And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,Ephesians 2:1(NASB)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Who has blessed us in heavenly places … in Christ.
Christ lived His perfect life in a perfect body of flesh and blood – a human body. He went to the cross willingly, for the perfect sacrifice had to be a willing body. Christ rose from the dead in a perfect body of flesh and bone – a glorified body. His death secured our pardon from sin and His resurrection secured our eternal life.
Christ was covered with our sins so that we could be arrayed with His righteousness. Christ was identified with our sinfulness so that we could identify with all that is His. Christ shared in our humanity so that our eternal destiny with Him could be secured – so all the blessings that are rightfully His would be shared with all who believe.
God has blessed us in heavenly places – literally He has blessed us in the heavenlies. God has blessed us in Christ – literally we share in all that rightfully belongs to Him. God has blessed us – but often we don’t comprehend the magnitude of His blessings.
It was His purpose, His plan and His desire to bestow on us His heavenly blessings. He predestined us to be adopted as His sons according to His good pleasure, and this blessing in the heavenlies was purposed in Christ – and we are in Him, for all blessings we have in Christ are simply blessings in heavenly places – and because we are in Christ we are blessed in the heavenlies – in HIM.
It was God’s purpose to redeem us through the blood of Jesus and to forgive our sins, and He purposed this heavenly blessing in accordance with the riches of His grace. God willed to break down the wall of separation between His holy Self and fallen sinners, that we, who are the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.
When God speaks of a new covenant or agreement, He makes the first one obsolete (out of use). And what is obsolete (out of use and annulled because of age) is ripe for disappearance and to be dispensed with altogether. (Hebrews 8:13 AMP)
This letter to the Hebrews sets forth the all-inclusive revolution or reconstitution which God made when He brought His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world - that is, the religious revolution. This revolution, which was rejected by Judaism, has been almost entirely overlooked or lost sight of by Christendom since Apostolic times. The entire present system of Christianity as generally accepted would be impossible if the meaning of this letter were received as a heavenly revelation in the power of the Holy Spirit. That is - if it came into the heart by the Spirit's power with the effect of a revelation in the same way as the Apostle Paul came to see who "Jesus of Nazareth" is, then a Christian-Judaism, or Judaistic-Christianity (which Christendom so largely is) would be impossible; as it became in his own case. The Letter to the Hebrews is only one other aspect of the battle fought out in the Letters to the Romans and Galatians.
In the light of such a spiritual eye-opening a whole lot of things would go: but being a "heavenly vision," there would be no tears, no sense of loss, and no fond farewells. The gain and joy would rather put all such things into the category of a worn-out and no-longer-to-be-desired suit of clothing. In saying this we are only contemplating the full-tide of spiritual life known before any of these things came into being. These things only came in when the fullness of the Spirit had gone out, and, being an artificial substitute, they can never but be limiting things in the realm of Divine purpose. And yet, behold how these things have become the very nature of traditional and organized Christianity! So much so that to touch them in any way which threatens their existence is to meet something more bitter and formidable than any persecution from the world. This is not said carelessly. Religion can be, and is very largely, a terrible force; and Christianity has become a religion. There are very few communities of Christians - even the most evangelical, and spiritual - who wholly escape the tendency or propensity to persecute or ostracize other bodies of Christians who might be regarded as rivals in their field of activity... "God... hath at the end of these days spoken... in His Son." But the new era and new order has brought out a new and mightier-than-ever conflict.
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. § Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart. § Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. § Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. § Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
The body is sown in corruption … It is sown in dishonor … It is sown in weakness … It is sown a natural body. § The first man was of the earth, made of dust. § Dust you are, and to dust you shall return. § One dies in his full strength, being wholly at ease and secure … Another man dies in the bitterness of his soul, never having eaten with pleasure. They lie down alike in the dust, and worms cover them.
My flesh … will rest in hope. § After my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God. § The Lord Jesus Christ … will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. § So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
I find therefore the law of my nature to be that when I desire to do what is right, evil is lying in ambush for me" (Rom. 7.21, Wey.).
Struggle in yourself, and be trapped; rest in Him, and be free!
"Many Christians keep themselves in a perpetual foment through hoping they will get into a situation where they can enjoy a better (and easier) Christian life. They feel enclosed in a net of circumstances from which they cannot escape. They are so wearied and baffled and beaten by the continuous pressure about them that they wish and itch for things to be different, quite sure that if they were only different Christ would be more real. It has not dawned upon them that at the heart of these very circumstances they are to find the Lord Jesus, find His grace sufficient, find the life more abundant." -L.E.M.
"You might be secretly attempting to correct and improve yourself, and suffering a good deal of private vexation and disappointment on account of the futility of your struggles. It was at a moment when I was utterly discouraged, and ready to give up the whole thing in complete despair, that the Father showed me how I was attempting to work upon the old material which He could only condemn, and had, and that my disgust and despair as to myself were only a feeble echo of His.
"My Father was not looking for any good in me, and had the Lord Jesus Christ before Him, the perfect and infinitely acceptable Object of His heart. And I, in my nothingness, had ceased to look for good in myself, and began tasting the deep joy of being in Christ, and free to have Him as my Object; while as to life, I entered in some degree into the blessedness of knowing that it was not I, but Christ liveth in me.'" -C.A.C.
"For to me to live is Christ " (Phil 1:21).
“For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:1
We trample the blood of the Son of God under foot if we think we are forgiven because we are sorry for our sins. The only explanation of the forgiveness of God and of the unfathomable depth of His forgetting is the Death of Jesus Christ. Our repentance is merely the outcome of our personal realization of the Atonement which He has worked out for us. "Christ Jesus…is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." When we realize that Christ is made all this to us, the boundless joy of God begins; wherever the joy of God is not present, the death sentence is at work. It does not matter who or what we are, there is absolute reinstatement into God by the death of Jesus Christ and by no other way, not because Jesus Christ pleads, but because He died. It is not earned, but accepted. All the pleading which deliberately refuses to recognize the Cross is of no avail; it is battering at another door than the one which Jesus has opened. I don't want to come that way, it's too humiliating to be received as a sinner. "There is none other Name . . ." The apparent heartlessness of God is the expression of His real heart, there is boundless entrance in His way. "We have forgiveness through His blood." Identification with the death of Jesus Christ means identification with Him to the death of everything that never was in Him. God is justified in saving bad men only when He makes them good. Our Lord does not pretend we are all right when we are all wrong. The Atonement is a propitiation whereby God through the death of Jesus makes an unholy man holy.
I do not cease to pray for you, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of HIM…..
I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those he called—His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance.
I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honour at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world to come. God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made Him head over all things for the benefit of the church. And the church is His body. It is made full and complete by Christ, Who fills all things everywhere with Himself.
What a glorious prayer Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesians – and for us too. He heard of their trust in Christ and longed for them to know their position in Him. His specifically prayed that God would give them revelation of who they are in the Lord. He prayed that the eyes of their hearts would be flooded with heavenly illumination. He longed for God to open their understanding of the riches of His grace towards them.
But the wonderful thing is that this weighty prayer of Paul is for all God’s children. Paul’s desire was that all believers discover the precious privilege they have in Him, and down through the centuries of time men and women have rejoiced in his words – and his prayer for revelation is for you and for me, and for all the body of Christ.
What a joy for Paul that these Ephesians believers had such aread more