Todays readings… Numbers 20&21, Proverbs 15, Ephesians 1&2
The opening chapters of Ephesians, when read prayerfully and carefully, open an intensely thought provoking picture of the whole purpose of God “that we should be holy and blameless before him.” [1 v.4] This holiness is achieved, not by our works, but by our reactions to his actions to show us his love. Our reaction should be one of “praise of his glorious grace.” [v.6]
What intense value Paul puts on the word grace; “the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight, making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time …” [v.7-10] We are now on the brink of the fullness of time, the climax of this world as we know it. There is a danger we can become side tracked from our present humble role in working for God – let us continue to watch and be ready for our Lord’s return.
Paul reminds the Ephesians how they “were once dead in trespasses and sins …” [2 v.1]. That would be our situation now if we were walking through life in this way! But, by “the grace of God” – having been either brought up to know God’s will – or having been attracted to it by some means and brought to realize the darkness of our thinking (despite its fleshly attractions), we came to realize how “the god of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ …” [2 Cor. 4 v.4]
Paul also warned the Ephesians of “the spirit that is now at work among the sons of disobedience” [v.2] and how “we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature, children of wrath like the rest of mankind.” [2 v.3] We are surrounded by these “passions” more than ever – and they are penetrating amongst us – just as with the Israelites in the wilderness as they journeyed toward their promised land. So many of them lost their vision and their trust in the word of God through Moses. And as for us? Let us think positively – note how Paul wrote; “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” [v.10] Let us walk more confidently so God can work more effectively in us, for the “fullness of time” is coming. Let us constantly seek ways of “encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day approaching” [Heb.10 v.25]