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Saturday, May 3, 2008

Living with Blessings

I hope our study through Ephesians is proving to be beneficial for you. I know I have read this book many times, but for me, this time is like new! It never ceases to amaze me how every time I read through the Bible, I always find something fresh and exciting that I had not seen before! By the time this newsletter comes out, we will be going through a transition in the book. One thing you will notice is that there are no commands, no rules, no instructions, and no laws in the first three chapters (except 2:11 when we are told to remember our former sinful state before Christ). The sermons over the last few weeks have focused on what God does for us by giving us his spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1), giving us life in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-10), and uniting us around the message of the gospel (Ephesians 2:11-22). All of this gives us freedom and confidence to live in relationship with God like Paul (Ephesians 3). Ephesians 1-3 is a section that is packed full of all the blessings we have because of Jesus' work in his life, death, and resurrection. It shows us who we are in Christ all by God's grace!

When we get to chapters 4-6, we find a shift. St. Paul moves from describing what God has done for us and who we are in Christ to now giving direction on what the life of those in Christ should look like. We might summarize it this way: God has blessed you beyond what you can imagine. He has given you life in His Son and He has made you a part of His holy people, so live like it! Chapters 1-3 tells us who we are, chapters 4-6 tell us to be who we are. You are not a dead sinner any longer, you are a child of God, so be that child in this world.

Too often when we talk about the Gospel we stop with the forgiveness. And sometimes that is a good thing. We need that forgiveness every second of every day! But the gospel is a promise of, not only of forgiveness of sins, but also of being made alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:5,10)! Paul starts the second half of the letter by saying, "I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." (Ephesians 4:1) It will be our goal for the next few weeks to figure out what a life worthy of our gracious calling looks like. By God's grace we have been set free from the bondage of sin and death and we have been given new life in Christ Jesus. It is by grace we have been saved! It is my prayer that through this next section of Ephesians, we would learn what a life grounded in grace looks like!

Pastor Bob

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