Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ephesians 2:1-3

For the past several months, God has been reminding me of several lessons I've been learning from Ephesians 2:1-3. These lessons began when I stumbled across something Clinton Arnold wrote in one of his books, "Powers of Darkness", about the three influences that work against humanity, as outlined in this passage of Scripture (pp. 123-124):

1) The ways (or course) of this world
2) The prince (or ruler) of the power of the air (i.e. Satan and the spiritual forces of darkness - see Ephesians 6:12)
3) The sinful nature (or flesh)

To put it plainly: These are the enemies of our soul. (See 1 Peter 2:11, James 1:14, 2 Corinthians 2:11, etc.) They cloud our judgment and work against us as we seek intimacy with God. As I began to ponder the power and interconnectedness of these influences, I recognized a couple of areas in my own life where I have been walking under their power. And so, by the mercy of God and the power of His Spirit, I've been able to more readily resist temptations to "stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers." (Psalm 1:2) This is not a declaration of my total victory - that victory was procured by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:13-15, Ephesians 1:18-23). I have simply begun to appropriate this victory through faith, i.e. through trusting in God and in His Word, which proclaims several truths in regards to our relationship with the aforementioned influences. What are these truths? Here's a brief summary:

1) We've already overcome the world when we put our trust in Jesus Christ (1 John 5:4-5; 2 Peter 1:4)

As Romans 2:2 reveals, we no longer have to conform to pattern of this age. Instead, we resist conformation by being transformed by the renewing of our minds. Or as E.M. Blaiklock once translated this verse, we are charged to "cease trying to adapt yourself to the age w live in, but continue the transformation which began with your mind's renewal..." (Romans, p. 76)

2) We've already overcome Satan when we put our trust in Jesus Christ (1 John 1:13b, 14b; Ephesians 2:6, cf. 1:18-21)

James 4:7b says "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (ESV) Satan and the powers of darkness flee from us, because they have no legal authority over those who have given their life to Jesus Christ. After all, Jesus has been given all authority and power that exists (Matthew 28:18; Philippians 2:9-11), and we have been seated with Him (Ephesians 2:6) and given fullness in Him, "who is the head over every power and authority that exists" (Colossians 2:9-10 NIV) So, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31 ESV)

3) We've already overcome our flesh when we put our trust in Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:20, Romans 8:10)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV) This is our reality in Christ Jesus. It doesn't state, "If you act like a new creation you are a new creation". Paul says we are, definitively, a new creation...but we still have this old sack of flesh to carry around until we pass into the Eternal Presence of God. That's why we're commanded to walk according to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25) and by the Holy Spirit to put to death the deeds of our sinful nature (Romans 8:13). What we fail to realize often times is that the victory is already won. We died with Jesus Christ and our life is hidden with Him, in God! (Colossians 3:3) HE is the victor. That's why it is only BY HIS SPIRIT that we can appropriate the truth of who we are.

I truly believe that when we are grounded in these truths that we will live the abundant life that Jesus promised us...not in abundance of goods or riches!!! Jesus says that nonsense flows from covetousness. (Luke 12:15) The abundant life is the one in which we walk in the fullness and freedom of Christ by the power of His Holy Spirit. You can be rich, poor, male, female, black, white, young, or old - it doesn't matter - the gift of God's grace is available to all who would put their trust in all who would call on His name. (John 1:12-13, 3:16-18; Romans 10:12-13)

Arnold, C. Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul's Letters. USA: IVP, 1992
Blaiklock, E.M. Romans. Understanding the New Testament. Great Britain: Holman, 1971


At February 8, 2011 at 7:33 AM , Blogger Amy E. said...

Glad I found your blog. Look forward to reading posts! have a blessed day!


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