Ephesians – Belief and Behavior
Ephesians is one of the most prolific writings by Paul to the church. I love reading and pondering over the words that provide wisdom and clarity while showing us what is healthy to a growing life as individuals seeking to do life together as the Body of Christ. God brings all things together. He is God and we are not. He guides. We obey. Every detail of our lives contributes to what Paul describes as God’s plan worked out by Christ, “a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.”
All of Paul’s letters begin with who we are in Christ then turns the light switch on to how to live out what we believe in our behavior. His letter to the Ephesians blatantly expresses the relationship of belief and behavior. We must live what we say we believe and must believe what God has said and clarified for us through Christ, His Son. We have no excuse. But we cannot do it alone. We must rely on the work of the Holy Spirit in us to help us.
May the reading and pondering of Ephesians bless you as it does me. May we be blessed with wisdom, insight and understanding. I pray we grow up a little more and love more and more like Christ. May our beliefs match our behaviors more accurately in the coming days as Christ transforms us from the inside out.
Ephesians 1, The Message
1-2 I, Paul, am under God’s plan as an apostle, a special agent of Christ Jesus, writing to you faithful believers in Ephesus. I greet you with the grace and peace poured into our lives by God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.
The God of Glory
3-6 How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
7-10 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
11-12 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
13-14 It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.
15-19 That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!
20-23 All this energy issues from Christ: God raised him from death and set him on a throne in deep heaven, in charge of running the universe, everything from galaxies to governments, no name and no power exempt from his rule. And not just for the time being, but forever. He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.
What do we learn?
–We are His and He is ours.
–His Presence is with us. He will never leave us.
–We are called to live a glorious life with Him.
–His plan from the beginning was to save us.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for creating us to worship You. Thank you for “THE PLAN” put in place before we were created in Your image. Thank you for clarifying who we are in You. Continue to transform me. Transform Your church. Transform the world.
In Jesus Name, Amen