A thought comes to me at this point of our meditations and search for insights into what we refer to as, “Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.” The gist of what came to me is that the letter is upside down to the common modus operandi of Christian thought. Perhaps I should say it the other way round as I, as an evangelical Christian, accept the authority of Ephesians as absolute. Widely held Christian thought is upside down in the light of Ephesians. That sounds better!
What do I mean? It is commonly conceived that, “We must have faith in order to get God to answer prayer! Only faith moves God! So in order to receive any blessing from heaven we need to pray, fast and agonise to bend God’s arm up His back in order to get Him to give.” However, according to Ephesians, God has moved as much as He is going to, which is more than we could ever dream of or ask for. He has plainly given us all that we need and require. It is He who has to twist our arms up our backs to understand that He has already given us everything. Then He has to shout and scream to get us to alter the way we have always understood. The truth is that your healing, your deliverance, your provision etc is already provided for you – just receive what the scripture tells us has already been given. Faith simply steps into what a person has given according to all the promises of God. It is all about Christians simply aligning themselves with God’s plan and purpose and understanding what He has already in reality given us. Read these scriptures aloud and hear what it tells us that you, as a Christian believer, already have. (The Boldface highlights are, of course, my own):
- For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (Romans 6:14 ESVUK)
This means that because the Christian believer was in the Spirit crucified with Christ, dead with Christ, buried with Christ, risen and ascended with Christ and now seated with Christ, we can receive victory over sin altogether. It’s a done deal. It simply requires us to step into the provided victory.
- “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” but we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16 ESVUK)
First Corinthians tells us that we have something that our irrational and sometimes ungodly attitudes to life seem to flatly contradict, i.e. the mind of Christ. “We” in the sentence refers to all the Christians who were partakers of the grace of God in the church at Corinth. The context of both the Corinthian letters in the Bible let us know that the moral character of people in the church at Corinth was not exactly the best testimony of Christ like living. But Paul asserts that they have the very mind of Christ within them.
- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 1:3 ESVUK)
This verse we have earlier examined. We have every blessing that God can bestow. Yes! The blessing of God is already fallen upon us. These blessings are not to fight for, or argue with God for. He has already given us more than what we could possibly require.
- For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8 ESVUK)
Ephesians 2:8 is the only verse of this kind that is widely understood and believed upon throughout the protestant world. This is evangelical Bread and butter. We believe that Salvation was provided for us before we were born. God was waiting for us to simply appropriate by faith the salvation He had planned for us. The provision was effected long before we were even conceived and as we believe we appropriate God’s salvation.
- Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. (Colossians 3:9-10 ESVUK)
Colossians 3:9-10 lets us into a truth that many Christians have not seen. In my years interacting with Christians I have heard so many talk about how their lives are tormented by their “old man” that seems to not want to lie down. But there is no “old man” to get up. To have an “old man” fighting with the “new man” when quite clearly both old and new are referring to the same person sounds like Schizophrenia to me. The Old man is dead, gone and none existent. The new man lives! Continuing sins or bad habits are nothing to do with the old man, but it is everything to do with the renewal of the mind. The new man is the new spirit in the converted person. So, it is true of every Christian, that their proper biblical confession is, “I have put off the old man and put on the new self.” That is the truth, no matter what one’s exterior circumstances, or inner frame of mind are.
- For by one offering he has perfected forever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14 ESVUK)
Here is another line of scripture that is referring to the Christian believer. A person who trusts in Christ for their eternal salvation is a sanctified person, set apart for God’s purposes. The saving power of God is working in a person’s life and the sacrifice that Christ offered on Calvary need never be repeated. The means of being saved and renewed is a perfect and complete means to a perfect and complete end. With all this in mind, the writer to the Hebrews declares that by Christ’s perfect sacrifice He has perfected forever those that are sanctified.
- He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds, you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24 ESVUK)
Here we have the concept being presented to us that healings purchased by the sufferings of Christ were effected for us before we were even conceived. The job has been done, the healing performed and ready to be delivered. My friend just receive what God has waiting for you.
Faith therefore does not move God – God has already moved. It is when we align ourselves with God that our faith, though it is as a grain of mustard seed, shall move the mountains. God has put something in us, and given things to us and it is the claim of Christ upon us to walk out that which He has worked in. Christians are therefore living well below their privileges.
The usual human desperation to want to “earn” things from God is utterly defeated by the plain straightforward truth. The brain that feels the need to justify self and earn what God wants to give, cannot resolve this dilemma without an incredible renewing of the mind and the concept of “gifts from God.” Dear brain, just stop for a moment while I tell you something – “It’s a special gift, a present from God to our souls. There is nothing you can do to get it, apart from believing it.” To put it in another way, God is not in the process of blessing us – He has already done so. All He wants is for us to receive what He has already given to us.
Because of the subject matter that we have been reading and discussing together through these pages, we know and are aware that God in His infinite foreknowledge foresaw sin. God was the ultimate positive thinker inasmuch as he knew all about us, every sin we would ever commit – and this was before we were even conceived – yet He saw the good in us, and what was virtuous in us and did not shudder in the least at the evil we would get up to. He knew how to cleanse us, redeem us and how to set us off onto a new road of integrity and obedience. God wanted relationship with man, and so made plans towards that end before there was any such thing as a human being in existence.
We need revelation on things like this because not only is the world lying and deceiving us every single day that we live in it, but without revelation after we know Christ as our Saviour, we are still believing lies and submitting to some mental concepts and philosophical points that, as Christians we should not be having any truck with.
Therefore, God sees us at the end, not without sin, but clearly without blame. He has grafted us into His family circle, adopted us simply for His good pleasure – but not good pleasure as an end in itself, it was His good pleasure “according to His will” and purpose that He had delightedly planned towards, and it was all before the foundation of the world – i.e. before time had begun.
God put a value on we humans that is seriously astonishing. He placed an intrinsic value on us that we do not even put on ourselves. It is the value that He placed on us, and the full price He paid in order to gain us access into His family that makes us accepted “in Christ.” It is God’s wilful and deliberate graciousness towards us, that is appropriate to the price He paid to gain us, that makes us justly accepted. It is all about the pricelessness of the person of Christ.
Whatever the deepest depths of are of what actually transpires in the Christians new birth, few of us really understand. What God imparted to us at that glorious moment of conversion is so devalued and undervalued that I believe it is a root cause behind ineffectual Christian living in the lives of millions.
If one lists the full number of scriptures where past tense is used concerning what God has given us, we need to acknowledge that as we stand in Christ there are very few that Christians generally accede to what I am stating in this document. The abbreviated list above only has Ephesians 2:8 as one verse that is accepted widespread throughout the evangelical protestant world. That verse, of course, is a rallying call to all evangelicals no matter what colour or hue.
This writer is absolutely convinced that somehow, residing in my innermost spirit are secrets of the Christian life and its full resources that God is eager to reveal to us if only we would reach for them, asking Heavenly Father to show them to us. This is the full significance of, “You have the mind of Christ,” while we walk in worldly ignorance, or “by His stripes you have been healed,” while we still walk in sickness of body and soul. This is the full discovery of how the Bible can boldly state, “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit,” and yet God knows how many Christians there are that walk in the flesh and are filled with condemnation. Many would not know whether they are walking in the Spirit or the flesh. It is a scenario that Christian ministers need to confront.
I trust my readers hear where I am coming from. I do not talk with tones of judgement or condemnation towards anybody. I preach to myself before I speak of others, lest I become a castaway. My point is that what we have in Christ needs to be explored both subjectively within ourselves as well as objectively through scripture. Without any shadow of a doubt I believe that the church as a whole, generally speaking walks far beneath its privileges and its power. There are secrets held within our hearts that need unscrambling. Like computer programmes that cannot be activated until the correct protocols are utilised. We have been blessed with all that heaven has. We do know the mind of Christ. We are the sanctified made perfect forever. God has gifted us with so much from eternity, placed them within us, within our time-space existence, yet we are governed so much by our five senses that we fail to press the right buttons, or rather, we refuse to step through the right door of revelation.
It says a little later in Ephesians 1 that God has, “made known to us the mystery of His will.” This is telling us that we already know His will. But many of us stop and cry, “But I don’t know the mystery of His will!” I believe this understanding concerning the whys and wherefores of the will and purposes of God is planted within our hearts, buried in our human spirit. Christians in their spirits know these things, but we in the west know so little about our spirits that it makes the issue even more complex.
I believe things are revealed to us from our own hearts when we pray violently and purposefully in tongues. I believe things are also revealed as we prayerfully read scripture and meditate upon what we read. As we dig into scripture we read so much that resonates within us as we feel we have just discovered new truth. But it is not new, and it isn’t even knew to us, it was already their dwelling within us through the occupancy of the Spirit of God. We need to activate the revelation within our spirits so that it is released to our understanding. There are aspects of power and grace that we should all know more of but do not. The heavenly inheritance given to us for the “now” is much more than commonly discussed or agreed upon amongst Christians. Faith releases the grace, the power and the wisdom of God. We need to release those things graciously placed within us from above.
Father, allow us to go further and deeper with You!
- Knowing God’s Will Apart From the Law (spoiledmilks.wordpress.com)
- Stepping into Triumphal Procession and Out of Depressing Introspection, Pt. 2 (donavansmwosehshalom.wordpress.com)
- Ephesians Part 2 (mcfalger.com)
- The Offensive Gospel of Christ (debdebbarak.wordpress.com)