Responding to Ephesians 1 (Part 2)
Last week we addressed the fact that Ephesians 1:4-6 is like being in the deep end of the pool. It is some heavy-duty theology. That is Paul’s point. He drills down deep into the theological bedrock to secure for us a solid foundation for living out that which we believe. We looked at how a believer is to respond to difficult truth. The first response is to “Praise and Glorify God.” This week we will look at our second response.
Second, we should seek to “live a life worthy” of this high and heavenly calling. If you remember in my first sermon from Ephesians I mentioned that chapters 1-3 relate to doctrine … what we believe. Chapters 4-6 relate to duty … how we behave. Chapters 1-3 are the foundation of the Christian life and the church, chapters 4-6 are the structure for living out the foundation of faith. So in 4:1 Paul states “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” Or as the NIV states “live a life worthy.” This is where Paul was headed in the first chapter. In 1:4 we read “he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”
Some day we will be with the Lord and ultimately conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. But it was never God’s intention for us to wait until then to begin living a holy life. That is made clear in Titus 2:11-12:
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age
This is what Paul is getting at in the opening section of Ephesians. He makes it clearer in chapter 2:8-10
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
A proper view of the grace of God (His unmerited favour) leads to righteousness – not unrighteousness. Our hope in Christ should lead us to present our bodies to the Lord (Romans 12:1). To do less is to misunderstand what God did in choosing us.
Chosen by God … Predestined unto adoption … two difficult teachings I give you that. Two teachings that ought to lead us to: 1) Praise and Glorify God; and 2) Seek to live a life worthy of our calling.
Romans 11:33–36 (ESV)
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”35 “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
See you Sunday
- Text this week – Ephesians 1:11-12 “Living to the Praise of His Glory”
- Anyone struggling with the recent teaching on election and predestination I would welcome an opportunity to discuss personally.