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.”
These words are addressed to the saints, and the saints are God’s holy ones, those who are set apart for God to do his will and who are now separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are now being made into the likeness of Jesus Christ. We are his called out ones who are no longer to live like we did before we believed in Jesus and who are no longer to be conformed to the ways of this sinful world. But we are now to be conformed to the ways of God, living holy lives pleasing to him.
And the faithful in Christ Jesus are those who are trustworthy and who are believing (present active) in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, the faith that comes from God, and is gifted to us by God, and is authored and perfected by Jesus Christ, and thus conforms to the divine character and will of God. And this faith means to be persuaded by God as to his righteousness and holiness, and of our sinfulness, and of our need to repent of (turn away from) our sins and to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his ways.
[Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Acts 5:32; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Matt 7:21-23]
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 the “us” in this passage of Scripture refers back to those who are of genuine God-given faith in Jesus Christ who are God’s holy people living different from the world because we are now being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. This is not a claim to absolute sinless perfection, but our Lord’s true followers are those who have left their lives of sin behind them and who are now walking in obedience to the Lord and to his commands (New Covenant), by God’s grace, in his strength.
And every spiritual blessing includes our salvation from our slavery to sin, forgiveness of sins, freedom from both the punishment of sin and bondage (addiction) to sin, and empowerment to live godly and holy lives on this earth while we wait for our Lord’s return. And it includes the hope of eternal life with God to those of genuine God-given faith – a faith which continues until the very end, steadfast and secure. And it includes the gift of the Holy Spirit living within us counseling, teaching, and guiding us in the ways of the Lord and encouraging and comforting us in our times of need.
And we were chosen of God even before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and blameless before the Lord – something which comes from God by his grace to us but is also to be lived out in our daily lives, by his grace and in his strength and power. For we are to be holy in all our conduct, and we are to no longer make sin our practice, but righteousness and holiness and obedience to our Lord are now to be our practice. And we can only live like this in the power of God and not in our own strength.
In love God predestined us for adoption to himself as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will. And he makes his will known to us all throughout the New Testament and in the Old Testament, too. And it is God’s will that we should die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. And it is God’s will that we should forsake our lives of living in sin and for self so that we might now walk in holiness and in righteousness in obedience to our Lord and to his commands.
[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
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.”
When Jesus Christ died on that cross he shed his blood for us to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we might now honor God with our lives. For Jesus died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. And he died that we might now live for him and no longer for ourselves. And he gave his life up for us so that we will die daily with him to sin and to self and so that we will follow him daily in obedience to his commands.
[1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Luke 9:23-26]
And his grace, which is bringing us salvation from sin, instructs (trains) us to renounce (say ‘No’ to) ungodliness and fleshly lusts (worldly passions) and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s 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” (Titus 2:11-14; cf. Ephesians 2:10).
So, God’s grace to us is not freedom to keep on in deliberate and habitual sin thinking we now have our ticket into heaven which cannot be taken away from us. For if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin and not in walks of holiness and righteousness, in obedience to our Lord, then the Scriptures teach that we don’t know God, he doesn’t know us, we do not have salvation from sin, and we will not inherit eternal life with God. And they also teach we must continue in obedience to our Lord until the very end.
[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:23-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
The Birthday of a King
Author: William Harold Neidlinger
In the little village of Bethlehem,
There lay a Child one day,
And the sky was bright with a holy light
O’er the place where Jesus lay.
‘Twas a humble birth-place, but O how much
God gave to us that day,
From the manger bed what a path has led,
What a perfect, holy way.
Alleluia! O how the angels sang.
Alleluia! How it rang!
And the sky was bright with a holy light,
‘Twas the birthday of a King.
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