Ephesians ~ Week 6

Nov 5, 2012

So how are you doing? We’re over half way through our study now. Wow, it’s gone fast! I’m so glad to spend this time with you all and have been so encouraged and learned so much from your comments. Keep it up! The end is now in sight.

I love how in the first three chapters of Ephesians Paul has taught us about the mystery of Christ, and then he turns around and gives us practical application in the last three chapters.

As you read this week and in the weeks to come, don’t think of Paul’s life application as just another law book to follow. Instead, remember how thankful and grateful you were for Christ’s gift that you learned about in the last three chapters, and out of your heart of thankfulness act in the way Paul describes.

See the difference? The first is a checklist. It may even bring stress and guilt as you try to live up to this new standard Paul sets before us. The second recognizes our freedom and Christ’s gift of grace, and out of gratitude does these things. The end results may look the same, but the inside men are worlds apart.

For years I lived the first point of view. I walked right, and talked right, and sang right…I tried my best to be right. When I did wrong, I was overcome with guilt and felt like I could do nothing right. There were so many rules, and I was stressed out trying so hard to live up to Christ’s “laws” and be the best Christian I could be.

Then I began to really dig into Paul’s letters like we’re doing now, and they opened up a whole new way of life for me. I had a huge paradigm shift. I saw that Christ brings freedom. Freedom from guilt, shame, stress, and laws.

The first verses in Galatians 5 broke my heart. Paul writes:

For freedom Christ Jesus has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look; I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision [or another action to save you], Christ will be of no advantage to you…You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen from grace…For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; but only faith working through love. ~ Gal. 5:1-2, 4, 6 (ESV, additional words and emphasis mine)


As I read these verses I saw that I needed to stop feeling like I had to earn salvation and be “good enough.” I needed to let my performance based religion go. Instead I needed to have faith that Christ had done all the work, and now live out the faith through the love I see in him. I needed to take my overwhelming thankfulness for his gift and use it to live this new way and serve others. Not out of guilt but out of gratitude.

The biggest benefit I found to this new way of thinking was that I could be truthful with people like Paul encourages us to be in Eph. 4:25. I no longer had to pretend I was perfect and keep others from seeing that I wasn’t. I didn’t have to live in fear of their condemnation because I knew I was already approved of and loved by God.

Know the same for yourself. You don’t have to live in guilt. You don’t have to live in fear. Instead, you can relax. You can live in freedom. And out of the fullness God fills you with, you can feel free to be truthful and love yourself and others as God does.

My challenge for you this week is to lay down your fear and walk away in freedom. Allow Paul’s words from the last few weeks to wash over you, so you can stand confident to live a new way.

PS. If they idea of living in freedom kinda freaks you out like it did me, finish reading Galatians five. Paul turns right around and address all those fears. Gal 5:13-26

Do you find it hard to study the Bible?

It doesn’t have to be.

Let me help you learn a technique for studying that makes it simple. Join me as we study one chapter each week and memorize two verses of scripture each month.

You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in your life.

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