Weekly Devotional 12-4-23 We Are Not to Be Indifferent to Grace
Ephesians 2:1-13 “1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. “8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest anyone should boast.” 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
11 Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh–who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands–12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
The letter to the Ephesians was written by the apostle Paul while imprisoned in Rome (most likely AD 60-63). His intention was to remind the Ephesian believers, and all other Christians who would read the letter, how they had been reunited with God and enabled to a greater spiritual maturity. Enclosed within the letter was/is the discipline needed to develop into true children of God.
As in all churches (including the Ephesian church) there are those who are truly moved to a stronger commitment and a deeper devotion than others. They understand what God’s unmerited favor (God’s grace afforded them, regeneration, justification, and sanctification.
God has called us, regenerated us, has justified us, and has sanctified us (set us apart) in a unique way, but sanctification is a progressive work, and we have a part in it. Consider what Arthur W. Pink shared about sanctification. “It is not as though we could change our own hearts from the love of sin to the love of God, nor even when they are changed to carry forward that change to perfection or completion. No, it is only as we are enabled from on High, for of ourselves we can do nothing (John 13:5). It is ‘our work’ as we diligently use the appointed means and trust God to make them effectual. It is God’s work as the Spirit employs powerful motives to influence us to action. For instance, He impresses us with the fact that God’s eye is ever upon us, and this causes us to walk softly before Him. He applies to our hearts the solemn warnings of Scripture, so that we are afraid to sport with sin or give heed to Satan’s allurements. Or again, He fills the heart with a sense of Christ’s undying love for us, so that the springs of gratitude are set in motion, and we endeavor to please and glorify Him. By various considerations, the Holy Spirit stirs up the believer to resist sin and cultivate holiness.” (A.W. Pink 1886-1952)
In his consideration, Mr. Pink not only presents the work of the Holy Spirit in the Christian’s sanctification but alludes to the Christian’s participation. Sanctification will only be realized when he (or she) who is being sanctified responds positively to the Holy Spirit’s work. The realization then of sanctification is both a Divine work, and a human work. Let us consider the cost patiently. The sanctification of the believer is also a mark of his (or her) salvation. The Christian has been called out of spiritual darkness, regenerated unto spiritual life, set apart (sanctified) from the world in thought, desire, and deed, unto holiness. If these things are not true in one’s life perhaps that person is not truly spiritually alive.
Paul in his letter to the Galatians differentiates between the Christian and the non-Christian this way, “19Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:19-24)
Where is your heart? Are you indifferent to God’s grace? Remember Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26).
God gave His only begotten son, Jesus Christ, as the only acceptable payment for sin. We cannot therefore be indifferent to God’s grace. We must be like those of the church of Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13), who even under great persecution remained faithful. We must fight (with God’s help) against being like the believers of the church of Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-19). We must not allow ourselves to be indifferent to God’s grace.
Transforming Power; the Work of God on Behalf of Man