"Morality and the Present Life in Christ" Page 4 of 4 (series: Lessons on Ephesians)
by John Lowe
There is a tremendous truth here: Dear reader, if you are saved, you are saved for the same reason I am saved. God did not save you or me because we were fit to be saved, nor because we are good enough to be saved. God saved us for “Christ’s sake.” Through the Holy Ghost, God is forming a bride for His Son, made up of individuals who put their faith in Jesus. God did not save us just so we would have a happy life on this earth. God did not save us just so we would go to heaven when we die, and not burn in hell. God saved us for “Jesus’ sake,” for the joy and the glory of His only begotten Son. For an inheritance to the only begotten Son, we born again believers will be displayed in the heavenlies to show the exceeding riches of God’s grace, as we learned in Ephesians chapter 2. In case you have a tendency to be just a little bit “puffed up,” because of your sonship in the family of God, proud of your spirituality and holiness, just remember that the only reason you are not dead and in hell―or on the road to hell―is because God for “Christ’s sake” saved you! Had it not been for the willingness of the Jesus to lay His life down, the willingness of the Holy Spirit to draw you and convict you while you were yet ungodly . . . had it not been for the sake of the only begotten Son of God, you would not be saved―and no sinner would ever have been saved. God saves sinners “FOR CHRIST’S SAKE.”
The new life Paul describes here may seem at first sight disappointingly mundane and unspectacular. These verses do not describe mighty deeds wrought in great power, but humble lives transformed by the Holy Spirit.
The testimony of Augustine, one of the towering figures of church history and of all western thought, is significant in this regard. Having lived for self, dabbled in false cults, pursued the satisfaction of his desires, he was—eventually—brought to faith in Christ in the city of Milan, whose Bishop was the eloquent Ambrose. Recalling on one occasion how he had come to faith, Augustine reflects on the influence of Ambrose: “It was not your great teaching—I scarcely expected to find that in the Christian Church in any case—but that you were kind to me.”
Why did this impress him? Perhaps it authenticated his preaching. Perhaps it helped Augustine to see and believe that the God and Savior of such a man as Ambrose of Milan must himself be kind. And if kind, then perhaps this Savior whom Ambrose preached would be willing to accept even Augustine, pardon his sins and transform his life.
So it was. Perhaps the same thing would happen through our lives . . . If these things were true of us.
Scripture and special notes
[1} “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:1-3).
[2} “The day of redemption” is that bright day, the goal of hope, the stimulus of holiness, when He shall claim the property He has purchased and has sealed, to take it home with Him forever for His own heavenly use.
[3} “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,” (Ephesians 4:17).
[4} “And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:” (Ephesians 2:16).
[5} “And when he Jesus had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other” (Mark 3:5).
[6} “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).
[7} “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” (Ephesians 1:13).
[8} “Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (James 3:9-10).
[9} “That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7).