Jesus Christ was the ultimate gift. He bridged the distance between Christians and the most high God, so we might humbly fall at His feet forgiven. From the moment Jesus drew His first breath, we His people were adopted into the heavenly family. As His last breath left His lips, the Lord’s grace sweetly rained upon us. How beautiful this process was. Today, we can walk as royalty because the Beloved paid our price and took our hand in His.
“But God being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, 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.” Ephesians 2:4-6 NASB
Ephesians is one of my favorite books in the Bible and as I read through it again, I realized the Christian life is written throughout all six of its chapters. It might also be called the book of love because Paul mentioned the word love 15 times. I hope after reading this you walk a little taller and love a lot stronger.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19 NASB
As sons and daughters of the King, we have inherited the Kingdom but what does this mean? With our new God-given identity, we must live as a beaming illustration of love, light and grace, walking in a manner worthy of His calling. When we accomplish this, a kiss of heaven flutters across the earth and no one can deny His glory.
I find it rather interesting that Paul mentions the “old self” in two separate instances. He first brings attention to it in chapter two and again in chapter four.
“… Remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:12-13 NASB
“That, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Ephesians 4:22-24 NASB
In comparing these verses, I see two different commands holding the same purpose. First, it is important to acknowledge the hopeless state God found us in, when we invited Him to be the Master over our lives. We must never forget what our Father rescued us from. Secondly, to walk the Christian life means we must leave our old ways in a pile marked our past and promise to never rummage through it again. The Lord gives us a fresh start we can run toward, and we should do so with a receptive heart and fixated thoughts.
Hidden underneath these truths, one overwhelming theme echoes with every word. Because He loved us. Before Christ, we were unworthy of forgiveness. While the Father still showed His people grace, the burden of sin separated them from a relationship with Him. God wasn’t content with the way things were and because He loved us He offered His only son as a sacrifice.
As Christians, I think sometimes we hope to repay Him for what He has done. While that isn’t wrong to feel, it is impossible to even accomplish. What we often forget is He already paid the price in full, there is nothing left to cover, no remaining debt. God doesn’t ask to be reimbursed, instead He implores us to root our lives in Christ-like love.
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2 NASB
Living the Christian life isn’t about measuring up. It’s about lessening selfish gain and allowing the Spirit to strengthen us in humility, gentleness, patience and love. We are called to be unified in hope with our calling and once we accept His plan, He will grow our knowledge and wisdom. Child-like immaturity flees and we enter into mature, Christian faith when our efforts are aligned with His.
Where there is growth, temptation is not far behind; therefore, we must be on alert at all times. The enemy takes pleasure in distracting us when we feel capable and secure. This is part of the Christian walk. He knows our weakest points and will use them to his advantage, but we have something stronger.
“Therefore take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.” Ephesians 6:13 NASB
Friends, the world will try to drain us of all the Spirit instills, and at times, we will let it. In those moments, I encourage you to ask God for His power and wisdom to rise above and I believe you will. Don’t forget you are royalty. As Christians, we have a responsibility to illuminate the darkness surrounding us. We are called to “walk as children of Light” and to “love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.”
The more we develop our faith to reflect the Ephesians Christian, the more God will entrust us with His calling. Wear that crown on your head with pride and love with an incorruptible, heavenly love.
Featured Image by Jessica