Ephesians; 1:5 – The predestined will be conformed to His image; the first and the last.
Sunday April 14th, 2019
The solution to envy is obviously not sin and laziness. Peter (“we left everything for You”) changed and so must we. It is our motive that needs changing if it is trending towards calculation.
The solution is also not about pretending lowliness or humility. He didn’t say all the first would be last; He said many of the first would be last. We are to do the labor that God has foreordained for us to do, whether it is very much and noticed by many, or whether it seems like little and noticed by hardly no one. We will all find the work that God has prepared beforehand if we humbly seek His will in study and prayer. Study God’s will and pray every day, “Your will be done.”
The ethical note of Christianity is the “new man in Christ Jesus,” whose sins were slain by His death and who shares His risen life unto God, Rom 6.
The temper and disposition of the believer, his conduct in all social duties and practical affairs are the expression of a “life hid with Christ in God.” The new man in Him is our ideal and our only path and pattern.
Eph 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
We are sons who work for the Father out of love and adoration for Him. Nothing else. We do not look for men to notice or for the amount of God’s reward, nor do we compare ourselves with others.
In fact, the men working on their ninth hour work together and seamlessly with the men working on their first hour. How could such a society exist except in the vineyard kingdom of the great King and Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Together, all of us new creatures are the church. Jesus Christ is the head of me and the head of the church. Christ is the Savior of me and the Savior of the body. The Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me is also the Christ who loved the church and gave Himself up for her.
We are more than individuals. We are members of the body – a perfect society.
The new man is an individual but he is not only an individual. He is not a mere ego, but a beginning of a new mankind that is in union with the head and also with all the members of the body. Christ has made new men and He has also made a new community, a perfect society of men, all sons of God in Christ, constituted around the cross, in which the old, common, worldly antagonisms are all reconciled, even the Jew and Gentile become one new man in Christ Jesus.
Eph 1:22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,
Eph 1:23 which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all.
Eph 2:14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
Eph 2:15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,
Eph 2:16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.
Clement said that the whole church would be united by “churchly order and uniformity.” Ignatius said that the church would be unified by “monepiscopal rule.” But both were wrong. Church government or governing will not do it. The understanding that the strength of sin has been removed by Christ’s blood removes the barrier between man and God and thus also man and man. Love and forgiveness overrule personal differences, so much so that personal differences are actually enjoyed while unity of mind, spirit, love, and purpose are held in common.
We are to truly forget about ourselves. Do you secretly harbor a desire for praise from others, or are you truly distressed when others speak of making public recognition of your charity?
The sin nature will oppose you in this area as in all the others it opposes. No matter. Remember that he or she has been killed by the Lord. Tell it to bugger off. Fight to establish your sonship alone in your self-consciousness.
It is also true that many of the last will be last. Not all who do little do so out of humility. These are complacent to do as little as can be in the kingdom of God.
Also, this work is in the vineyard and not outside of it. The work spoken of here is in the service of God, which is not isolated to the church building, and can and is performed anywhere in the world, but any work in the world that is profitable for self alone is excluded.
The work is so important to be done that the Son of God Himself left heaven to do it. Why waste your day? Why waste another hour of it?
At some point, God whispers in every believer’s ear, “Son, you must live this life, not only learn the letters of it or talk about it. I have given it to you graciously to walk in, and only in walking in it will you truly see it and see Me. So, what do you say?”
How does anyone who can hear that voice and that question respond to it? There is only one response.
Christ would have us fall in love with the service, so that though there were to be no reward at all, we should still choose it as the most honorable, the most useful, the most joyful way of spending our life, indeed as the one service which is perfect freedom, and satisfies our idea of what life should be. That is exactly as Christ sees it.
Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
Eph 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love
Eph 1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
Eph 1:6a to the praise of the glory of His grace,
Proorizo: in love we have been predestined to adoption as sons, through Jesus Christ, according to the kind intention of His will.
He knows every decision that you would ever make, and all in a moment of time, yet for us it slowly unfolds. We sow and reap, either to the flesh or the Spirit and the results play out. How marvelous to know that God knew all of this in the blink of an eye, and despite our bad decisions, despite sowing to the flesh too frequently, He has predestined us and has provided real time solutions to all that stand in our way.
His knowledge of us is instantaneous and yet He is patience with our understanding is kind and slow.
His working in us is to Him momentary as a thousand years is a day, and yet He gently guides our slow working out process.
Such seeming paradoxes are nothing more than the results of love. The love of God made the paradox of sovereignty and omniscience face to face with free-will and restriction a living reality in the hypostatic union of the Son of God. God became flesh and dwelt among us. The infinite became finite. The limitless became limited. The untouchable became held. The unseen became visible. The distant and shielded became our friend.
Proorizo is always used as God determining from eternity (1Co 2:7 – reveal mystery wisdom), decreeing to do something (Act 4:28 – life of Christ), foreordaining things or persons (Rom 8:29 – believers), or appointing someone beforehand (Eph 1:5).
It is not a difficult word or a difficult concept to grasp. Simply put, God determined something or someone to happen before human history. Other questions about why, and why not, lead us into the unknown, but the fact of it is simple. There is great benefit to the believer’s state of peace and happiness when he believes God and understands what is simply put forward, and who doesn’t bother with the questions that can’t be answered.
The world is a system; it has a method and a plan, therefore a foundation. But before the foundation there was the Founder. And man was in His thoughts, as well as the redeemed church in Christ. Before the foundation of the world, the Lord’s thoughts rested with complacency upon His human sons, whose names were written in the book of life.