Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Final Cut - Ephesians (conclusion)

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We begin our journey in Ephesians by being seated in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. Remaining seated in our position as dearly loved and forever adopted members of God's family in Christ, we also walk as children in this family of light. Having reflected the relationship we have with our father and our Saviour in every relationship in this world, we stand firm in the power of God in resistance against the ungodly authorities of this world and spiritual forces of evil.

Every relationship we have in this world is an opportunity to reflect Jesus. In romance we reflect Jesus, who is both worthy of the highest respect and honour, and also submitted himself sacrificially for us in the most humble way. His love for us makes him the most lovely of all creatures, and we respond to him with great love. God is Father and Son. Like Abraham of Isaac, God the Father required of his son the greatest of any humble submissive obedience. In his obedience he was glorified, and so were we. Our earthly family affords us the opportunity to reflect the family of God.

Finally, our Saviour has become our Master and Lord, the King of kings. Yet, though he was God, he made himself nothing, and became a servant among humanity. Like Jesus' example in washing his disciple's feet, we now serve each other, and the greatest among us is the servant of all. Jesus reminds us in Matthew that our loving treatment of the hungry, the naked, the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned is received by Christ as our treatment of him. In every circumstance and in every relationship, whether humbly serving as an authority, an employee, or a slave, we do it all in Christ, the only and highest authority, the lowest and every slave. We submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. We take every opportunity in every relationship to see Jesus in each other, and be Jesus for each other. All glory is to him alone.

We stand in resistance to the authorities of this world who do not reflect the gospel of Jesus' kingdom of justice and mercy and love. As agents of change in this lifetime, carrying the seed of the Kingdom of Heaven and the Spirit of God, we walk in the authority of the King of kings to live lives of love, grace, humility, and true justice. There is no authority on this earth that can oppose the authority which we represent. We stand firm with peace, truth, and faith against injustice, unrighteousness, and oppression. We will refuse to allow the authorities of this earth to advance any agenda against the justice, grace, and love of God. We do not do this in our own power, but from the inner working of the Spirit, who equips us spiritually and practically to stand firm. We have the word of God, which reveals his plan for redemption and reconciliation. The world will not stop his work on earth. The devil will not stop his work on earth.

This beautiful letter is written from prison, reminding us that in this life we do may not see a personal favourable outcome from a life of walking in love and standing in resistance against dark worldly authority. It was a shackled hand that penned the verse that we are seated in heavenly realms in Christ. It is the life and glory of Jesus that Ephesians reveals, not our own. It is because we are in him, seated by faith in his righteousness, that we are children of God. God's power to live his resurrection life through us is based on his infinite love and grace, and therefore it transcends any and all circumstances. Wherever we sit, by faith we sit in his righteousness. Wherever we walk, we walk as children of light. Wherever we stand, we wrestle against the dark authorities and the spiritual forces that oppose the grace and justice and love of God. However weak we may be, we are strong in his mighty power.

Freedom. Real freedom.

Our old self, our selfish being was nailed to the cross with Jesus. In his unselfish and righteous act, he opened up the door for all humanity to be also so forgiving and gracious and loving and true.

All those rules which would bind and oppress and haunt us with their impossible restrictions have also been nailed there to the cross.

Any cultural, relational, or legal authority that would keep us from God has been transcended. We are no longer in submission to it. Any cultural, relational, or legal power or authority that would keep us from each other has been transcended. We live as a new humanity, in unity, humility, and love.

We are free in the truest sense. But not alone. We are adopted and loved. We owe God nothing, and we owe each other nothing. In this new family, this new society, we are constrained by love alone. Our hearts, minds, and attitudes are reflections of the life of Jesus, and even in the most extreme of unequal earthly relationships, we are made fully equal in God. We live and love together as God does.

We fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or think or even imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!


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