How Should I Respond to a Correct Understanding of My Position in Christ?
I would like to conclude our study, reflecting on the purpose of the book of Ephesians. Paul wrote this doctrinally rich book to remind us of the extent of God’s grace toward believers which is seen in the many blessings that we have in Christ both as individuals, and as a local church. His teaching is not designed to simply stimulate our intellect, but rather to motivate us to walk in Christian love and unity as a spiritual body. Christ taught that our Christian love both fulfills the law and demonstrates the genuineness of our faith; therefore, Paul demands righteous thinking, character, and actions as the application of these gospel related blessings in Christ.
So then, how should we think and act as an application of these gospel related truths? First, we should be deeply humbled. There is no place for pride in the life of a Christian. Our only boast should be in the cross of Christ which calls us to face our total depravity and deep seated spiritual bankruptcy before God. No man receives these blessings by his own merit or goodness. I am not a Christian because I am smarter or wiser than my neighbor. I am a Christian only because of His grace.
Secondly, these truths should make me deeply grateful. The primary sin mentioned in Romans 1 that makes a man worthy of death is the sin of ingratitude. It is impossible to understand these truths within their contexts, without being moved to deep seated gratitude. If I am not thankful, I have not been gripped by the grace of God extended in the gospel.
Thirdly, these truths should cause my love for Christ to increase all the more. God did not set His love on us because of our beauty, intellect, personality, or disposition. He loved us in spite of ourselves, even when we were born in rebellion, and walking in spiritual blindness. We did not earn God’s love. His love was given because He is love. Romans 5:8, says that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Truly, we love Him, because He first loved us. These blessings in Christ should cause us to love Him all the more.
Fourth, these truths should cause us to trust Him more. 1 John 4:18 says that “there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear:” Obviously life in a fallen world is not easy. Jesus said, in John 15:18, 20 “If the world hates you, know that it hated me before it hated you…and “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” The world hates genuine Christianity. We also know, that God in His sovereignty even ordains seasons of suffering for His children’s growth and God’s glory, yet these truths set before us should remind us of the great love of God for His children. Even in suffering or under seasons of persecution, we should rest in God’s love for us, His children, and we should be driven to obey him in all circumstances.
Lastly, these truths should cause us to deal with people in compassionate humility. It is easy for Christians to look with disdain on the severally unbiblical things they hear and see around them, but should these things justify pride. It is also common for Christians to belittle one another, especially when dealing with debatable matters of Christian practice. It is easy to judge God’s servant in areas, where we are not called to do so. As we have seen in Ephesians, we are all saved by grace, deserving nothing but God’s wrath, which should move us to walk humbly, in Christian love, as we interact with others. By the way, as we will see in later studies, this is exactly what Paul will do in the second half of the book. May God give us the grace to appropriate the following applications that flow from a correct understanding of our position in Christ!