Thank you for joining me, these past couple of weeks, as I’ve reflected on “Three Blessings from Ephesians 1-3.” So far, we have rejoiced in the blessings of Church and the Holy Spirit. A third blessing that we experience in Christ is Resurrection Life.
We see the blessing of Resurrection Life clearly in Ephesians 2:1-10. Before we followed Christ, we were dead in our transgressions and sins. We followed the ways of this world and the spirit of darkness. We gratified earthly cravings and sought to fulfill sinful desires and thoughts. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:4-5, emphasis mine).
I suspect that we typically think of Resurrection Life as being something that we will receive when we die or when Christ returns. Certainly, our Resurrection Life will be enjoyed and realized most fully when we are face to face with Christ in glory. Paul says in Ephesians 2:7 that God’s kindness and grace will be shown clearly “in the coming ages.” But, even as we await the new heavens and the new earth, our Resurrection Life starts now.
I encourage you to (re)-read Ephesians 1-3 to remind yourself of the innumerable benefits of life in Christ. Perhaps the greatest is knowing God himself. As Jesus prayed for his disciples (and us), “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3). One day we will know him fully, but we have the blessing of knowing God even now (Eph. 1:17, 2:18, 3:14-19).
Another benefit of Resurrection Life is that we are given purpose and ability. As new creations, we are to “do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (2:10). We are to live “a life worthy of the calling [we] have received” (4:1).
Paul spends the final three chapters of Ephesians giving us insight into how to do this:
We are to be humble, gentle, and patient. We are to be peacemakers and unifiers in the Church. We are to use the gifts we’ve been given to serve and build up the Church. We are to grow in maturity, not being easily deceived, but speaking the truth in love (4:1-16).
We are to have soft hearts, sensitive to the wisdom of the Spirit. We are to put off our old self with its deceitful desires, and instead practice thoughts and attitudes of righteousness and holiness (4:17-23).
We are to tell the truth, forgive and reconcile, stop stealing, and work in order to share. We are to speak in wholesome and encouraging ways, without slander, bitterness, or malice—forgiving one another as Christ forgave us. We are to practice sacrificial love towards one another (4:25-5:1).
We are to run from sexual immorality, impurity, and greed, and we are to avoid speaking in obscenities or coarse jokes. We must not hide secret sins, but should “find out what pleases the Lord” and obey. We should not be lazy or debauched, but wise and disciplined. We should sing to the Lord and give thanks for everything (5:2-20).
In our various roles in family or society, we should submit to one another and wholeheartedly to Christ. Wives should submit to their husbands, and husbands should love their wives unreservedly and sacrificially. Children should obey their parents, and parents should teach their children to follow God. People who are in positions of service should obey and serve faithfully, and those in leadership should show kindness and respect to those under their authority. In all things, the Church should submit to Christ (5:21-6:9).
We should stand firm against temptation—immersing ourselves in the truth of God’s Word, the discipline of righteousness, and the practice of peace. We should act in confidence that we have been saved, by grace, through faith. We have the Spirit of God. And we should pray in the Spirit “on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests, for all the Lord’s people” (6:10-20).
Yes, it may seem like most of this post is a summary of Ephesians 4-6, not 1-3 as advertised. The blessing of Resurrection Life is introduced in Ephesians 2, and then the apostle Paul gives us a great deal of application in the latter part of Ephesians. But the truth is that none of these attitudes and actions would be possible apart from the fact that we have been given new life in Christ. This blessing of Resurrection Life is a gift from God, so that no one can boast (2:9). As Paul puts it in another of his letters: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone; the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
As I close this series on “Three Blessings from Ephesians 1-3,” I want to say that I am grateful to you for reading these posts and for reflecting with me on these good gifts that Paul highlights in his letter to the Ephesians. I delight in the blessings of CHURCH, the HOLY SPIRIT, and RESURRECTION LIFE. And I delight in your participation with me in these blessings.
I will sign off by offering Paul’s benediction, with which he blesses the church in Ephesus:
“Peace to the brothers and sisters, and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.”