We now turn to not only the last section of this chapter, but also the last section of the book. In our outline of the Eph 6:10-24, it is:
- The Empowerment, vs. 10.
2. The Enemy, vs. 11-12.
3. The Equipment, vs. 13-17.
4. The Energy, vs. 18-20.
5. The Encouragement, vs. 21-24.
In our outline of the overall book regarding the believer’s walk, it is:
A. The Believer’s Walk in Unity; God’s Plan for Faithful Living in the Church to Build the Church, Eph 4:1-16.
B. The Believer’s Walk in Righteousness; God’s Pattern and Principles for Members of the Church and His Standards for Faithfulness in the Church, Eph 4:17-32.
C. The Believer’s Walk in Love; The conclusion of God’s Pattern and Principles for Members of the Church and His Standards for Faithfulness in the Church, Eph 5:1-17.
D. The Believer’s Walk in the World; God’s Standards for Authority and Submission in the Church, Eph 5:18-6:9.
E. The Believer’s Walk in Warfare; God’s Provision for His Children’s Spiritual Battles, Eph 6:10-20.
F. Conclusion; Benediction, God’s Encouragement to Carry on, “keep on walking,” Eph 6:21-24.
This is Paul’s closing salutation. Here, he provides encouragement to the churches by telling of his own situation and sending welcomed friends to give them a further update and to strengthen their faith by delivering this letter and the other prison epistles. The principle is that we provide encouragement to the church by telling of our own situation and sending welcomed friends to give further updates, which strengthens everyone’s faith.
Paul also gives them a blessing, just as we should give others verbal blessings of encouragement, coupled with prayer on their behalf.
A parallel benediction is found in Col 4:7-9.
Col 4:7-9, “As to all my affairs, Tychicus, our beloved brother and faithful servant and fellow bond-servant in the Lord, will bring you information. 8For I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts; 9and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of your number. They will inform you about the whole situation here.”
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Eph 6:21, “But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you.”
In the Greek, this begins with HINA of Purpose Clause, which couples with the Subjunctive mood in the upcoming verb. This introduces Paul’s purpose for sending Tychicus with this letter and further communications about Paul’s current situation, to let them know how he is doing. We translate it “in order that.”
It is followed by the Transitional Conjunction DE to indicate a transition to a new topic while linking it to the previous subtopic of Paul being an “ambassador in chains.” Paul is telling them that he will give them further information about his “chains,” through Tychicus. We can translate this “Now.”
Next, we have “may know,” which is the Verb OIDA, οἶδα in this HINA clause, in the Perfect, Active, Subjunctive. OIDA means to, “know fully, understand, recognize.” Although OIDA is in the Perfect tense it is translated as if it were a present, “know.” Yet, the perfect idea of “possessed knowledge,” rather than the present aspect of “acquiring knowledge,” dominates the word’s definition. Therefore, Paul desires that they have the complete understanding about his situation. The Subjunctive mood also emphasizes this is the purpose Paul intends.
When people know more about your situation, they have a greater opportunity for intercessory prayer, a greater opportunity to encourage you with principles from God’s Word about your situation, and they have a greater opportunity to be encouraged themselves, especially when they realize that others are going through problems and difficulties too, which sometime may be worse situations than their own. Therefore, they may not feel so bad about their own situation.
This is followed in the Greek by the Adjunctive Conjunction KAI, for “and, even, or also.” Here we translated it as “also” as it is a continuation regarding Paul’s desire for them to have knowledge about his situation. This is additional information Paul desire them to have.
Then, in the Greek, we have HUMEIS. Even though the Verb OIDA was in the 2nd Person Plural, Paul adds the Personal Pronoun HUMEIS for emphasis in the 2nd Person Plural, which we can translate “you all,” meaning all those Paul is sending Tychicus to.
So far, we have, “Now in order that you all may also know.”
Next, Paul gives them too forms of understanding. The first is “about my circumstances,” which is HO KATA EGO that means, “the things about / concerning me,” that is, his situation or circumstances. This is the general understanding of what is going on around Paul. The outward pressures of life.
Then, we have, “how I am doing,” which is the Interrogative Pronoun TIS for “what or how,” with the Customary Present, Active, Indicative of the Verb PRASSO, πράσσω that means, “do, accomplish, commit, practice, observe, act, be, etc.” We translate this “doing,” to indicate Paul’s ongoing inward struggles, condition, and situation.
This is what Paul desires them to know; what his outward circumstances are, and how he is doing inwardly, which can include both physical and mental circumstance. This is what Tychicus will tell them.
He wanted them to know what the reality of his situation truly was, while under house arrest, so that they could pray for him at the least, and send him written or verbal encouragement at the most.
So far, we have, “Now in order that you all may also know the things concerning me; how I am doing.”
The next part of this passage in the Greek is actually what most English translators put last, will make everything known to you.” It begins with the Dative Adjective PAS for “all things,” with the Future, Active, Indicative of GNORIZO that means, “to make known, reveal, point out, or declare.” We noted this word in Eph 1:9; 3:3, 5, 10; and 6:19.
The Future Tense speaks of the future time period when Tychicus will arrive with this letter. Therefore, we add “will make known.”
With this is the Dative Personal Pronoun HUMEIS once again, in the 2nd Person Plural, for “to you all.”
This is written from the Future Tense perspective, but in reality, Tychicus will deliver the letter, read it, or have it read to the congregations, and then will follow up with further verbal communication about Paul’s situation.
Next, we see the bearer of Paul’s news, “Tychicus,” or in the Greek, the Nominative Name, TUCHIKOS Τυχικός. In addition to our passage, this companion of Paul and great servant of God is noted in Acts 20:4; Col 4:7; 2 Tim 4:12; and Titus 3:12. We will discuss him further below.
Paul gave Tychicus direct authority to relate his situation to the churches. This is not gossip. We too can give others expressed authority to communicate our situation to others, so that they can pray for us, or encourage us, or be encouraged.
When you ask others to pray for you, or give them an opportunity to encourage, you are giving them an opportunity to exercise their common Christian service to the church, and/or their spiritual gift. When they do, you are also giving them an opportunity to produce the fruit of the Spirit / Divine Good Production, Gal 5:22-23; Eph 5:9.
On a side note, notice that Paul does not add “one of your country men” or the like, to this letter, as he did with Onesimus in Col 4:9, and Epaphras in Col 4:12, who were natives of Colossae. We know that Tychicus was from Asia from Acts 20:4. This is another indication that this letter was not written directly to the church at Ephesus, but was to be a circular letter to all the churches in Asian. This goes along with what we noted in Chapter 1, vs. 1, where “at Ephesus” is not in the most reliable texts. In addition, Paul sending Tychicus to Ephesus, as noted in 2 Tim 4:12, does not mean this letter was written to the church there.
“Tychicus was the apostle’s personal representative to the churches in Colosse (Col 4:7-9), Ephesus, and, assuming Ephesians to be a circular letter, other Asian churches as well.” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
Paul then gives two true glowing accolades about Tychicus. The first is, “the beloved brother,” that begins with the Article HO and the Nominative Adjective AGAPETOS, ἀγαπητός “beloved, esteemed, etc.,” and the Nominative Noun ADELPHOS, ἀδελφός “brother, a fellow-Christian, neighbor.”
AGAPETOS is a recurring address for Paul’s “dear friends,” Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 4:14; Col 1:7; 4:7, 9; Philemon 1:1, 16. Several times, like here, it is connected with ADELPHOS. Peter also used this phrase regarding Paul, 2 Peter 3:15, “… our beloved brother Paul,…”
ADELPHOS is used here not in its literal sense of a family member or relative, but in its figurative sense as a brother in the spiritual sense; a fellow believer and worker in Christ. It also points out the affection and close relationship Paul had with him.
All of our fellow Christians should be beloved brothers / sisters to us. Unfortunately, many times they are not, either because of their reversionism or ours. Yet, if we are going forward in God’s Plan for our lives, for all of those who are going forward in God’s Plan for their lives, they should be beloved brothers / sisters.
The second acclamation Paul gives to Tychicus is “and faithful minister,” which is the Coordinating Conjunction KAI that applies the Granville Sharp Rule, making this accolade also directed to Tychicus. The accolade is the Nominative Adjective of PISTOS, πιστός that means, “trustworthy, faithful, reliable, credible, etc.” Paul used this word in Eph 1:1, regarding the believers who would receive this letter.
Then we have, the Nominative Noun DIAKONOS, διάκονος that means, “servant, attendant, waiter,” and is even used for “deacon.” It means, “one who serves as an intermediary in a transaction; an agent, intermediary, courier,” (A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature). Greek DIAKONOS were usually a subordinate officer or assistant employed in the ministry of the gospel, as to Paul and Apollos, 1 Cor 3:5, Tychicus, Eph 6:21, Epaphras, Col 1:7, Timothy, 1 Thes 3:2, and also our Lord Jesus Christ, Rom 15:8.
Paul used this word to describe himself in Eph 3:7 as a “minster” of God. Here, Paul is not using this word for the office of Deacon that Tychicus might have held, but more generically as a “servant.” See also Col 4:7; 1 Tim 4:6.
When we have the Christ-like nature, we are faithful in ministering to the needs of others, and faithful ministers in the eyes of our God.
1 Tim 4:6, “In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following.”
Finally, we see why Paul is commending Tychicus, because he is, “in the Lord,” which is the Dative of Sphere of the Preposition EN and the Noun KURIOS. This is the one who Tychicus was serving; the Lord Jesus Christ, just as Paul was. Even though Tychicus was helping and assisting Paul, he was really doing the work of the Lord, and that is why Paul commends him.
Our final translation of vs. 21 is, “Now, in order that you all may also know the things concerning me, (his external situation); how I am doing, (his internal situation), Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you all.”
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Eph 6:22, “I have sent him to you for this very purpose, so that you may know about us, and that he may comfort your hearts.”
In this passage, Paul reemphasizes Tychicus’ mission. In the English translation it begins with “I have sent him to you.” Yet, in the Greek it begins with the Relative Accusative Pronoun HOS that means, “whom,” referring to Tychicus.
Then we have the Aorist, Active, Indicative, 1st Person, Singular of PEMPO that means, “send,” and in the 1st Person Aorist for simple past tense, it means, “I have sent.” In the Greek, this word is used for “sending” people, such as messengers, as Tychicus is. Therefore, he was an ambassador for Paul, or more importantly, for the Lord Jesus Christ.
“To you,” is the Preposition PROS, “to,” with the direct object Accusative, 2nd Person, Plural, Pronoun of HUMEIS once again for, “you all.” So, we translate this, “to you all.” Combined we have, “Whom I have sent to you all.” Paul is saying that he has sent Tychicus to the body of Christ in Asia Minor.
Then, to go along with the “purpose clause” of vs. 21,” Paul states, “for this very purpose,” which is the Preposition EIS, “for,” the Personal Pronoun AUTOS, “same,” and the Demonstrative Adjective HOUTOS, “this thing,” that means, “for this same thing.” It is an idiom to reiterate what Paul noted in vs. 21, and why he has sent Tychicus to them.
Paul then reiterates why he is sending Tychicus, “so that you may know about us,” which this time is a HINA of Result clause. It begins with HINA, “so that,” and then we have a synonym of OIDA, along with the cognate of GNORIZO from vs. 21, which is the verb GINOSKO, γινώσκω in the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive. It means, “to know, become aware, perceive, understand, or be conscious of.”
This is the Culminative Aorist Tense that views the entirety of the action from the point of completion. In other words, once Tychicus gives them the report on Paul’s condition, they will know it.
The Active Voice, the congregations will have this information.
The Subjunctive Mood, is for the HINA of Result clause, where they will know about Paul’s situation as a result of Tychicus’ report.
The information these believers have is expanded beyond just Paul as it will be “about us,” that is, Paul and his companion’s present circumstances. In the Greek it is the Genitive of, HO PERI, “about or concerning,” EGO in the 1st Person, Plural. Literally, it is, “the about / concerning us.” PERI is also used to refer to the reason an action occurs. It supports the HINA clause to tell us why Paul sent Tychicus.
Then we have an addition to the HINA of Result clause, “and that he may comfort your hearts,” which is KAI PARAKALEO HO KARDIA HUMEIS. This time we do not have HINA for “that.” But, it is added because of the Coordinating Conjunction KAI, “and.” KAI continues the HINA of Result clause and adds this last result.
“He may comfort,” is the Greek verb PARAKALEO, παρακαλέω in the Present, Active, Subjunctive, 3rd Person, Singular. The word comes from the same Greek term from which we get one of the names for the Holy Spirit, PARACLETE. It means, “to call for, exhort, or encourage.” We noted this word in Eph 4:1, where Paul was “imploring or exhorting” them to “walk in a manner worthy of their calling.” Here, it is used in its third use in the Greek, “the act of exhorting or encouraging,” as in Acts 16:40; 20:2.
Acts 16:40, “They went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia, and when they saw the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.”
Acts 20:2, “When he had gone through those districts and had given them much exhortation, he came to Greece.”
The 3rd Person Singular refers to Tychicus delivering the report on Paul’s condition to the churches.
The Customary Present tense is for an ongoing action where the hearers of Tychicus’ message will be comforted continually.
The Active voice, Tychicus comforts them by his report.
The Subjunctive mood, continues the Result Clause. As a result of his report, they are comforted continually.
The ones to be comforted by the report of Tychicus, is seen in the last words, “your hearts,” HO KARDIA HUMEIS. More specifically, the place of this comforting is the heart of their souls, the right lobe, KARDIA.
Paul did not want them to be down trodden by the news about him or the rumors they might have heard. He wanted them to hear firsthand what was going on and instead be encouraged by what they heard, even in his persecutions, trials, and tribulation, because they were all for “Christ’s sake,” as he operated under his Royal Ambassadorship, just as Tychicus was.
Notice the principle here:
To be comforted in the heart of your soul, you need knowledge or information. This was a report on Paul and his companion’s outward and inward state. It was information about their welfare. When we are able to share that with others they can be comforted within their soul.
In today’s society, where speedy travel from one part of the world to another is commonplace and messages can be sent around the world instantaneously through email or texting, it is hard to appreciate the importance of this comment. Traveling from Rome to Asia Minor was perilous, and took many days. In addition, Tychicus traveled with Onesimus, Col 4:9, on this journey. Onesimus was a slave who had run away from his master, see the book of Philemon. Many slaves were killed for doing much less than Onesimus had done. By being with this slave, Tychicus was endangering his own life as well. Traveling the great distance from Rome to Asia Minor and placing his life in danger paled into insignificance when compared with his mission of reporting the welfare of Paul and his team, and of encouraging the believers of the Church.
- As Royal Ambassadors for Christ, whatever our earthly situation might be, it should pale in comparison to the mission we have of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world. Even in Paul’s case, when death stood constantly before his eyes, he did not fear death nor have anxiety about his situation. It did not prevent him from encouraging even the most distant churches.
- What a great ministry Tychicus had. He was doing what every witness-missionary-preacher-evangelist desires to do, he spreads the Word and encourages the saints. As Royal Ambassadors, it is also our job to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and encourage our fellow believers.
- We are not fighting the battle alone. There are other believers who stand with us in the fight, and we ought to be careful to encourage one another in this battle.
- Paul encouraged the Church through another; Tychicus was an encouragement to Paul, Acts 20:4, and Paul sent Tychicus to the churches to be an encouragement to them. Your desired encouragement for others does not have to come directly through you. You can ask others to deliver encouragement on your behalf.
- Paul was not the type who kept his affairs to himself. He wanted the people of God to know:
a.) What God was doing.
b.) How their prayers were being answered.
c.) What Satan was doing to oppose the work.
We too, should be sharing our situations with others in these regards to encourage them.
- Paul’s motive was not selfish. He was not trying to get something out of them. He only had their best interests at heart, and deeply cared for and was concerned about their well-being. What are your motives in sharing information? They should be based on your love for others and their well-being.
- The brotherly love exhibited in the early church is the undertone of all of Paul’s epistles. Paul had a real love and concern for the brethren. All of our communications, (written, verbal, and bodily), should express a real love and concern we have for our brothers and sisters in Christ, and those lost in this world.
- It is a great encouragement to be a part of the Royal Family of God! Encouraging one another is so important whether we are talking about a family, a person, a ministry, or a church. The real question is what role are you playing, building up or tearing down?
Nowhere in the NT do we find an isolated believer. Christians are like sheep; they flock together. The church is an army and the soldiers need to stand together and fight together. The “individual contributor Christian” is not walking in God’s Plan. As the poet said, “Birds of a feather, flock together.” To be in the body of Christ is to gather together, eat together (take in Bible Doctrine together), and fight together.
Heb 10:25, “Not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”
Heb 3:13, “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”
Rom 1:12, “That is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other’s faith, both yours and mine.”
2 Cor 1:7, “And our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.”
Acts 14:22, “Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God”.”
1 Thes 3:2, “And we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith.”
1 Thes 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
1 Thes 5:14, “We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
Titus 2:4, “So that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children.”
Isa 35:3-4, “Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. 4Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come, but He will save you.”
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1. Many people associate encouragement with flattery, compliments, or common little expressions like: “Oh you look nice today,” “Have a nice day,” or “Take care.” That is not what encouragement is. Those expressions are fine, there is nothing wrong with them, but they are not Biblical encouragement. Encouragement means, “to put courage in someone; give hope or confidence.” It is also a kind of support that inspires confidence in others and a will to continue or develop that confidence.” That is a great concept!
a.) You encourage a fellow human being when you instill in his or her heart courage to face the world, e.g., inspire others to put on the “Full Armor of God,” to overcome the trials and tribulations inside of Satan’s cosmic system. That is encouragement.
b.) Encouragement is the expression to help someone become a better Christian when life is tough. That is what encouragement is; that is putting courage in the heart.
c.) This comfort can be a positive thought, statement, or action confirming that a desired goal has been reached or is within reach.
d.) It is a positive statement or declaration of the truth and an assertion of support or agreement.
2. God is the true comforter, and we can give encouragement or affirmation from and based on God and His Word. Acts 15:36f.; Rom 15:1-6; 2 Cor 1:3-7; 7:6-7; Phil 2:1-8; 1 Thes 4:18; 5:11, 14; 1 Tim 4:13; Heb 3:13; 6:18; 10:25.
John 14:26, “But the Helper, (PARAKLETOS), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
Heb 6:18, “So that by two unchangeable things (Promise to Abraham [God’s Word] and the oath which rests on the very being of God [God Himself]) in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.”
2 Cor 1:3-4, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
2 Cor 7:6-7, “But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus; 7and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more.”
2 Thes 2:16-17, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, 17comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”
1 Thes 4:18, “Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
1 Thes 5:14, “And we urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all men.”
Heb 3:13, “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Through God and His Word, we can give others real comfort and encouragement for all situations in life.
3. Christ is the master of encouragement. He is the most encouraging Person Who ever lived. He was always saying things to other people for the purpose of making their lives better. Even when Jesus was blasting the religious leaders of Israel, He did it to correct their wrongs, but also to encourage His followers by pointing to the truth. Jesus was able to take any situation and use it for encouragement. He always found the best in any situation.
a.) One example is when He told His disciples about His impending death in John 14. Where is the encouragement in that? Telling someone that you are going to die does not seem to be a time for encouragement, but Jesus knew why it would be a blessing to His disciples. The Lord encouraged His followers as they heard the news of His death, John 14.
John 14:1, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.”
Jesus was always honest. That is part of a ministry of encouragement. We cannot help anyone by keeping the truth from them. Cf. John 15:18-19; 16:33; 1 John 3:13.
John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
4. Pastors are to encourage with the Word, Acts 15; Rom 15:4; 1 Thes 3:2; 2 Tim 4:2; Titus 1:9; 2:15.
Rom 15:4, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Acts 15:31-32, “Judas and Silas, also being prophets themselves, encouraged and strengthened the brethren with a lengthy message.”
1 Thes 3:2, “And we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith.”
2 Tim 4:2, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”
Titus 1:9, “Holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he (the Pastor-Teacher) will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”
Titus 2:15, “These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”
5. All believers are to encourage each other which has the result of edifying your neighbor, Eccl 10:12; Eph 4:29; 1 Thes 5:11; Heb 10:25.
1 Thes 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”
Eccl 10:12, “Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him.”
a.) By granting genuine forgiveness. 2 Cor 2:7, “So that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort (encourage) him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow.”
Sometimes people repent of their sins, but they are made to feel like second-class Christians. That is not right. If you do that to someone else you are not ENcouraging them, instead you are DIScouraging them.
b.) Our faith and love for the Lord encourages others. We encourage others by the demonstration of our faith. Judges 20:22; 1 Sam 23:16; Dan 11:1; Acts 27:27-38; Rom 1:12; Phil 2:19; Col 2:1-8, 4:11; 1 Thes 3:all.
Judges 20:22, “But the people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves and arrayed for battle again in the place where they had arrayed themselves the first day.”
1 Sam 23:16, “And Jonathan, Saul’s son, arose and went to David at Horesh, and encouraged him in God.”
Dan 11:1, “In the first year of Darius the Mede, I arose to be an encouragement and a protection for him.”
Phil 2:19, “But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition.”
6. We are to encourage one another to serve, Acts 18:27-28; 1 Cor 16:12.
Acts 18:27-28, “And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him (Apollos) and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace, 28for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.”
1 Cor 16:12, “But concerning Apollos our brother, I encouraged him greatly to come to you with the brethren; and it was not at all his desire to come now, but he will come when he has opportunity.”
7. There is a spiritual gift of encouragement, the gift of exhortation, PARAKALON, Rom 12:5, 8. It is one of the permanent spiritual gifts that includes: 1) Pastor-Teacher, 2) Evangelism, 3) Administration / Governments / Ruling, 4) Ministering or Service, 5) Helps, 6) Exhortation, 7) Giving, 8) Showing Mercy, and 9) Faith.
The one with the gift of exhortation will counsel, comfort, warn, and advise his fellow brethren, leading them into the active realization of the will of God.
Rom 12:8, “Or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.”
Exhortation is the supernatural ability to encourage, counsel, comfort, admonish, warn, and advise others. This gift is also described as anyone who is honest with you as if they were a friend. It is the special ability to minister words of comfort, consolation, encouragement, and counsel to other members of the Body of Christ, so that they feel helped and healed. Being different from plain teaching, it is an appeal for action. It is the practical aspect of a preaching ministry. It leads people into the active realization of the will of God.
Yet, as we have noted above, exhortation is a part of every believer’s “General Service,” as noted in, Acts 15:36f, 2 Cor 1:4; Phil 2:1-8; Heb 3:13; 10:25; 1 Thes 4:18; 5:11, 14; 1 Tim 4:13.
8. As we are instructed to comfort one another, we also see that we can do these things for ourselves in spiritual adulthood. We have the permanent Indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the Filling of the Spirit, and the ministry of the Spirit in teaching, metabolizing, and applying Bible doctrine. Beginning with Spiritual Self-Esteem, you counsel yourself; you comfort yourself; you warn yourself; you advise yourself through application of the Word of God, John 14:26; Rom 15:4; Heb 6:18.
Rom 15:4, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
9. On the flip side is Discouragement that we should not have in our own lives and not project to the lives of others, because discouragement is:
a.) A thief: It steals your vitality, your zeal, your joy, your peace, and your contentment. If discouragement dwells long within you, its friends will soon join. Their names are fatigue, hopelessness, despair, self-pity, depression, doubt, and bitterness. Sometimes, discouragement can be so strong that you even do not want to go on living.
b.) It is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future.
c.) It is the result of spiritual blindness.
d.) It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow.
e.) It is unawareness of the presence of God, unconcern for the needs of our fellow man, and unbelief in the promises of His Word.
If we have nothing to rely on, or we forget our blessings and look to our circumstances, then that is when discouragement begins to take hold. Instead, what we need is encouragement. We need hope and peace, and the knowledge that the Lord knows our troubles and has great concern and compassion for us, and is not leaving us unloved or uncared for.
Keeping your eyes on Jesus is the best way to be encouraged, Heb 12:2. In Him, you can have comfort, peace, and encouragement. You need to find Him and His words, and by faith rest in Him.
Be encouraged, because God is a God of mercy and comfort, He is called the “Father of Mercies,” 2 Cor 1:3.
2 Cor 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.”
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Let us learn more about this man Tychicus. We now enter into a study about the great worker and soldier for God, Tychicus, Τυχικός. His name literally means, “chance, fortunate, or fortuitous.” He is mentioned in the NT 5 times, Acts 20:4; Eph 6:21; Col 4:7; 2 Tim 4:12; Titus 3:12.
He was from the province of Asia Minor, known as Turkey today, Acts 20:4, but we do not know for sure which town or city. Some believe it was Ephesus because he was the courier of the letter called Ephesians, and from 2 Tim 4:12, where Paul later sent him to Ephesus.
We do know that he was an Asiatic Christian, who became a close friend, companion, and coworker of the apostle Paul. Tychicus accompanied Paul into the Asiatic region at the end of the apostle’s third missionary journey, Acts 20:4.
He was with Paul during his first Roman imprisonment, Eph 6:21; Col 4:7, from where the epistle to the Colossians, the circular letter known as Ephesians, and the letter to Philemon were written. Paul then sent Tychicus to deliver the letters and give the churches further information about his situation in Rome. Since he was from Asia, he was a logical choice for this task.
Tychicus was high in the confidence of Paul, but it is not known when he was converted, or why he was in Rome. He traveled with the apostle after Paul’s acquittal and he, or possibly Artemas, went to Crete as a relief for Titus, Titus 3:12. He later reappeared in Rome when Paul was imprisoned there a second time, but the apostle sent Tychicus to Ephesus shortly before his martyrdom, to relieve Timothy, 2 Tim 4:12.
Tychicus was associated with Paul for a period of 14+ years, at least 4 of which they were together. Tychicus was an example of the many faithful servants of Christ in the early church. The apostle Paul had great confidence in him. Tychicus was one of Paul’s outstanding fellow laborers, and a beloved friend and brother in Christ, who was totally dependable.
“The Greeks speak of him as one of the seventy disciples, and make him bishop of Colophon, in the province of Asia,” (Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament), which is located just north of Ephesus.
The Catholic Encyclopedia notes, “Different traditions make him out to be the Bishop of Colophon, Chalcedon or Neapolis in Cyprus. Hippolytus of Rome lists Tychicus as one of the seventy disciples. His feast is kept on 29 April.”
“This Trophimus and Tychicus, we know from the book of the Acts, sailed away with him from Judea, and were everywhere his companions, perhaps as being more zealous than the rest.” (Early Church Fathers – – A Select Library of the Nicene & Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church.)
Tychicus was described by Paul as:
- A beloved brother (AGAPETOS ADELPHOS), Eph 6:21; Col 4:7.
- A faithful minister/servant (PISTOS DIAKONOS), Eph 6:21; Col 4:7.
- A fellow servant (SUNDOULOS), Col 4:7.
These three positive commendations about him are stated:
- Tychicus was a “beloved brother.” He was a spiritual brother, both to Paul and the members of the Colossian church. They and all the other believers loved him.
- Tychicus was a “faithful minister.” He served as Paul’s apostolic representative several times and executed his responsibilities well. Paul could count on him without question. Nothing negative about Tychicus is stated in Scripture.
- He was a “fellow servant.” Paul, Timothy, Tychicus, and others were joined together in loving service to their heavenly master, the Lord Jesus Christ. As spiritual slaves, they submitted their wills and ambitions to Him.
All three designations are also accompanied with the phrase, “in the Lord,” Eph 6:21; in the sphere of a wonderful relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. They loved the Lord and served the Lord. Tychicus was not a slave or a natural brother to the apostle in real life, but in his service and sacrifice for the Lord, he was a fellow bond-servant of Christ, and spiritual brother in Christ. His service and sacrifice are shown by the following.
Tychicus the missionary joined Paul at least during one leg of the apostle’s third missionary journey, Acts 20:4.
Tychicus, the ambassador / messenger:
- Was sent to Ephesus by Paul during the apostle’s first Roman imprisonment, carrying with him the NT Ephesian epistle, Eph 6:21.
- Was sent to Colosse by Paul during the apostle’s first Roman imprisonment, carrying with him the NT Colossian epistle, Col 4:7.
- Was sent by Paul to help Titus in Crete between the apostle’s first and second Roman imprisonments, Titus 3:12.
- Was sent back to Ephesus by Paul during the apostle’s final Roman imprisonment, 2 Tim 4:12.
Tychicus, the minister:
- He ministered to Paul during the first Roman imprisonment, Eph 6:21; Col 4:7.
- He ministered to Paul during the second and final Roman imprisonments, 2 Tim 4:12.
Paul “sent” Tychicus for two reasons:
- Tychicus was to inform the church about the circumstances surrounding the apostle’s imprisonment, “all my affairs,” Col 4:7-8 (NASB). This same phrase is used elsewhere of his predicament and is translated in several ways: “laid his case,” Acts 25:14; “my circumstances,” Eph 6:21; Phil 1:12. In its concerns, the church had sent Epaphras to Rome to get firsthand information, but he was imprisoned also, Philemon 23. Tychicus thus made known how God had used the imprisonment to advance the gospel message, Phil 1:12.
- Tychicus was to “encourage / comfort their hearts.” The churches in Asia Minor were undoubtedly anxious about the imprisonments of Paul and Epaphras, the confusion and dissension, which the Judaizers produced, and the future vitality of the church. This encouragement and comfort came from concerned, involved friends, and from a thorough knowledge of the facts as shared with them by Tychicus.
He was sent with the letters to correct the evils which had arisen especially at Colosse, and to warn them against the wicked doctrines which were being promulgated amongst them. Onesimus the runaway slave, also carried the beautiful little Epistle addressed to his master Philemon. And at the same time, when Tychicus and Onesimus left Rome, Paul handed to Tychicus the Epistle to the Ephesians. Never before and never after were such weighty and blessed documents entrusted to human messengers.
As such, Tychicus was a “faithful minister,” PISTOS DIAKONOS, a termed used in the ministry of the gospel for Paul and Apollos, 1 Cor 3:5, Epaphras, Col 1:7, Timothy, 1 Thes 3:2, and also for Jesus Christ, Rom 15:8, as it is for Tychicus, Eph 6:21.
Appearance in the Bible: As noted above, Tychicus is mentioned in the NT 5 times, Acts 20:4; Eph 6:21; Col 4:7; 2 Tim 4:12; Titus 3:12.
1. In the first of these passages, Acts 20:4, his name occurs as one of a company of the friends of Paul. Acts 20:4 states that Tychicus was from the Roman province of Asia. The Western text indicates that he was an Ephesian. Here, Tychicus is designated a native of the province of Asia who was with Paul in Greece and accompanied him overland to Troas at the end of the third missionary journey.
Paul, at the close of his 3rd missionary journey, was returning from Greece through Macedonia into Asia, with a view to go to Jerusalem. He was on his way to Jerusalem, “bound in the spirit,” Acts 20:22. Many scholars believe at least some of these men took the journey to represent the churches who gave money as an offering for the poor among the Jerusalem Christians, 1 Cor 16:3; cf. Acts 19:29; 27:2; Col 4:10; Eph 6:21, 22; 2 Tim 4:20. They were carrying the money which had been collected for several years previous in the churches of the Gentiles, for the help of the poor members of the church in Jerusalem, Acts 24:17. They were to see what was done with the money and report to their home churches.
In support of this, there is much probability in the conjecture that Tychicus was one of the two “brethren,” (Trophimus being the other), who were associated with Titus, 2 Cor 8:16-24, in conducting the business of the collection for the poor Christians in Judea.
The Early Church was very careful to keep good financial accounts and just as careful to make them known to the members of the congregation. There is no place where honesty, integrity, and openness are more important than in the distribution of funds given by God’s people for the service of the Lord and His people.
Others, such as Unger do not think Tychicus went all the way to Jerusalem, “He is there expressly called (with Trophimus) a native of Asia Minor; but while Trophimus went with Paul to Jerusalem, Acts 21:29, Tychicus was left behind in Asia, probably at Miletus, Acts 20:15, 38.” (The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary.)
In addition, the Illustated Bible notes, “Who, with Trophimus, accompanied Paul on a part of his journey from Macedonia to Jerusalem, Acts 20:4.” (Illustrated Bible Dictionary: And Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature.)
Either way, we see Tychicus as one of several outstanding men and servants of the Lord in service to Paul and the Church in its infancy.
2. The 2nd, as well as the 3rd passage in which the name of Tychicus occurs is found in Eph 6:21; Col 4:7, that give the information he was with Paul in Rome during his first imprisonment.
In both Eph 6:21-22 and Col 4:7-8, Paul calls Tychicus a “beloved brother and faithful servant in the Lord.” Paul had entrusted Tychicus with a very important mission. He was to deliver the Epistle to the Ephesians, that is, “the circular letter,” to the churches in proconsular Asia, to which it was sent, giving a copy of it to the church in Laodicea, Cf. Col 4:16.
Col 4:16, “When this letter is read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodicea.”
He was then to proceed to Colosse with the Epistle to the church there. In Colosse, Tychicus would plead the cause of Onesimus, who accompanied him from Rome. “Under his shelter Onesimus would be safer than if he encountered Philemon alone,” (Lightfoot, Commentary on Colossians, 314).
In Laodicea and Colosse, Tychicus would not only deliver the Epistles from Paul, but he would also, as the apostle had written to the churches in those places, communicate to them all information about his “state or affairs,” that is, how things were going with him in regard to his imprisonment and appeal to the emperor, and his hope of being soon set free. Tychicus would make known to them all things.
In these events of Tychicus, we see him as the great emissary and comforter that God had designed him to be.
3. While in Colossians, unable to go to Colosse because of his imprisonment, Paul penned this epistle and sent it to the church through Tychicus and Onesimus, Col 4:7-9. For some unknown reason, Epaphras was imprisoned along with Paul by the Roman government, Philemon 23. Since Epaphras could not return to Colosse at this time to correct the situation with the apostolic authority of the epistle, the task was assigned to Tychicus. However, Paul assured the church members that Epaphras was laboring, “earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God,” Col 4:12. Thus, within eight years of the establishment of the church, Paul had to write to this young, immature, threatened church to warn it against the errors of the heresy, (the Judiazers), Col 2:8, 16, 20.
Onesimus was himself from Colosse, Col 4:9. He was a slave who had run away from Asia and found his way to Rome. There, through some circumstances unknown to us, he met Paul and was won to Christ. Thus, Paul had become his spiritual father, Philemon 10. Onesimus was willing to return to his former master, and Paul sent him along with Tychicus, sending also the letter of explanation to Philemon, urging him to receive his former slave as “a beloved brother,” Philemon 16. That this intimate term is used of Onesimus suggests that the slave is to receive the same warm greeting from the Colossian church which it would extend to any visiting Christian.
These two servants of Christ, will not only deliver Paul’s letters to the church in Colossae and to Philemon; they will supplement the correspondence by word of mouth and inform Paul’s friends “about the whole situation here,” Col 4:9.
As we see from this lengthy closing salutation and others scriptures, Paul definitely had learned the important lesson of reproducing himself through other people. And Tychicus proved himself to be such a faithful associate of Paul that Paul was able to send him all the way from Rome to visit the Colossians, more than 1,000 miles, and deliver not only this important letter, but to give additional personal accounts as well.
In both Ephesians and Colossians, the author indicates that he is sending Tychicus to the Christians to whom he is writing, in order to encourage them.
4. Next, from a timeline perspective, we see Tychicus in the Epistle to Titus, Titus 3:12. Along with 2 Tim 4:12, it shows us that Tychicus was again with Paul after the appeal to the emperor had resulted in the apostle regaining his freedom. The passage in Titus evidently refers to the interval between Paul’s first and second Roman imprisonments, and while he was again engaged in missionary journeys. The apostle writes to Titus, who was in Crete in charge of the churches there, that he intended to send either Artemas or Tychicus to him, so as to take the oversight of the work of the gospel in that island, so that Titus might be free to come to be with Paul at Nicopolis. The Nicopolis Paul referred to here is probably the one on the western shore of Greece in the Roman province of Dalmatia.
Because Paul wrote he had “decided” to winter there. By his use of “there” instead of “here” Paul showed he was not yet in Nicopolis when he wrote this epistle. Further, he was still free to travel. This places the time of writing between Paul’s first and second imprisonments in Rome, and while he was again engaged in missionary journeys.
Nothing is known of Artemas, but together with Tychicus they were certainly qualified to lead churches in the proper teaching of the gospel and mystery doctrines for the Church Age. Here, we see Tychicus as a highly qualified Pastor-Teacher.
5. The last passage where Tychicus is mentioned occurs in 2 Timothy, which was written in Rome not long before Paul’s execution during his 2nd imprisonment. To the very end Paul was busy as ever in the work of the gospel; and though it would have been a comfort to him to have his friends beside him, yet the interests of the kingdom of Christ are uppermost in his thoughts, and he sends these friends to help the progress of the work.
To the last, Tychicus was serviceable as ever: “Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus,” 2 Tim 4:12. As Timothy was in charge of the church in Ephesus at this time, 1 Tim 1:3, the coming of Tychicus would set him free, so as to enable him to rejoin Paul in Rome, as the apostle desired him, 2 Tim 4:9, 21.
It should also be noted that at Ephesus, Tychicus would be able to visit his old friend Trophimus, who was, at that very time, only a few miles away, at Miletus, sick, 2 Tim 4:20.
6. It is possible that Tychicus is the brother referred to in 2 Cor 8:22, (read vs. 16-23), as one “whom we have often tested and found diligent in many things, but now even more diligent because of his great confidence in you … (one of) the messengers of the churches … a glory of Christ.” in conducting the business of the collection for the poor Christians in Judea.
7. Although he is not mentioned again in Acts, it is possible that he was one of the party designated by “we,” Acts 20:7–21:18, who accompanied Paul all the way to Jerusalem when Paul took the collection from the Gentile churches to the needy brethren in Jerusalem, cf. 1 Cor 16:1; Acts 24:17.
The character and career of Tychicus are such that show him as being affectionate, faithful, and worthy of the confidence given to him by Paul, who, as already seen, sent him again and again on important work, which could be performed only by a man of ability and of high Christian worth and experience. Thus, all that is known regarding Tychicus fully bears out the description of his character given by the apostle himself, that he was a beloved brother, a faithful minister and fellow-servant in the Lord.
The main message we find in Tychicus is that we are not fighting the battle alone. There are other believers who stand with us in the fight, and we ought to be careful to encourage one another. Paul encouraged the Ephesians; Tychicus was an encouragement to Paul, Acts 20:4; and Paul was going to send Tychicus to the Ephesus region to be an encouragement to them.
Tradition holds that he died a martyr.
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The Impact of a Faithful Servant
By all accounts, Edward Kimball was really a normal man. He worked a normal job, attended a normal church, and even faithfully taught a normal Bible study class. One day a young man named Dwight visited his class. It was clear Dwight didn’t know the Bible. One Saturday, as Ed was preparing his Sunday school lesson, the Lord put a burden on his heart to visit the shoe store where Dwight worked and share the gospel with that young man. That day a Boston shoe clerk surrendered his life to Jesus. The clerk, Dwight L. Moody, eventually became an evangelist.
In England in 1879, DL Moody awakened an evangelistic zeal in the heart of Fredrick B. Meyer, pastor of a small church. F. B. Meyer, preaching to an American college campus, brought to Christ a student named J. Wilbur Chapman. Chapman, engaged in YMCA work, employed a former baseball player, Billy Sunday, to do evangelistic work. Billy Sunday held a revival in Charlotte, N.C. A group of local men were so enthusiastic afterward that they planned another evangelistic campaign, bringing Mordecai Hamm to town to preach.
During Hamm’s revival, a young man named Billy Graham heard the gospel and yielded his life to Christ. YOU JUST NEVER KNOW!
Oh, how important are the Edward Kimballs of this world, the important, significant, vital, and trustworthy men and women. Without the Edward Kimballs…without YOU, so many would not hear the wonderful Words of God!
Now, we often hear about the Dwight L. Moody’s, the Billy Sunday’s, the Billy Grahams… but how about the Edward Kimballs? Well they faithfully plug away behind the scenes and out of the spotlight. While focus is placed on the great evangelist or mega church leader, the faithful servant behind the scenes should know that he or she is the fuel and fire of the church. By the many who are faithful, those that can be counted on, and those that fight the good fight behind the scenes, they are the fuel that fills the church, the unsung volunteers… diaper changers, prayer warriors, chair stackers, phone callers, sign keeper, etc.… the workers… the soldiers… the privates! They are the ones that keep the church going.
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We now turn to vs. 23, in Paul’s: Closing salutation / benediction.
Eph 6:23, “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The word salutation comes from the Greek verb ASPASMOS, ἀσπασμός that means, “a greeting or salutation.” The verb ASPAZOMAI, ἀσπάζομαι means, “to greet, welcome, cherish, embrace, or salute.”
“The noun form is extremely rare in antiquity, both in literary documents and nonliterary papyri. Similarly, aspasmos is not found in either the canonical or apocryphal writings of the Septuagint.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary).
It comes from the Greek A, a particle of union, and SPAO, a primary verb meaning “to draw, draw out,” or even, “to draw one’s sword.” So, combined it means, first to draw out, to salute one, greet, bid welcome, wish well to, paid their respects to, to embrace in greeting as well as the erotic embrace of love. At the closing of a letter it comes to mean, “to embrace them, took leave of them, or bid them farewell.”
In Paul’s typical fashion of closing salutations, he mentions, “peace, love, and faith,” along with “grace,” which is included in the concept of peace, cf. Rom 15:33; Gal 6:16; Phil 4:23; 1 Thes 5:28; 2 Thes 3:16-18; Titus 3:15; Heb 13:20-25.
In Paul’s opening salutations, (greetings), Grace and Peace always occur in that order, cf. Eph 1:2, witnessing to the truth that peace cannot be experienced apart from the prior experience of God’s grace in your life.
Here, we see that peace is united with faith and love. These three are also seen together in Gal 5:22, as part of the “fruit of the Holy Spirit,” and 2 Tim 2:22, as what we should be pursuing, along with righteousness, in our spiritual walk with Christ, as we flee from “youthful lusts.” Our passage is the only other verse that has these three together in one verse.
Paul begins this closing salutation with, “peace be to the brethren,” EIRENE HO ADELPHOS. ADELPHOS can be used literally for “a physical brother,” or figuratively it can refer to a brother in the spiritual sense, especially in the Christian community. Therefore, it is an affectionate use for, “a fellow Christian or neighbor.”
“Peace” is the Greek Noun EIRENE, εἰρήνη in the Nominative case here that means, “peace, harmony, tranquility, health, prosperity.” It is the equivalent to SHALOM of the OT Hebrew. It means there is fellowship between each other. It is also related to a condition of peace, a respite during an endless series of wars. And since Paul just got done speaking about our spiritual warfare and the armor of God, we are to adorn ourselves for battle inside the Angelic Conflict; it is an apropos ending, because in Christ we truly have peace.
We have noted EIRENE in Eph 1:2, the opening Salutation, as well as, Eph 2:14-15, 17; 4:3; 6:15. As we have previously noted, the progression of this word in Ephesians includes:
- A salutation for peace that comes from God our Father and Jesus Christ, Eph 1:2.
- Jesus who broke down the dividing barrier between Jews and Gentiles to bring the two to peace, Eph 2:14.
- By taking on the sins of the world, He brought peace to all who believe in Him, making them one body, Eph 2:15.
- He preached the gospel of peace to all, both Jews and Gentiles, Eph 2:17.
- We now are to be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit, (the one body), in the bond of Peace, Eph 4:3.
- We are to be prepared to fight the Angelic Warfare with the Gospel of Peace, Eph 6:15.
- God desires us to live in peace, Eph 6:23.
As Paul is wishing “peace” to the believers of the early church, he is conveying God’s desire for every believer to live in peace with God, Jesus Christ, others believers, and even non-believers. He desires the believers to live in peace, while also conveying the fondness of relationship he has with them. When we read this closing salutation, by peace, we understand all manners of peace; peace with God, peace of conscience, peace among themselves, etc.
As we have noted, Biblical peace has two aspects: Positional and Experiential. We noted positional back in vs. 15, where we are to give the “gospel of peace,” to the lost. When they believe upon the gospel of Jesus Christ they receive Positional Peace, just as we did when we believed.
Positionally, the believer is at Peace with God. That is, we have a direct relationship with Him. There is nothing dividing us or keep us apart. The peace between God and the believer was achieved by the completed work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, where He broke down the barrier between God and man by paying the penalty for our sins.
Jesus Christ paid for the sin of the unbeliever, 1 John 2:2, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.” Yet, because they have not accepted His saving work on their behalf, “believed in Him,” the barrier remains between them and God, and there is no peace.
But for the believer, there is peace, Rom 5:1; Eph 2:12-18.
Rom 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God.”
Therefore, peace is achieved only through faith in the work of Jesus Christ, Col 1:20.
Col 1:19-20, “For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
Experientially, the believer has the potential for “the peace of Jesus Christ” by having His Word resident within their soul and by being filled with the Holy Spirit, (as result of rebounding), John 14:25-27; Rom 8:6; 14:17, 19; Phil 4:9.
John 14:25, “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. 27Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
Rom 8:6, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Rom 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Rom 14:19, “So then let us pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”
Phil 4:9, “The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
1. To have His peace experientially, also means we must consistently apply faith in our prayers, cf. 1 John 1:9; 1 John 5:14-15, and the utilization of the “if” statements.
Your prayer life enters you into His peace experientially, not only by rebounding, but by turning all your needs, cares, and worries over to the Father, faith resting that He hears and answers those prayer, Phil 4:6-7.
Phil 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
2. Frequently, “peace” is used with reference to outward conditions of tranquility and thus of individuals, of communities, of churches, and of nations, e.g., Numb 6:26; 1 Sam 7:14; 1 Kings 4:24; Acts 9:31; Eph 4:3; 1 Thes 5:13; Heb 12:14; 2 Peter 3:14.
Heb 12:14, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.”
2 Peter 3:14, “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless.”
3. In its deepest application, peace is used for “spiritual peace” that means restored relations and harmony with God, e.g., Isa 9:6-7, “Jesus as the Prince of Peace”; Isa 26:3; Luke 2:14; John 14:27; Acts 10:36; Rom 1:7; 5:1; Gal 5:22.
Isa 9:6-7, “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
4. Peace between individuals is also called harmony, prosperity, and tranquility, Act 7:26; Eph 4:1-3.
Eph 4:1-3, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
Act 7:26, “And on the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?’.”
5. Peace is related to security, safety, and prosperity. Peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous, Phil 4:7; 2 Peter 1:2-8.
Phil 4:7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
6. Peace is the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ and so fearing nothing from God. We are content with our earthly lot in whatever it is or may be, Act 9:31; Rom 15:33.
Act 9:31, “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and, going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.”
Rom 15:33, “Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.”
7. Peace is the blessed state of righteous men after death, 1 Thes 5:23, “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
8. There are several hindrances to your inner peace, mostly stemming from a negative mental attitude. Just as righteousness and truth are the noble companions of peace, so sin and falsehood are its great hindrances.
Jeremiah said in Jer 17:9, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?”
Jesus said in Mark 7:21-23, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. 23All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.”
Therefore, knowing that our Adamic nature, (the Flesh, Old Self, Old Sin Nature) can produce such vileness within our souls, it is imperative that we counter it with the holiness and righteousness of God. Experientially, this is only accomplished through the intake and application of God’s Word through the filling of God the Holy Spirit. When we have God’s Word and Spirit working within our souls, we now have the ability to recognize and avert the sickly deceitfulness of our human heart.
Rom 8:6, “For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
God tells us that there are three evil masters that can sap the peace and joy out of our lives. The three hindrances are: worry, anxiety, and striving.
Our Lord said in Luke 12:22, 29, “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on.” …29And do not seek (strive for) what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying.”
Here, we see the three main enemies of peace within your soul in the following order, “worry, seeking / striving, and anxiety.”
Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between “worry” and “anxiety,” and we typically view them as one and the same. Yet, there is a difference we can know and understand, so that we can defeat them.
- “Anxious” is the verb MERIMNAO, μεριμνάω that means, “be anxious, care for, or be concerned about.” It means, “to be apprehensive, have anxiety, be anxious, be (unduly) concerned.” It is used for the unduly concern, or the unnecessary anxiety experienced, over daily needs such as food and clothing in Luke 12:25-26. It is also used in Luke 12:11.
“Anxiety” is an uneasy feeling called apprehension or distress, a feeling of danger, doom, or misfortune you might have about present or future events. It can also be an intense fear of dread lacking a definite cause or a specific threat. It can be induced by perceived danger or threat when you consider your present situation or a future event. It is nervousness or agitation, often about something that is going to happen. It can also be a strong desire to do something, especially if the desire is unnecessarily or unhealthily strong.
- “Worry” is the verb METEORIZOMAI, μετεωρίζομαι, a cognate of MERIMNAO that means, “worried, troubled, unsettled, be in suspense, or even anxious.” It is only used here in scripture. In classical Greek and in the papyri METEORIZOMAI meant, “to raise on high, to exalt, or to suspend.” It implies the suspending of an object or even a person in midair. It emphasized the mental attitude placed on a thing. Figuratively, it is used in two ways:
1) “To raise up someone by hope, to lift up oneself, to be proud or arrogant.”
2) “To doubt, worry, be unsettled, tense, anxious or to be suspended between fear and hope.”
The context in our passage indicates the second meaning of “being doubtful or worried.”
“Worry” is the mental part of anxiety. Worry has to do with anxious thoughts. It is the constant machination of something that goes unresolved in your thinking, leading to fear and causing anxiety. It is a distressing and painful state of mind involving undue concern over something in life. It always envisions the worst, and so becomes apprehension or anticipation of danger, misfortune or trouble, or uncertainty. It is also a state of restlessness and agitation, producing mental disturbance, uneasiness, anxiety, and painful uncertainty.
Worry is a destroyer of the soul. If unchecked, it results in mental illness, because it is a satanic device to lead the believer into reversionism and even the sin unto death, Ezek 4:15-17; cf. 1 Peter 5:5-9. It is a mental attitude sin which is self-induced misery and therefore, soulish torture regarding anything in life.
I once read an interesting allegory about worry that goes as follows: Death was walking toward a city one morning and a man asked, “What are you going to do?” “I’m going to take 100 people,” Death replied. “That’s horrible!” the man said. “That’s the way it is.” Death said. “That’s what I do.” Then the man hurried to warn everyone he could about Death’s plan. As evening fell, he met Death again. “You told me you were going to take 100 people,” the man said. “Why did 1,000 die?” “I kept my word,” Death responded. “I only took 100 people. WORRY took the others.”
Therefore, “anxiety” can be viewed as the emotional response to a situation, while “worry” is related to the thoughts about life or an area of concern. Worry causes anxiety. Most people would say, “regardless of how you explain it, it feels the same and has the same impact on my life.” That may be true, but we must see the slight differences between them so that we can overcome them. That is why Jesus said regarding both, “do not do it…” using the Present, Active, Imperative, as He also did with the third enemy to our peace.
- “Striving.” Here we see the third enemy of our peace, which is “seeking or striving.” Here we have the Greek verb ZETEO, ζητέω that means, “seek, look for, wish for, desire, inquire into or about.” It was a technical term for philosophical investigation; something “examined, considered, or deliberated.” In our passage, it is used in the negative sense of trying to solve your own problems.
It is to diligently, earnestly, and tenaciously searching after something, sparing no effort or expense. This is what some Bible translators, such as Holman Bible Publishers, call “striving for.”
Luke 12:29 (HCSB), “Don’t keep striving for what you should eat and what you should drink,…”
If anxiety is the emotional response and worry is the mental activity, striving is the action taken. Striving is what you do to solve the problem on your own. It is taking matters into your own hands. It is not trusting or relying on God and moving into inappropriate action to get the results you desire. It is “seeking” for something in the negative sense.
These three evil masters noted in Luke 12:22, 29 are paralleled in Mat 6:25-34. In these verses, Jesus is talking about food and clothing, not cars and yachts and recreational apparel. He is talking about the basic needs of life, and if you do not have them or fear losing them, it would seem to be a reason to be anxious, worry, and strive for. Yet, in these and other passages, our Lord tells us not to worry, have anxiety, nor strive for even the most basic necessities of life, as He is a loving and caring God who can provide all these things and more.
Mat 6:34, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
Luke 12:32, “Do not be afraid (PHOBEO), little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”
1 Cor 14:33, “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”
And as we know, it is sin that causes us to have distress, worry, and anxiety, Psa 38:18, “For I confess my iniquity; I am full of anxiety because of my sin.”
Moreover, your anxiety will not change a thing, e.g., Luke 12:25, “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?”
Our priorities and focus are not to be dictated by the world around us or what others do. Even in the midst of the most basic, fundamental needs of our life, Jesus says, do not strive, do not get worked up on how you are going to bring them into your life. Instead, “trust Me.” The God who cares for the grass that grows in the fields and the birds of the air says that He cares for each of us more than they.
Luke 12:24-28, “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 25And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? 26If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? 27Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 28But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith!”
And Jesus said, John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
If Jesus left His peace for us, why aren’t we taking it? People react emotionally and allow their pride to steal their peace with God and with others. When we believe Satan’s lies; when we worry and fail to trust God’s love, we block the peace and joy that is available to us.
Prov 12:20, “Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy (inner happiness).”
Emotions can be a believer’s worst enemy. We must recognize Satan’s lies and identify feelings that are not in line with God’s Word. Worry is, and always will be, a fatal disease of the heart, for its beginning signals the end of faith. Worry intrudes on God’s compassionate ability to provide. When we allow our problems to overshadow God’s promises, we unknowingly, doom ourselves to a defeat that was never part of God’s eternal plans.
The Lord has a plan to provide peace in the pressure of life. If we do not learn to trust Him, we will not go any farther on our journey with Him.
Psa 4:8, “In peace (shalom) I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety.”
Psa 29:11, “The LORD will give strength to His people; the LORD will bless His people with peace.”
Psa 55:18, “He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me, for they are many who strive with me.”
Psa 119:165, “Those who love Your law have great peace, and nothing causes them to stumble.”
Heb 13:20, “Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, 21equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
Rom 16:20, “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
In real life, when we walk in faith, God intercepts the problems and interjects wonderful vertical truths to guide us through our lives, especially regarding worry. As His disciples, we must operate our lives in the power of His Word and the energy of the Spirit, and not in the energy of the flesh.
Many times, life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards. The scriptures provide us with the backwards view of life while we are living it in a forwards mode. “Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward (vertical view point) to what lies ahead,” Phil 3:13. Live life with a vertical mind. Keep thinking the things above, Col 3:1-2.
When, as a believer in Jesus Christ, you have been faithful in the reception, retention, and recall of Bible doctrine and have advanced to spiritual maturity; you are not only a strong person, but you have great inner happiness. You then take the peace of God with you wherever you go. It is not dependent on environment, associations, or circumstances of prosperity or adversity. It is a part of God’s grace plan for believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. True peace and happiness is a system of thought in the soul, not association with stimulation or pleasure, Prov 3:13-18; Rom 5:1-5.
Prov 3:13, “How blessed is the man who finds wisdom and the man who gains understanding.14 For her profit is better than the profit of silver and her gain better than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than jewels; and nothing you desire compares with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who hold her fast.”
Rom 5:1-5, “Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Therefore, do not worry, do not strive, do not be anxious, but trust the Lord who knows your need, seek His kingdom, focus on the eternal and follow God’s plan for your life, your finances, your relationships, etc., and your future.
We must release the regrets of yesterday, refuse the fears of tomorrow, and receive instead, the peace of today. Simply let go and let God be God. To do so we trust, we maintain a focus on the eternal, and we do what the scripture tells us to do, just as Paul did and tells us to do as well, Phil 4:6-9.
Phil 4:6-9, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. 9The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Determine how you will handle things that come your way. Believe that God loves you unconditionally and trust Him for direction. Measure everything by His Word instead of feelings. His peace will come when you believe Him more than lies and emotions.
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The Greek reads, KAI AGAPE META PISTIS. The Coordinating Conjunction KAI, “and” links Paul’s blessing and desire for the believers in the Church to have peace, with a blessing and desire for them to also have love (AGAPE) in their soul. Interestingly, he also adds “with faith,” META PISTIS. This tells us that love, which germinates “from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” can only be accomplished when there is faith in the life of the believer. Likewise, peace is only accomplished in the life of the believer when there is faith. Therefore, we see that peace and love come into your life by means of faith. Paul is now emphasizing the love of God that operates in a person through faith. We will talk more about the relationship between Love and Faith below.
Motivational Virtue AGAPE Love as Related to the Book of Ephesians
But first, we will discuss Love by itself as used and defined in the Book of Ephesians. Nevertheless, throughout the Scriptures, AGAPE Love consistently relates to the motivating force behind all that God does. God is motivated in all that he does because of His love. In other words, why does God do or say anything? Because of His Love.
AGAPE Love is also one of His Divine attributes that make up His essence. Not only is it the motivational factor in His grace pipeline when blessing man, both believers and unbelievers, in addition, it is one of His virtues. It is that which provides Him to have dignity and integrity in all that He does and says. In other words, how does God do or say anything? In a Loving way! Therefore, AGAPE Love is God’s Motivational Virtue Love by which He says and does all things.
This is the same love that we should have in our lives; the motivation behind all that we think, say, and do, plus the virtue behind all that we think, say, and do. When God’s type of AGAPE Love operates inside the believer’s soul, whatever he does will have the same motivation that God has, and the same integrity with dignity for others, (i.e., virtue) that God has. Therefore, we will call this “Motivational Virtue AGAPE Love,” (MVA Love), cf. 1 Cor 13.
1 Cor 13:13, “But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is (MVA) love.”
All joking aside, the believer who consistently operates in MVA Love, will be an MVP in God’s eyes, Cf. Mat 25:21, 23; Heb 13:20-21.
It is appropriate to conclude this letter with love, because it began with love and emphasizes the unfathomable love of God. Paul has often spoken about it utilizing the Noun AGAPE, Eph 1:4, 15; 2:4; 3:17, 19; 4:2, 15-16; 5:2. A survey of its utilization in the book of Ephesians tells us about God’s Motivational Virtue AGAPE love and how we can have His MVA Love and apply it in our lives.
1. Eph 1:4, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will.”
Here we saw the Motivational Virtue AGAPE Love of God in His election of every believer in eternity past, “before the foundation of the world.” Because of the saving work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross, “the Beloved,” vs. 6, believers are predestined to adoption as sons of God, vs. 5. The Love of God was the motivating factor for electing and predestining us through adoption into His Royal Family, giving us the status of being a child of God. Motivated by His love, He overcame our sins, and elected and predestined us to join His eternal Royal Family.
2. Eph 1:15, “For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints.”
In this passage, Paul was commending the believers of the Church for expressing their motivational virtue AGAPE love towards other members of the body of Christ in their generation. It may have reference to the offering collected by the Churches in Asia Minor for the poor and stricken believers in Jerusalem. That may be how they demonstrated their love. Therefore, love was the motiving factor for these believers to give, either of their time, talent, or treasures. Therefore, we see that MVA Love is demonstrated, it is not just a thought that exists by itself. True AGAPE love is always manifested, Deut 10:19; 2 Cor 8:24; 1 Tim 4:12.
Deut 10:19, “So show your (MVA) love for the alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”
2 Cor 8:24, “Therefore openly before the churches, show them the proof of your (MVA) love and of our reason for boasting about you.”
3. Eph 2:4, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us.”
The greater context of this passage is found in the preceding and following verses that tell us we were dead in our sins and enemies of God, yet because of His MVA Love, God saved us, gave us eternal spiritual life and raised us up in glory to be seated with Christ at His right hand. God motivated by His love did all this for us.
As Paul is pointing out the motivating factor for God’s “mercy” being shown towards us, this is also a reminder to believers that this same MVA Love must be the motivating force behind all our deeds as Christians towards others. That is, not holding their sins against them, but forgiving them and then helping or serving them to raise them out of their sinful state to a place of glory.
4. Eph 3:17, “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love.”
Here, the faithful believer is rooted and grounded in motivational virtue AGAPE love as a result of their experiential sanctification, where Christ is consistently at home in their heart, the right lobe of the soul, i.e., “the mentality of their soul.” In other words, with the Word of God, (the mind of Jesus Christ), resident within our souls, we will be “rooted and grounded in MVA Love.” That is, we will have a firm / solid foundation by which we stand upon that motivates us to construct and conduct our spiritual life. The further context of this passage is of comprehending the “Tesseract Love” of Christ is noted below.
5. Eph 3:19, “And to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
Having the solid foundation of motivational virtue AGAPE Love for Christ, it will propel you to know and grow even greater in love with Jesus Christ, where you can know and live in His “Tesseract Love,” (breadth, length, height, and depth), vs. 18, when you live in the “Life Beyond GNOSIS,” vs. 19, and the “Life Beyond Dreams,” vs. 20.
As you may recall from our teaching in Ephesians chapter 3, (see our website), the “Tesseract Love” of Christ is that which we can comprehend spiritually and live in experientially. It is a love envelope between Christ’s love for you and your love for Him that consistently interacts and overlaps, surrounding your every thought and action. It also has the 4th dimension of time, which is the eternal and infinite love that the Lord Jesus Christ has for you that you can know and comprehend in the faith rest life. It is “the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge.”
6. Eph 4:2, “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love.”
To “walk worthy of our calling,” vs. 1, the believers Motivational Virtue AGAPE Love is demonstrated by being humble, gentle, patient (longsuffering), and tolerant towards others. Having the mental attitude of MVA Love moves you to express that love towards others in these ways. The further context of this MVA Love is found in vs. 3, “Being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” With MVA Love demonstrated through your humility, gentleness, patience, and tolerance towards others, you will be a peacemaker inside the body of Christ, as you help, exhort, reprove, lift up, etc., your fellow believers to the glory of God.
7. Eph 4:15, “But speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.”
Working diligently as peacemakers towards the unity of the Spirit, in this passage MVA Love is the virtue that motivates you to teach the truth of God’s Word to each other with the result of your own personal spiritual growth, as well as enhancing the growth of others. In this, you should recognize false teaching and false teachers when you hear it and see them, vs. 14, so as to refute their teaching with the “truth” of God’s Word. This will allow you to continue your momentum in the spiritual life and provide momentum for others too. Motivated by the truth of God’s Word, individually and collectively, we will grow spiritually, with the result of being drawn closer and closer to Jesus Christ.
8. Eph 4:16, “From whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
When we personally grow spiritually, we will be motivated by the virtue of AGAPE Love to assist the rest of the Body of Jesus Christ, (i.e., other believers), to also grow spiritually. The demonstration of having motivational virtue AGAPE Love is to support your church by which the Word of God is disseminated, and be an Ambassador for Christ yourself in one or more of its many applications. A demonstration that you do not have AGAPE Love, is when you do not assist the growth of others within your church or even outside of your Church with your time, talent, or treasure.
9.Eph 5:2, “And walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
Here, our motivational virtue AGAPE Love leads us to live the Christian way of life; “walk in love,” as we imitate how God lives, vs. 1, (i.e., in holiness and righteousness). This is demonstrated when our lives are a pleasing offering and sacrifice to God. In other words, instead of living for yourself inside of Satan’s cosmic system, you live for Christ, serving and sacrificing on behalf of others as God leads you to do so, as you ultimately serve God. Our great example in this endeavor is Jesus Christ and His completed work culminating in the Cross.
John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” This is a demonstration of Tesseract MVA Love.
10. Eph 6:23, “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Here, Paul gives a final blessing based on his desire for all believers to have Motivational Virtue AGAPE Love in their souls and lives. In this passage, we see that love is not possible without faith. Faith means “what is believed.” It is knowledge we rely upon and use. That knowledge should be God’s Word, Bible Doctrine, resident within your soul. Having God’s Word in your soul, you rely upon it to make the various daily moment by moment decisions in your life. You think like God would think. You think like Jesus Christ would think. You think by means of the Holy Spirit based on what the Word of God says. When you use God’s Word as the basis for your daily moment by moment decisions, you are expressing your MVA Love towards God while expressing your MVA Love towards others by the righteous and holy decisions you make. That is Paul’s desire for you. That is God’s desire for you!
In addition to AGAPE Love, Paul utilizes the actionable Verb for “love,” AGAPAO, 10 times, in 7 passages, with 5 different contexts in this letter, Eph 1:6; 2:4; 5:2, 25, 28, 33; 6:24. Therefore, we see Motivational Virtue AGAPE Love in action in these passages. With 10 being the number for Perfect Order, 7 the number of Spiritual Perfection, and 5 the number for grace, we see love is the perfect order for the believer to live in spiritual perfection under the grace plan of God; to express the grace of God to others.
1. Eph 1:6, “To the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
The first use is in Eph 1:6, in the Perfect, Passive, Participle in the Dative Case that is in fact a title for Jesus Christ; “The one having been loved.” It emphasizes God’s actionable love for the human race by providing His salvation grace to the world through the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, who God the Father truly loves.
The action item of God’s love is seen in His son who He sent to provide the world with salvation that is applicable to those who believe in Jesus Christ. It emphasizes that fact that Jesus died for our sins, and the effect of His love and grace shown to those who believe, who are now in the “sphere of the beloved.” Therefore, it emphasizes our union with Jesus Christ, being “in the sphere of the Beloved.”
It is translated “Beloved,” which in other passages, (Eph 5:12 and 6:21), utilizes the Adjective AGAPETOS, as we will see below.
2. Eph 2:4, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us.
The second use is in Eph 2:4, which we noted above as it also uses the Noun AGAPE for God’s “great” motivational virtue love. Here, God’s motivational virtue AGAPE love led Him to express mercy towards us sinners because He loved us. As such, God expressed His actionable AGAPAO love towards us in the form of mercy, which overcame our sins and gave us life in Christ, raising us to eternal glory, and seating us with Christ at the right hand of God in heaven, which also “demonstrates His surpassing grace in kindness towards us,” vs. 7. The action item of God’s love is His mercy applied to the sinner who accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior.
This is our example of MVA Love in that we should help others to overcome their sins and raise them up, predominately but not exclusively, by witnessing to others the gospel of Jesus Christ.
3. Eph 5:2, “And walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”
We noted Eph 5:2 above, as this verse has both the Noun AGAPE and Verb AGAPAO in it. Here we are noting the actionable verb AGAPAO, which is Christ’s demonstration of His motivational virtue love. The demonstration of His MVA Love was the giving of Himself to God the Father as an offering and sacrifice for our sins. His sacrifice was pleasing to God, as noted in the phrase, “fragrant aroma.” In other words, it propitiated God the Father as a satisfactory sacrifice for the payment of our sins that pleased Him, cf. Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; 1 John 2:2; 4:10.
Rom 3:25, “Whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed.”
1 John 2:2, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”
1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Jesus Christ demonstrated His MVA Love by laying down His life on our behalf, John 15:13. As such, His MVA Love is the great example of how we should be expressing our MVA Love. This MVA Love is demonstrated in our lives by offering and sacrificing our lives on behalf of others. In other words, instead of living for ourselves inside of Satan’s cosmic system, we live for Christ, serving and sacrificing on behalf of others as God leads you to do so, as you ultimately serve God. This is our “walk in MVA love,” which is a pleasing aroma to God, cf. Phil 4:18; 2 Cor 2:14. In those two examples, we see that our MVA love is demonstrated in our giving and the application of Bible Doctrine in our lives, i.e., “the manifestation of the knowledge of Him.” The expiatory character of Christ’s death included the giving of Himself in our place as a sacrifice. With so great an example on our behalf, should we not give of ourselves in any capacity on behalf of others?
4. The fourth through ninth usage of AGAPAO takes what we just noted in Eph 5:2, and narrows it down to one application of MVA Love regarding the husband’s responsibility to actionably love his wife, just as Jesus Christ demonstrated actionably His love for the Church by going to the Cross. AGAPAO is used twice in Eph 5:25; three times in vs. 28; and once in vs. 33.
Eph 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”
Eph 5:28, “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself.”
Eph 5:33, “Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.”
Therefore, we see the significant role and responsibility husbands have to apply Motivational Virtue AGAPE Love towards their wives. The love of Christ for the Church demonstrated what the husband’s attitude toward his wife should be. Christ loved His church enough to die for it, John 10:15, 17; 15:13. Likewise, the husband should lay down his life for the benefit of His wife. This is further explained in vs. 26-27, and in vs. 28, it relates back to the greatest commandment “to love others, (in this case the wife), as you love yourself,” or even “as Christ has loved you,” John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17; Rom 13:8-10.
5. Eph 6:24, “Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with a love incorruptible.”
The tenth and final usage is in closing the book of Ephesians, Eph 6:24. Here, it speaks of the actionable love believers should have for the Lord Jesus Christ, demonstrated by being unwavering in their faith and following of Jesus Christ. We will note the interesting word “incorruptible,” the Greek noun APHTHARSIA ἀφθαρσία when we study vs. 24 in detail below, but for now I want to tell you that the context of this word in its other usages in the NT stand for immortality. In other words, an everlasting love. And that is what we see here. We are to love our Lord Jesus Christ with an ever-present and ever-continuing Motivational Virtue Love.
Therefore, as Paul closes this letter, he has a statement about our personal relationship with Christ. Paul has told us of God’s great MVA love, but now he asks us:
- “Do we love Christ?”
- “Do we love Him?”
- “Are we Christians?”
- “Have we turned from sin and placed our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?”
- “Do we love Him with an undying love that will go on into eternity?”
What a great question to end such a letter. Let us love Jesus! Soon we will see Him, and then we will put our weapons down. Then we will not regret having put all our trust in His perfect work, and we will not regret having been faithful soldiers engaged in His mission.
In all these examples, the action of AGAPAO love is motivated by the mental attitude motivational virtue of AGAPE love within the soul:
- The MVA love that characterized the person of Jesus Christ as “The Beloved,” through Whom we receive grace because of our union with Him, Eph 1:6.
- The MVA love that Christ has for us by going to the Cross, Eph 5:2.
- The MVA love God the Father has for us by providing for our Salvation, Eph 2:4.
- The MVA love a husband has for his wife that demonstrates Christ’s love for the Church, Eph 5:25, 28, 33.
- The MVA love we, the Church, have for Jesus Christ, in response to the love He has demonstrated towards us, Eph 6:24.
Because Christ first loved us, we in response are able to love Him that is also demonstrated in our love for one another, 1 John 4:10-19.
1 John 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
1 John 4:11, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
1 John 4:16, “We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”
1 John 4:19, “We love, because He first loved us.”
Finally, the Adjective AGAPETOS is translated “beloved,” in Eph 5:12 and 6:21. AGAPETOS describes the love one has for another, thereby classifying them in your heart and words as someone who is “beloved,” (i.e., loved by you). It is first used to describe the “children of God,” which is all believers, those loved by God, and then it is used by Paul to describe his close companion and coworker, Tychicus, as the “beloved brother and faithful minster in the Lord.”
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As we noted above, Paul adds to this passage, “with faith,” the Genitive case of the Preposition META and the Noun PISTIS. This tells us that peace and love, which originates “from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,” can only be accomplished when there is faith in the life of the believer. Without faith, it is impossible to have peace or true motivational virtue love. In all his letters, Paul stressed that the faith which is alive, is the faith that is lived daily, e.g., Rom 12-15. Therefore, we see that peace and love come into your life by means of faith.
1. Faith resulting in peace is noted in the following passages in the NT, Mark 5:34; Luke 7:50; 8:48; Rom 5:1; Gal 5:22; Eph 6:23; 1 Tim 1:2; Titus 1:4; Heb 11:31.
Rom 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Heb 11:31, “By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.”
Mark 5:34, “And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction”.” Cf. Luke 8:48.
Luke 7:50, “And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace“.”
1 Tim 1:2, “To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Titus 1:4, “To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.”
2. Faith resulting in MVA Love is noted in the following NT passages, 1 Cor 13:13; 2 Cor 8:7; Gal 5:6; Eph 1:15; 3:17; 6:23; Col 4:4; 1 Thes 1:3; 3:6; 5:8; 2 Thes 1:3; 1 Tim 1:5, 14; 2:15; 4:12; 6:10-11; 2 Tim 1:13; 2:22; 3:10; Titus 2:2; 3:15; Philemon 5; James 2:5; Rev 2:19.
1 Thes 5:8, “But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.” Cf. Eph 6:14, Breastplate = righteousness. Therefore, faith and love result in walking in righteousness.
Gal 5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
Eph 1:15, “For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints.”
Eph 3:17, “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love.”
1 Thes 1:3, “Constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father.”
1 Thes 3:6, “But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you.”
2 Thes 1:3, “We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater.”
1 Tim 1:5, “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
2 Tim 1:13, “Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”
1 Tim 1:14, “And the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus.”
1 Tim 4:12, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”
The misappropriation of your love is the result of your failure in faith, 1 Tim 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
Yet, the believer is to, 1 Tim 6:11, “But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Cf. 2 Tim 2:22.
Titus 2:2, “Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.”
1 Cor 13:13, “But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” The reason love is the greatest, is because it is the visible expression of the Christian way of life. The other two are the internal workings of the Christian way of life, but motivational virtue AGAPE love is both the inward and outward expression of the Christian way of life.
And in fact, faith, peace, and love are all part of the Fruit of the Spirit, i.e., Divine Good Production, Gal 5:22; Rev 2:19.
Gal 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness.”
Rev 2:19, “I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.”
“Faith” is the Greek noun PISTIS, πίστις that can mean, “faith, trust, trustworthiness, reliability; confidence, assurance, conviction; belief, what is believed or doctrine.” “Faith” is one of the most crucial terms in the entire Bible and PISTIS is the chief word conveying this concept. It is used in the Septuagint for the related Hebrew words, EMUNAH, “fidelity, faithfulness;” AMAN, “a faithful attitude toward another human being, God or His Word;” BATACH, “to rely on, put confidence in;” CHASAH, “to seek refuge in.”
The Verb PISTEUO, πιστεύω means, “believe, have faith in, be convinced of, trust, rely on, have confidence in.” In the NT, it always concerns believing in God and Christ; therefore, it signifies absolute confidence and trust, complete surrender, and heartfelt obedience to them and their Word.
The Adjective PISTOS, πιστός means, “trustworthy, faithful, reliable, credible, trusting, and believing.”
God is faithful towards us, Deut 7:9; 1 Cor 1:9; 2 Thes 3:3; 1 John 1:9.
Deut 7:9, “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments.”
1 Cor 1:9, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
2 Thes 3:3, “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.”
Likewise, His Word is faithful, i.e., “faithful is the word/saying,” 1 Tim 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; 2 Tim 2:11; Titus 3:8.
In turn, we too should be faithful to Him in our service and worship daily.
Faith is not a passive resignation to life like fate; rather, it is confidence that God will fulfill His promises and will carry out His salvation plan; past, present, and future. Having faith and applying it to life: We are saved by grace through faith, we walk by faith, and we are victorious in faith, which aligns with our salvation; past, present, and future.
In fact, the title “the believers” describes both Jews and Gentiles who have expressed their faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah, Acts 2:2:29-36, 44; 4:32, which is God’s plan for past salvation. “To believe or begin to believe” are equal to being or becoming a Christian, Rom 13:11; 1 Cor 3:5; 15:2.
PISTIS denotes the entire teaching about Christianity, and although pertinent in every believer’s life, it is also a unique spiritual gift given to some believers by God, 1 Cor 12:9; 13:2.
For the believer, faith implies a relationship with the living God whose Word has convinced you to respond on the basis of that relationship. Therefore, faith of the Christian is one that is persuaded that God has revealed Himself in His Word and the believer gives every aspect of his life over to God and His Word, even when confronted by attacks or challenges to the reality of the relationship.
Habakkuk 2:4, “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.” Cf. Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38.
Rom 1:17, “For in it, (the gospel of Jesus Christ), the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH”.”
We find in the NT that the believer can become:
- Strong in the Faith, Acts 16:5; Rom 4:20.
- Grounded and established in Faith, Col 1:23.
- Stand fast in Faith, 1 Cor 16:13; cf. Eph 6:16.
- Be full of faith, Acts 6:5; 11:24.
- Be on the road to deeper faith, 2 Cor 10:15; 2 Thes 1:3.
- And unfortunately, there exists the possibility of weakening in one’s faith, Rom 14:1.
We also see from Scripture, that anything we do that is not based on faith in God is actually sin in God’s eyes, Rom 14:23.
Rom 14:23, “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.”
Therefore, if we have any doubts, worries, fears, etc., due to a lack of faith, we are operating in sin.
Yet, our faith grows out of God’s call, Acts 2:39, and His Word, as it is received, Acts 2:41. It results from the fact that God opens hearts of those with positive volition, Acts 16:14-15. Paul’s writings view faith as the normative expression of the Christian.
The basis of faith is the Word of God and God’s action in history. As such, faith is directed at God Himself, both subjectively, (based on perception and feelings), as well as objectively, (not influence by feelings, but based on fact, experience, or some measurable quality). God and Jesus Christ are the objects of faith, central to the life lived by faith, John 14:1.
In addition, as the prototype for the unique spiritual life of the Church Age, Jesus is rightly called the “author (leader, pacesetter) and perfecter (finisher) of our faith,” Heb 12:2.
In the great portrait gallery of faith, Hebrews chapter 11, we are given a lengthy series on the OT models of faith. These saints believed God’s promises in spite of the apparent hopelessness of their circumstances. Without seeing the realization of the promises, they lived and died believing that the promised Messiah would one day come and of the promised inheritance God would give them. Faith characterized their lives. They might be said to have realized that “without faith it is impossible to please (God),” Heb 11:6.
The book of James advises us that works must follow as the “fruit of faith” and as “proof of salvation.” He cautioned against a “faith” that rests upon an intellectual assent to the truth that lacks a life yielded and obedient to God. Therefore, Faith is the yielded life to God and His Word, as we actionably live faithfully unto Him in thought, word, and deed.
A. We note that the noun for “faith,” PISITIS, is used in the book of Ephesians 8 times. Eight is the superabundant number, the beginning of a new era or order, regeneration, and resurrection, as our Lord was raised on the eighth day. Thus, it speaks of the new creation, the new creature, the new spiritual species we are in Christ. And in that new creation, our mode of operation inside the Christian way of life is that of faith, as we have noted above.
It is found in Eph 1:15; 2:8; 3:12, 17; 4:5, 13; 6:16, 23. A survey of the utilization of the Noun PISTIS in the book of Ephesians tells us:
1. Eph 1:15, “For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints.”
In this passage, the first thing we learn about “faith” is that in seeing it in other believers, it encourages and motivates us to execute the Christian way of life even more so.
As we see here, knowing of the faith of the people in Asia Minor who had come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ brought Paul great encouragement, joy, and motivation to offer up prayers of thanksgiving to God. This tells us that the knowledge of other people’s faith brings great joy, happiness, encouragement, and inspiration to other believers who are going forward in God’s plan for their lives. As Paul stated, “For this reason I too, … 16do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers.”
We take from this that we are to thank God for evidences of His grace in the lives of His people that is expressed by their faith towards God. This is also a public commendation and encouragement back to the people of God, as Paul prays to God giving thanks for their faith as he also lets the people know that he is thankful for them being in his life.
So, we take from this a good summary of what a Christian is: a Christian has faith in the Lord Jesus and has love toward the saints.
“On January 6, 1822, the wife of a poor German pastor had a son, never dreaming that he would one day achieve world renown and great wealth. When Heinrich Schliemann was seven years old, a picture of ancient Troy in flames captured his imagination. Contrary to what many people believed, Heinrich argued that Homer’s great poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey, were based on historic facts and he set out to prove it. In 1873, he uncovered the ancient site of Troy, along with some fabulous treasure which he smuggled out of the country, much to the anger of the Turkish government. Schliemann became a famous, wealthy man because he dared to believe an ancient record and act on his faith.
We discovered that we were “born rich” when we trusted Christ. But this is not enough, for we must grow in our understanding of our riches if we are ever going to use them to the glory of God. Too many Christians have never “read the bank book” to find out the vast spiritual wealth that God has put to their account through Jesus Christ. They are like the late newspaper publisher, William Randolph Hearst, who invested a fortune collecting art treasures from around the world. One day Mr. Hearst found a description of some valuable items that he felt he must own, so he sent his agent abroad to find them. After months of searching, the agent reported that he had finally found the treasures. They were in Mr. Hearst’s warehouse. Hearst had been searching frantically for treasures he already owned! Had he read the catalog of his treasures, he would have saved himself a great deal of money and trouble.
Paul desired the Ephesian Christians to understand what great wealth they had in Christ. Paul knew of their faith and love, and in this he rejoiced. The Christian life has two dimensions: faith toward God and love toward men, and you cannot separate the two. But Paul knew that faith and love were just the beginning.” (Bible Exposition Commentary).
2. Eph 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
Clearly, this verse tells us that salvation is from the grace of God when we apply faith, that is, believe what the Bible tells us about the work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. It tells us that faith is a non-meritorious action because salvation is a gift from God to those who believe. Even our faith in Jesus Christ is not good enough to earn our salvation; it must be gifted by God. Our faith is not a work or deed, but a mental attitude towards what God and Jesus have done on our behalf. When we believe in God’s and Jesus’ work on our behalf, the grace of God gives us salvation. “Through faith” we are saved, not “by faith” are we saved.
Nevertheless, faith is the subjective medium for the process of salvation, it is a necessary condition. Faith is the human response to what God says and does: belief, Eph 1:13. At the same time, it too is a gift from God, which refers to the whole process of salvation, not just the granting of faith to believe, cf. Acts 13:48; 18:27; Phil 1:29.
Eph 2:9, “Not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” During the time of Jesus and Paul, faith became a system of works, as the Jews believed that by following the Law they were faithful to God and would be saved. They confused faith with human good works and the two became one. But as we know, that kind of faith nullified their salvation, because it was what they would do and earn, rather than being a gift of God.
Grace means salvation completely apart from any human merit or works on our part. Grace means that God does it all for Jesus’ sake! Our salvation is the gift of God. Salvation is a gift, not a reward. Therefore, even our faith is a grace gift from God for those who possess positive volition towards His Word.
As you know, we are not saved by faith plus works, but by grace through a faith that does work; post salvation. We have a living faith, a functioning faith! Now that we belong to God, God is working on us and in us so that He might work through us in faith.
3. Eph 3:12, “In whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him.”
One important aspect of our working faith is our prayer life as noted in this passage. Here, we understand that through faith in Jesus Christ, we have confident assurance and access to God the Father in our prayer life, 1 John 5:14-15.
1 John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
“Knowing,” in 1 John 5:15, is another way of saying faith. Faith is expressing positive volition towards an object or thing that you have deemed to be real or true. To “know” something means that you have learned about it and understood it to be real or true. This is the application in 1 John 5:15. We, as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, have learned about the prayer life that we can exercise in the spiritual life. We have learned that we can pray to God the Father, and that He answers our prayers. Therefore, we know about the prayer life. Now in exercising the prayer life, we understand and apply our prayer life by praying to God the Father. In that, we have learned that He hears our prayers, so we pray to the Father. We also have learned that He answers our prayers, so we wait patiently with confidence for Him to answer them. When we do this that is faith, PISTIS in action or PISTEOU.
If you are convinced in something so that you “know” it to be true or real and then use that information in some way that is faith. It means that you believe that thing to be so and you apply it to your life. In this case, the thing we are applying is that we can pray to God the Father and He hears our prayer, and that He answers our prayers. Therefore, we know / believe that God hears our prayers and answers them, which means we have faith. If you know / believe that God answers your prayers, that is faith. Therefore, our prayer life is a great example of our faith rest life in God.
Yet, if we are not bold, confident, and assured that God hears and answers our prayers, even though we have learned to the contrary, we are lacking in faith. Yet, if we are bold, confident, and assured that God hears and answers our prayers, we excel in faith as we should. As Heb 11:1 states, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
The emphasis on Jesus Christ in this passage tells us that in our prayer life we can enter the Father’s presence with “boldness and confidence,” because we are covered with the righteousness of Christ. That gives us access to the Father. When we place our faith in Jesus Christ, we have done so because we realize He is the only One who met the requirements of God laid down in the OT Law. When God looks at those people who live by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, He sees the righteousness of Christ in them, which equals His righteousness that qualifies for relationship with Him, and therefore provides us the opportunity in grace to offer prayers to Him. Therefore, we are able to offer prayers to God the Father, because of what Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the Cross.
This is also part of the mystery; that believers can experience a nearness to God that far exceeds that of the OT saints. Christians can boldly approach God because of Christ, vs. 18. This is not an “arrogance of access,” but a “freedom to access” that we are confident in, Heb 4:14-16. We know that God hears us. He is for us. He is with us. That confidence is faith.
4. Eph 3:17, “So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love.”
Just as faith has played its part in believers’ appropriation of salvation, Eph 2:5, 8, and access to God, Eph 3:12, so also it is “through faith” that Christ’s dwelling in the heart becomes a reality for us. This is not the permanent indwelling of Jesus Christ in your body that occurs at the moment of your conversion, John 14:20; Rom 8:10; 2 Cor 13:5; Gal 2:20; Col 1:27; 1 John 2:24. This is the result of Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ as He indwells the heart or right lobe of your soul. This is the result of having a close and intimate relationship with the Lord, which is based on faith and trust in Him and His Word. When you have faith in God and His Word, Jesus Christ enters into a more intimate relationship with you and is at home in your heart. When His Word is resident within your soul and applied, Jesus Christ is comfortable with those surroundings and feels quite at home in your heart.
An example of this is Abraham vs. Lot. “God was going to bless Abraham with a son, so the Lord Himself came down and visited Abraham’s tent, and He brought two angels with Him. They came to the tent, they talked with Abraham, and they even ate a meal with him. They felt very much at home, because Abraham was a man of faith and obedience. But the three guests had another task. They had to investigate the sins of Sodom because God planned to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot, a believer, was living in Sodom, and God wanted to warn him to get out before the judgment could fall. But the Lord Himself did not go to Sodom. He sent the two angels, Gen 18-19. The Lord did not feel at home in Lot’s house the way He felt at home in Abraham’s tent.” (Bible Exposition Commentary).
This is possible because faith involves a relationship of trust and mutual resemblance and thinking between two parties. It means that you have the “mind of Christ,” 1 Cor 2:16, the Word of God / Bible Doctrine, resident within your soul ready to be applied to your life, which is applied. It means that you are walking with Christ daily in a close intimate relationship with Him. It means that the character of Christ and the pattern of Christ’s life are increasingly dominate in your life and shape your whole orientation to life. It means you think and act like Christ having acquire the “Christ-like” nature.
This is the precursor to knowing and having the tesseract motivational virtue AGAPE Love of God in your life, vs. 18-19. Remember, faith comes before love and peace. Therefore, when you have faith, Christ is at home in your heart, and you will be able to have MVA love as you should.
Therefore, Paul is praying for a deeper experience between Christ and His people through faith or what is believed, i.e., Bible doctrine in your soul. Paul yearns for Christ to settle down and feel at home in your heart, which is not a surface superficial relationship, but an ever-deepening fellowship, cf. Gal 2:20; 4:19; Phil 1:20.
Gal 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
5. Eph 4:5, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.”
This passage, along with vs. 4 and 6, is part of a creed of “faith;” what the early church and us today are to believe and uphold as Christians. It was part of “being diligent to preserve the unity of God the Holy Spirit in love, in the bond of peace”, vs. 2-3. In the unity of the Holy Spirit, there is only “one faith,” that is, one way of salvation, as the phrase is between “one Lord” and “one baptism,” which are the bookends to your past salvation, i.e., the moment of your conversion, cf. Mark 16:16; Col 2:12.
Mark 16:16, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.”
Col 2:12, “Having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”
As such, through faith in Jesus Christ, (as noted above), and only through faith in Jesus Christ, is anyone saved, John 14:6; cf. Acts 4:12; John 10:9; Rom 5:2; Eph 2:18; Heb 10:20.
John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me’.”
Therefore, we recognize and understand that all roads do not lead to heaven, but only faith in Jesus Christ paves the way for the gift of God to come and grant salvation. In this passage, we are charged with upholding this truth; being diligent to hold on to it, defend it, and proclaim it.
6. Eph 4:13, “Until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
The unity mandate of the previous verse continues. Here, it is Paul’s and God’s desire that all believers come together in the “unity of the faith and knowledge,” and that we collectively grow spiritually by means of the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 3:18. This threefold picture of unity, (faith and knowledge, maturity, and stature of Christ), is the picture of spiritual adulthood found in Christ Jesus put in terms of expressing completion or perfection, which He is.
The “unity of the faith,” is a unity of belief in Christ Himself, and this belief is intrinsically related to our knowledge of Him. Therefore, faith in and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ binds believers together. It binds the Church together. It is a unity generated and conditioned by our faith in and our true knowledge of the Son of God, in whom we too are the sons of the Eternal Father. The goal for us is to be like Jesus experientially. To be like Jesus, we have to know Him and His Word, and believe.
The context here is the giving of the communication gifts to the Church by God, vs. 11-2, so that the entire body of Jesus Christ can learn His Word and grow spiritually, and not be baby believers who are easily deceived or dissuaded by false doctrines and the things of this world, (i.e., Satan’s cosmic system), vs. 14. Steadfast faith in God and His Word, will lead us to spiritual adulthood individually and collectively, which is the type of body Jesus deserves to have; “to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”
Even though there will be diversities and varying degrees of faith between us, and even within us moment by moment, the goal and desire of Paul and our Lord is that we have a fixed and continuous faith that grasps the whole of Jesus Christ and always holds on to Him.
7. Eph 6:16, “In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
Recently we noted this passage. The last of the pieces of spiritual armor, which are virtues or attitudes to be practiced by the believer, was the “Shield of Faith.” The great shield you have been given by God, the great protection you have inside of Satan’s world, is “faith,” i.e., believing, trusting, and relying upon God and His Word.
The “Shield of Faith” speaks of the protection we have as part of the “Full Armor of God,” to stop the attacks of Satan and his cosmic system, (flaming arrows), from penetrating our souls, causing us to sin. The “faith” noted here is not saving faith, but rather living faith; a continual trust in the promises and power of God. In this context, it is the confident trust in and receptiveness to Christ and His power that protects you when you claim it as an objective Divinely given reality. Faith takes hold of God’s resources in the midst of the onslaughts of evil, and produces the firm resolve which douses anything the enemy throws at you. Faith is a defensive weapon which protects us from Satan’s attacks.
Faith will enable you “to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil one.” The flaming missiles represent every type of assault devised by the evil one, not just temptation to impure or unloving conduct, but also false teaching, persecution, doubt, and despair. Faith is the power which enables you to resist and triumph over such attacks. When you use the Shield of Faith, you are not deterred, deceived, or deluded by the world. You will continue to walk in Christ, not allowing the outside pressures of life to become inward stress upon the soul leading to sin, human good, or evil.
If we do not by faith quench these flaming missiles, (Satan’s attacks), they will light a fire within and we will disobey God. We never know when Satan will shoot a missile at us, so we must always walk by faith and use the shield of faith. Just as the soldier could not afford to be without this protective shield at any time, the follower of Christ cannot for one moment afford to be without faith.
Therefore, faith conquers Satan’s attacks to wrath, lust, despair, vengeance, etc., 1 Peter 5:9. Faith overcomes sin and evil in the world, 1 John 5:4, and will likewise overcome Satan, the ruler of this world, 1 John 5:18.
1 Peter 5:9, “But resist him (Satan), firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”
8. Eph 6:23, “Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
In this final usage of PISTIS in the book of Ephesians, we understand that “faith” is the means by which the entire Christian way of life is executed. We saw that without faith there is no true peace in our lives with God, with man, or within ourselves. Likewise, without faith there is no true motivational virtue AGAPE Love in our lives for God, other people, or ourselves. Yet, with faith in God and His Word, we have peace and love, and many other aspects of the Christian way of life, in our lives towards God, others, and ourselves. Therefore, “faith” produces inner contentment and active love. These flow “from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Paul and God desire all members of the Church to enjoy the peace and love of God that only comes when there is faith in the life of the believer. It is that inner tranquility that is not disturbed by external circumstances and the expression of God’s motivational virtue back to Him and others in your life. Faith provides those things. For faith, which is the direct reliance on the faithful Promiser, will at the same time guard and protect your inner being from the sinful temptations of the world, while safeguarding your sense of love, guiding it along His sure line, in all its emotion and exercise, keeping it pure and warm, fed with ceaseless blessings.
As Paul concludes the book, he reminds us of the unity of faith, which is the bond of peace and love that is the only real bond that binds people together; the personal bond of confidence manifesting itself in peace and love. And, as we have seen, it is no mere doctrine that is presented for a man’s faith, but it is the person about whom the doctrine speaks. We can only know the person on whom we must trust by the revelation of the truths concerning Him. As such, faith is your personal continuous outgoing of confidence, which is the action of both your will and intellect, to the person revealed in the great doctrines of the Gospel and Word of God.
Therefore, in order to take the next step in your advance in the spiritual life, you need to turn credence into faith, that is, belief in a doctrine into trust. It is the step from the doctrine to the person. When you grasp Christ, the living Christ, and not merely the doctrine, then you have faith.
Paul and God’s desire for the Church is that their faith should be continuous and increasing all throughout our lives. Just as the breath you took yesterday can do nothing for your circulatory system today, and when you turn off the light switch, the light goes out, no matter how long you have been living a life of faith, that past life will not in the smallest way help you in the present moment unless your faith is continuous and increasing. A broken faith is a broken peace; a broken faith is a broken love. As long, and only as long, as you are trusting in the Person of Jesus Christ by the conscious exercise of a faith realized at the present moment, are you in the reception of blessing from the Father at the moment.
In addition, our faith is to be progressing. If there is no growth, there is not much spiritual life to live. If my faith has no growth, how do I know that it has got any life? Yet, if there is progression of faith in your life, there is much advance and experience in the spiritual life; there is great peace and great love.
Therefore, this continuous and progressive faith, (the personal outgoing of your intellect and will to the personal Savior revealed in the Scriptures as the sacrifice for your sins and the life of your spirit), ought to be the foundation of all strength, blessedness, and goodness in your Christ-like character. If you have it, you have the seed of all possible excellence and growth. Having faith, we have the opening of our heart to the reception of the Divine influences of grace and righteousness that God pours down on us.
In this verse, we see that peace, love, and faith are all from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. They are the originators and providers of faith in our lives. And without them, there is no faith.
In summary, faith is simply the exercise of confidence in another, and in this case the “other” is God. It is trust in Him and His Word. It is essentially a personal trust resting upon Jesus Christ, which is the foundation of everything. And remember that this faith ought to be continuous and progressive in your life.
God does not care nearly so much that our lives should be joyful as that they should be righteous and full of faith. He allows us to go through many sorrows, losses, and disappointments in order that the life of the natural man may be broken and the spiritual life of faith may be strong. When we correctly understand the relative value of the outward and inward things, we will be thankful for the storms that drive us nearer to Him, for the darkness that turns to light, and for all the discipline, painful though it may be, with which God answers our prayer, “Lord, increase my faith!”
Summary of the Noun PISTOS in Ephesians:
In our new creation and mode of operation inside the Christian way of life being that of faith, we have seen that applying faith means:
- Seeing faith in others brings encouragement, joy, and thanksgiving to the soul.
- We are saved by the grace gift of God through faith alone in Christ alone.
- Faith in Christ gives us boldness and confident access to the Father in our prayer life.
- Christ is at home in the heart of the one who is walking in faith (i.e., Bible Doctrine in the Soul).
- We have “one faith,” only one way of salvation; through Jesus Christ, (i.e., positional unity in the Body of Christ).
- We are to attain a unity of faith and knowledge with the brethren, (i.e., experiential unity in the body of Christ).
- We are protected by the Shield of Faith, (i.e., the guardianship that is faith).
- God’s desire is for us to have peace and love for God, others, and ourselves, through faith.
B. The Verb PISTEUO, πιστεύω is used only twice in the book of Ephesians, Eph 1:13, 19, and is translated “believe or believed.” This is the actionable “faith” in our lives. A survey of the utilization of the Verb PISTEUO in the book of Ephesians tells us:
1. Eph 1:13, “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”
Here, we see the actionable item of “having faith,” that leads to your eternal security. When we “have faith” in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are saved for all of eternity, (we have eternal security, John 10:28-30), by the grace gift of God, Eph 2:8-9, signified by the sealing ministry of God the Holy Spirit. In this, we first heard the Word of God, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then believed what it said, (i.e., thought it to be true.) That is faith!
This is the prescription for salvation, Rom 10:17; Gal 3:2. In these verses, “hearing or listening,” AKOUO, means learning through the ear gate. It means gaining knowledge after hearing it while being taught or spoken, with the result of determining it to be true and effective.
Rom 10:17, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
Galatians 3:2, “This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” Cf. vs. 5.
2. Eph 1:19, “And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.”
This passage tells us that the full power of God comes into our lives after we have faith for salvation. It tells us of all that God can do and does do for the unbeliever to overcome their sin at the moment they believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Our faith in God has and will unleash the “working of the strength of His might” in our lives.
To explain just how much power is available to believers, Paul used four different Greek words in this verse.
- Power, DUNAMIS means, “inherent ability, capability, potential.”
- Working comes from the Greek word from which we get energy, ENERGEIA, and denotes, “operative power.”
- Strength, KRATOS refers to “manifested strength.”
- Might, ISCHUS is “power as an endowment or the possession of power.”
When we have faith in God and His Word, the surpassing greatness of His power is toward us, working in our lives.
C. The Adjective PISTOS, πιστός is also only used twice in Ephesians Eph 1:1; 6:21, and is translated, “faithful, trustworthy, reliable, credible, trusting, or believing.” It is a descriptor or title of the one who shows continuous and progressive faith towards God in their life. A survey of the utilization of the Adjective PISTOS in the book of Ephesians tells us:
1. Eph 1:1, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus”
This is addressed to the group of positive believers in the churches of Asia Minor. They demonstrated their faith in God and His Word in many different ways. Therefore, Paul was able to classify them as “faithful,” believers.
2. Eph 6:21, “But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you.”
This is an address to an individual in the early church. We recently noted this verse and the application of the classification Paul gave to Tychicus as a “faithful minister in the Lord.” Tychicus demonstrated time and time again his faith in Jesus, as he served the early church and Paul in many capacities, as we have noted. He was a servant in administrating to Paul and the Churches, he was an ambassador for Paul and Jesus Christ, He was a Pastor-Teacher, etc.
In all these, both the churches and Tychicus showed themselves faithful, trustworthy, reliable, credible as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, individually and collectively we have a call to be continuously and progressively “faithful,” to God in our work and service unto Him.
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This is similar to Paul’s wording in, Eph 1:2-3, 17; 5:20, and his opening salutations in 2 Cor 1:2; Rom 1:7.
Rom 1:7, “To all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
But in our passage, the key word is “from,” APO, ἀπό the Genitive of Source Preposition that means, “from or out of.” In other words, God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are the source of all of our blessings, including faith that leads to having the blessings of peace and MVA love in our lives. Faith, peace, and love all flow from the source of God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. The ultimate source of these three essential features of the Christian way of life is God himself.
In fact, God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ as “the source of,” speaks to the “grace” of God in our lives, as vs. 24 also tells us. Having faith, peace, and love from God the Father and Jesus Christ is specifically speaking of their grace plan for the believer post-salvation / conversion. Therefore, faith, peace, and love are given to us by the grace gift of God, and the Preposition APO in this passage, emphasizes the grace of God in our lives.
The name of Jesus Christ, Who is the Son of God, is associated with that of God the Father in perfect equality and unity in this and other passages. That is because faith, peace, and love are grace gifts of God bestowed upon us through Jesus Christ. That they come equally from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ shows us the equality of the Father and the Son inside the Trinity, as all grace comes from the source of God.
Grace comes from the source of God the Father, as the fountain of all our mercies, and grace comes from the source of the Lord Jesus Christ, through His sacrifice and mediation. The Father and the Son are regarded as equally authoring faith, peace, and love along with the Holy Spirit. Cf. 2 Cor 13:14, a Trinitarian verse.
2 Cor 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.”
Therefore, the Preposition APO acts as an introduction to the first word in vs. 24, “grace,” the Greek noun CHARIS, which we are going to note here. And, given the context of vs. 23-24, we are going to focus on the “grace of God” towards the believer post-salvation / conversion. But keep in mind that the grace of God is extended to the unbeliever prior to their salvation, as well as at the moment of faith in Jesus Christ.
“Grace,” CHARIS, χάρις means, “grace, graciousness, kindness, goodwill; a gift, a favor, etc.” Grace is all that God is free to do for mankind without compromising His Divine essence. Grace means favor, kindness, and mercy. Grace is undeserved blessing and suffering from God to mankind. Grace is free and unmerited love and favor toward us. Grace is unmerited Divine provision for mankind before, during, and after salvation. Therefore, grace depends on who and what God is.
Because God has personal love for the believer, He imputed His perfect righteousness to the believer at the moment of the believer’s conversion. Thereafter, (i.e., post-salvation), the grace of God can bless the righteousness of God inside the believer.
Post-salvation grace is found in 1 Peter 5:12, “I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.” Unfortunately, sometimes there are distortions of God’s grace.
Grace is the free, unmerited favor and love from God alone, not from our works or because we are attractive to God. Grace means that all things from God are received from Him as a free gift totally apart from any form of human merit or any system of human works. They are never merited or earned by mankind. No one has ever been blessed by God because they are a “good person” or live morally. The Christian way of life, which is based on receiving God’s grace, is infinitely greater than humanistic morality. Humanistic morality with the exclusion of the Filling of the Holy Spirit is a function of the energy of the flesh; it is for the human race. Humanistic morality is the result of self-determination; grace is the result of God’s determination. As such, grace blessings never compromise His Divine essence or Divine effort in bestowing blessing on mankind, cf. John 1:12-13.
John 1:12-13, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Grace is the helplessness of man and the helpfulness of God. In grace, God sows and we reap blessing.
Grace is the manifestation of God’s holiness, power, virtue, efficacy, mercy, love, compassion, indulgence, forbearance, pardon; unmerited favor based on the exclusive work of God. Grace is benefit from God totally a part of the work of God and totally apart from the works of mankind. Therefore, no matter what our circumstances may be, in Jesus Christ we are “blessed with all spiritual blessings” by God, Eph 1:3.
Post-salvation grace includes total Divine provision from God for the fulfillment of His plan, His will, and His purpose for our lives, James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5-6; Prov 3:34.
It is described in James 4:6, “But He keeps on giving greater grace. Therefore, it says, ‘God is opposed to, (makes war against), the proud, (arrogant believer), but gives grace to the humble believer’.”
1 Peter 5:5-6, “…clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God makes war against the arrogant believer, but gives grace to the humble believer. Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt, promote, you at the proper time.”
Greater grace means greater than pre-salvation grace, greater than salvation grace. It is the greatest grace of all. Post-salvation grace includes more grace than anything else in life, John 1:16-17.
John 1:16-17, “For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.”
“Grace upon grace,” means that we had grace at salvation and we continue to have it post-salvation. If we are saved by grace, then we should live by grace.
The phrase “Grace to you (for your benefit) and peace from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ,” occurs many times in Scripture: 1 Cor 15:10; 2 Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Phil 1:2; Col 1:2; 1 Thes 1:2; 2 Thes 1:2.
1 Cor 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”
“Not proving vain,” means you did not waste the grace of God in your life by giving over to sin and the world. Instead, you received His grace in your life by learning and applying His Word to advance and excel in your walk with Christ, along with having tremendous faith leading to peace and MVA love in your service towards God and man, i.e., Divine good production. Like Paul we are exhorted to not treat the Grace of God in our lives vainly, 2 Cor 6:1; Gal 2:21.
2 Cor 6:1, “We also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain.”
Gal 2:21, “I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law (and it does not), then Christ died in vain.”
Grace is the means of conveying the power of God to the life of the ordinary believer, 2 Tim 2:1; 2 Thes 1:12; 2:16-17.
2 Tim 2:1, “You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”
2 Thes 1:12, “In order that the person of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified by you and you by Him, on the basis of the grace of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Thes 2:16-17, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given to us eternal comfort and good of intrinsic value hope by confidence in the sphere of grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts right lobes in every good work and word, all Divine good production and Bible doctrine.”
God’s grace always operates within some sphere. In the plan of God for the Church Age believer, the sphere in which grace operates is our union with Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 3:18.
2 Peter 3:18, “But keep on growing in the sphere of grace and in the sphere of knowledge about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Glory to Him both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
We proceed in grace as we began in grace.
The grace of God means that none of us can earn or deserve even one blessing from God. God does all the work; we do not earn or deserve anything from God. We are not blessed because we do something. We are blessed because God has done and continues to do something in us, through us, and for us. We never earn or deserve anything from God except condemnation.
God is the aggressor in establishing a relationship with man; when man is the aggressor that is works or what we call legalism. Therefore, grace is the policy of God in providing everything necessary for the believer to execute His plan, purpose, and will.
Legalism is the enemy of grace. Legalism includes any system by which mankind claims blessing from God through his own merit, his own ability, his works, or his service. Legalism derives its name from human beings trying to be saved by keeping the Mosaic Law or by doing some other form of works as a way of salvation. Legalism is refuted in both the books of Romans and Galatians.
Gal 3:1-5, “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? 2This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? 3Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4Did you suffer so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain? 5So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”
Legalism exists in many forms, such as salvation by works, spirituality by works, crusader arrogance, and human plans substituted for the Divine plan of God.
Grace and legalism are mutually exclusive. They cannot and do not coexist. No system of human merit or ability is ever a part of God’s grace policy, and therefore is never a part of God’s Plan. Grace at salvation is the work of God. It excludes human merit. Grace inside the Plan of God for your life is the provision of God. It excludes any form of human ability or merit.
Legalism is the intrusion of human works, thinking, opinions, and ideas on God. We superimpose on God our stupidity. Legalism is always finding some way of its own to superimpose on God and says, “God, accept my works, my emotionalism, my experience, my humiliating self‑effacement.” That is your way, not God’s way!
Talented believers have a difficult time because they associate their talent with some sort of spiritual advance. We often cling to some talent, morality, ability, program, plan, or gimmick which conflicts with the principle of grace. This only postpones blessing.
One of the major problems of the believer in time is to sort out the difference between grace and legalism, e.g., the Galatians. God’s Word in the soul is the basis of learning to distinguish between grace and legalism. In cracking the maturity barrier, you eliminate legalism from your life.
Legalism creates problems and excludes Divine solutions. Grace provides Divine solutions and excludes legalism. In other words, we cannot squeeze grace into the narrow confines of human viewpoint and human action. But under the Plan of God, we can utilize grace through the wide expansion of Divine viewpoint. We can only attain this wide expansion of Divine viewpoint through perception, metabolization, and application of the mystery doctrine of the Church Age.
In post-salvation grace, God provides everything necessary to keep us alive in the Devil’s world as a part of logistical grace and provides escrow blessings for time and eternity. There is nothing you can do to change the fact that you have eternal life. Grace is far more powerful than works. The virtue of God rationale is that we cannot cancel God’s faithfulness and love toward us. The unfaithfulness of the believer does not change the faithfulness of God, 2 Tim 2:13, If we are unfaithful, (and we are), He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.”
Under the Divine policy of grace, all of our blessings come from God. Under the function of our own volition, all of our failures come from ourselves through the law of volitional responsibility, which means that we must take full responsibility for our own bad decisions. Yet, because of who and what God is, His grace is greater than our failures, our sins, our flaws, our self-righteous legalism, our human good and our dead works.
There is no limit to God’s grace. God’s grace is not limited by human reason. The believer who is full of himself is quite empty and limited, but the believer who is grace oriented from Bible doctrine is quite powerful. We cannot squeeze grace into the narrow confines of human viewpoint, but we can and should live by grace through the wide expanse of God’s thinking.
We must not and cannot distort grace to comply with the lust pattern of our sin natures, but we expand our grace horizon through spiritual skills; the filling of the Holy Spirit, cognition and inculcation of Bible doctrine, and execution of God’s plan. Grace does not give us what we want, but grace gives us what God wants, which is far better for each one of us.
Consistent grace is the Church Age believer who is saved by grace and living by grace. God is consistent. There is no legalism in salvation; therefore, there is no legalism in the Christian way of life.
God provides the means for eternal relationship with Himself. The grace policy of God provided blessings for believers in eternity past before man was created. What God provided for man in grace in eternity past cannot be earned, merited, or deserved. That includes our Portfolio of Invisible Assets, escrow blessings for time and eternity, the Problem Solving Devices for each believer in the Church Age, the blessings of dying grace, the blessings of resurrection, and the blessings of the eternal state, Eph 2:7ff.
Eph 2:7, “That He might show you in the coming ages (Millennium and eternal state) the surpassing riches of His grace in generosity toward us in Christ Jesus.”
God’s act of kindness / generosity is solely an act of His grace. The marvelous feature of this kindness is that it was done when we were in rebellion to God, Titus 3:3-4. That is truly GRACE!
Titus 3:3-7, “For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. 4But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared. 5He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
If God’s grace so operated in regards to our salvation, it must operate as such post-salvation on into eternity.
1 Tim 6:17, “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.” That is GRACE!
1. In grace, God works and man benefits. In grace, God provides and mankind receives apart from any form of personal merit.
2. Grace is the policy of God in establishing a relationship with mankind both in time and for the eternal state.
3. Grace is the policy of God in providing everything man needs in two categories.
a.) Relationship with God in time and in eternity.
b.) Fellowship with God in time only.
4. Grace provision for relationship with God forever includes not only salvation the instant we believe in Christ but also eternal security.
5. Grace provision for fellowship with God in time includes your very own Portfolio of Invisible Assets, which God prepared for you in eternity past. Your portfolio includes your very own spiritual life.
a.) Included in the Portfolio of Invisible Assets are: your spiritual gift, the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the Pre-designed Plan of God for your life, Equal Privilege and Equal Opportunity, unique Royal Commissions, unique Mystery Doctrine of the Church Age, Indwelling of the Trinity, 100% Availability of Divine Power, the Spiritual Skills, and the Problem Solving Devices.
6. With the Problem Solving Devices circulating in your soul, there is no problem too great. They have capacity for everything.
Eph 1:2-3, “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
Under the grace policy of God, all believers are mandated to have grace orientation, 1 Peter 5:12, “This is the true grace of God, stand fast in it.” Therefore, we are to stand fast in grace orientation. We are not to be confused by legalism or impressed with our works. We are to stand fast in grace.
In terms of God’s grace policy, the believer who fails to execute the command to “stand fast in grace” is described in four ways:
- In Heb 4:1; 12:15, such a believer “comes short of the grace of God.”
Heb 12:15, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.”
- In 2 Cor 6:1, such a believer “receives the grace of God in vain.”
- In Gal 2:21, such a believer “nullifies the grace of God.”
- In Gal 5:2-4, such a believer, “has fallen from grace.”
Gal 5:4, “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”
Under God’s grace policy, you have to accumulate an inventory of metabolized Bible doctrine in the stream of consciousness in order to have Divine viewpoint, because Divine viewpoint is the basis for making right decisions or applications of God’s Word. No decision is good unless you have the facts; and the facts are Bible doctrine. Therefore, under Grace Orientation, the thinking of Bible doctrine under every circumstance of life is the only viewpoint by which you can live with true contentment and tranquility in the Devil’s world. In that, to truly solve the problems of life, we need to learn His Word, think His Word, and solve with His Word.
If we do not understand the principle that God solves problems through His grace policy and grace provision, we will never advance in the Plan of God, because you have to be grace oriented, and grace orientation depends on metabolized Bible doctrine in your soul. God’s grace is the only way the believer can be strong.
2 Tim 2:1-2, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”
Grace Orientation is a Problem Solving Device along with: Rebound, the Filling of the Holy Spirit, Faith Rest, Doctrinal Orientation, Authority Orientation, Personal Sense of Destiny, Personal Love for God, Impersonal and Unconditional Love for Mankind, Occupation with Jesus Christ, Sharing the Happiness of God.
Grace Orientation is the way of discernment in life. It is the basis for establishing right standards about everything, about people, about things, about life in general and then making good decisions in all situations.
Grace is the Divine policy that depends on God’s wisdom rather than our desires. Therefore, grace does not always give us what we want. But when we stop and recognize the grace, we realize grace always provides for us what is best. Grace gives us what God wants, which is far, far greater than any desire we could ever have, far beyond anything we could ever ask or imagine.
The age or dispensation in which we are currently living in is called both “The Church Age” and the “Age of Grace.,” Eph 1:7-10; 3:2, 8-9. That is because God is building His Church, i.e., the body of Christ, cf. Eph 2:19-22; 3:6; 4:12, and He is doing so through and by means of His Grace applied in our lives; 1 Cor 3:10.
Eph 3:2, 8-9, “Inasmuch as you have heard about the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for your benefit. 8To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, 9and to bring to light what is the dispensation of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things.”
Being in the Age of Grace, we have tremendous benefits inside the plan of God. Never before in human history has the grace policy of God provided so much for the ordinary believer. In this Age, the Royal Family of God is the beneficiary of the firm and unchangeable policy called grace as follows:
1. Grace is the Divine policy of providing you your very own Portfolio of Invisible Assets that God designed in eternity past through His grace policy and provided to every member of the Royal Family of God in time. The #1 asset is escrow blessings. As the grantor, God the Father in eternity past deposited into escrow for you two categories of greater blessings, for time and for eternity. As the very first thing God ever did for you, escrow blessings are something you could not earn or deserve, since they were provided for you billions of years before you existed.
2. Grace is the Divine policy of providing us the unique environment of the Church Age where God has provided you a Dispensation of the greatest power experiment in human history. It includes the permanent indwelling of God the Holy Spirit to every believer during the Age of Grace, plus the indwelling of the Father and Son, and also includes His Word.
3. Under the Divine policy of grace, every Church Age believer has been given equal privilege and equal opportunity to execute God’s plan, purpose, and will. God makes us all equal so that we can use our freedom to be winners or losers.
4. The Divine policy of grace is the means of creating a new spiritual species for the utilization of Divine power.
5. Grace is the Divine policy in appointing every believer a Royal Priest and Royal Ambassador. We represent ourselves before God, and represent God to the human race. We have privacy for the perception and metabolization of Bible doctrine.
6. Grace is the Divine policy whereby every Church Age believer is indwelt by all three persons of the Trinity for a purpose.
7. Grace is the Divine policy of providing us with a spiritual I.Q., so that our human I.Q. is no longer an issue in the perception, understanding, and application of Bible doctrine. Under post-salvation renewing of the mind, Rom 12:1-3f., grace is the means of understanding and applying God’s Word and God’s policy.
8. Grace is the Divine policy for keeping both winners and losers alive through logistical grace support.
9. Grace is the Divine policy for the manufacture of invisible heroes, who glorify God in time as well as in eternity.
10. Grace is the Divine policy that depends on God’s wisdom rather than our desires. Therefore, grace does not always give us what we want. But when we stop and recognize the grace, we realize grace always provides for us what is best. Grace gives us what God wants, which is far, far greater than any desire we could ever have, far beyond anything we could ever ask or imagine.
Therefore, grace is all that God is free to do for each member of the Royal Family of God and be consistent with His own essence and attributes. Grace demands that God must be compatible with His own essence. Therefore, God is only free to bless the believer where perfect righteousness is the target or recipient. As such, there is perfect affinity between the grace policy of God; His perfect Divine righteousness and justice. This also makes up His holiness: perfect and incorruptible righteousness and perfect and incorruptible justice. All grace blessings travel between those two attributes. The function of Divine integrity and God’s grace policy follows the principle that righteousness demands righteousness; justice demands justice. To avoid compromise of Divine essence, Divine justice as one-half of Divine holiness can only bless Divine righteousness, the other half of Divine holiness. Divine justice can only bless perfect righteousness.
Righteousness is the principle of Divine integrity; justice is the function of Divine integrity. God cannot accept anything less than perfect righteousness. God cannot bless anything less than perfect righteousness. Therefore, there is affinity between Divine justice and Divine righteousness. At the moment of salvation, Divine righteousness is imputed to every believer, which means both justification and the basis for God’s grace policy.
What the righteousness of God demands, the justice of God must execute. This indicates how the grace policy of God functions without compromising Divine attributes. The righteousness of God demands life support; it comes from the justice of God. The righteousness of God demands blessing; it comes from the justice of God, etc. We cannot do anything to be blessed by God after salvation; it is done for us through Divine grace.
When we yield to God’s transforming grace, we can be assured that the Spirit will do everything necessary to help us live and finish well. Then we will be able to say the same words Paul said when he wrote his final words to Timothy, the pastor of the church at Ephesus: 2 Tim 4:7-8, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.”
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Click Here for Part 8, (vs 24). The study includes:
Exegesis of Ephesians 6:24
F. Conclusion; Benediction, God’s Encouragement to Carry on, Eph 6:21-24.
- The Doctrine of The Lord Jesus Christ
- The Doctrine of Incorruptible Love
- Summary of the Book of Ephesians Chapters 1-6
- Doctrines We Studied in Chapter 6 – Outline