The Importance of Ephesians, Part 3
An ongoing in depth study of the Book to the Church from Paul, the Apostle
I would like to set a sort of "preamble" before you begin this study. A few things that are important you should know first.
1 - The Book of Ephesians was written as a circulating letter and the Church of Ephesus was the first recipient. Thus the name.
2 - This particular book (letter) was written specifically for the purpose of those desiring to not only grow in their walk with God, but to avoid the pitfalls that many were enduring. Just as we are today. Almost as a guidebook (as is the entire Bible) for those who were either new to the Faith or those already in the Faith.
3 - I strongly encourage you to study Ephesians as you read these multi-part blogs. In doing so you may likely see a word or bit that I did not. Which I would very much enjoy discussing with you! -Matt
Ephesians Part 3, Who We Were II
Redemption & New Beginnings
We have three components in our life. Our body, our soul, and our spirit. Every man, woman, and child have these parts to them.
This is kind of self explanatory. If you can see you hands (or feel them perchance you are blind), you are looking at your body. What we see in the mirror is our body.
The soul is that part of us that we refer to as the mind or personality. The part of us that makes decisions (good or bad), choices (also good or bad), has preferences, and so on. That is the soul and, for the most part, it is in control of everything. If the body were in control, we’d all be a lot healthier. But it’s not.
The spirit inside of us is the part that is dead. God told Adam on the day that he ate of the Tree, he would die. Some translations actually say, “dying, you will die”. Alright, definitive death. Dead you shall be. So Adam did anyway and then death for the first time entered the world. Funny thing is, though, he didn’t die.
Remember that after they ate the fruit, they hid because they suddenly knew they were naked. God shows up and He kills an animal (first time an animal died), takes the skin and makes clothes for them. Then tells them to get out!
But other than the animal, no one died. Was God mistaken? Did He get a little ahead of Himself? Well, He was/is God, so nothing caught Him off guard. What died was the purity and sanctity of the relationship between man and his Maker. The spirit connection was broken by sin. Sin began to reign in man and remains very deeply in control of him today. This spirit part of us is dead without that connection to God.
In Genesis 3, post sin and judgment, God has some serious words for the snake and the creature that possessed it. The snake was cursed to crawl along the ground from there on because it willingly accepted the devils offer to become controlled. Don’t worry if this doesn’t make sense yet. After all, Eve had a conversation with the snake and was not alarmed that it could talk. Anyway, it is assumed that at the time, it might well have had legs. But it was what God said to the devil (not the snake) that changes everything:
“And I will put enmity (hatred) between you (the snake) and the woman, and between your seed (evil offspring) and her Seed (capped in reference to Jesus, the Messiah) He (Jesus) shall bruise you head (prophetic reference to permanent damage of the devil) And you shall bruise His (Jesus) heel.” (prophetic reference to resurrection - temporary damage) Genesis 3:15 (parenthesis mine)
This all means that at the advent of sin, God had not only known about it before the fall of Adam, but had a plan already. But the question is still there: Why? If God knew all of this was going to happen, why create the world, populate it with people, give them free-will, allow the devil to tempt them into sin, then make a promise for eventual salvation?
That is, indeed, a great question.
The answer may come in many different flavors and explanations. I propose that God made mankind for the very purpose of showing the devil he was defeated from before he chose to rebel. In addition, He made us to love us. Theologically (studying and understanding God), there are many other views. But let’s not get stuck there.
Either way we might look at the motivation behind God’s actions, He created us and gave us the opportunity to know Him.
The world is the example of what it is like to be apart from God. We partnered with the enemy to live as he wanted us to. The sons (or children) of disobedience. This (disobedience) is not a word that describes the random decisions to not do as one is told. It means to obstinately be in opposition to the divine will. Literally, to purposely choose to oppose God. That was the life we lived before meeting and being set free by Jesus.
We lived with the most important person in our lives being that soul we talked about earlier. Doing whatever we wanted according to our own desire. Having a way of thinking that led us to easily becoming angered. I know some might say that they didn’t have a temper before they got saved. Good for you! You were still born in sin.
Despite the nature we are born with, God loved us. Human understanding says that, "I will love you as I get to know you and am somehow benefitting". But God proves who He is by loving us before we come to know Him. That Christ died for us while we were still wallowing in our filthy rags. (Romans 5:8) What we often do not realize is the depth of that price. How terrible it was that Jesus, innocent of any form of crime (much less sin) was dragged before an unqualified judge and allowed to be crucified in place of mankind. And did so willingly.
He died for your sins to be washed away. In so doing, He takes our dead, disconnected spirit, and gives it life. You, me, everyone that accepts Him. This free gift, this grace, this nature of Jesus, this love of God, this transforming power, all at His expense, done for our benefit. He hung n the cross and said, "It is finished".
To every man, woman, and child a measure of faith is given. (Romans 12:3) It is the reason that so many who refuse Christ struggle their entire lives. Evolution was invented to try and ease the minds of those who do not want to follow the precepts and truths of God. Remove God, remove responsibility to Him. Why? Because within us is that tiny bit of faith that constantly bangs on the heart. Evolution quiets that banging. It eases it and allows people to remain in sin and not feel the tug that a sinful life is against the direction of God, our Creator.
Although this is not the place to go into a political or lifestyle engagement on public topics, it’s important to understand that nearly all issues that are talked about in the news or even television as a whole, are covered more than enough in scripture to know how God feels about them.
So to everyone of us there is a certain amount of faith. Enough to point us to the heavens and ask, “Are You real?” Metaphorically speaking. But that small amount causes us to come to a place whereby we see that we need Something more in our lives. Someone more.
There are many paths to Jesus. Many, many paths. But don’t be confused by that statement. There is only one path to God. Regardless of how a person comes to meet Jesus, He is the only way into Heaven. The only way to God.
We are “adopted” into the Family of God. (Ephesians 1:4-6) In fact, we were always meant to be brought into God's family. The term “Born Again” (John 3:3) means to start over as a member of this family. The sacrifice on the cross that Jesus made is how that works. This action is called redemption. That process, redemption, is an act of paying the cost for something. Picture the money you have when you go into the store as a redeemable coupon for what you wish to buy. You present the money, the price is paid. When Jesus’ body was drained of its life-giving blood, He took on the cost of our sin. So His blood that He gave is the money that covers our cost.
That act allows us to be adopted into God's family. An adoption that requires righteousness. Which is created in us when we accept Jesus' redemptive act on the cross.
All that comes together and brings life back into our spirit and the action taken by Adam and Eve in the Garden is overcome!
Stay Tuned For More On This Particular Topic As We Continue Our Study In Ephesians!