January 7, 2011 by Dwight Bernier
The fourth question in this series has to do with application stemming from:
- Who God is
- What God has done
- Who we are in light of the aforementioned
Before stating the fourth question, I want to say that many people miss seeing and hearing Jesus in Scripture because they’re looking for what they are to do rather than what has been done. The popular acronym a few years back was “WWJD” (what would Jesus do). The reason that people would say this was to try to think what the proper application was in that moment. But by jumping to application (what should we do) before first seeing who God is, what He’s done & who we are because of that, we cut off all the power that would properly motivate what we should do.
Religion calls us to do – but has no power. The only powers that exist are despair or self-righteousness. If you are doing well, you can be self-righteous and proud of your endeavors. If you are doing poorly, then you swing to despair because you can’t keep up. But if you started with who God is and what He’s done, you would see that there was no way you could ever do it – but Jesus did it in your place. And reading Scripture in this fashion will produce the same results. If you jump to application, you’ll be religious and just try to find the right thing to do. Look for Jesus and the power of the gospel which will thrust you into doing the good works that God prepared beforehand for us to walk in (Eph. 2.10).
So, now to the fourth question in our study of Ephesians 1. What am I called to do in light of what I’ve just seen about God and who I am? These are both explicit and implicit. And yes they can become much more personal – as some have become for me. I will give the more personal applications at the end. So… I am called:
- To live as a saint (holy one) where I am (v. 1)
- To receive & give grace (v. 2)
- To receive peace & be peaceable (v. 2)
- To bless (because we’ve been blessed) (v. 3)
- To be holy & blameless (v. 4)
- To live as sons of God (v. 5)
- To make much of God’s grace (v. 6)
- To live as the forgiven (v. 7)
- To be hopeful for Christ to unite things in Him (v. 10)
- To live for the inheritance to come (v. 11)
- To exist for God’s glory
- To believe the gospel of Jesus Christ (v. 13)
- To be secure in what God has done (vv. 13, 14)
- To rely on God for revelation about Himself (vv. 17-19)
- To lift up Jesus & worship Him (vv. 20-21)
- To put no man in the church about Jesus (v. 22)
- To be the body of Christ (v. 23)
Now, as I mentioned before, there can be more personal or vague applications made from this passage such as:
- I am called to be a missionary & servant & light in the city where God has placed me (v. 1)
- I can give grace to my friend who hurt me because God has given me grace (v. 2)
- I can work for peace in my community among two nationalities at war with each other because of the peace God made with me, an enemy of Him, in Christ (v. 2)
- I can bless others freely because of the way that I’ve been blessed (v. 3)
- I can adopt children who don’t “deserve” (have not merited or earned it in any way) to be adopted because I was a rebel child who God has adopted as His Son.
- I can give my life away here because of the inheritance I have in Jesus (v. 11)
- I don’t have to fear or doubt my standing before God because He’s sealed me with His Spirit (v. 13)
- I can keep going to God in His Word and in prayer, even when I don’t feel like it, because I know that He can reveal Himself to me at any point, when He wants and how He wants (vv. 17-19)
- I need to keep believing the gospel (v. 13)
- I need to repent from following all these other idols and turn in faith to trust Jesus again (vv. 20-21)
- I need to repent of calling people to be my disciple and point people to follow Jesus and make much of Him (v. 22)
- I can plant churches with the emphasis on missional communities because Christ fills all in all through His body, the church.
What a glorious passage this is – filled with so much of Christ! I will do one more post on this passage tomorrow, where we will look at the final two questions which are meant to make much of Christ and not of us. Scripture is ultimately all about Him (Luke 24.27) and should be read that way. But we must be trained to do that. That why we are disciples called to make disciples.
May you enjoy Jesus as the Hero of Scripture.