must be walking by the Spirit so that we do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, and sin must not be what we practice (Gal 5:16-21).
For, if we continue to walk by the flesh, in deliberate and habitual sin, we will die in our sins, and we will not 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]
Know the Hope
Now, this is where it gets sticky because there are so many people teaching a half-truth (false) gospel message and they are giving the impression that the hope is merely having our sins forgiven, escaping hell, and the promise of heaven when we die. But we are not called to believe in Jesus just so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die.
Our hope to which we have been called, which is the “Good News,” is that because of what Jesus did on that cross in becoming sin for us so that when he died our sins died with him, we can be set free from our slavery (addiction, bondage) to sin, we can live victoriously over sin, and we can, in the power of God, walk in holiness and righteousness in obedience to our Lord and in surrender to his will for our lives.
And we can have this really super awesome relationship with Almighty God, for Jesus Christ is God the Son, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We can be in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ whereby he directs our paths, and he guides us in the way we should go, and he empowers us to say “No!” to sin and “Yes!” to God and to his righteousness. And we can be used of him in the lives of others to minister to them his love and grace, and that is just wonderful!
But there are caveats – warnings, cautions, admonitions, limitations, and stipulations and requirements. Yes, our salvation is a free gift, but that free gift is freedom from our slavery to sin and it is empowerment to live holy and godly lives. So we must walk in that freedom and we must walk in the power of God in living godly and holy and morally pure lives. If we do not, we will not inherit eternal life with God. We will die in our sins, instead.
The Greatness of His Power
The greatness of God’s power to us who believe is first of all that he is our maker, he knows us inside and out, he had a plan for our lives before he even laid the foundation of the world, and he is absolutely and positively fully sovereign and in control over all that he has made. Satan can do nothing without God’s permission, and if God allows it, he will carry us through it, just like he did for Job and for the prophets and Paul, etc.
He has already made the way of escape for us from temptation to sin. We just have to take the way he made for us. He is the one who delivers us from our slavery to sin, but we have to cooperate with him by doing what he says to do. As believers in Jesus we already have the power within us to overcome Satan and sin. We just have to tap into that power and then say “NO!” to sin and “YES!” to God moment by moment, one step at a time.
But then we have to walk in obedience to our Lord. Many people try to put off or to resist sin while they still play with sin and while they are not building their relationships with the Lord. We can all do behavioral modification to a point, but what is in our hearts is eventually going to lead us right back down the same sinful path if our lives are not committed to following Jesus and if we are not walking by his Spirit.
Unless You Are Born Again
An Original Work / November 3, 2013
Based off John 3:1-21
Nicodemus came to Jesus.
He acknowledged God was with Him.
Jesus said, “You can’t see heaven
Unless you are born again.”
“How can a man be born when he’s old?
Can he enter into his mother’s womb?”
Jesus answered, “Flesh is flesh,
So of the Spirit, you must be.”
Jesus said to Nicodemus,
“You’re a teacher, and yet you don’t
Understand of what I tell you,
Because you will not believe.
“For God so loved the world that He gave
His one and His only Son for your sin.
So, whoever believes in Him
Has eternal life in heav’n.
“Light has come into the world,
But human beings love the darkness,
Because their deeds are so evil,
So in truth, they stand condemned.
“Everyone who practices evil
Fears that the Light will expose his sin.
Yet, whoever lives his life by the Light
Does so through his God.”