"Familiarity breeds contempt." So says some wise sage from the past. This danger could rob you of the depth of these next three verses of Ephesians, Chapter 2. Beginning at Verse 8, think thoroughly on truths that could be missed, simply because we are so familiar with these verses. In Verse 8, we are told that we are saved "…by Grace.." and we are further told that the channel for that Grace is "..through faith;..". Grace is many faceted! Here, it is God's favor, that we don't deserve, granted to us just because He loves us. Faith is not some feeling! Faith is a decision to take God at His Word! Salvation is a gift! Salvation is in no way, something that happens by something that we do. We do not contribute to it in any form. Our only responsibility is to receive the gift. Then Verse 9 emphasizes and elaborates on this. It is "..not of works (i.e; of righteousness),…". Why? "lest any man should boast.". If we did one thing to merit salvation, we would, in one way or another, boast (even if we only boasted, maybe only a little, to ourselves). Verse 10 conveys more vital truth. "…we are His workmanship,..". He does the work!! What is He working on, creatively, in us who are His? We are "created in Christ Jesus.." We are, you will remember, in Him and He is in us! Because He is in us, His nature being present in us and the expressing of that nature being, more and more, accomplished, we will discover that we are created, in Him, "unto good works…" In fact, "God hath before ordained (i.e; ruled, determined) that we should walk in them." Good works are the inevitable products of His nature. Selah! Please go back over and think deeply on this article. Ron
Yesterday,we left off with "But God". Today, let's return to Ephesians 2, Verse 4, for a closer look. This God is rich in mercy! How rich? Infinitely! Limitless! Where would we be, if it were not for God's mercy? The verse goes on to speak of "His great love with which He loved us,..". Verses 5-6 show some of what His love accomplishes. "…when we were dead in sins,…" (we were spiritual corpses, completely separated from God's Life!) "hath quickened us (i.e; made us alive; reconnected us to His Life) together with Christ…". We became sharers in Jesus' Resurrection Life! We had His Life imparted to us! Wonder of wonders! Then, Paul goes on to remind us that "(by grace ye are saved)". The wonder continues! In Verse 6, we read "..and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in Heavenly places (i.e; in the realm of Heaven) in Christ Jesus..". Because we are in Him, we are already seated with Him, where He sits. This is our exalted position and our guarantee that what we now enjoy, positionally, we will one day experience in actuality! Verse 7 tells us why He has done all of this. "That in the ages to come (i.e; eternity) He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." Selah! Can we ever comprehend the fullness of His love and Grace? No! Because it will be more and more displayed, on and on, forever! Ron
Chapter 2 of Ephesians brings home to us the wonders of "Saving Grace". The sweep of this chapter is astonishing! As we look at Verse 1, we are informed that, spiritually, we "were dead in trespasses and sins;…". Moving to verse 2, Paul, under inspiration, directs our thoughts back to the time when we were lost and reminds us that we "in times past…walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, (i.e; Satan), the spirit that now (i.e; still) worketh in the children of disobedience…". Paul adds, in Verse 3, that it was among the children of disobedience that we "also…all had our conversation (i.e; lifestyle), in times past in the lusts (i.e; strong desires) of our flesh, fulfilling (i.e; giving in to) the desires of the flesh (i.e; our sinful human nature, inherited from Adam), and of the mind (i.e; the unregenerated mind, the one we were born with), and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." In plain English, we were headed for hell! "But God". These opening words of Verse 4 open up insights into the wonders of redemption and the miracle of the New Birth. What if nothing happened to change the whole course of our life? Selah! Have you ever considered what it would be like, if God hadn't intervened? Ron
Let's continue eavesdropping on Paul's prayer for the Ephesians and all saints (including us). Listen at Ephesians 1:19-20. Paul is talking with God and requesting that Believers would recognize the exceeding greatness of his Power toward all who truly believe. This is the same Power that raised Christ from the dead, and seated "Him (Jesus) at His own right hand in the heavenly places,…". Verses 21-23 elaborate on this, still more. The Savior is exalted by His Father. This is the thrust of these verses. He is "far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world ( i.e; age) but also in that which is to come;" As we continue to listen, we overhear that God "hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church,.." This church, this Glorious church, "is His Body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all." We who are born again comprise the church! He fills us! He is in us and we are in Him and our "life is hidden with Christ in God." (Colossians 3:3) How could it get any better than that? Selah! Think through, with me, once again, those insightful words of Major Ian Thomas: "God wants to be what He is, everything, in what we are, nothing, and that will really be something!" Ron
A prayer, remarkable in its' scope and simplicity, erupts from the heart of a once stern Pharisee by the name of Saul, now, aka Paul. Only Grace could effect a change so profound as that of Paul's. A man bent on punishing and, if necessary, exterminating Christians, now became Christianity's most ardent defender and propagater. Only Grace could prompt a prayer like this! In Ephesians 1:15-23, we overhear a prayer that reaches the Throne and serves as a model for all who long for the Lord's people to be mature disciples. In Verses 16-17, news of the Ephesian saints' faith in The Lord Jesus and their love for Christian brothers and sisters reached the ears of the Apostle. He responded with a declaration of his gratitude for them and assured them that he never stopped praying for them. Starting at Verse 17, he lets them eavesdrop as he petitions God in their (and our) behalf. He wants "the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory," to give them "the Spirit of wisdom". This wisdom is to understand and respond to, in an appropriate way, the knowledge of Him, as it is being revealed. In Verse 18, he continues. He asks that the believers' eyes be opened and their understanding enlightened. He, further, wants them to know the hope that they have because of His calling. Still more, he prays that they will grasp how great the riches of the Glory of His inheritance is, for the saints. Now, there is also a hint that He has an inheritance in us. Isn't that an intriguing thought? Space is running out, so please be sure to tune in tomorrow. Selah! Think and rejoice that God is still in the business of answering that approximately 2000 year old prayer, in your life and mine, today, if we belong to Him. Ron
Moving to Verse 11, in Ephesians, Chapter 1, a wonderful truth is brought to our attention. Speaking of Christ (in Verse 10), we are advised that, in Him, we (who are genuine believers) "have obtained an inheritance" (See Romans 8:17). God, "who worketh all things after the counsel ( i.e; His own, infinitely wise, counsel) of His own will,…", has "predestinated" us according to His purpose (i.e; in harmony with His purpose). His "predestinated" ones are His heirs! In Verse 12, His reason is given for why He has purposed this. It is, "That we should be to the praise of His Glory, (we) who first trusted in Christ;.." When our lives are transformed, by His Grace, and there is a new motivation and a new lifestyle, this demonstrates what God's Grace can do for a human being and many times will bring glory to the one true God who can, so wonderfully, turn a selfish sinner into a saint. Verse 13 explains that when we have trusted Christ for salvation, having "heard the word of truth, (The Word of God) the gospel of (our) salvation;…" that now, being in Christ, we find that, after we believed, we were sealed, "with that Holy Spirit of promise,…" Verse 14 elaborates. He, The Holy Spirit, is the guarantee of our inheritance until He (God) redeems His purchased possessions. I take that to mean that, having paid for us, and having redeemed us, positionally, He awaits our arrival in His Presence, at which time, He will have redeemed us in actuality. All this is "unto the praise of His Glory." Selah! Whom, but God, do you think, could ever plan such wonders of Grace? Obviously, no one! That's what I thought, too! Ron
What a Plan!
Beginning in Ephesians 1:7, let's look at some of God's plans. In Verse 7, speaking of our Lord Jesus, it says, "in whom we have redemption through His blood,...". We (who are really His) have been bought (i.e; redeemed) at the cost of His shedding of His own innocent Blood. What an unfathomable price to pay to purchase us! How measureless the love that would prompt such a sacrifice! This sacrifice opened the floodgates of His Grace! This Grace provided for us "the forgiveness of sins". In what proportion? "according to the riches of His Grace." What inexhaustible wealth, that Grace! Grace that makes us totally forgiven! In verse 8, we are reminded that His riches of Grace "…hath abounded toward us…". What an understatement! Paul states that it was done (and continues to be done) "in all (of God's) wisdom and prudence,…" Whom, but God, could have come up with such a complex, comprehensive, Gracious plan that, in His Grace, meets our every need? This is a plan, that makes it possible for even a child, in simple trust, to be eternally saved by God's Grace! In Verse 9, we learn more. It was God's pleasure "to make known unto us the mystery of His will,..". He purposed, in Himself, to reveal this mystery to us. Verse 10 lets us in on His will(which up until that time was not known). It is this, there is a time coming called "…the dispensation of the fullness of times…" It is, at that time, that His now revealed purpose is, to "gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in Heaven, and which are on earth, even in Him;…" What a day that will be! What a Glorious climax but also, a commencement! Selah! Have you thought about that day and His reign of righteousness? Think ahead! Ron