Grace Bible Studies
Ephesians - Sitting And Walking

By I Gordon
 

In another study, or possibly studies knowing me, I have made mention of the fact that it would be useful for you to go and study the layout of the book of Ephesians. This book shows clearly how our entire Christian walk comes from the perfect and complete position God has granted us ‘in Christ.’

So I told you to go away and do your own study... but I couldn’t help myself and have gone and done it anyway! What brought this little study on was something I read from an old Christian writer named C.H.M. Commenting on Colossians 2:10 which says ‘You are complete in Him’ C.H.M wrote

“The very weakest saint is included in the apostolic ‘you’. All the people of God ‘are complete in Christ.’ The apostle does not say, ‘you will be’, ‘you may be’, ‘hope that you may be’, or ‘pray that you may be’. No – he, by the Holy Spirit, states in the most absolute and unqualified manner, that ‘you are complete’. This is the true Christian starting-post, and for man to make a goal of what God makes a starting-post, is to upset everything.

Now I so fully agree with this! Christianity is packed with people who are making it their utmost goal to obtain what God has already freely given them! So have a look at Ephesians, laid out below in the two columns, and see for yourself how before God asks any requirement of you in your Christian life, He first invites you to sit and listen, and be amazed at His grace towards you!

Verse

What God Does… Has done

What We Do… Did

Eph 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Fully Blessed! God HAS blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing in Christ (already!)

We praise God!

Eph 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love

Spotless! God chose us before the foundation of the world and made us holy and blameless in His sight!

Eph 1:5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will--

God predestined and adopted us as His own son! (In His family!)

Eph 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

God freely gave His grace to us

We praise His glorious grace!

Eph 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace

God redeemed us (brought us back to himself by paying the price – his death!) and forgave us ALL our sins.

Eph 1:8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

God lavished grace, wisdom and understanding upon us.

Eph 1:9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,

Showed us the mystery of His will which He purposed in Christ

Eph 1:10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment--to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

God will submit everything to Christ

Eph 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,

God has given us an inheritance in Christ, and as He predestined us, He works everything out for us according to His own will and purpose!

Eph 1:12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

God gave us awesome hope in Christ

We hope in Christ and praise His glory in doing this!

Eph 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,

God has sealed us with the Holy Spirit

We believed the good news!

Eph 1:14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.

God has given us a guarantee of our inheritance by the Holy Spirit He has given us. He has made us His own possession!

We give praise to His glory!

Look at the things above… look at all the things that God has done for us ‘in Christ’ already. They are as true for the weakest believer as they are for the strongest. Now look at the things we do – Praise God for His amazing grace and believe!

Paul’s Prayer For You!

The Apostle Paul didn’t want his readers to skip lightly over these things so he now pauses and even prays for them in verses 15-23 so that they could comprehend these things. Here is what He prays:

But the Apostle Paul hasn’t finished talking about what God has done! Oh, no… He is just warning up!

Verse

What God Does… Has done

What We Do… Did

Eph 2:1-4 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, (2) in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. (3) All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. (4) But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,

We were dead in sins, manipulated by an evil spirit, and a child of wrath… but God was rich in mercy towards us and had an immense love for us.

Eph 2:5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.

God made us spiritually alive with Christ and saved us by grace from the things mentioned in verses 1-4 above.

Eph 2:6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

God raised us up and seated us in the Heavenly places with Christ.

Eph 2:7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.

God has made us a living testimony to His grace and kindness, even in the ages to come!

Eph 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--

God has saved us!

We placed our faith (which was given to us by God) in Christ

Eph 2:9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

God salvation is by grace, and works don’t come into it

Eph 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God works in us for good works that He has prepared long before our salvation

Eph 2:11-13 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised" by those who call themselves "the circumcision" (that done in the body by the hands of men)-- (12) remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. (13) But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

We were without Christ, without God, without hope or promise… but now we have been brought as near to God as Christ himself!

Eph 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,

God has given Jesus as our very peace!

Eph 2:15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,

God abolished the law and made a new man in Christ Jesus

Eph 2:16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

We have been reconciled to God through the cross

Eph 2:17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.

God has given us peace

Eph 2:18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Through Jesus, God has given us access to Himself!

Eph 2:19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household,

God has made us saints, and members of His own household!

Eph 2:22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

God has made us to be a dwelling in which He lives.

Do you like a good mystery?

Right about now, if you lived in Ephesus, you’d be thinking – ‘How does Paul know all this? The Apostle explains himself in chapter 3:1-10. God supernaturally revealed these mysteries to Paul! They were mysteries hidden in the Old Testament… mysteries concerning Christ, the Church, and our position in Him. But now, through the Apostle Paul, these mysteries have been revealed so that all can comprehend the love and incredible grace of God! And it continues…

Verse

What God Does… Has done

What We Do… Did

Eph 3:11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God carried out His eternal purpose in Christ, for us.

Eph 3:12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

We have been given bold and confident access to God

We do this through faith in Jesus.

Eph 3:16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,

God strengthens us with power through His Spirit

Eph 3:17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,

Christ has been given to us and lives in our hearts

We believed and received Him through faith

Eph 3:18-19 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, (19) and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

God progressively shows us the breadth, length, height, and depth of Jesus’ love for us! This leads to us being filled with God.

Eph 3:20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,

God’s power works within us and He is able to do far more than we can even think!

Eph 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

We give God, and God alone, the glory for all that He has done! And this is forever!

The unbalanced God - Grace doesn’t need help!

Now, we’ve looked at three whole Chapters of this wonderful letter to the Ephesians. Please, look down the columns… seem a little bit unbalanced to you? Look at the side which shows what ‘we do / did’. Not a lot there? We believed the message and applied faith (which He gave us!), and we are to give Him the praise and glory for all that He has done!

This is the order for the Christian life! Everything is based and comes out of, what God has done for you. Don’t allow your Christian life be an endless struggle to become what you already are! Apply faith and believe what God has said!

Now, having laid this fantastic foundation, the Apostle Paul moves on to the practical aspects of how we should walk and conduct our lives in view of everything that he has been saying. Chapter 4:1 marks a key change in this letter – and shows how our position in Christ should then lead on to a practical outworking in our lives.

Verse

What God Does… Has done

What We Do… Did

Eph 4:1 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Walk in a manner worthy of our calling in God

Eph 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Show humility, gentleness, patience and love.

Eph 4:3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Preserve the unity of the Spirit, and be in peace

Eph 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called-- (5) one Lord, one faith, one baptism; (6) one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Called by God to one hope, one faith, one Lord and Father

Eph 4:7-11 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. (8) This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." (9) (What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? (10) He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) (11) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,

To each one grace and gifts have been given

Eph 4:12 to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

We use whatever gift has been given us for works of service to build up the body of Christ.

Eph 4:13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

We press on to maturity through unity of the faith and knowledge of the Son of God.

Eph 4:14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.

Through knowledge of Christ, we prevent the deceitfulness and trickery of men from blowing us around in every direction.

Eph 4:15-16 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. (16) From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

We speak the truth in love and keep growing in all aspects of who Christ is for us.

Eph 4:17-19 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. (18) They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. (19) Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.

We don’t continue to walk like we once did when we were separated from the life of God and in darkness.

Eph 4:20-22 You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. (21) Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. (22) You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;

According to the truth we have received in Jesus, we lay aside the old self.

Eph 4:23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;

We renew our minds, through the Spirits enabling.

Eph 4:24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

The new self has been created by God (a new creation!) and is righteous and holy. This ‘new self’ is the product of the Holy Spirit who is in you.

Put on the new self (through renewing our minds with the truth of Eph chapters 1-3) that is in the likeness of God.

Eph 4:25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body.

We lay aside falsehood and speak the truth

Eph 4:26 In your anger do not sin : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,

We don’t allow our anger to result in sin or carry on being angry the next day.

Eph 4:27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

We don’t give the devil an opportunity
(by disobeying vs 25-26)

Eph 4:28 He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

Don’t steal but work so that you can share with others

Eph 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Don’t let unwholesome words come out of our mouth… but we speak words of grace to those around us.

Eph 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

God has sealed us with His Spirit until the day of redemption when Christ returns.

We don’t grieve the Holy Spirit by continuing to do the things mentioned not to do in verses 25-32

Eph 4:31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

We let go of all bitterness, wrath, anger and malice

Eph 4:32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

God has fully forgiven us

We forgive other in the same way God has fully forgiven us.

Chapter 5 of Ephesians carries on in the same manner of chapter 4. That is, by declaring what our outward walk should be like. But I’m sure you get the message so I won’t keep on. We should always have an outward life which reflects that which has happened within. But we have to do this through God’s design and order, not our own. God’s order is shown here in Ephesians – and it begins with seeing grace in all its fullness! God always begins by not demanding one thing of the believer but to sit, listen and believe in all that He has done for them. And once we see our position in Christ and give Him the praise for it, this frees the Holy Spirit in combination with our own desire to please Him, to work the instruction and commands listed in chapters 4 and 5 into reality in our lives.

‘For man to make a goal of what God makes a starting-post is to upset everything.’ C.H.M

May you start your Christian life where God starts, and may you not spend needless energy trying to obtain what you already have!

 

Other Bible Studies in the Riches of Grace Series