Note: Here is a short video overview of Ephesians: https://youtu.be/Y71r-T98E2Q
Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 17 June 21:
Ephesians 1:8-9 – …[His grace] which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ.
“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch; like me! I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.” (John Newton, 1779)
Are you amazed by grace this morning? Does overwhelming awe, wonder, and gratitude compel your thoughts words, deeds, and how you treat others? Does the reality of God’s grace in your life convict you to lovingly share the truth of God’s grace, The Good News, with as many others as possible? And are you joyfully growing in grace, in your knowledge of Him, your love for Him, your trust in Him and your obedience to Him? Today’s readings from Ephesians 1 point out that, though God has already “blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places”, “we should be holy and blameless before him…. according to the purpose of his will (Ephesians 1:3-5),” God is now “making known to us the mystery of His will according to His purpose.” We are God’s children who are now growing up to maturity in His family. God has called us to a childlike faith, not a childish faith. We should diligently strive to “be conformed to the image of His Son.” (Romans 8:29)
By God’s grace, we have been freed from the penalty and bondage of sin in our lives, are being freed from the power of sin in our lives, and will one day be freed from the presence of sin in our lives when Christ returns and makes all things new. We have already been made righteous in Christ, and now we are called to grow up in that righteousness, to realize practically the gift we have already received in Him – “We exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2:12)
- 1 Peter 2:2 — Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation—
- 2 Peter 1:3-11 — His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
- 2 Peter 3:18 — But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
- Colossians 1:10 — So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
- Philippians 1:6 — And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Much like the excitement a newlywed feels, you might have been overwhelmed with joy and anticipation on your ‘wedding day,’ your salvation experience, but now, you must cultivate that first love, grow in fellowship, and become increasingly “one” as you walk with Him as the bride of Christ. As the perfect “spouse”, Jesus lavishes upon us perfect love, and His goal for us is our unity with Him; we need only learn how to receive His love and increasingly reciprocate.
- Isaiah 54:5 — For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.
- 2 Corinthians 11:2 — For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.
- Jeremiah 31:3 — I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you….
- John 17:21-23 — The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
- John 14:25-27 — These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
As with a marriage, if we don’t cultivate love, practicing the attitudes and practices of love, growing in our knowledge of our Loved One, and growing in our wisdom towards the relationship, we can begin to lose that loving feeling and get out of step with our Bridegroom.
- Revelation 2:4, 5 — But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
We must grow in the grace and love God has already lavished upon us through continual prayer, study of His Word, fellowship, and the other means of grace (Colossians 1:9–11; 2 Timothy 2:15; Philemon 4–7). As with any gift, though you have received it, you must use it in order to fully appreciate it.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 17 June 21: Be amazed by grace today, and appreciate the gifts of grace and love you have received in Jesus by walking in them, enjoying them, and practicing them.