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Ephesians overview – 3:14-19, Filled with the perfect attributes of God.

EPHESIANS-1-200901
length: 66:35 - taught on Sep, 1 2020
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Class Outline:

Tuesday September 1, 2020

 

 

It is vital to know the truth of ROM 5:12-21, for from it comes the victory to live the life given; explained in chapters 6-8. To not know it is to live a weak Christian life of partial obedience in which one is defeated in many spheres.

 

Following the wonderful news of Rom 5, that we are made alive in Christ, severed from our old relationship to Adam, made righteous to eternal life in Christ, justified, made new to reign in life, we do not have to question our position in Christ because we still find sin in our lives. Rom 6 tells us that we are still capable of sin.

 

Yet also, being what we are following Rom 5, we are not to be complacent about sin, nor are we in any way to concede defeat to it. We are to be in practice what God has made us to be, and to that truth Paul is sure to instruct us in the truth of the matter.

 

We died to sin; therefore, we should not live in it.

We are alive in Christ; therefore, we should walk in newness of life.

 

ROM 6:1-2

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

 

Then, in case you couldn’t answer it or hesitated:

ROM 6:3

Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?

 

Concluding then:

ROM 6:4-7

Therefore we have been buried [aorist indicative] with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For [the conclusion is immoveable] if we have become united with [sumphutos: planted with] Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be [future indicative] also in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer [present infinitive: no time element, continuous, i.e. what type we are] be slaves to sin; 7 for he who has died is freed from sin.

 

Adam died and made a race of sinners destined for the same fate. Christ crucified that race and made new men in resurrection on the condition of faith.

 

The old race was not only a slave to sin and death, but because of that slavery bound to the Law also. When Christ crucified the old race, He broke our bond to the Law by simultaneously fulfilling the Law with His own blood sacrifice and crucifying us, being judged for our sins.

 

ROM 7:4-6

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

 

ROM 6:8-11

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Even so consider yourselves [logizomai - reckon, take into account] to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

 

Because of the type of humanity God has made every believer to be, consider yourselves dead to the nature of sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

 

A thorough reading of Rom 5-8, and 2-3 times over, is worthy of your effort. Read it once quickly, gulping it. Read it again slowly, sipping it. Read it a third time with confidence of knowing that you have it. Chapter 5, what Christ has made you to be; chapter 6, how you are to be now that you know that; chapter 7, the struggle you will face; and then chapter 8 the victory that is ours when we are convinced. It is a most important portion of scripture to be understood by us all, individually and personally.  

 

EPH 3:16-19

that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.

 

The genitive, the fulness of God, is either to be understood as objective or subjective. If objective, then God’s fullness is the abundance of grace which He bestows. If it is subjective, it is the fullness which fills God Himself, in other words His perfect attributes. Naturally, I think we’d rather accept the former because the latter seems way too high.

 

But the preposition (“to”) is eis, which indicates that we are to be filled not ‘with’ so much as ‘unto’ the fullness of God.

 

Staggering as the thought may be, the more probable meaning is that we are to be filled up unto all the fulness of God, meaning His perfect attributes. And this is backed up by scripture in that we see that we are to love as He loves, have His knowledge, wisdom, and fruit. Certainly we don’t have them to the capacity that God does, but as much as our fullness can take.

 

EPH 5:1-2

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

 

1PE 1:15-16

but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."

 

Jesus told us to be perfect as our Father is perfect. He told us to be extraordinary. Every church age believer has been foreknown and predestined to be conformed to His image.

 

Staggering as the thought may be, the more probable meaning is that we are to be filled up unto all the fulness of God, meaning His perfect attributes.

 

Taken in its plain language, Paul is praying for our heavenly perfection. We might reply to him that he’ll have to wait to see us in heaven and then he can rest assured that his prayer has been answered. And there is truth to that, for we will not reach consistent perfection in this life. But that truth is also indicative of what we are aiming for in time.

 

Imagine that you were born and raised in a home of great nobility and character, and then at a young age you were kidnapped and enslaved in a foreign, pagan land where the people were only impulse, a little higher than animals in nature, lacking any moral code nor caring to attain any virtue. Should you then consent to be like them or should you hold to the form of your true origin, your true self?

 

If our destiny is perfect love, perfect joy, perfect peace, and that to the fullness of God, then shouldn’t we be reaching for that place now? We discover that our inner selves will not change when we pass from this life to the next, but that our tents, our bodies, will. Our sin nature will be finally put to rest and the natural will take on the spiritual. If our inner selves are already made for heaven, what else are we to settle for? We cry out that we cannot attain it, but how do we know that? Should we listen to someone who has not dedicated their whole lives to it, who says, “Don’t bother. It’s impossible.”? Christ told us to pick up our crosses and follow Him, denying ourselves daily.

 

We are at no liberty to try and evade the prayer’s present challenge - complete fulness by the Holy Spirit into Christ’s image.

 

As we look back down the staircase that we have been climbing with Paul through the first three chapters of Ephesians, we cannot fail to be struck by his audacity. He prays that his readers may be given the strength of the Spirit and the ruling presence of Christ, the rooting of their lives in love, the knowledge of Christ’s love in all dimensions, and the fullness of God Himself. Who may ascend the mountain of God?

 

PSA 24:3-4

Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?

And who may stand in His holy place?

4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

 

PSA 15:1-2

O Lord, who may abide in Thy tent?

Who may dwell on Thy holy hill?

2 He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,

And speaks truth in his heart.

 

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