Archive for the ‘Ephesians’ Category

Ephesians 2

Ephesians 2 is contains some of the greatest words on salvation in all of scripture.  Paul paints a picture of our life – “you were dead in the trespasses and sins….in which you once walked….following the course of this world…..following the prince of the power of the air.”  Sin equals death.  Scripture tells us that clearly in Romans and Paul repeats it here.  Sin separates us from God for eternity.  And we are all guilty of walking in sin – it is our nature and where we are lead by the enemies of God – primarily Satan himself.  What it means really is that we are focused on “carrying out the desires of the body and the mind” – it is all about me, myself and I – and the focus is on doing what I want, when I want, how I want, if I want.  It is all about me.  That is sin and the lie that we are told by the world and the enemy.  Life is not in fact about you.  It is about God. 

What Paul tells us next blows my mind.  “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”.  Did you catch this?  God loved us even when we were sinners – rebelling against Him and His plans for us to live a godly and holy life – yet even then He loved us.  We are dead without Christ.  God doesn’t have to do anything – He doesn’t owe us salvation – but love drove Him to send Jesus to the cross to allow us to be saved by grace and to raise us up to be seated with Him in the heavenly places.  So a righteous God, because of love, has made a way for us who are dead to be set free from our sin and to spend eternity seated with Him in heaven.  That is better than any Walt Disney movie ending ever thought of being.  God loves us enough to make a way for us. 

Paul tells us the importance of grace when he writes “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast”.  Salvation is not about you or me.  It is totally a God thing provided freely to us through the death of Christ on the cross.  Nothing more, nothing less, than Jesus and Him alone.  Grace is being given something we totally don’t deserve.  Jesus went to the cross while we were yet sinners – we didn’t deserve that gift – but God’s love drove Him to make a way for us even when we didn’t deserve it.  That is the gift of grace.  And our salvation is not anything we do on our own.  It is a gift – totally given by God – not a result of anything we can do – so that we have nothing to boast of – only an opportunity to speak gratitude to a God who loves us so much.

But salvation is not the end of the story for us.  The goal is not just to get saved and then coast on into heaven.  Paul tells us “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them“.  God has a plan for us once we are saved – to be involved in walking with Him and living out life as a Christ Follower.  There are good works on our plate – things God wants us to accomplish for His Kingdom.  We need to be seeking His throne to identify how we are to walk and live and to share with those “having no hope and without God in the world”.  We have the keys to the Kingdom – the answer to the life and death problem of sin – and we need to share it with those who need to find God’s grace.  But more than that, Paul reminds us that “you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit”.  We are part of God’s Kingdom – and are fellow citizens of His household for eternity once we receive the gift of salvation through Christ.  And as such, we become a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit who comes into our life upon salvation and lives in us to help direct and guide our walk as a Christ Follower.  What a blessing.  What a promise.  What a God we serve!

Ephesians 1

Ephesians 1 begins the letter from Paul to the church at Ephesus.  Paul reminds them that we have been chosen “that we should be holy and blameless before him”.  God has a standard for us to meet – holy and blameless – which is a problem for most all of us.  We tend to miss that mark a bit which is called sin and why we need a Savior.

Paul goes on to make the point through the balance of most of the rest of the chapter just who that Savior is – Jesus Christ.  Check out this list of what we have in and through Him:

–       “we have redemption through his blood

–       the forgiveness of our trespasses

–       the riches of his grace

–       all wisdom and insight

–       making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose

–       a plan for the fullness of time

–       to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth

–       we have obtained an inheritance

–       having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will

–       were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit

–       the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it

–       the praise of his glory”

Paul goes on to tell us the impact of Jesus on you and me when we become His.  We have an unbelievable set of gifts from Jesus:

–       “spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him

–       having the eyes of your hearts enlightened

–       know what is the hope to which he has called you

–       know what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints

–       know what is the immeasurable greatness of his power”

We receive so much through our relationship with Jesus.  His impact will cause us to be changed and to see so much more.

Paul ends the chapter by again telling us about the place Christ has in God’s Kingdom.  He is not just part of God’s plan – He is God’s plan.  Check out what Paul tells us is the place of Jesus:

–       “He raised him from the dead

–       seated Him at his right hand in the heavenly places

–       above all rule and authority

–       above all power and dominion

–       above every name that is named

–       He put all things under his feet

–       gave Him as head over all things”

We serve the living Savior.  He is above all, over all, in all, and the center of all.  Jesus is King and serves alongside the Creator of the universe.  We need to keep Him in His rightful place – as Lord of our lives.  He alone is above all else – the head of all things.  That means the head of your life and mine as well.  Are you living that way – with Jesus as Lord – as head of your life?  Don’t miss the boat on this one.  He is King!

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