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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

God’s love brings blessing (Eph 2:4-7)

Yesterday we noted that because of God’s love we receive new life, a new location or position and a new authority. 

In order to appreciate the aspects that Paul is highlighting here we need to see them against the background of the state of fallen man which he describes in verses 1-3 and which he summarises at the beginning of verse 5: ‘even when we were dead in trespasses.’ We were spiritually dead, we belonged to the world and we were under the power of the devil. Paul’s illustration answers each of these problems, as seen in the following lists:

            Our problem                          Our salvation                         Union to Christ
            Dead in sin                               New life                                    Resurrection
            Of the world                            New heavenly location                Ascension
            Defeated by devil                     Power in the heavenlies              Enthronement      
God dealt with our spiritual death by making us alive with Christ. The life that was displayed in the resurrection of Jesus was seen also in the regeneration of sinners. This new life is maintained within Christians by the indwelling Holy Spirit. 

God dealt with our belonging to this world by raising us to live in another world. When Paul refers to ‘raised us up together’ in verse 6, he is referring to Christ’s ascension, for he has already referred to his resurrection in verse 5. When we believed in Jesus, we became members of another kingdom, citizens of another world, of the world where Jesus lives. Although we have not been there, we do belong to heaven.

God dealt with the problem of Satanic influence by giving to his people authority in the heavenly places. It is important to note that it is the devil who attacks believers and not the other way round. Believers are urged to stand against and withstand the devil by Paul in Ephesians 6:13 and 14, words that indicate they face attack persistently.

There are many things we could say about these three aspects of salvation. But I will say one thing about each. The new life given to believers gives the possibility of growth and development. The new country in which believers live gives them a permanent identity. The new authority they have gives them a place of security.

This has all come to them because of the love of God. When a person senses he or she is loved, they can bask in its warmth and rejoice in its reality. Let us do this with what God’s love has given to us now.

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