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According to Him

According to His Purpose
Ephesians 1:3-6 ESV

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

These words were written to the saints of God, the faithful in Christ Jesus (See v. 1). They are the persuaded of God, having the faith which God imparts, and they are loyal to that faith. This kind of faith, which comes from God, is divinely persuaded as to God’s holiness and righteousness, and as to his divine purpose and will with regard to our salvation. Thus, it submits to God’s will and purposes, it repents of sin, and it chooses to walk in obedience to God. This is the kind of faith necessary for our salvation.

Those of us who have this divinely persuaded faith in Jesus Christ, which surrenders to his will for our lives, are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. Note that this promise is not for everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ or who has prayed a prayer after someone else to receive God’s gift of grace. Words are just words if they are not accompanied by action which proves the faith to be genuine and of God.

Those of us who have received God’s gift of grace and this divinely persuaded faith to believe in him, were chosen in God before the creation of the world. Before even the foundations of the earth were laid, God knew us, and he chose us in him to be holy and blameless before him. This holiness and this lack of blame, though, are not something we generate from within our own flesh, but they also are gifts from God, but gifts we must receive and apply to our lives. Not only are we without blame because of what Jesus Christ did for us on that cross in putting our sins to death, but because we walk in that holiness in the power and working of God’s Spirit within us.

We were predestined by God for adoption as his children, by this faith, according to the purpose of his will, which is also to the praise of his glorious grace. Jesus did not save us from our sins, in other words, so that we could go on living in sin without guilt or remorse. His purpose in saving us was to free us from our slavery to sin and so that we might walk with him in his holiness and righteousness. He saved us in order that we might live in conformity to his will for our lives, which is to the praise of his glory.

According to His Grace
Ephesians 1:7-10 ESV

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to 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, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

When Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – died on that cross for our sins, he bought us back for God with his shed blood. Therefore, if we are in Christ Jesus by this divinely persuaded faith in him, then we are no longer our own. We now belong to him. And, he is our Lord (owner-master), and we are his servants, to do his will. So, we are to now honor God with our lives.

When we believe in Jesus Christ with divinely persuaded faith in him, which submits to his will and purposes, and thus repents of sin and turns to God to walk in his ways and in his truth, then we are forgiven of our sins. We are not forgiven our sins merely by accepting God’s forgiveness of our sins, especially while continuing in sinful lifestyles. Forgiveness comes through repentance and via this God-given faith which we must receive and put into practice in the power of God now living within us. For, if we walk in the flesh, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God in heaven. If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk in sin, we do not live by the truth.

This grace, which he has lavished upon us, is not a free license to continue in willful sin against God as our daily practice. God’s grace to us is freedom from our sinful addictions, and it is freedom to now walk in his holiness and righteousness. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs (commands) us to say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return.

His salvation to us, his gift of grace, his love, his compassion, his forgiveness of our sins, etc. are all about us living in conformity to his will and purposes. This is the purpose of our salvation, that we might die with Christ to our old lives of living for sin and self in order that we might now, by the power of God’s Spirit within us, live with Christ and walk in his righteousness and holiness, fulfilling his will and purposes for our lives, which is that we might be for his praise. Our lives are no longer our own to be lived how we want. Our lives are now His to be lived how He wants and in His ways.

According to His Will
Ephesians 1:11-14 ESV

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Do you know that this kind of teaching is all throughout the New Testament? So, why is it that so many people have this idea that they can be saved from their sins and have eternal life with God based upon a mere profession of faith in Christ which denies his Lordship over their lives, because they believe that they don’t have to repent of their sins or obey the Lord? I believe it is because Satan has deceived their hearts and minds so that they believe the lie so that they will continue to live in sin.

Yet, our inheritance in him is not just a get-out-of-jail-free card and the hope of heaven when we leave this earth. We are saved for God’s purposes, and that is that our lives are now his for him to do with what he desires.

God has a plan and a purpose for each of our lives. And, it is his purpose that we would follow that plan and submit to that purpose. He has a general plan and purpose which applies to each one of us who are his, by faith. But, he also has very specific plans and purposes for our individual lives which he intends for us to live out in his power and strength within us. This is why he has gifted us with spiritual gifts which we are to use for the strengthening and maturity of the body of Christ, and it is why he has assigned each one of us specific roles within the body of Christ, which he chooses.

And, included within his purpose and his will for our lives is that we should suffer for the sake of his name, and for the sake of the gospel of our salvation. For, through our suffering, he makes us holy, he purifies our hearts, he prunes us and molds us and forms us and conforms us to his likeness. Through suffering we learn perseverance, persistence, patience, endurance, obedience, love, mercy and compassion and passion for God. So, we should expect that we will be persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for through this God is working his will in our hearts and lives.

So, we should not get discouraged when we go through trials that test our faith or when we are ill-treated and rejected for our faith. But, we must keep our eyes on Jesus and on what awaits us one day when our Lord returns.

For Our Nation
An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018, 6:33 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from Your Word. May we take it to heart, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!