Continuing with our In Christ Series, today we will be talking about the six marks of In Christ living; living by faith, walking in love, holiness, the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, and the sanctified life.
Ephesians 1:15-18 NIV “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,”
The first thing we notice is that Paul heard bout two things concerning them, their faith in the Lord Jesus and their love for all God’s people.
Let’s look at each of these things separately, their faith, we must understand that faith for salvation is not the ending place but the beginning place. Scripture says four times that the just or the righteous ones will live by faith. We not only receive salvation through faith, we are sanctified (give ourselves fully to God) through faith, and receive everything by faith.
The best definition of faith, I believe, is Hebrews 11:1 in the Amplified Bible. “NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].”
Faith is proof and reality of things not seen or understood in the sense realm, that is why Scripture says we walk by faith not by sight. Notice here that faith is seen as the reality and not what can actually be seen, touched, tasted, heard, or felt. The key to walking in faith is found in verse six, “But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].”
Notice here we must believe God is God, this involves taking God at His Word, believing that every promise written in it is available to us who walk obediently before Him and believe that He rewards those who seek Him.
Matthew 6:33 AMP “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.” If we seek God, his way of doing and being right, this is the life of holiness, God will take care of us, our every need.
The second thing Paul noticed was their love walk. Many people look to Romans as the book for Christians but John Wesley Stated that First John is the book for Christians. He was not elevating the book or saying others are not necessary but that the teaching on the life of love found in First John helps us to fulfill the command Jesus gave us.
Jesus told us to love The Lord our God with all our mind, heart, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
I’m not going to expound on the following verses but I want us to look at some of the things John said concerning the life of love that we as disciples of Christ are to live.
1 John 2:15-17 NIV “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” – We are not to love the world but we are to love God.
1 John 3:16 NIV “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
1 John 4:9-18 NIV “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
As we can see from these few verses we have read from First John that love and the “how to” of love is packed into this book and I encourage us to take time later and read through the book. I also have a feeling that at some point this year we will do a series in First John.
This section of Ephesians we are looking at today and the section we will look at Thursday are what I call the spiritual illumination part of Ephesians. We have seen briefly the importance of faith and love, we cannot please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6) and faith works by love (Galatians 5:6) and we will see in a few moments the importance of holiness, foe we will not see God apart from it (Hebrews 12:14).
The next thing Paul says is that he prays that they receive the Spirit of wisdom and revelation.
The wisdom spoken here is a spiritual wisdom and revelation here is a disclosure and a manifestation of light. We will remember that Jesus took us out of the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of light and that Jesus appeared as light to Paul, and Jesus is Light (Genesis 1).
Why is a Spirit of wisdom and revelation given? Verse 17b “so that you may know Him better”.
He then goes on to say that our heart may be enlightened and that we know the hope we are called to, His holy people.
In looking at all of this we see in these four verses we are to be a people of faith, we are to be a people of love, we are to know God better, and we are to be holy. Our entire person has just been summed up, who we are in Christ is all here in these four verses.
I’m not going to dive into holiness to much right now because parts seven, eleven, and twelve are dedicated completely to looking at holiness. We must understand this before we get to Thursday, that as children of God we can by the power of the Holy Spirit walk rightly before God and we do not have to yield to the enemy and we do not have to sin.
We all love to quote the verse that says if anyone sins he has an advocate with the Father. We love to talk of confessing sin, this is necessary, however, the same verse that says if anyone sins begins like this, 1 John 2:1 NIV “My dear children, I write this to you so that you WILL NOT SIN. BUT (AND) IF anybody does sin…”
We see a but and if not a when and that is key for us to understand.
to wrap up the message today I would like you to turn in your bible to Romans chapter six and read the entire chapter, when you are finished, read the rest of the blog.
With Romans six having been read we see we have the power to live holy before God, even if you have not yet received sanctification, you as a child of God can have victory.
Sanctification is a Bible word that simply means yielding and giving yourself fully to God and having the nature of sin destroyed in your life, we should all earnestly seek for the experience of a clean heart and allow the Lord to lead us in that direction.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NIV “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;”
Psalm 51:7-10 NIV “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
If you are setting here today having read this post saying I want to be cleansed of all sin I want to receive a pure heart you can today, all you have to do is ask the Lord to cleanse your heart and life of sin and to fill you with the Holy Spirit and give you a pure heart.
I pray this post has been a blessing to you, there was much I could say on each point but for the sake of length I tried to condense the points. At other points during the series we will be able to deal with things more in depth. Hope you will be back on Thursday, if you have questions on sanctification you can leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.You can also check the sanctification tag and the recommended reading page for further study.