Ephesians 4:14: Fools don’t grow up.
Tuesday January 11, 2022
There has long been a phenomenon that we call tribalism. The word comes from the Latin term tribus which simply means “three.” The Romans looked at their history and saw that there were three different ethnic groups that fought with one another and eliminated any hope a peaceful society and economy. They called the idea of identifying with one clan over another as tribus. In modern times, tribalism is the idea that people will identify with others who look like them or behave like them while rejecting others who are different. It must be emphasized that the identities are completely superficial based on over looks and race. Particularly race becomes essential to who you are rather than incidental. In America now, tribalism is being used by the kingdom of darkness to weaken our nation, and its working. Different groups are more commonly identifying as their ethnicity rather than as Americans.
To see the error in this we need only look at how God has made His own nation of priests, His kingdom. All members of the kingdom are identified with Jesus Christ, while superficially they are from all ethnicities – there is no Jew of Gentile, male or female, free or slave. The body of Christ is unified in love and service, and outward things mean nothing. Love your neighbor as yourself. Hence the body of Christ is fraternal and inclusive to all who are in Christ.
One statistician estimates from real data that 60% of Americans claim to have no friend. We have become extremely isolated and decoupled from one another as a society. And, this data was before the virus. This results in a free-floating anxiety and anger. Free-floating means that the person doesn’t know why they are anxious and angry, in other words, they cannot point to a certain danger or circumstance that is causing it. Think of the benefits of the body of Christ. God gives us many friendships, and not of a superficial character, but ones in which you share the same mind, love, spirit, and purpose. And, these friendships are eternal and fraternal, being forever brothers and sisters.
Paul writes in Eph 4:14, “As a result, we are no longer to be children (spiritual infants).” Though all in the body of Christ will mature to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ, we are not to be slaves to what Christ has delivered us from, which in Eph 2:1-3 is the flesh, the world system, and the devil.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
God has not made a plan for His church in which they are to always be slaves on earth and free only after they reach heaven. God gave freedom now.
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Freedom in time makes each of us responsible to live free from sin, the course of the world ruled by the devil, lusts of the flesh and mind.
By “free from sin,” I mean not overcome or mastered by it.
Say that you were languishing for years in a terrible prison, sentenced to life with no hope of parole, and that prison was so remote, surrounded by impenetrable walls, and so heavily guarded that there was no hope of escape. Say also that a soldier from a faraway land planned and executed the most daring rescue mission just to free you. The success of this mission demanded his every resource, all of his power, all of his effort, and in the end, the sacrifice of his very life. Say that he set the plan in motion and it actually worked. You were free while he was dead; you were standing outside of the walls, breathing the fresh, free air for the first time while he lay lifeless on the ground. Now, a path was open to you for a journey of freedom and joy; to find love, raise a family, explore all things new and good, but you turned around and walked back into the prison and shut the door behind you and remained there to continue to languish and be tortured, what would you be?
Do we owe it to our Savior to please Him because of what it cost Him? We owe everything to Him, but not in any way as a sort of pay-back. God doesn’t ask us to pay Him back, as if we could in any way, as a sort of guilt motivation. We are obligated to Christ as a creature is obligated to his Creator. But if we walk back into that prison, in our case it is the flesh and the world ruled by the prince of the power of the air, we are foolish – plain and simple – idiots.
The free who continue to live as slaves are total fools and will be recompensed as fools.
Therefore be careful [see the course of all things carefully] how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, 16 making the most of your time [redeeming the time], because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation [riotous living as opposed to the life of the saved and free], but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
The opening phrase is quite intense: See to it that you carefully understand the course of things. Walk as wise men. The wise don’t just speak to others in the way of psalms and hymns for the sake of doing it; rather, they understand the eternal relationship they have with other in love and peace, having been perfectly knit together by Christ Himself.
If we wait until the prison is wiped away, no longer in existence, and the whole earth is destroyed and made new, and the possibility of returning to the prison no longer exists; then we’re idiots. The idiots will mature, as our passage promises, but the wise will in some way be rewarded in eternity, and that reward will come right from the hand of the Savior who tore down the walls of the prison at the cost of His life.
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
2Co 5:6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord-
2Co 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight--
2Co 5:8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
2Co 5:9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed (receive as his due: Robertson) for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
11 Therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men,
Paul understood that the goal of the church could not be attained if there was too much childishness among its ranks. Left in the condition of spiritual infancy, the church would be driven away by seductions of error. The souls of the immature live but never thrive.
Vs. 14 – the malady that would arrest the growth of the church: immature believers and false teachers of speculations.
As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.