Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.- Colossians3:16
About more than a year ago, we as a church started our study in the book of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. It was decided with much prayer and seeking, that the best way to approach Scripture is to cover it through exposition. What do we mean by that? Simply to cover a book in the Bible from start to finish. It’s no easy task to draw out timeless applicable principles from teachings that are centuries old without the complete liberty of deciding what to preach about, but there is wisdom in going through these writings and not skipping the sticky parts of whatever the author was writing about. God honors faithfulness. After covering the whole book, I guess it’s safe to say, honor it He did.
Ephesus was a land who’s patron goddess was Diana (the Roman counterpart of Artemis) in which a huge temple was dedicated to. People came to worship and experience the goddess’s power through idolatrous sexual relations with her temple priests and priestesses. It was a big, prosperous harbor city in Asia Minor. Scholars have said that the epistle addressed to the Christians in this city was written while Paul was in prison, in A.D.62, four years after he left the church.Comprised of two main parts, namely Doctrine (chapters 1-3) and Application (4-6), it gives us the beautiful picture of how the two are related: Right doctrine, leads to the right way of living.
The epistle opens with a feast for the spirit, teaching the Christian what they already have in Christ. It is a rich declaration of our heritage as children of the Most High. It is important to be sure about what we do have so that we would know what exactly it is we’re living for. It was Christ that said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” We are then told that we have been saved by grace through faith, not by works, that we who were once hopeless are now saved in God. In this light, even the Gentiles (that is, anyone who’s not a Jew) are saved by this grace. Since Paul was entrusted with this message to the Gentiles, his prayer is that all Christians will be strengthened, that Christ will dwell in us.
After a doxology of worship to end the third chapter, chapter four ushers us in to the application part of Paul’s message. Now that we’re sure of what we do have, and what Christ has made us to be, we must now therefore walk in a way that is worthy of that calling. We must put away the old self that the new life be seen in us. We must be imitators of God and walk in love, especially in the relationships we have with one another. Paul then gives practical examples of how husbands and wives are to live, how parents and children are to treat each other, and how slaves and masters are to work with one another.
Starting with the tenth verse of chapter six, Paul doesn’t fail in telling us that the life lived in Christ is no joke. Although the richness of the blessing is true to the believer, we must also be wary that we are not without opposition. Our enemy, the Devil, prowls around like a roaring lion and is never satisfied, making it hard to live like we ought to. The reason why we live the holy life is to glorify God, and the enemy is not happy about that. Yet, we are not without aid. We are taught that in order to survive this battle, God has provided an armor we must put on: His armor; a spiritual one. The battle isn’t against man, but against spiritual forces, and we must fight else fall. Paul ends this part with the attitude we should have in battle, and that is prayer.
Personally speaking, this book has a way of refreshing any believer with powerful truths. I’ve learned that in spiritual warfare, while prayer may not be a part of the armor we are to put on, the Christian life surely cannot be lived without it. We cannot fight in our strength. I’m an eye witness to how this security changes a Christian into a battle-ready child of God, and far from an heir oblivious to his riches. God has indeed deepened my own spiritual life as well as many of my fellow workers’ in church as we covered this book from start to finish, and it is only by His grace that we are what we have now been changed into.
The book of Ephesians is the Christian life in six chapters. It isn’t just another religion to participate in, rather it is the Gospel applied. It is an abundant life given as a gift by God for us to enjoy and to use to glorify Him. It enlightens us with the love of God, how we are to love God, and how we are to love others, fulfilling the Law, summarized by Jesus as the greatest commandments. It empowers us to live the life of a solider called by God, and not live in complacency. The war goes on even if we won’t, but it is a war Christ has already overcome for us, therefore it is not in vain.
?The Christian life starts at the Cross of Christ, and never leaves it. Jesus Christ is God incarnate who chose to put on human flesh, that He might live the perfect life we could never live, in order to pay the price that we needed to pay, and save us from the death that we deserved. He sealed salvation by defeating death by resurrecting back to life and is alive to this day, seated at the Father’s right hand. This abundant life, this eternal life, is one that He offers by grace through faith in Him alone. We can’t live it without Him, not especially since the Devil will not stop at anything to devour any who are His. This gift, this grace, this treasure is available to all, dear reader. If you haven’t tasted it yet, it is available even to you.