Focus of this post will be on the necessity of living out a practical, yet principled believers walk. The reading text for this blog is Ephesians 4-6. I got behind on posting this week, we have been in Vacation Bible School.
Looking at Ephesians letter we have Paul reminding the readers that they use to have a FORMER life. They once were a people who were outside the “commonwealth of Israel.” [Eph. 2:12] Four times Apostle Paul brings up their past. But his focus isn’t to continually throw their past sinful life in front of them. But to remind them of the great strides that God has brought them. One of the greatest conflicts in the new Church was the admittance of people who weren’t Jews. Often Paul was physically persecuted because His ministry to the Gentiles. Initially, Christianity was view as an off-shoot of Judaism, meant for no one else. Peter had difficulty including the Gentiles in the faith, that is until Acts 10. even then He would lapse back into a Jews only faith. [Gal. 2]
For Paul to remind the Gentiles that they were “children of disobedience and darkness, was to reveal to them how God had worked a great blessing on their behalf to be included in salvation’s plan of Jesus Christ by faith. They were formerly in darkness; they were formerly afar off; they were formerly children of wrath; formerly walking according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air; and formerly in the flesh called the uncircumcised. This was/is our lot today. Unless we are of Jewish descent, we are all Gentiles. We have the benefit of saving grace because of the rejection of the Jews to Jesus and His redemption plan. Currently, Christianity is by and large a Gentile faith today. A great shift has occurred with respect to the “Promised People of Israel.” Their rejection , brought into the fold of God. As Abraham was considered righteous before the circumcision and the Law, even we are children of faith, being the sons of Abraham.
While we have a great position and status before God now, we cannot boast. It was infinite plan that “all nations” would be blessed through Abraham, the Father of our faith. Since we are no longer children of darkness, wrath and separated from God; how then shall we conduct ourselves in this new-found son-ship?
Seven times in the Ephesians 3-5 we find the word “Therefore,” as with any time we see this word, it should make us reflect backwards to what was said, for it gives us the understanding of why we should embrace the admonition that follows. Paul isn’t satisfied that the Gentiles are now included in the Faith, but expects them to now conduct themselves according to Children of the Light rather than their old lifestyle of darkness.
So many times I hear people say that the Christian life is boiled down to nothing but “do’s and don’ts.” there is some truth to that if you are trying to be righteous through works. If however, you have experienced salvation through Jesus, then it is expected that we would be “like Jesus” instead of the old liar Lucifer. The inward change that has occurred because we are “a new creation” should be evident to others visually. If there isn’t a visible change in one’s life, it is reasonable to say that nothing happened. Now on to the “Therefore”
1. Therefore do not lose heart in seeing tribulations in other believers
2. Therefore walk in a manner worthy of the calling we have. Conduct ourselves as people of God, not according to our old way of life.
3. Therefore as Christ has risen and given gifts to men; each of us has been given grace for the equipping of the saints. The list of leadership posts that Paul describes is for the Church to be healthy and mature.
4. Therefore since we are to no longer “walk according to this world” we need to “walk according to the Spirit of God that works within us.”
5. Therefore put some things out of our life. foul speech, anger, lies and falsehood. Put away bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, slander and malice. These things are generated in our hearts as we are ridiculed by the world. Don’t let the world cause you to lose your witness!
6. Therefore imitate God, rather than Satan. Walk in love. Put away immorality, impurity, greed, silly talk that hurts others [I was only kidding]
7. Therefore do not be partakers with others in darkness, but walk as children of Light that we are.
8. Therefore walk carefully as wise not unwise. Redeem your time, make it worth while for each day must count. [Not necessarily Carpe Diem] .
Practical living, principled living logically makes sense. God who redeemed us, the Spirit at work within us, and Jesus making intercession for us; demands a New Way of Living. Our lives should not be lived as if we are in prison “having to behave” but wanting to be pleasing to God, and bring Him Great Glory as His Children. The practice of the principles should be a “want to” not a “have to” attitude.