Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 21 June 19:
Ephesians 2:14 – “For he himself is our peace….”
All of Ephesians 2 is worth rereading regularly as a continual reminder to you and to others of the complete sufficiency of Christ in your life that you might have and share confidence, peace, and joy in the grace which you have already received in Him. Too often we act as if we must earn what has been freely given in Christ. Too often we act as if others must earn it too. Too often we talk grace but walk in fear, guilt, regret, anger, bitterness, envy, and pride when the knowledge of Christ should have put an end to all those things. Even when we recognize those inappropriate feelings within ourselves and repent of them, we too quickly and feebly return to habits of self-reliance to eliminate them rather than relying on and resting in the sufficiency of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 2:4-7 — But 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, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
It was the love of God which saved you, not your love for Him. God IS love; without Him filling you with His love, you wouldn’t have had the ability to love Him or anyone else – “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) God has given you the Great Commandment of love because He has already given you the ability to fulfill it; but only by abiding in Him can you bear this fruit in your life (John 15). You were dead in your trespasses. Not only is a corpse incapable of bringing life to itself, it cannot even perceive its own death or desire the life it lacks. It was God and God alone in His great mercy, grace and love who gave you life and your desire for life in Him. This is a great mystery we can’t completely understand, nor do we fully comprehend the immeasurable riches we already have in Christ, but they will eventually be revealed.
Ephesians 2:8-10 — 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. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
It is the unmerited grace of God that saves us, not our own doing, so we can’t boast. But it is also the unmerited grace of God that sanctifies us, so we still can’t boast. We are Christ’s workmanship; contrary to the philosophies of this world, no one is a “self-made man.” As mentioned previously, while the Bible tells us to work out our salvation, to remain diligent, to struggle, and to persevere, we must rely on, trust in, and rest in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must also remember that the good works we do in Him and through Him were prepared in advance by Him, not by us. No one can boast.
Ephesians 2:14 — For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility….
In Christ there is unity among believers, which was Jesus’ prayer to the Father on our behalf recorded in John 17. Unity among believers is the evidence our true fellowship with Christ. Where there is disunity and dysfunction, there is always a grieving and quenching of the Holy Spirit – someone is out of step with the Spirit – don’t let that someone be you; endeavor to remain faithful to God and pour out to others the unmerited mercy, grace and love you have received.
Ephesians 2:22 – “In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
We have received it already, but we haven’t grown into it already. We are still under construction. As you grow in grace, failing along the way, trust in grace. Don’t try to muscle your way through your sanctification, learn to abide in Him and receive His power as the Vine provides life-giving nourishment to the branch. Learn more and more to appreciate, live out, and truly experience what you have already received in Christ –
– “Think of it like this: When one of my daughters was young, I bought her a Danish for the first time. With much excitement and anticipation, I paid for it and set it in front of her. But no matter how much I tried to convince her, she wouldn’t touch it. The Danish belonged to here in reality; it was hers! But it did not belong to her in experience until she took the first taste (and never turned back). God has invited us to participate in life with Him; it belongs to us through our faith in Christ. But only as our faith increases and we take up the promises in reality will it belong to us in experience.” (Pastor Colby Garmen, Pillar Church)
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 21 June 19: Rest in, rejoice in, and radiate the peace of Christ today.