Monday, March 1, 2021

Power to Break Pride

"As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." (Ephesians 4:1)

The incredible riches of the divine Fatherland are made available to believers. Paul ends Ephesians 3 with a prayer of ascription to God; that is, he ascribes praise to God. He calls upon us to give glory to the Father in the church through corporate worship. He says that we give this glory and praise through Jesus Christ because we are in union with Him. The particular reason we give this glory to God—the reason Paul mentions at this point—is the Father is able and willing to do for us more than we could ever ask or even imagine through the power of the Holy Spirit who works in us.

Should this make us proud? In one sense, yes: We should rejoice to be sons and daughters of the King. But in another sense, these riches are given to us to break our pride. We did not earn them. We did nothing to deserve them. The more we learn to lean on the riches of God, the less proud we will be.

This becomes the turning point in the letter to the Ephesians. Paul (and behind him, God) wants to see the church built up to become the most powerful influence in the world and in human history. This will happen when Christians live humbly and peaceably with one another. Because of our sin, we tend to be proud and contentious. The key to breaking down this sinfulness, which is the key to creating the new community on the earth, is to rely more and more on the riches of God.

In short, faith creates community. The more faith we have in God’s love for us and in His desire to bless us, the less argumentative and contentious we will be. As a result, we will live in deeper harmony with one another. In Ephesians 1–3, Paul piled up his language to communicate to us the incredible glories God offers us. The more we grasp what he is getting at, the more the church will flourish, and the more the world will be transformed.

Paul is a prisoner, but he has access to all these riches, so he is content. As prisoner, he exhorts us to be humble, patient, gentle, and loving because we have the same riches. Because we are now coheirs with Christ, we have abundant spiritual wealth through faith in our Savior and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

Read Ephesians 1–3, and consider how these truths should impact your life. What should they mean for you as you live in community with other people, both believers and unbelievers? Consider the various aspects of your life, and make practical applications.