30 May 2008

Who is Your First Love?




The Little Book that Says so Much
By Mike Andrews

When it comes to the small epistle of Ephesians, there is much to learn. We find here many of the doctrines that Paul is teaching the church of Ephesus. We find many practical and helpful ways to conduct our Christian life. There are many theological themes in this epistle which could be discussed, however, we will only cover the three topics of Redemption, Salvation, and Grace.
Redemption:
In this book, Paul gives us a great understanding of what it means to be redeemed. Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; God has shown His grace by giving us redemption by the blood of His Son. This redemption consists of forgiving and delivering us from our sins; so then Christ’s blood was the redemption price paid down for our salvation. This was according to the riches of His grace. As His grace is rich and abundant in kindness, so it was given in a gift to mankind in the form of our redemption by the sacrifice of Christ. The measure of redeeming grace is the measure of God’s own eternal goodness. We have been redeemed by a holy and sovereign God. He has purchased us from the slave market, we have been delivered from the bondage of sin, and His great sacrifice on the Cross is something that we cannot pay back. We must not take this wonderful act of redemption lightly because Eph 4:30 tells us: And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. We are sealed by His redeeming grace. Amen!
Salvation:
We can only attain the wonderful gift of salvation when we begin to understand the redemptive work done by Christ Jesus for our wickedness and sin. Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: We are now brought into a state of salvation, our sins being all blotted out, and we made partakers of the Holy Spirit. This is the wonderful gift that God offers everyone that cries out for His redemptive work on the Cross. Salvation happens when we accept the finished work of Christ, His death and resurrection, on our behalf. We act by the faith which has been supplied by God’s grace. Eph 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. For though we are not saved for our good works, yet we are saved that we may perform good works, to the glory of God and the benefit of man. God is the only Giver of this gift which is salvation. Being saved from our sins, we are made partakers of the Spirit of holiness and therefore, it is natural to allow that Spirit to lead us in the practice of holiness.
Grace:
We would never be able to have the gift of salvation brought by the redeeming work of the Cross if it wasn’t for the sovereign grace of our Lord. Its by His grace that we live and breathe. It is only by His grace that He chose to give mankind a second chance. It is by His grace that He sent His only Son to pay the price for our sins. Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved. The grace and mercy of God is wonderfully illustrated and glorified in the plan of redemption performed by Christ Jesus. By the giving of the Law, God’s justice and holiness were rendered most glorious; by the giving of the Gospel, His grace and mercy are made equally remarkable. The children of God must attribute their adoption to the free grace of God, be thankful for it, and walk worthy of the relationship they have been brought into. By His grace in adopting us as children, we have been accepted into the Beloved which is Christ Jesus. May we worship and reverence Him in His glory and most of all for His bountiful grace. Eph 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Paul finishes this wonderful book by saying to the church of Ephesus in Eph 6:24, Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen Paul is saying a child, who is redeemed by the blood of Jesus, has accepted the free gift of salvation only by the wonderful grace of God. We must love the Lord with a pure heart, without compromise and without hypocrisy. There could not be a more appropriate close of the Epistle than such a prayer. There will be nothing more needful for us when we come to the end of our lives than the awareness that we love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity.

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