Gracefully Truthful

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Discover the original intent of Scripture. Make good application to our everyday lives.
Become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Read His Words Before Ours!

Ephesians 1:1-8

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will:
To the faithful saints in Christ Jesus at Ephesus.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ. For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. He predestined us to be adopted as sons through Jesus Christ for himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he lavished on us in the Beloved One.

In Him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. 

The Original Intent

1) A form of the word bless is used three times in this passage. What are their meanings? (verse 3) 

To “bless the Lord” means to praise, exalt, and worship Him. We offer God our blessing because He is worthy. The Lord deserves our praise for many reasons. The Psalms tell us to praise Him for His counsel (Psalm 16:7), His holiness (Psalm 103:1), His dominion over everything (Psalm 103:22), and His honor and majesty (Psalm 104:1) to name a few.

However, God blesses us from the abundance of His mercy and grace, even though we deserve only His righteous wrath for sinning against Him.

Our blessing on Him flows from gratitude for all He has done for us; He is truly worthy of praise!

Our main purpose in life is to praise God, as we were handcrafted to worship. Our sinfulness separates us from Him as we turn our designed purpose for worship of God onto worship of self or any other unworthy idols. God knew in advance that we would go the way of sinful rebellion. In mercy, He chose to provide a way back to right standing with Him for anyone who believes in Jesus, confesses their sin, and surrenders their worship to God. (John 3:16

Hallelujah! He made a way for us to be forgiven and welcomed Home to His heart! These spiritual blessings in heavenly places are the blessings that make us right with God; salvation, forgiveness, holiness, adoption, and redemption. These blessings come from heaven through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit who lives within every genuine believer. (James 1:17)

The Everyday Application

1) A form of the word bless is used three times in this passage. What are their meanings? (verse 3) 

When we talk of blessings, we often mention the good things God has given like a job, health, or money. However, initially, shouldn’t our praise go to the Lord for His spiritual blessings?

When I first became ill, my son introduced me to a song by Laura Story, “Blessings”. Laura and her husband went through very trying times when her husband had a brain tumor. Though his life was saved by removing the tumor, his memory and some physical functions were lost. In seeking God, she realized that even challenging and painful situations can be a blessing because of the Lord’s incredible goodness.

In my experience, my poor health caused a loss of “everything”: job, finances, even a place to live, but God was pointing us in a new direction. I turned my focus away from my illness and back onto Him. Before I knew it, I started a blog and began to write for the glory of God and to encourage others, even though I never expected to write anything!

I found my true blessing just as David did,
It was good for me to be afflicted. So that I could learn your statutes. Instruction from your lips is better for me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.” (Psalm 119:70-71) 

The Original Intent

2) How can we be holy and blameless? (verse 4) 

Holiness is a daunting word. Holman’s Bible Dictionary states, “Holiness comes to imply the fullness and completeness of God and godliness in all its facets and meanings.” When the Scriptures say we are to “be holy as He [God] is holy” (1 Peter 1:16), it seems an impossible feat. Truth? It is impossible.

But with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26), and He made a way for us to be holy through the blood of Jesus. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Holiness is defined as “to be set apart for God”. In Leviticus, chapters 17-25, we are shown how everything in the tabernacle was set apart for God from every tool to every priest.

Every aspect reminded the people of God’s holiness. The people brought sacrifices throughout the year as a reminder of the holiness of God. These sacrifices didn’t remove their sin guilt permanently, as they needed to keep returning to the Lord with sacrifices in order to be forgiven.

Living up to the expectations of God was indeed impossible. How could they be holy? 

God knew we would repeatedly fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23), so, before the beginning of time, He chose to make a way of repair back to Him. A way to make the unrighteous declared righteous, permanently. That plan was to send Jesus, His one and Only perfect (holy) Son, to be the sacrifice for everyone, once and for all! (Hebrews 9:11-15, 10:1-12) The Perfect took on the incalculable sin of the Imperfect, paying the debt of sin guilt we owed.

Therefore, when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, His holiness and righteousness is assigned to us and our sin guilt is removed forever. (Psalm 103:12) When God looks at the genuine believer, He sees His Son’s holiness; the sin of those who trust Him for forgiveness has been permanently removed! (Isaiah 1:18, 2 Corinthians 5:21) Amazing Grace! 

The Everyday Application

2) How can we be holy and blameless? (verse 4) 

When we understand Old Testament rituals for holiness, it gives us an appreciation for the cross and the freeing results of God’s work through the cross. The gospel narratives (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) make it plain, Jesus came to save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)

Christ shed His blood and His body was broken for the remission of sins at Calvary. (Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:19-20) The indwelling Holy Spirit is the agent for holiness in His people. When we accept Jesus as Lord and repent of our sins, God seals us with the Holy Spirit. He lives in our hearts and directs us into holiness

The temple sacrificial rituals are no longer needed! We are now the temple of God and sufficient sacrifice has been made to cover all sin. God’s Spirit lives within us. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

We are called to live holy lives, which can only happen by God’s grace through the Holy Spirit. We are in-filled with the Holy Spirit, who frees us from original sin and abides in our hearts and lives. The Holy Spirit then empowers us for a godly life and service in Christ. He enables us to obey God’s commandments, make right choices, overcome challenges, and persevere through life. (Romans 5:5, Romans 8:26, Romans 12:1-2, 2 Peter 1:3-4

The Original Intent

3) What is adoption through Jesus Christ? (verses 5-6) 

Adoption is a word taken from civil law. It was customary for Romans who had no children of their own to adopt someone to be their heir as if he were their own child. Everything from their former life is nullified, debts are forgiven, and they become a child of that person.

Adoption was practiced in the Old Testament, as well. Moses was adopted by Pharaoh’s daughter (Acts 7:20-22) and Mordecai adopted Esther (Esther 2:7). Physical adoption was a commonplace action in civic law. 

Spiritual adoption makes us partakers of His divine nature and a disposition like God. (Jeremiah 3:19) Through Jesus’ adoption, we take on His very nature! (John 1:12

The privileges of adoption include: 
1) High Honor; we are sons and daughters of the Most High! 
2) Inexhaustible provision and riches
3) Divine protection
4) Intimate communion with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, 
5) Eternal glory with God in heaven. 
(Charles Buck Theological Dictionary

Ah! To know and hold unswervingly to the truth that we are children of God through Jesus Christ if we make Him our own Savior! (1 John 3:1-3) I am so grateful God chose in advance to make a way for anyone who believes to be His adopted child!

The Everyday Application

3) What is adoption through Jesus Christ? (verses 5-6) 

One of the most incredible aspects that distinguishes between adoption and natural birth is the reality of being hand-chosen! How wonderful is it that, although we deserve nothing, God chooses us to be His child and gives us access to everything He has?!

In recent years, I have seen His providence support and encourage me in many ways physically, emotionally, and spiritually. When I have a need, I claim His name and say, “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills. He will supply my needs”, then I am free to rest in trusting His ways and His provision to be the best for me. (Psalm 50:10-12, 15) He has always, always provided for every need, even if it may seem in the moment, that I will have lack. His abundance always covers His adopted children!

He will call me His child throughout my life and when He returns, He will call me to His breast as His own. Praise the Lord! 

Child of God, hold fiercely to truth today! Own your adoption and walk as one who abides in the Shelter of the Most High who furiously loves us as His own! (Psalm 91:1-4)

The Original Intent

4) What is redemption through His blood? (verses 7-8) 

To understand redemption, we must first understand we are sinners, impossibly separated from God with no hope of return to His kind, loving embrace based on our own ability.

There is not one good among us. We all fall short of His glory, excluding ourselves permanently from Him. (Psalm 53:3, Romans 3:23) We have inherited this carnal sin in our lives from the fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3), and we perpetuate it with every action we choose that runs counter to God’s standard of righteousness.

This original sin is the corruption of our nature, which we all inherited from Adam. (Romans 5:12-21) Sin only, ever, always, and every time regardless of the offense, results in death. (Romans 6:23) But God loved us so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life! (John 3:16) This great sacrifice completely pays the price of our sin once and for all. (1 John 2:2) The only way our great debt to God can be paid is through the sinless sacrifice of Jesus.

All we must do to have this payment credited to our account is come with humility to God, confess that we are sinners, repent (turn away from) from our sin, and He will be faithful to forgive us. (1 John 1:9)

In view of this great, undeserved change, our lives are washed clean and our nature is transformed into His image. (2 Corinthians 5:17This is redemption!

The Everyday Application

4) What is redemption through His blood? (verses 7-8) 

If you were to borrow money at the bank, you incur a debt that must be paid back with interest. When you pay the debt off, that borrowed note is redeemed, paid in full. Likewise, when we accept Jesus as our Savior, His blood covers our debt, and we are redeemed.  

“Redeemed how I love to proclaim it! 
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb! 
Redeemed thro’ His infinite mercy, 
His child, and forever I am!”
Fanny Crosby 

Choose redemption!

If you’ve walked away from the faith you once knew and loved, but have rebelled against, return and be redeemed!

If you’ve never been redeemed, and your sin debt still looms over you, confess your sin to the Savior, come Home to Him, return and be redeemed!

If you’ve been walking with Jesus, love His Word, enjoy sweet fellowship with His people and communion with the Father, the call is the sweetly the same, come again to return and walk in your redemption, free and forgiven forever!

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