105 - Our Incredible Blessings in Christ [A]
Our Incredible Blessings in Christ
Ephesians Lesson #105
May 16, 2021
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.
“Father, we’re so thankful for all that You’ve given us and provided for us, for the way You supplied our every spiritual need and all of our physical needs, that we have that which we need to accomplish Your plan.
“As we look at this first half of Ephesians, though we have spent over 100 hours going through it, we have just barely scratched the surface. There is so much here, so much implied, so much that is connected together. It is just awe-inspiring as we reflect on what You have given us.
“Father, now as we overview these three chapters, reviewing what we’ve learned, help us to consolidate some of this in our thinking. And may we have our thinking rise to exalt and praise You as the Apostle Paul does at the end of Ephesians 3.
“We pray that You would guide and direct our thinking and understanding in Christ’s name, amen.”
We will do a flyover this morning. I try to do overviews as well as in-depth analysis. A lot of times we think we understand the passage as we read it. We may understand it to some degree, get the general gist of it as we go through it in English.
Over all these years—I shouldn’t be so, but I am often surprised—that when I start breaking down all of the details of the grammar and the word studies that the text doesn’t quite say what you think it says. And that is because of a lot of different factors that go into the production of English translations.
Certain passages, certain verses that were translated a certain way into English as far back as the mid-1500s have become so well-known that if there is a variance from that in a published translation, then people have a tendency to reject it. Sometimes, for a good reason.
When the Revised Standard Version came out in the early 1950s, instead of translating Isaiah 7:14 that a virgin would conceive, the liberal-slanted translation team translated it “a young maiden will conceive,” which is quite a bit different and challenged the virgin birth.
That created quite a reaction among the conservatives, and for a good 30 or 40 years no self-respecting Biblicist would touch a Revised Standard Version. That is still generally true, we just have fewer and fewer Biblicists today, unfortunately.
I have taken the time to go through a lot here to give us the overview, that structure. And hit the high points, so that when you find yourself reading through the Scriptures, you can recall and remember that “Oh yeah, I think this means that, and this doesn’t mean what it appears to say, or I can now understand this, which I didn’t understand before.” It helps us put this together.
We’re looking at one of if not the main idea of this section, expressed in Ephesians 1:3, which is our incredible blessings in Christ. These blessings are those things that God has given to us: assets, privileges that were not ever given to any Old Testament believer. They are unique and distinct to this Church Age, and are the foundation for our spiritual life.
We live in an era when people go to many churches with of people. And they advertise all of these short little topical series that they do, “Nine Ways to Improve Your Marriage,” “Eight Ways to Improve Your Marriage,” “Eight Ways to Get Out of Debt,” different kinds of things that people think are applicational.
The Apostle Paul didn’t think that way; neither did any of the other writers of the Bible. You don’t find the revelation of God constructed that way.
When Paul wants to talk about what we should do, how we should live, which is basically the subject of Ephesians 4–6, what a lot of people will identify as application, he first gives us three intensely detailed chapters explaining just what and how God has given us all of these assets.
Ephesians 4:1, Paul begins, “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called.”
“Therefore” means in light of what was said before. I’m going to draw these conclusions that are covered in Ephesians 4–6 are wrapped around the idea of walking. “Walking with the Lord” is a metaphor for our spiritual life, for our spiritual growth, so this sets the tone in the first verse of chapter 4, that we are “to walk worthy of the calling.”
That phrase “the calling with which you we’re called,” is a summary of the first three chapters. “Therefore” doesn’t just take us back to the benediction that comes at the end of Ephesians 3, nor does it take us back to the prayer near the end of Ephesians 3. Indeed, it doesn’t even take us to Ephesians 2–3. “Therefore” is a conclusion that is drawn from everything he said in the first three chapters.
He said a lot! Interestingly every time I read through this, I see things and I’m not sure whether I taught it that way or not or just exactly what I emphasized. Because the more we read the Scriptures, the more we see things that were there all the time, but it’s been 20 readings and now we finally see it. That’s just the depth of God’s Word.
At the end of Ephesians 3, there’s this great benediction—meaning “a good word.” A doxology is a word of prayer. I mentioned last time, two different kinds of doxologies. This is one kind. The other is the kind that begins with the phrase “blessing” or “blessed be,” which we find in Ephesians 1:3.
Ephesians 3:20–21, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.” That is an echo to what he began with.
Turn with me to Ephesians 1:3 where Paul says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
“Every spiritual blessing” that Paul talks about there is that which is beyond anything that we could ask or think, that he talks about in the closing doxology.
By way of understanding the opening, here’s a brief outline for the first three chapters.
Salutation and greeting in Ephesians 1:1–2.
I. Paul’s first doxology, Ephesians 1:3–14.
It’s one sentence in the Greek. That’s always a wonderful assignment to give second-year students in Greek, to tell them to do a diagram of this sentence in Greek, which presupposes that they have some idea of what a diagram is. And the sad reality today is that’s not taught in schools anymore.
You can’t really analyze somebody’s written thought if you cannot diagram, at least in some sense. You may have trouble getting all the little details on all the right little horizontal lines, and just how do you bracket this or that. But we have to be able to break down sentences to be able to understand what something means; otherwise, we don’t have a real comprehension of what is said.
II. Paul’s first prayer, Ephesians 1:15–23
Which is about the second-longest sentence in Ephesians in Greek. There we learn some key things about what Paul says about prayer and how he prays.
The third division shifts more to the central topic, which is referred to as “mystery”—previously un-revealed truth—that now Jew and Gentile are together in one body in Christ.
III. God’s inclusion of the Gentiles in the same “by grace through faith salvation,” Ephesians 2:1–10, which the Jews who were first saved in Acts 1–10 experienced.
Gentiles are included; now the Jews and Gentiles together are made alive together in Christ. They have been raised together and seated together with Christ. That is our legal position before God—Jews and Gentiles included together.
That lays the foundation for what we just read:
IV. God’s creation of the new Church, Ephesians 2:11–22
V. Parenthesis: the mission and message, Ephesians 3:1–13
He seems to go off topic, but it is related, where he explains that he has as an apostle, and the mission is to proclaim this previously unrevealed truth about the new body of Christ being made up of Jew and Gentile together.
VI. Paul’s second prayer, Ephesians 3:14–19
VII. Paul’s second doxology in Ephesians 3:20–22.
That gives us the broad outline.
I will break this down into its components as we go through this.
In the opening salutation, Paul’s first doxology, the focus is on the roles of the Triune God: that He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places beyond anything that He has blessed any believer or group within the past.
I want to look at the opening salutation briefly. Paul identifies himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. There are liberals who doubt and others who doubt the Pauline authorship of Ephesians.
It’s the traditional view of the church, the dominant view among conservative Biblicists and conservative evangelicals. There is no evidence whatsoever that this was not written by the Apostle Paul. He identifies himself as an apostle—that is, one commissioned by Jesus Christ by the will of God.
It is addressed to the saints; that is, the believers who are in Ephesus, primarily the church or different churches meeting in Ephesus—home churches. Even though there’s a Jewish presence there, they are primarily Gentiles. He says they are faithful in Christ Jesus.
This is in reference to Paul’s visit. He spent over two years in Ephesus, so he has an intimate knowledge of the church, and is on good terms with that congregation.
He wrote this epistle after his third missionary journey, after which he went to Jerusalem. There he was arrested, taken to Rome, and while he is in prison in Rome he wrote four prison epistles and Ephesians is one of those prison epistles. So we have no reason to doubt his authorship, or any of the historical information that is given there.
Slide 7 and 8 skipped
I. Paul’s first doxology, in Ephesians 1:3–14,
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing …”
He breaks it down:
- the Father’s blessing towards us in Ephesians 1:3–6
- God the Father’s blessings for us through the Son in Ephesians 1:8–12
- the Father’s blessings to us through the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 1:13–14.
We will go through some of these verses and the main ideas that are here.
The main idea, the main action point if you want to put it that way, that we get out of these verses is that we too are supposed to be praising God for all of these blessings, all of these things that He has done for us, all of the assets that He is provided for us in our spiritual life, our position in Christ, our identity in Christ.
We are to be thankful to God and praise Him for those things all the time. That should be a regular part of our prayer life. He begins with a Trinitarian praise, talking first about the Father, who is the really the center Person in all of this, because the Father is doing all of these.
He talks about what the Father does that’s part of His role as the Father; then what the Father does through the Son, what’s accomplished through Christ and the cross; and then what is accomplished through God the Holy Spirit.
In Ephesians 1:3 he tells us that we have every spiritual blessing—not some, not most, not a great number—but every spiritual blessing. God in His omniscience and omnipotence didn’t drop some when He gave them to you. We all have the same package, and we can’t even begin to comprehend a lot that is in that package.
Ephesians 1:4, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world.” That tells us that this “choice in Him”—whatever else we can say about that—occurred in eternity past before God created the heavens and the earth.
Because God in His omniscience doesn’t learn things. There never was a time when God didn’t know everything He’s always known. His knowledge is infinite. There are no restrictions to it, so He doesn’t learn things, He doesn’t forget things.
He doesn’t say, “Oh, Today I think I’m going to come up with a plan to create angels, and then to create human beings.” He’s always known all of this and all of the possibilities that could incur. We can’t even come to grips with that. This is set forth from eternity past! For all eternity God has known this!
We looked at the challenging phrase “He chose us in Him.” The first thing that I want to point out is that there’s something left out in the phrase “us in Him.” It can be understood by one of two ways.
There are those who think that it states “chose us to be in Him,” and that leads you in the direction of a strong deterministic view of election: that God chooses who will be saved and who will not be saved.
This was the view that Augustine brought into the church in the early fifth century or late fourth century because his life overlapped the turn-of-the-century. And leading Reformation Bible teachers like John Calvin, Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, and Heinrich Bullinger all were influenced heavily by Augustinian theology before they were ever saved.
The other way to take this is that it “us in Him” refers to us who are in Him.
I took us through a few examples in the Scripture that use this phraseology “us in Him,” and we determined that it does not ever have the implication of us to be in Him, but it always refers to the corporate entity of those who are in Him. When Paul says, “He chose us in Him,” it’s a corporate idea, not an individual idea.
We looked at the concept for “choice” in the Bible and did some extensive word studies on that. Those of you who were here remember the “doctrine of the Magnum Bar.” I saw this in the Hebrew labeling when I was in Israel.
A Magnum Bar is a chocolate ice cream bar, covered with not only chocolate icing, but it has almonds in it. In the Hebrew labeling, it uses a phrase which means “choice almonds.” “Choice” does not necessarily imply chosen or selected. It emphasizes the quality of something, that you have selected the best almonds for that.
In the Old Testament, there’s example after example after example where people are selected because of their qualifications, because they are choice. That this selection process isn’t a process that is random or arbitrary where God’s just going, “Eeny meeny miny moe, I’ll take you.”
The text does not tell us here what those qualifications might be, but everywhere that we find this in the Scripture there is something that qualifies a person for that selection. Those that are chosen to be in the choirs of the temple are chosen not because they can’t sing, they are chosen because they can sing. They have to be able to sing, to be able to harmonize with the other members of the choir. There’s a qualification there.
We looked at the parable in Matthew 20 about the invitation of the wedding guests, and at the end it’s badly translated “that many are called but few are chosen.” But all are invited by the king who’s giving the banquet. He does not dis-invite anyone. All are invited.
The only people making the choice in that parable are those who are invited and some are saying no; others are saying yes. The ones who say yes are given a special clothing to wear at the banquet. The issue isn’t that many are called and few were chosen, it’s that few are choice.
One guy shows up with the wrong clothing—He doesn’t have the righteousness of Christ—so he’s kicked out. But others show up who have on the right clothing and they are accepted. They are choice because they have the right qualification.
We continued talking about the next verse, that He chose us in Him. We’re “in Him” because we possess His righteousness. That plan is set up before the foundation of the world. But the thing that we miss is its purpose.
He “chose us in Him” for a purpose, and the purpose here isn’t to be saved, it’s to be holy and blameless. It’s really talking, I believe, about either:
- Phase 2—that is, our spiritual life that we are to grow and mature and be experientially set apart and blameless in our spiritual life.
- Or about our future destiny in Phase 3 when we die and we’re face-to-face with the Lord. Then we are without sin, we are saved from the presence of sin.
- Phase 1, we’re saved from the penalty of sin the instant we trust in Christ.
- Phase 2, we are being saved from the power of sin as we grow spiritually.
- Phase 3, when we die we’re saved from the presence of sin.
This could be interpreted as Phase 2 or Phase 3, but it’s certainly not talking about Phase 1.
It is for that purpose that we are the choice ones in Him. That’s the purpose for the body of Christ; that is the purpose for the Church. Because we connect it to Ephesians 2:7, “that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
We are to be trophies of God’s grace that are put on display for all of eternity, so that people can see this evidence of the grace of God.
Ephesians 1:5, He has predestined us. There’s another loaded word. I pointed out that the Greek PROORIZO used here is only used five times in the New Testament. It is rarely if ever used in secular Koine Greek.
But in two or three clear examples it has the idea of appointing somebody to some position or marking out the boundaries of something. Again, it fits that corporate idea that He appointed us. Who’s us? It’s the church.
It’s looking at the Church as a group of people, not as a group of individuals. It’s not saying He appointed each one of us, but He appointed those who are in Christ. “Us” has already been established as “us in Him.” “Us in Him” are appointed “to adoption as sons by Christ Jesus Himself according to the good pleasure of His will.”
This is the first time we’ve seen this phrase, but we will see four different “according to” phrases. This is according to the pleasure of God’s will.
There are three mentions of the word “praise:”
Ephesians 1:6, “to the praise of the glory of His grace”
Ephesians 1:12, “to the praise of His glory”
Ephesians 1:14, “to the praise of His glory”
That means we’re praising God for all He is and who He is. The first focal point is on God’s grace because He has made us accepted in Christ—not based on any merit on our part, but totally based upon what Christ has done for us.
The merit is in Christ; the merit is not in faith. Faith is non-meritorious. Ephesians 2:8, we are “saved by grace through faith.” It’s the conduit, the pipeline, as it were, by which God’s grace flows to us. We establish faith in Christ, and He saves us. The merit is in Christ. The work is done by Christ on the cross.
There He paid the penalty for sin, so that when we trust in Him, His righteousness is given to us by God. That’s called the imputation of righteousness. Because we possess Christ’s righteousness, we’re clothed with His righteousness, God looks not at what’s underneath the robe where we’re still sinners, but He looks at the robe of righteousness we have and declares us justified.
In Roman Catholic theology, there’s an infusion of grace which was totally rejected by the Protestant Reformation because that implies that you’re made better. We’re not made better; we still have that nasty sin nature.
That’s why you have passages like all of Romans 6, where Paul says, “Quit yielding to the sin nature. Quit putting yourselves in bondage to your sin nature but make yourselves bond slaves to righteousness.” That is what the Father does.
Then what happens with the Son starts in Ephesians 1:7, “In Him—that is, in Christ—we have redemption through His blood—the term ‘blood’ is always a metaphor for His death, so we can translate that, that it is redemption through His death—the forgiveness of sins.”
Forgiveness of sins is not a synonym for redemption. It looks like it could be a parenthetical explanation there. Redemption is the payment of a price. Christ paid the penalty for our sin on the cross. Forgiveness is the eradication of the debt.
Both words that are used for “forgiveness,” are also used in banking, and describe the eradication of a debt. Here we have the two sides of the same coin: the redemption, the payment of the price, and because the payment of the price is made, the debt is canceled, it’s eradicated, Colossians 2:12–14.
We have “forgiveness of sin—then the second ‘according’ statement—according to the riches of His grace—the wealth of His grace which is boundless.”
It’s infinite so that God’s desire is to save us. His desire isn’t to give us a lot of things to do, so that we can check off our little list of good deeds and eventually have a hope that we will be saved.
It is according to His infinite grace, that is, His undeserved kindness toward us, so that Christ has done it all, and we simply accept the free gift and we are saved. Not because of anything meritorious in us, but it’s all in Christ.
It is according to the riches of His grace, and by the riches of His grace, Ephesians 1:8–9, which He “made to abound to us in wisdom and prudence, having made known—because He’s already made this known to us—the mystery of His will.”
Mystery always refers to previously unrevealed truth. But now we have this revelation of the gospel that is clear because of the cross. That is how He makes wisdom and prudence apply to us, as we accept His will, that is, accept the gospel. Then as we study the Word, we come to learn His purposes.
“… having made known to us the mystery of His will—that is, gospel—according to His good pleasure—He makes it known to us the way He desires to make it known to us—which He purposed in Himself—according to His plan.”
The purpose is that, Ephesians 1:10, “in the dispensation of the fullness of times—referring to the future thousand year reign of Christ—that He might gather together in one all things in Christ: “the unity that we in the Church have in Christ.
In the Millennial kingdom, the Church will all be unified in Christ. We will it be in our resurrection bodies, and we will rule and reign with Him.
At the same time, in Ephesians 1:11, “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance.”
We went through this in detail, explaining its significance and how it should be translated. We are His inheritance, which has the idea of possession. In Him, in Christ, we are God’s own possession. That’s how that is to be understood—we are God’s possession.
This isn’t talking about the inheritance we get. We are God’s possession; we are God’s inheritance in Christ, “having been appointed beforehand—that is the whole church; it’s a corporate pronoun—we are pre-appointed to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.”
I’ve talked about these first-person plural pronouns, “we” and “us.” We understand this in the next two verses, which is so important to understand. The question really in these other doctrines is, is this “we” as individuals or “we” as a corporate group?
Paul is clearly talking about corporate groups as we get into Ephesians 2 and 3, about this new group, the Church. Prior to this, one group that was the circumcised, the Jews. Another group, the uncircumcised were the Gentiles; so he’s talking about groups.
Here is where we first see who “we” describes and who “you” describes, Ephesians 1:12, “that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.”
Here he is talking about “we,” the Jews—Jewish background believers who were the first to be saved, the first to receive these blessings in the Church. The Church started in AD 33, and the Church will go on to the Rapture.
From Acts 2 until Acts 10, Peter was appointed by God to take the gospel to Cornelius and opened the doors of the Church to the Gentiles. That’s the function of the keys of the kingdom that were given to Peter as he opened the doors to the Jews in Acts 2. In Acts 8 he opened the doors to the Samaritans, and in Acts 10–11 he opened the doors to the Gentiles.
In the period from Acts 2 to Acts 10 Gentiles were not part of the Church. The only Gentiles that were part of the Church were proselytes beforehand. Now it’s going to go to Gentiles, and this is the first place where it’s clearly stated that Gentiles are going to be included in the Church.
“… we who first trusted in Christ—the Jewish background believers of Acts 2-10—should be to the praise of His glory.”
Ephesians 1:13, “In Him you also trusted.” “You” there isn’t “you Ephesians,” it’s “you Gentiles.” That becomes very clear in Ephesians 2. There’s no place where the reference of these pronouns changes.
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the Word of truth—which is described as—the gospel of your salvation.”
When they trusted in Christ as their Savior, they too were saved, and have been brought together, covered in the next chapter.
Ephesians 1:13b, “in whom also—meaning, like we Jews, you Gentiles also—having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
There are two key teachings about the Holy Spirit here: #1 at the instant of salvation, we are all, Jew and Gentile, sealed by the Holy Spirit; God’s seal is placed upon us. If you’re a Texan—I liken it to branding—we have God’s brand of ownership on us and that cannot be removed.
Ephesians 1:14 this “Holy Spirit of promise—He was promised in Acts 1:6—is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession—we are that purchased possession, that inheritance, that possession of God. He guarantees the realization of our final redemption, again—to the praise of His glory.”
Paul’s first prayer is in Ephesians 1:15-23. Notice the prayer comes out of what he has been reflecting upon, “Therefore—therefore, in light of what I’ve just gone over in terms of all these blessings that God has given us; in light of all of that—after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus—you Gentile Ephesians: your faith—and your love for all the saints.”
Ephesians 1:16, when I heard of that, I—“do not cease giving thanks.”
We learn, for application, when we think of people we ought to thank God for them and pray for them—what I call “bullet prayers;” just “snap prayers.” Real quick. Paul is saying, “Whenever I think about them, I pray for them.”
It isn’t going into a full-blown all-of-the-components-of-prayer, 15-minute prayer. It’s just these quick prayers. You think of somebody, you remember somebody, all of a sudden God brings somebody to mind, and you shoot up a quick prayer for them. That’s the idea here.
Ephesians 1:16, “I—do not cease giving thanks for you, making mention of you—Gentile Ephesians—in my prayers.”
“That …” as we’ve seen in our study, “that” introduces the content of the prayer, Ephesians 1:17, “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation.”
I said when we went through this that the word “spirit” there in lowercase is an erroneous interpretation, because “spirit” is followed by two words in the genitive, which means they both relate to “spirit.” Let’s forget about wisdom for a second.
The “spirit of revelation,” which people think refers to an attitude of revelation. We don’t have an attitude of revelation. We don’t reveal diddly; God reveals things! This has to be talking about the Holy Spirit, the One Who’s the source of revelation and the source of wisdom.
Part of his prayer is that God the Holy Spirit will give us this wisdom and revelation. God the Holy Spirit has already opened our eyes, Ephesians 1:18. It’s a perfect tense, so it indicates the eyes of your understanding have already been opened—when you got saved, the eyes of your understanding were opened.
Your capacity to understand the Scriptures was generated at that particular time, and now Paul is saying, in light of the fact that you now have the ability to understand the Word, I’m praying that God would just continue to open your eyes to understand the wisdom that God the Holy Spirit has revealed in the content of the Scriptures.
“In order that …” The first “that” was the content; this is the purpose of that prayer—to know three things. It’s not just to be enlightened, it’s not just to know a lot about the Word of God. It’s to know three things:
1. “the hope of His calling,” the confidence of our expectation that is the end result of His calling
2. “the wealth of the glory of His inheritance.” As His possession we have a glory, and it involves a wealth of assets.
I use “wealth” because in English “wealth’ is a singular and the Greek word is a singular. “Riches” is plural; there can be many different kinds of riches. But there’s only a singular wealth here in the Greek, thus singular “wealth” is a better way to translate it into English more consistently.
We have this “wealth of the glory of His inheritance in the saints …” so he is still talking about Church Age believers.
3. Ephesians 1:19, “the exceeding greatness of His power—His omnipotence.”
Do you want to know how powerful God is? He gives us an example in Ephesians 1:20. This is the omnipotence that He used to raise Christ from the dead. And not only did He raise Him from the dead, but He seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places. It’s that resurrection power that is available to us,
I pointed out last time, “to Him who is able to do everything above and beyond what we can think …” That word for power or ability is related to the word of power; that’s the verb. The noun is might, and we have that as part of the assets that God gives us, access to His omnipotence.
The elevation of Christ to heaven he makes a point of, because he’s going to bring this up again and again all the way to the sixth chapter, dealing with the power that Christ has, the authority that He has over the demons, over the fallen angels.
Ephesians 1:21, Christ was raised “far above all principality and power and might and dominion.”
Those terms are all used to describe the different authority ranks that are in the heavenly host, among the angels.
This is “not only for this age but also in the age to come.” He’ll come back to this in Ephesians 4:8–10.
Ephesians 1:22–23, “And He put all things—that is, God the Father, “put all things under His feet and gave Him—Christ—to be head—that is, to be the authority—over all things to the church.” He is not the only the Head of the Church, He is Head over all things to the Church, “which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
That’s only Chapter 1. I can do Ephesians 2–3 in an hour, I knew I would not get through but Chapter 1.
Understanding in this holistic way, really does help us understand the identity that we have in Christ. This new body that is explained in Ephesians 2 is this entity that is composed of Jew and Gentile that now have peace between each other and are reconciled to God.
What we have in Christ is far more than any believer in the Old Testament ever had. As Jesus said, the greatest of all of the Old Testament prophets was John the Baptist, and he is less than anyone in the Church Age.
We have such a high position, and yet we Christians as a whole act like we’re living in the ghetto with a negative bank balance. When in reality our position is that we should be living in the wealthiest part of the world with the most extravagant bank balance.
But we live like we don’t have it, because we would rather follow our sin nature around and let it lead us, then to really follow the Scriptures and the leading of God the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures.
Next time we will finish up with the overview.
“Father, thank You for this time together. Thank You that in Your Word You describe for us all that we have in Christ. And it is beyond anything that we could ask or think. We could never imagine, we’d never think of asking for these kinds of privileges: the assets, the powers, abilities, the capacities that You’ve given us.
“But the only way to develop them is to study Your Word, to put it into practice in our daily lives, to implement it day in and day out, that we identify our thinking in our lives so closely with Your Word. And in that we will demonstrate the Christlike character You develop in us, exhibited in our love for others, our love for You.
“Father, we pray that anyone listening to our lesson today, anyone who’s listening online, that if they’ve never trusted in Christ, that they would understand the gospel is simple. The gospel doesn’t require anything of us to do that would bring merit to ourselves. We can’t engage in enough ritual, we can’t produce enough of good deeds or morality. There is nothing we can do that is going to impress You or give us any kind of righteous standing before You.
“Jesus did it all. He paid it all on the Cross. All we do is humbly accept it, trust in Him and Him alone, and at that instant we’re saved. We don’t have to raise our hands, walk an aisle or pray a prayer. God knows the instant You trust in Him, in Christ for salvation. At that instant you’re saved, regenerated, you receive the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, and you’re given eternal life, and none of this can be taken away.
“Father, we pray that You will help us to remember, reflect upon what we studied and learned today, that Christ may be glorified, and that we may press on to our spiritual growth and spiritual maturity. We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”