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Ephesians; 1:4 – Elected to be blameless. Humility and obedience are the only way.

EPHESIANS-1-190222
length: 64:55 - taught on Feb, 22 2019
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Class Outline:

Friday February 22, 2019

 

Last time we witnessed the truth that all believers in Christ in this age have been elected that they should be holy and blameless before the foundation of the world, essentially before time. There was never a time, all of the past, the present, and into all of the future when you were not elect in the mind of God. There was never a time when you did not have a deep, deep connection with the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

In reality, Jesus is, always has been, and always will be the origin, meaning, and destiny of your existence. “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.”

 

REV 1:8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

 

REV 1:17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,

 

REV 1:18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.

 

We also understood the clear revelation of Jesus as being holy, unspotted, and blameless or unblemished.

 

The pure one died to make us pure. We were elected to be pure long before He died. We will be pure forever into eternity. Peter’s revelation was that the world was going to be burned up and made brand new, and since that is to happen, what should we be in “holy conduct and godliness?”

 

2PE 3:14

Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless,

 

Paul will write of this same thing.

 

Speaking again of the Rapture of the church:

 

1TH 3:11 Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you;

 

1TH 3:12 and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all men, just as we also do for you;

 

1TH 3:13 so that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

 

God blames the world (crooked and perverse) and calls us to be blameless in the midst of it (not quarantined in a monastery).

 

Paul writes to the Philippians that whether he is present or absent, that they should conduct themselves as citizens of heaven, which they are. One of the obligations of a citizen of heaven is harmony and unity with fellow saints.

 

PHI 1:27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ; so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

 

In 2:1-4, Paul then gives four reasons for the existence of that unity.

 

PHI 2:1 If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,

 

PHI 2:2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

 

PHI 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself;

 

PHI 2:4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

 

In verse 5 he tells us that such unity was the very mind of Christ, and then in vv. 6-8, he shows that Christ possessed in His own mind the basic need of unity and harmony, namely, humility and obedience.

 

These things placed Jesus on the highest honor of the universe. Yet, He did not possess such things for the purpose of receiving honor. The reality of life, the only life that is, which is God’s life and that life in the humanity of Christ, is that honor is only in humility, obedience, self-denial, and the resultant harmony with all who possess that honor.

 

The world has been deceived into thinking such a life is too rare and too unobtainable. The world has also been deceived into thinking that such a life is not the best life; that better can be obtained. What they don’t see is that it is the only life.

 

Now, in verse 12, Paul makes it clear that the mind of Christ (humility, self-denial, obedience, and resultant harmony) must be a fact in their own lives.

 

PHI 2:12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;

 

This verse is usually misunderstood.

 

The meaning of the phrase “work out” in our language and culture has no support in the Greek meaning. First and foremost, it doesn’t mean to work for one’s salvation. Salvation is a work of God for man and not a work of man. The work of salvation happened at the cross and it is given to man by grace and through faith.

 

And also, the phrase “work out” doesn’t mean to work out of yourself a salvation that is already within yourself. The verb in the Greek means to work, accomplish, or achieve.

 

“work out” - katergazomai (present middle imperative) = to work, to accomplish, to achieve, to do something with success or thoroughness. 

 

As for the translation “work out,” it is fine as long as we see it as working out a math problem rather than bringing something out from within. If I say, “I worked out a math problem,” I mean that I finished it or carried it out to its full conclusion.

 

“work out” - carry your salvation to its ultimate conclusion = Christlikeness.

 

It is living the life that we’ve been gifted. Again, and again we have seen this in the doctrine of election. We should be holy and blameless before Him. Christ was, is, and always will be, and we, by His doing, were elected as such before the foundation of the world, currently, and will be forever more. Nothing more could be said or done to motivate us in the proper direction of life, despite the great opposition against it.

 

PHI 2:12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;

 

We also find “fear” used in connection with election to holiness and Christlikeness.

 

We saw it in our several trips to 1Pe 1.

 

1PE 1:16-17

"You shall be holy, for I am holy." And if you address [call upon] as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth;

 

An excellent definition of godly fear is given by Vincent.

 

"This fear is self-distrust; it is tenderness of conscience; it is vigilance against temptation; it is the fear which inspiration opposes to high-mindedness in the admonition, 'be not high-minded but fear.' It is taking heed lest we fall; it is a constant apprehension of the deceitfulness of the heart, and of the insidiousness and power of inward corruption. It is the caution and circumspection which timidly shrinks from whatever would offend and dishonor God and the Savior" [Vincent]

 

It should be noted with some emphasis that bringing our salvation to its natural completion in this lifetime is our responsibility. God is not going to force us to be Christlike in time. However, it should be noted, also with emphasis, that if we move to complete it, that God will be the one to really accomplish it. Paul immediately makes this clear.

 

PHI 2:13 for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

 

Bringing salvation to its natural and ultimate conclusion is God’s good pleasure.

 

We could confidently say that Paul is referring to the Holy Spirit in verse 13. Not that distinguishing which member of the Trinity is working is an issue since all three are working on our behalf. Yet it is the Holy Spirit within that empowers and guides us, and what pleases Him, what is good and pleasing to Him, is that we mature to Christlikeness by being excellent students of the Word of God and excellent executors of the life of Christ taught us in the Word.

 

Also, all the verbs in vs. 13 are present tense, meaning that the work is not one work or an occasional work, but a constant working of the will of God in all things. The pleasure of the Holy Spirit is a habitual doing of His will.

 

Therefore, in verse 12 we have our responsibility and in verse 13 we have God’s responsibility. It is not a “let go and let God” affair, but a “take hold with God” affair.

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