What we know about God and what we do for God have a way of getting broken apart in our lives. The moment the organic unity of belief and behavior is damaged in any way, we are incapable of living out the full humanity for which we were created.” Eugene Peterson, Introduction to Ephesians, The Message
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians joins together what has been torn apart in our sin-wrecked world. He begins with an exuberant exploration of what Christians believe about God, and then, like a surgeon skillfully setting a compound fracture, “sets” this belief in God into our behavior before God so that the bones—belief and behavior—knit together and heal.
Once our attention is called to it, we notice these fractures all over the place. There is hardly a bone in our bodies that has escaped injury, hardly a relationship in city or job, school or church, family or country, that isn’t out of joint or limping in pain. There is much work to be done.
And so, Paul goes to work. He ranges widely, from heaven to earth and back again, showing how Jesus, the Messiah, is eternally and tirelessly bringing everything and everyone together. He also shows us that in addition to having this work done in and for us, we are participants in this most urgent work. Now that we know what is going on, that the energy of reconciliation is the dynamo at the heart of the universe, it is imperative that we join in vigorously and perseveringly, convinced that every detail in our lives contribute (or not) 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.’
As I sit here and write to you this morning, I have a “leg up” on understanding about what is broken must be fixed so our walk is set right. Because walking was hurting my back, I voluntarily had surgery on my right foot because of its growth deformity. I will have to have surgery on the left foot with the same problem as soon as healing is complete on the right foot. The surgeon had to break a bone, shave off what shouldn’t be there, and then reset it with screws and a plate to hold it in its correct place. When all this is done, my walk will be significantly improved which affects every other part of my body. My spine will thank me for “setting things right”.
Friends, think about it. We are a people of brokenness who gather each week in need of a Savior. We are in need of His Holy Spirit to set our brokenness right with God using the skillful surgical hands of Jesus who knew exactly what was needed and still knows! This is called reconciliation. When we allow Jesus’ reconciliation, this setting things right with God, to happen in our lives, our walk (and our talk) will be different. Our walk will match our belief. Our walk will be beautiful, strong, uninhibited, healthy, with power to run!
Broken bones set right in healthy ways is what God wants for all of us. He loves seeing our healed hearts full of joy, our renewed minds filled with exuberance for life, our hands and feet serving with excitement, our souls exploring the depths of His love with amazement, living free from sin’s hold on us.
In fact, God searches for those who finally behave in obedience because of their complete faith in Him. (2 Chronicles 16:9) He loves to see our hearts fully devoted to Him. He loves to see us live in gratitude to His Son who made it all possible. Jesus, Master Surgeon, Savior and Lord, set all things right between God and us who believe and love Him with all our hearts, minds and souls.
This is what Paul teaches to the churches of Ephesus. Hang on, we’re going to learn a lot!
EPHESIANS—RECONICLED TO BE
Ephesians 1:1-6, 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.
Lord, God of Heaven,
Make us whole and holy today. May we see your glory at work and immediately bow down in humbled thanksgiving. Thank you for reconciling us, dear Jesus, to our Father God, our Creator who had us in Him mind from the beginning of time. This thought is way above all world thinking. Set my walk and talk right in all ways. I trust in you, dear Jesus. Show me the ways I should go and I will walk in them.
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.