Category Archives: Ephesians

Tree of Life

Ephesians 4:3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. 4 For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.  5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all. [NLT]

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[Jesus] called you by His freedom of relationship act to show the world the reality of your “gratitude to God for your salvation with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love.

Humility is the
carryover word from Ephesians 4:2 and
my last post that led me to this quote.  “Christians
did not invent humility as a virtue ― it is there
in the Hebrew scriptures already ― but Christian
scripture and subsequent Christian thought put humility at
the centre of the moral life in an unprecedented
way.  Jesus apparently thought of humility as the best
measure of a person’s kingdom-readiness.” 
Virtue that can 
unite us ”in the Spirit” and bind
”together with peace” only comes through
One body
One Spirit
One glorious hope
One Lord
One faith
One Baptism
One God and Father
– OF ALL – OVER ALL – IN ALL – LIVING THROUGH ALL –

Freedom of Relationship Act

Ephesians 4:1 So I, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to you to live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called [that is, to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior—a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation], 2 with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love [not so much a matter of emotion as it is of doing things for the benefit of another person,] love. [AMP]

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What is your calling?  It’s an important question we need to answer.  I think we’ve gotten caught up in the representation of our faith, our calling, being the right activity or service.  The good things we do in the name of Jesus aren’t our calling, they’re the result of it.  The right answer to “what is your calling” is simply the right relationship with the right person.  Jesus is that right person.  The intimacy of your relationship with Him is what makes it possible “to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior—a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation”…and you can thank God for that!  

Jesus has been the learning curve of my life for 47 years now so I’ve had time to consider this idea.   Jesus Himself is “the calling to which you have been called.”  There is nothing of Himself He has withheld from you, and nothing,  N-O-T-H-I-N-G Jesus doesn’t know about you.  Still, you are the one He’s called.  He’s called you by His freedom of relationship act to show the world the reality of your “gratitude to God for your salvation with all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love”…and you can thank God for that too!  ❤️

Welcome Home

FIRST THE NIV
Ephesians 2:19  Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
AND THEN THE MSG
Ephesians 2:19-22 That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.

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I can’t do any better than letting the Word confirm the Word.  God left the “light” on for you.  Welcome home!

Sin and Should

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Do Life!

Ephesians 2:3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

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These are my thoughts: 
God obviously has plans for our life and our future. I don’t think God organizes identity parades down the golden streets of heaven to show off his successes so that prompted these questions to think about.  When are “the coming ages?” Where are those “heavenly realms” and what was actually “prepared in advance for us to do?” 

Our very existence was “prepared in advance” that we could be “alive with Christ.” Maybe learning to do life honoring that truth is the sum of what God calls “good works” not just our little segments of activity.   The “coming ages” could be the years we’re given to practice life in Christ here on earth before God chooses to complete them and Heaven becomes our new reality.  “The heavenly realms” might be something as simple as earth being the practice ground where we begin to recognize there are intersections of daily life that lead us to His Kingdom.

Life is the palette God chose in advance to prepare us to be His handiwork.  He created life for us out of a nature that was deserving of wrath.  We’ve been saved through faith, raised up and seated in Christ Jesus in order that “HE might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

Second Chance: Ephesians 2

√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken

Ephesians 2:4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. [NLT]

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Ephesians 2 reminded me of The Four Spiritual Laws written by the founder of Campus Crusade, William [Bill] Bright.  They are God-inspired simple truths that mesh with Paul’s truth about how renewal begins.

§ Ephesians 2:4 “But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much…”

1. God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life (John 3:16; 10:10).

Renewal begins with realizing the laser focus of God’s love is…you!  That’s the basis of the plan He has for your life.  

§ Ephesians 2:5 …”that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)”

2. Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life (Rom. 3:23; 6:23).

Sin is like a dark tunnel but God’s grace opens our eyes to the light at the end of our separation from Him with the promise of new life and renewal.

§ Ephesians 2:6 “For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.”

3. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life (Rom. 5:8; 1 Cor. 15:3 – 6; John 14:6).

The reality of your renewal and honoring God is your relationship to Jesus…period!   New Life is your blessing but there’s an even greater purpose –

4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives (John 1:12; 3:1 – 8; Eph. 2:8 – 9; Rev. 3:20). 

§ Ephesians 2:7 “So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.”

The Firsts: Ephesians 1 – Destiny

“Predestined” is an attention getting word. The dictionary definition of predestined is “an outcome or course of events determined in advance by divine will or fate.”  I’ve heard the “elevator” explanation of predestination: when you step into an elevator you trust it’s going to take you where you want to go.  The “airplane” explanation is similar; you get on the plane trusting the pilot will get you safely to the planned destination. Those explanations make some sense to me. They’re based on faith not fate. Nobody gets on an elevator or in a plane saying “whatever will be, will be.” 

What doesn’t make sense to me is that the God who sacrificed his own Son to remove sin’s power to destroy us would then turn around and pick and choose those who would be saved.  The phrase “turn around” became my catalyst to turn these eight verses around and read them in reverse changing only the punctuation at the end of verse 14 because that’s a question I could answer.

V14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory[?]
V13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 
V12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 
V11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 
V10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. 
V9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 
V8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding,  
V7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace,

I turned around those verses and as I read I found myself caring less about my understanding of how “predestined” relates to personal choice and more about the question I could answer.  “Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory[?]  Predestination is still an elusive concept but I do know the answer to V14 is where destiny begins.  The big turn around ends at the right destination too; “in him [Jesus] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.