From Unfolding Grace:
“The first half of Ephesians celebrates the gospel blessings of our salvation. Christians have been chosen, adopted, forgiven, and made alive in Christ…. The second half of Ephesians now shows what difference this makes in our lives. The first half celebrated gospel theology; the second half urges gospel living. It shows how a life of ever-deepening faith in Christ transforms us to become like Him. Faith makes us humble, gentle, and patient. It creates a unified and Christlike gospel culture in churches. The gospel applies to our relationships, our vocations, our sexuality, our money, our families, and every other corner of our lives.”
Wednesday, October 6th
Larger Portion of Scripture - Ephesians 4-6
Focused Passage for Reflection - Ephesians 6:10-20
Reflecting on the Text:
There is a beautiful, powerful flow to the book of Ephesians. It opens with an exuberant description of the blessings we receive through our union in Christ in chapter 1. That description glorifies God and points to the joy of our being “in Christ.” Then in chapter 2, we find one of the clearest explanations of the gospel in all of Scripture. From there, this letter unpacks how we are to practically live out of our union in Christ relationally in the church, in marriage, in the family, and in our vocation. And with that, Ephesians 6:10 seems to summarize it all with the word, “FINALLY.”
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Paul is telling us that though Christians are called to be meek, as Christ was meek, we are not called to be weak. Quite the contrary, we are to live in the strength and power of Christ, exercising this power in PRAYER.
These verses speak to Christians in terms of warfare, calling us to don the armor of battle as we pray boldly, dependently, and fervently. What follows is a description of that armor. These verses are meant to encourage us, but if you are like me, they have far too often been sources of confusion. That confusion isn’t the fault of Scripture but of my own attempts to over-connect the text to specific battle clothing. So can I simply encourage you to stand firm…to fix your undivided attention in prayer…
Standing on the TRUTH of Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit has revealed Him to us through the Word.
Trusting in the RIGHTEOUSNESS of Christ for our eternal hope and as the basis of our standing before the throne of God. This righteousness of Jesus is our answer to the accusations of the devil.
Secure in, and praying in accord with, the GOSPEL OF PEACE. It is in accord with this gospel that we are reconciled to God the Father through the atoning work of Jesus. We have this peace through Jesus and we pray for this peace with others.
Having FAITH in Jesus as our older brother who has won the victory over Satan on our behalf.
Knowing our SALVATION is secure in Christ.
And being open and obedient to the leading of the HOLY SPIRIT.
Is your prayer life focused and intentional or fleeting and divided? For almost all of us, that answer likely depends on the day. Let these verses awaken in you boldness in prayer and the faith to trust in God through prayer. And live out of your union in Christ by living a life of prayer.
Questions for personal reflection:
How might your prayer life be strengthened by reading this passage as a lead-in to prayer?
In what ways do you see these verses as a natural conclusion to a letter focused on our union in Christ?