No Dusty Bibles

Menu Close

Category: Ephesians

Unity

In John 13 Jesus issued a new command to His disciples to love one another and by so doing, it would let the world know they were His disciples. In John 15 He encourages His followers to abide in Him and prove to be His disciples by bearing much fruit. In John 17 Jesus is offering His “High Priestly Prayer” and what caught my eye this morning in particular is is the following (emphasis mine):

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
John 17:20–23

We often think of unity as being so critical because it allows us to get along well with one another. It allows the church to function much more smoothly if we’re unified. It’s more comfortable for us to be unified. It feels good to be unified. Read more

But God

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom 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. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:1–7

Although Paul’s letter was written specifically to both Jewish and Gentile believers in Ephesus, it is pretty easy for me to read it as though I am the intended recipient. It’s not a stretch for me to assume that when Paul writes “you” he is referring specifically to me. When I do so, I can acknowledge that I was dead in the trespasses and sins in which I once lived. I did indeed follow the course of this world, seeking to carry out the desires of my body and mind. And consequently, I was a child of wrath. “But God…”.

But God is a common theme throughout all of scripture – from beginning to end.

In the beginning, the earth was void and without form but God spoke creation into existence. After they sinned, Adam and Eve hid in shame but God pursued them, called them to Himself, and provided for their need. After Jesus was crucified and laid in a tomb it looked like all hope was lost but God raised Him on the third day. After revealing Himself to many and giving final instructions to His disciples, Jesus ascended into Heaven but God sent the promised Holy Spirit to lead and guide His people into all truth and to empower them to build His church and to proclaim the good news and bring Him glory on the earth.

But God. What a beautiful and unexpected transition; both in Paul’s letter and in my own life. I was a child of wrath but God, in His rich mercy, greatly loved me first. I was living my life in opposition to Him but God humbled me and softened my heart. I was blind but God, in His mercy, drew me to Himself and gave me eyes to see and ears to hear. I was dead in my trespasses but God extended His grace and forgiveness to me and raised me up and made me alive.

But God.

It’s easy to think that “the story” is about us. It’s really not. It’s all about Him. It’s all about the things that happen after “but God”.

I encourage you to think about all of the “but God” promises and truths that are appropriate for your particular context. For example, perhaps you feel as though you are all alone or that God has forgotten about you in your present circumstances. But God has promised to never leave you nor forsake you. Or, maybe you are in a situation where you are being tempted and you are worried that you will not be able to resist much longer. But God has promised that you shall never be tempted beyond your ability and will always provide a way of escape and the strength to endure it.

But God. It’s not the words themselves that are powerful. It’s the God of whom they speak that is so very powerful. I encourage you this week that every time you are tempted to focus on your circumstances or think about your own fears or weakness, consider appending a final thought that begins with the words, “but God…”.

Love Language

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 5:25–27

There is a book by Dr. Gary Chapman titled, The 5 Love Languages. The premise is that each of us has a very particular love language. This is the primary “language” by which others can effectively communicate their love to us. The five love languages include words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. Although I’ve never really read the book, I have heard good reviews. However, when I read through Ephesians this morning it makes me wonder if perhaps any effort to figure out my wife’s primary love language might be misdirected. Perhaps, I should instead be looking to better understand how Christ loves His church and the “language” by which He demonstrated His love for her. Maybe that is the best approach to ensuring that my wife is well loved.

I wonder how many guys read, “Husbands, love your wives” and stop right there? The problem with doing that of course is you instantly go into effort mode. Human, fleshly, will-powered effort that is sure to fail and disappoint. Even if you continue reading and understand how you are to love your wife – like Christ loved the church – it can be overwhelming to consider. It’s overwhelming because Christ is perfect and consequently, He loved perfectly. We have no shot of obeying this command in our own strength or might. If ever there was an area where we need to depend on the power of the Holy Spirit it is in how we love our wives.

I remember when I was a younger Christian and I studied this verse, I was all fired up to love my wife as Christ loved the church. I was mindful of this command, I was motivated to obey this command, and I worked really hard at fulfilling this command. And everything went well. Until I slipped and fell and failed.

Now that I’m an older Christian and have a few more years under my belt of practically walking in faith, my response to this verse is a little different. Yes, I still desire to fulfill this command and I still desire to love my wife in this way. But rather than exerting effort toward doing it, I instead exert effort in better understanding Christ and His love for His church (of which I am a part). I allow the Holy Spirit to lead me and guide me into a deeper understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how He loved me and gave Himself for me. I allow myself to fall into this truth and rest in it. The greater my level of knowledge and understanding of the Savior and the deeper the level of my intimacy with Jesus, the more I can’t help but overflow with love. And as this happens, the Holy Spirit continues to sanctify me and transform me such that my natural language becomes one of selflessly and sacrificially loving and serving my wife.

I’m not perfectly loving my wife as Christ loved the church (yet). But, I do believe that God will be faithful to complete the work that He has started in me. And I pray that each and every day I am loving my wife more and more as Christ loved His church. For her joy and His glory.

© 2017 No Dusty Bibles. All rights reserved.

Theme by Anders Norén.