Echoes of Encouragement from Ephesians (III)

Echoes. Reflections of sound, off of the hard surface of my soul.  Never expect originality from an echo.  These reverberations of encouragement originate from outside my life.  I am only the interface.  The source of the original acoustic is the spoken Word of The Word.  

Ephesians 1:3-14

Hello, how are you?

I have been asked this question thousands of times and thousands of times the automatically bland response was… “good”.  But “good” isn’t good enough when a forgiven heart is overflowing with thankfulness for the saving work of a loving Lord.  “Good” isn’t a testimony, “good” is a programmed reply, a nonchalant insincerity.  So I wondered how do I give a more thoughtful and thankful answer; and does it really matter?  I found encouragement, right here in Ephesians.

Although we have just begun this letter, and Paul is still writing introductions, something exciting is already going on.  Notice this…Paul does not inquire as to how the readers are doing.  He writes one incredibly long sentence (verse 3 through verse 14 is one sentence), filled with rich adjectives to tell them how they are doing.

Imagine this.  You are greeted by a precious Bible teacher-evangelist-prophet-preacher-scholar, who introduces himself and then, keeping control of the conversation, tells you in great detail that you are blessed in heavenly ways; you are chosen in Jesus from the beginning of time; you are recognized as an adopted child of the most High God; you are redeemed in Him; you are forgiven in the same proportion of God’s riches of grace; you are gifted with wisdom and understanding; you are chosen; you are a praise song to God’s glory; you are tattooed with the very Spirit of God; you are considered an inheritance, and you are God’s own possession.  Imagine!!

Have you ever responded to “how are you” this way?  Have you ever even thought of yourself this way??

The secret to this description is in the prepositional phrase, “in Christ”.  A preposition is a linking word, a word that shows the relationship between its object and the rest of the sentence.  Paul writes over, and over, and over, that the relationship between us and the benefits he is ascribing to us, is “in” Christ Jesus.  In Christ the saints of Christ have whatever Christ has.  Scholars explain that Paul writes this in the aorist tense, a tense that speaks of an effective action that was completed in the past.  Greek grammar is Greek to me…but it means that these are not descriptions that I am working towards fulfilling …but descriptions of who I already am.  How?  In Christ.

How?  “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3.  It is an old, old illustration, but I love to use it because I love the picture.  Take a pen and place it in your Bible.  If you put your Bible on the table, where is your pen?  If you put your Bible in a backpack, where is your pen?  If you put your Bible on the bookshelf, where is your pen?  Where ever that beautiful Bible goes, so goes the pen.   What words of encouragement.  If I am “in Christ”, then wherever He is, I am there hidden in Him.  I have what He has.  And He is in heavenly places with all spiritual blessings. Yet there is more. For I am not only hidden in Christ, I am also in God.  That pen that is hidden in a Bible, is held tightly by Someone who will never loose His grasp on it.  With Christ…and…in God.

So, how are you?

I hope you can visit with me again when I look specifically at each of our blessings in Christ.  Echoes of mercy.  Whispers of love.

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About ccragamuffin

Christina C. is a woman energized by encouraging others. She never wants to forget that she is a ragamuffin...a broken earthen vessel, heavy laden, bedraggled, and weary until grace changed her life. She now holds a treasure in a cracked earthen vessel. Anything bright or beautiful is the treasure shining through the cracks.
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10 Responses to Echoes of Encouragement from Ephesians (III)

  1. Pingback: Encouragement from Contradictions | Resting in His Grace

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  4. Pingback: Echoes of Encouragement from Ephesians (IV) | Resting in His Grace

  5. ccragamuffin says:

    Hello Anne, I am sorry that I am confusing you. Please forgive the mix up as I am not the regular blogger and seem to have deleted the wrong comment. This is CC. I am a guest writer on Michael’s blog and not familiar with all of the mechanics. The series Echoes of Encouragement will be my words of encouragement. These are not an exegesis of the text, not a critical interpretation…or systematic theology…so I will not be delving into all the depths of each verse. These are simply the sharing of the encouragement one woman received from these passages. Thank you for sharing your passion for God’s Word. Again, I’m sorry for the confusion. Happy Thanksgiving. ~ CC

    • It’s ok ccragamuffin, I too get confused with Technology, I thought since you hadn’t deleted Mikes comment you must be Mike, anyway what is more important is that God’s Truth is shared and not just man’s understanding or many will be confused about what is really important.

      We don’t have to be great Bible expositors or well known Theologians (see below) we just seek and Trust Jesus, He is our only Teacher through the empowering of The Holy Spirit and having asked for His wisdom in Faith, He leads us into all understanding.

      1 Corinthians 1: 25 31 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

      Christian Love Always from both of us – Anne

  6. How wonderful ccragamuffin, how uplifting are God’s Word’s of encouragement, He is indeed Love, but am I good.

    Jesus said when He was on earth that no one was good but God , Jesus was sinless, or He could not have been The Sacrificial Lamb, He was indeed good being concieved by The Holy Spirit and so He was stating His own Divinity, His Oneness with The Father and The Holy Spirit as The Godhead or Trinity as we call Them today, He was GOOD but are we in Him good too… what does He say about us being good…..

    1 John 3:9 No one who is Born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been Born of God.

    The word not as in cannot in the Greek, means absolutely never.

    It is very True as you shared ccragamuffin, we can’t earn our Salvation it is a free gift , which we show we have, Jesus is our Advocate so yes we can be forgiven if we sin by repenting from the heart, which means we turn away from sin and choose to do good by the empowering of The Holy Spirit but if we do sin it means… our flesh was not put to death, we were not Born again or perfected in Love, we didn’t have the mind of Christ and we were still in darkness. In Christ Jesus, no Temptation is greater then we can bear, in Him we are set free from the slavery of sin.

    John 8:34-36 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the Family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

    Galatians 24 -26 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

    Romans 8 :12-15 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. or if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons/daughters of God.

    We are no longer just human, when our flesh has been put to death and we are perfected in Love, we have God’s seed or Nature and the mind of Christ so we don’t choose to sin.

    1 John 4:17-19 Herein is our Love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world.

    God tells us that when we repent from the heart He takes our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west and chooses not to remember them anymore, He keeps no record of wrongs, which means we are not condemned and because we now walk in the Spirit not the flesh, our accountability will be for rewards not punishment, we are no longer under judgment, we are washed and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, spotless made white and purified.

    Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

    Daniel 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

    We can’t live the Christian Life in the flesh, only Jesus can in us by the empowering of the Holy Spirit but we must choose to obey God, He never goes against our free will, we are to aim as Paul said to be perfected in Love, leaving our Childish understanding behind and receiving the crown of righteousness as he did.

    1 John 3: 1-12 ( 6-7 ) Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.

    1 John 2:4-6 He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the Love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.

    Thank you for letting me share God’s Truth ccragamuffin, so many are confused today, yes seeking God but not knowing Him but if they seek after Him with all their heart, they will know Him in all His Love and goodness (1Corthians2:9-16 ) and also know that He hates sin because it hurts, this is God’s wisdom which is the principle thing found in Christ Jesus, we ask for it and so receive, we are not born with it and it pleases God when we ask, as it did when King Solomon asked and we do so in Faith believing we have received. (James 1:5-6) .

    Christian Love Always from both of us – Anne

  7. How wonderful Mike , how uplifting are God’s Word’s of encouragement, He is indeed Love, but am I good. Jesus said when He was on earth that no one was good but God , Jesus was sinless, He was indeed good and so He was stating His own Divinity, His Oneness with The Father and The Holy Spirit as The Godhead or Trinity as we call Them today, He was GOOD are we in Him good too… what does He say about us being good…..

    1 John 3:9 No one who is Born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been Born of God.

    The word not as in cannot in the Greek, means absolutely never.

    It is very True as you shared Mike, we can’t earn our Salvation it is a free gift , which we show we have, Jesus is our Advocate so yes we can be forgiven if we sin by repenting from the heart, which means we turn away from sin and choose to do good by the empowering of The Holy Spirit but if we sin it means our flesh was not put to death, we were not Born again or perfected in Love, we didn’t have the mind of Christ and we were still in darkness. In Christ Jesus, no Temptation is greater then we can bear, in Him we are set free from the slavery of sin.

    John 8:34-36 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the Family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

    Galatians 24 -26 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. if we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

    Romans 8 :12-15 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. or if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons/daughters of God.

    We are no longer just human, when our flesh has been put to death and we are perfected in Love, we have God’s seed or Nature and the mind of Christ so we don’t choose to sin.

    1 John 4:17-19 Herein is our Love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world.

    God tells us that when we repent from the heart He takes our sins as far away from us as the east is from the west and chooses not to remember them anymore, He keeps no record of wrongs, which means we are not condemned and because we now walk in the Spirit not the flesh, our accountability will be for rewards not punishment, we are no longer under judgment, we are washed and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, spotless made white and purified.

    Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

    Daniel 12:10 Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

    We can’t live the Christian Life in the flesh, only Jesus can in us by the empowering of the Holy Spirit but we must choose to obey God, He never goes against our free will, we are to aim as Paul said to be perfected in Love, leaving our Childish understanding behind and receiving the crown of righteousness as he did.

    1 John 3: 1-12 ( 6-7 ) Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.

    1 John 2:4-6 He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the Love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.

    Thank you for letting me share God’s Truth Mike, so many are confused today, yes seeking God but not knowing Him but if they seek after Him with all their heart, they will know Him in all His Love and goodness (1Corthians2:9-16 ) and also know that He hates sin because it hurts, this is God’s wisdom which is the principle thing found in Christ Jesus, we ask for it and so receive, we are not born with it and it pleases God when we ask, as it did when King Solomon asked and we do so in Faith believing we have received. (James 1:5-6) .

    Christian Love Always from both of us – Anne

    • ccragamuffin says:

      Oh Anne, thank you for this blessing of the time and effort you took to encourage us by expounding on what we have IN Christ Jesus our Lord. You remind us that when Jesus died on the cross, and “God made Him to be sin who had no sin”, He died for ALL sin, including the sin I have repented of and the sin I have yet to even know to ask forgiveness for. There is therefore NO CONDEMNATION for those who are IN Christ Jesus!!! Yes, we are more than conquerors! You have layered encouragement on top of encouragement. Many blessings to you. ~ CC

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