Ephesians 4:4-6, One hope of your calling: the courage to execute your own calling.
length: 62:43 - taught on Dec, 23 2020
Wednesday December 23,2020
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
[Archbishop Robert Leighton] “While the children of God are childish and weak in faith, they are like some great heirs before they come to years of understanding; they consider not their Inheritance and what they are to come to, have not their spirits elevated to thoughts worthy of their estate, and their behavior conformed to it; but as they grow up in years, they come, little by little, to be sensible of those things, and the nearer they come to possession the more apprehensive they are of their quality, and of what does answerably become them to do. And this is the duty of such as are indeed heirs of glory; - to grow in the understanding and consideration of that which is prepared for them, and to suit themselves, as they are able, to those great hopes. This is what the Apostle Paul prays for, on behalf of his Ephesians: EPH 1:18
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. This would make them holy and heavenly, to have their conversation in Heaven, from whence they look for a Savior.”
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence [spoudazo - making every effort], in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
Peter means for us to have them all immediately and that they would continue to abound.
He does not convey the idea that agape love will only be found in us at a more distant time. All of it is thrown together like the ingredients of a recipe.
All are to be ours and each of them, all of them, must be increasing or continually abounding.
If the qualities are abounding in you, you are useful and fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord - a life of work and production based on the knowledge of Christ.
If these qualities are yours and they are abounding. The meaning of the present participle pleonazo is to continue to abound. Increasing is a legitimate translation, but I like abounding better. It is usually difficult to determine if a characteristic in us is increasing, but we can always know if it is abounding.
Short sighted - seeing only that which is close by. Such are bowed toward the earth and not seeking life above with Christ. They have forgotten their salvation.
The imagery is a constant one in the scripture. Christ said that He was the bread that came out of heaven. He has been exalted to the right hand of God. Our lives are with Him there and we are to seek that life, a heavenly one, and not the things of the earth. We have been made alive together with Him, raised up together with Him, and seated together with Him. We are to be long-sighted, seeing our calling and blessings from the source of heaven. Short-sighted sees and longs for the things of the earth.
The reason for this short-sightedness is striking - he has forgotten his purification from his former sins. Having become blind, he has forgotten his new birth.
There is nothing to indicate that Peter is speaking of unbelievers. The letter flows without interruption. These qualities are yours and increasing. Then, “For he who lacks these qualities has forgotten.” Plus, an unbeliever would never have known of purification from sins so as to forget about them.
It may be that some of them to which this happened never had believed in Christ. Peter would have witnessed it over the years that some had gone astray to the point where they forgot their salvation (or so-called), but that is not the point of his warning. Short-sightedness (eyes on self and the world), blindness and forgetfulness must never happen to us, and so we must be all the more diligent (the first word in the series).
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;
“make certain” - (perhaps) make your calling the foundation of your life.
Some commentators think Peter is instructing us to make certain about our being saved by doing good works. Some manuscripts actually added the phrase, “by your good works,” but the phrase is not found in the best manuscripts. It seems to me to fit better with the rest of revelation that Peter is entreating us to make our calling the point of our entire lives. Nothing else, no career, no personal plans, nothing else is the purpose of your life. We can take care of all the other things, career, family, personal plans while we put our entire heart into the calling that the Father has given to us.
The Law of Moses taught: Do, in order to be blessed. The Law of Messiah teaches: You are blessed; therefore, do.
Peter intimates that some had forgotten about their calling. If we can forget it for an hour or a day, then it seems possible that we could forget it for far longer.
Because of the terrible blindness that had fallen upon some who left their first grace unimproved and allowed even the memory of it to fade away - give more diligence to your spiritual life.
The truest way to banish evil is to multiply good.
Fill your life with so much of God’s work and will that there is no room, neither time, for the bad things. When being assailed and peril surround you, it is not time for relaxed effort. Your enemy never relaxes his. He prowls about day and night. Like the stewards in the house, always be watchful and alert.
While practicing these things we cannot stumble. When we stop doing them, we will.
Then Peter concludes his opening thought:
for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
All believers have entered the eternal kingdom. The diligent who develop virtue and knowledge, and add to that temperance and patience and godliness and love will have, far more than those who didn’t, understand and see that eternal kingdom. What the abundant supply is, Peter does not tell us specifics. Perhaps he thinks of dying grace, the joy and anticipation of crossing over to from this life to the next. Perhaps he speaks of reward in heaven, but heavenly treasure is never material.
Lose a loved one and then what value is your material possessions? All mankind discovers, some not until death, that things like love, joy, and peace were the true blessings in life and not the things, nor food, drink, or clothing (to use Christ’s description).
For those believers who have come to know that things like love, joy, and peace are the true blessings in life and have taken hold of them through God’s grace, they go through their death experience with excitement and happiness, knowing that very soon they will meet the Lord who gave them that gift of life and will experience more of it with Him.
In any case, to have witnessed the fulfillment of the hope of our election will make for a sublime experience in death.
Peter doesn’t lay out reward as our motivation; neither does Paul. They are both in accord. It is who God has made us to be that is our motivation.
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.
The hope of our calling is a joyous and blessed confidence that we will see heavenly attributes in ourselves and with time, abundantly.
We were called that we might be holy and blameless and that sanctification is the prerequisite to doing things God has willed that only the most holy minded saints can do.
Many poets are not poets for the same reason that many religious men are not holy in conduct: they never succeed in being themselves. They never get around to being the particular poet or particular saint they were called to be. They never become the man or the artist who is called for by all the circumstances of their individual lives. They waste their years in vain efforts to be some other poet, some other saint or to pretend that they are something they are not - settling to play the hypocrite. They wear out their minds and bodies in a hopeless endeavor to have somebody else’s experiences or possess somebody else’s spirituality or to fool everyone else.
There can be an egoism in following everybody else. People are in a hurry to magnify themselves by imitating what is popular - and too lazy to think of anything better. They want quick success and hurry to get it, not knowing that this can ruin them. And when the chase is madness upon them they argue that their very haste is a species of integrity.
This ruins people because they do not take the time to be true to themselves, the unique man or woman God wants them to be, and to find it through the circumstances and situations of their own life. Know for sure, whatever you have experienced and faced in life, both genetic and environmental, God has put it there for your good. Some things are obviously that and others are downright perplexing, appearing as the opposite of influencing good. No matter how many of them you can positively identify; what matters is your faith in God’s hand.