Ephesians; 1:5 – The predestined will be conformed to His image; the first and the last.

Friday April 12, 2019


Proorizo used in: Eph 1:5, 11; 1Co 2:7; Act 4:28 (of our Lord); Rom 8:29,30.


In Rom 8:29, all the predestined will be conformed to the image of Christ. Some strive for that maturity in time. Some Christians seem not to. None of us will be as conformed to Him as we will be in heaven.


By Peter’s question, “What then will there be for us?” we understand that there is a danger for the sons in the Lord’s kingdom seeking to be like the King, may obtain an attitude of thinking he is something of a mercenary; that he is due a particular wage for his work.


Especially in light of knowing that those who do not currently strive to be like the King will be conformed to His image, there may be even more motivation to expect a certain wage – and be bitter against those who don’t work as much. To quash this bad attitude, Christ gave us the parable of the vineyard workers.


And, furthering the lesson is our Lord’s declaration that many who are first will be last; and the last, first. This likely means that many in are known to do a lot of work in the church [the first], do so expecting a certain wage, like the first hired workers in the parable, and that those who are unknown or don’t seem to do that much [the last] actually have the proper attitude of the other workers, who agree that whatever they receive from the Lord is up to Him and by that it is right.


The Lord is the only One who can know this. None of us could ever hope of knowing it. It is not given to us to judge our brother. We cannot see the motivation in his soul, no matter what we may suspect.


Rom 14:1 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.


Rom 14:2 One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.


Rom 14:3 Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him.


Rom 14:4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand.


“the Lord is able to make him stand,” – he will be conformed to the image of Christ with all the predestined.


I think one of the main applications of this to us is to not worship a man. You may think that obvious, but man, even Christians, have a tendency to worship great people. We are to never make an idol out of a man who seems to be great spiritually. Pastors or other very visible teachers are not great Christians. They are simply Christians with a role in the body of Christ that is visible.


All of us who work in the kingdom of heaven, more or less work, visible or invisible, have simply done what we have ought to have done.  


Luk 17:1 And He said to His disciples, "It is inevitable that stumbling blocks should come, but woe to him through whom they come!


Luk 17:2 "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble.


Luk 17:3 "Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.


Luk 17:4 "And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' forgive him."


Luk 17:5 And the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"


The apostles consider forgiving the same man seven times in a day as a herculean spiritual feat, when it is the normal and common course of the son of the kingdom.


The Sermon on the Mount apparently went in one ear and out the other, for Christ already said that they were to love their enemies and do good to them. Here, the septet transgressor actually repented every time.


Luk 17:6 And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and be planted in the sea'; and it would obey you.


Luk 17:7 "But which of you, having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come immediately and sit down to eat'?


Luk 17:8 "But will he not say to him, 'Prepare something for me to eat, and properly clothe yourself and serve me until I have eaten and drunk; and afterward you will eat and drink'?


Luk 17:9 "He does not thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded, does he?


Luk 17:10 "So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.'"


None of us, no matter how much work we have done, for how long, or how noticeable, are anything other than an unworthy slave in the kingdom of God. We work together in unity – all of us, and rejoice in each other’s work as well as our own.


And, the more admired visual, spiritual men are, the more accepted are their spiritual conjecturing. False doctrines will be more prolific if the source is a popular teacher.


We are told to judge no one and to leave all judgment to the One who can judge rightly. Yet then, some quote, “You will know them by their fruit,” without considering that the context of this knowing is always false teachers. If someone who claims to know truth has no fruit that comes from the truth of the word of God, then don’t listen to them; simple. That’s not judging: that’s protecting yourself from lies.


It is our command in love to believe all things and hope all things.


Many who have done little will be first. These merely found it a privilege to serve their Father as sons and to leave all reward to Him. Many who have done a lot will be last. They served for a wage.


We know from the gospel account, and certainly from Peter’s announcement here, that the disciples are trending more towards being mercenaries who will be last.


Do we find it difficult to avoid inwardly comparing ourselves with those who waste their day? Do we live outwardly blameless and correct lives, and abound in practical work, but do so because we are originally of a calculating disposition towards a wage from God?


The first believers and the last believers are alike predestined to conformity to the image of Christ. Are we envious because He is generous? (Mat 20:15)


Phi 1:12 Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel,


Phi 1:13 so that my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become well known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to everyone else,


Phi 1:14 and that most of the brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the word of God without fear.


Phi 1:15 Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife [rivalry], but some also from good will;


Some were envious of Paul or of the admiration of other apostles and teacher and so they attempted to rival them. This is clearly the wrong motivation, but could Paul stop it or control it?


Phi 1:16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;


Phi 1:17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.


Phi 1:18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice, yes, and I will rejoice.


Phi 1:19 For I know that this shall turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,


Phi 1:20 according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I shall not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ shall even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.


Phi 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.


Paul has truly put his faith in the vineyard owner, “Whatever is right, I will pay you.” To die is profit.


Phi 1:22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose.


Phi 1:23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better;


Phi 1:24 yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.


Phi 1:25 And convinced of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith,


Phi 1:26 so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again.


I think it’s safe to assume that those preaching Christ from envy and strife would be the “last,” while those preaching Christ from “good will” and “love” would be “first.”


I think it’s also safe to say that we who love Christ could only desire to be in the latter and never the former.

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