The Book of Ephesians: Walk as Children of Light.

Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10 and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:7–10 (ESV)

The Apostle Paul issues still another concluding statement since he began the practical section of his letter to the Ephesian Church (Ephesians 4:1; 4:25; 5:1). It applies to the importance of believers in Christ being imitators of God in their life and lifestyle.

Therefore do not become partners with them. This statement applies to faithful Christians not having any agreement with professing believers who are living in rebellion against God. The word partners (συμμέτοχος; symmetochos) means a sharer and a joint imitator.

I Peter 4:3-5 says, For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Dr. R. C. Sproul writes, “Christians must consider the fearful destiny of nonbelievers and refuse to join them in their folly (I Peter 4:3-5). Instead, they should remember their paths as partakers with the Jews in the promise of God in Christ (Ephesians 3:6).”

Believers in Christ are to no longer conform to this fallen world (Romans 12:1-2) because God now calls us salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16). We were once darkness (σκότος; skotos) meaning to live in the abode of sin (John 3:19). However, believers are now light in the Lord. Light (φῶς; phos) refers to dwelling in holiness. This holiness is because Christians are in union with Christ.

Believers in Christ are to walk as children of light. The command to walk (περιπατέω; peripateo) is to behave in manner reflecting the holiness of Christ.

1 John 1:5–7 says, This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

Let each of us who are in Christ live today reflecting the holiness of the Lord. May we do so as we live in an ever increasing darkening world (Romans 1:18-32). Have a light day.

Soli deo Gloria!   

The Westminster Confession of Faith: Of the Perseverance of the Saints.

We will devote each Lord’s Day in 2021 at hiswordtoday.org to present a portion of the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). For those unfamiliar with the WCF, a brief explanation is appropriate. 

The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England, it became and remains the “subordinate standard” of doctrine (to Scripture) in the Church of Scotland and has been influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide.

It is to that “most precise and accurate summary of the content of biblical Christianity” that we will give our time and attention to each Lord’s Day in the year of our Lord, 2021. I trust you will be edified and encouraged each week by The Westminster Confession of Faith.

Chapter Seventeen: Of the Perseverance of the Saints. Part 1.

1. They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.a

a. John 10:28-29Phil. 1:61 Peter 1:592 Peter 1:101 John 3:9.

2. This perseverance of the saints depends, not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father;a upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ;b the abiding of the Spirit and of the seed of God within them;c and the nature of the covenant of grace:d from all which ariseth also the certainty and infallibility thereof.e

a. Jer. 31:32 Tim. 2:18-19. • b. Luke 22:32John 17:1124Heb. 7:259:12-1510:101413:20-21Rom. 8:33-39. • c. John 14:16-171 John 2:273:9. • d. Jer. 32:40. • e. John 10:282 Thess. 3:31 John 2:19.

I encourage you to read the portions of Scripture listed in this post.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day.

\Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: The Wrath of God is Coming.

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 5:5–6 (ESV)

“Faith is a living, restless thing. It cannot be inoperative. We are not saved by works; but if there be no works, there must be something amiss with faith.”  – Martin Luther

Martin Luther and John Calvin both correctly understood that man’s good works do not justify him/her before God (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:9-20; Ephesians 2:1-3). However, good works unto holiness are the biblical evidence that an individual is truly justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christa alone (Ephesians 2:4-10; James 2:14-26).

The Apostle Paul strongly challenged the Ephesian Christians to no longer engage in sexual immorality, impurity and covetousness. To do such things was not proper for the believer in Christ. He warned them that those who profess Christ are not truly converted if they live an ungodly life.

Paul then says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words.” Paul warned the Ephesian believers that there would be deceivers who would seek to mislead them with an empty gospel. Perhaps the empty gospel had to do with living an ungodly life when the Gospel of Christ brings newness of life.

It is because of sexual immorality, among other sins, that God’s wrath is coming. It will surely come upon the sons of disobedience to God.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Paul had taught this truth many times when he pastored the church at Ephesus and it should have been clear in their minds. God never tolerates sin, which has no place at all in his kingdom, nor will any person whose life pattern is one of habitual immorality, impurity, and greed (see v. 3) be in his kingdom, because no such person is saved (1 Cor. 6:9–10Gal. 5:17–211 John 3:9–10). No Christian will be sinless in this present life, but it is dangerously deceptive for Christians to offer assurance of salvation to a professing believer whose life is characterized by persistent sin and who shows no shame for that sin or hunger for the holy and pure things of God. They are headed for wrath (2:2) and believers must not partner in any of their wickedness (5:7).”

 Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: Strong Warning.

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” (Ephesians 5:5–6 (ESV)

We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.” – Martin Luther

 “I wish the reader to understand that as often as we mention Faith alone in this question, we are not thinking of a dead faith, which worketh not by love, but holding faith to be the only cause of justification. (Galatians 5:6; Romans 3:22.) It is therefore faith alone which justifies, and yet the faith which justifies is not alone: just as it is the heat alone of the sun which warms the earth, and yet in the sun it is not alone, because it is constantly conjoined with light.” – John Calvin

Luther and Calvin both correctly understood that man’s good works do not justify him/her before God (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:9-20; Ephesians 2:1-3). However, good works unto holiness are the biblical evidence that an individual is truly justified by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christa alone (Ephesians 2:4-10; James 2:14-26).

The Apostle Paul strongly challenged the Ephesian Christians to no longer engage in sexual immorality, impurity and covetousness. To do such things was not proper for the believer in Christ.

Paul then states in today’s text that those professing believers who continue to engage in such activity have no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. In other words, those who continue to consistently sin and not put off their old self and put on their new self (Ephesians 4:22-24) are truly not converted. They remain lost and objects of God righteous wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3).

Dr. John Walvoord writes, “Paul sternly warned believers that the reason they are to abstain from evil deeds (specifically, immorality, impurity, and greed; cf. vv. 3 and 5) is that those who practice them are not a part of God’s kingdom. Those who have no inheritance in the kingdom have not been “washed,” “sanctified,” and “justified” as 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 so clearly demonstrates. A greedy person … is an idolater (cf. Col. 3:5) in the sense that greed, like idols, puts things before God.”

I encourage you to read Romans 6-8 and James 2:14-26 to grasp the importance of holiness as an evidence of one’s conversion by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Believers in Christ are not only to communicate the gospel but also live by the gospel.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: Proper Speech.

Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.” (Ephesians 5:4 (ESV)

The Apostle Paul transitions from the subject of sexual immorality to the issue of the tongue. Proper speech is an essential characteristic of the Christian.

James 3:6-12 says, And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.”  

Ephesians 4:4 begins with the words Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk.” Filthiness (αἰσχρότης; aischrotes) means obscene, shameful and indecent speech. Foolish talk (μωρολογία; morologia) refers to speech lacking in understanding and wisdom. Crude joking (εὐτραπελία; eutrapelia) is vulgar and indecent speech. It is speech which is not worthy of praise. It is not speech praising He who is worthy.

This type of speech the apostle says is out of place (ἀνήκω; aneko) meaning unfitting and improper. It is impropriate for a believer in Christ. Within the immediate context, Paul may be referring to sexual innuendo and crude joking involving sexual relationships.  

How often do we use phrases and terms which are common in our culture? Are these words which build other believers up in their faith? Does our speech commend to unbelievers that we are holy men and women of God? Language in our culture can often times be quite vulgar and obscene. Believers in Christ must resolve to speak in a proper and God honoring manner.

One manner of speech which is God honoring is the giving of thanks. Thanksgiving (εὐχαριστία; eucharistia) is the expression of thanks and words of gratefulness (Acts 24:3; 1 Cor. 14:16; 2 Cor. 4:15; 9:11; Eph. 5:4; Php. 4:6; Col. 2:7; 4:2; 1 Thess. 3:9; 1 Tim. 2:1; 4:3; Rev .7:12).

Dr. John Walvoord writes, “Improprieties in speech—obscenity (aischrotēs, “shameless talk and conduct”), foolish talk (mōrologia, lit., “stupid words”), and coarse jesting (eutrapelia, “vulgar, frivolous wit”)—are out of place for Jesus’ followers, because such vices often harm (cf. 4:29), whereas thanksgiving is appreciation for others and is helpful. Paul was not intimating that humor itself is sin, but that it is wrong when it is used to destroy or tear down others.”

Take time today to examine the programs you watch in visual media and the mobile apps you access. What is the content of the speech? Does it honor God? Are you being influenced by such speech?       

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: Not even Named!

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints” (Ephesians 5:3 (ESV)

Believers in Christ are to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1-2). Patterning our lives after God’s character is to impact all areas of life and living (Ephesians 4:1-32). The Apostle Paul continues to explain what this pattern of life is like.

There are behaviors that must not even be named among you (ὀνομάζω; onomazo). This means that there are behaviors that are never to be associated with a believer. Only what is proper (πρέπω; prepo) or fitting is to characterize a saint’s lifestyle. Paul continues to explain what a proper lifestyle is for the Christian.

There is to be no sexual immorality (πορνεία; proneia) in the Christian’s life. There is to be no engagement into what God identifies as illicit sex. This is known as fornication. It includes sexual sin of a general kind, that includes many different behaviors (Matt. 5:32; 15:19; 19:9; Mark 7:21; John 8:41; Acts 15:20; 1 Cor. 6:18; 7:2; 2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 5:3; 1 Thess. 4:3).

There is to be no impurity (ἀκαθαρσία; akatharsia) in the Christian’s life. This refers to moral filth. It is another word for sexual impurity (Rom. 1:24; 6:19; 2 Cor. 12:21; Gal. 5:19; Eph. 4:19; 5:3; Col. 3:5; 4:7).

There is to be no covetousness (πλεονεξία; pleonexia) in the Christian’s life. This is greed and avarice. It is wanting more than what one possesses. It is wanting what someone else possesses.

This emphasis on proper sexuality in marriage between a man and a woman was a striking condemnation of the Ephesian culture. Ephesus was filled with all manner of sexual immorality dedicated to the worship of the goddess Diana.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “In absolute contrast to God’s holiness and love, such sins as these exist (also in v. 5), by which Satan seeks to destroy God’s divine work in his children and turn them as far away as possible from his image and will. As do many other Scriptures, this verse shows the close connection between sexual sin and other forms of impurity and greed. An immoral person is inevitably greedy. Such sins are so godless that the world should never have reason even to suspect their presence in Christians.”

Repent and forsake any hint of sexual immorality, impurity and covetousness in your life. Do so today. Do so every day.  

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: Be Imitators of God.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1–2 (ESV)

The Apostle Paul issues forth his third therefore since he began the application section in Ephesians 4:1. Be reminded that the word therefore indicates a conclusion.

God has justified sinners by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone (Ephesians 1-3). Therefore, believers in Christ are to walk and live in a manner worthy of God’s calling unto justification (Ephesians 4:1). Believers in Christ are to no longer live like the unconverted (Ephesians 4:17).

Believers in Christ are also to be imitators of God. An imitator (μιμητής; mimetes) is a person who does what others do. In this particular context, the person believers are to imitate is solely none other than God.

We are to imitate God because we are His beloved children. Beloved (ἀγαπητός; agapetos) means to be the object of God’s self-sacrificial love of the will (Ephesians 2:1-10). Beloved is another word for grace. It is on the basis of God’s gracious love that believers are His offspring. He is our heavenly Father (Matthew 6:9).

It is because we are God’s children by grace that we are to live lifestyles of grace. Believers are commanded to walk (περιπατέω; peripateo) or behave in love (ἀγάπη; agape). Paul sets forth the character of this type of love life in I Corinthians 13:1-8.

We live in love as Jesus Christ loved (ἀγαπάω; agapao) us when we were spiritually dead sinners (Ephesians 2:1-3). The phrase gave himself up for us (παραδίδωμι; paradidomi) refers to Christ’s substitutionary atonement on the cross on behalf of sinners (Romans 3:21-26; 5:1-10; I Peter 2:24-25).

Christ’s substitutionary atonement is compared to a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. A fragrant offering (προσφορά; prosphora) is a sacrifice and presentation to God (Acts 21:26; 24:17; Rom. 15:16; Eph. 5:2; Heb. 10:5, 8, 10, 14, 18). A sacrifice (θυσία; thysia) is another word for an offering to God (Matt. 9:13; Luke 13:1; Acts 7:41; Rom. 12:1; 1 Cor. 10:18; Eph. 5:2; Php. 4:18; Heb. 5:1; 9:26; 10:1; 13:15, 16; 1 Peter 2:5). This is what our lives are to be unto the Lord.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Christ’s offering of himself for fallen man pleased and glorified his heavenly Father, because it demonstrated in the most complete and perfect way God’s sovereign, perfect, unconditional, and divine kind of love. Leviticus describes five offerings commanded by God for Israel. The first three were: 1) the burnt offering (Lev. 1:1–17), depicting Christ’s perfection; 2) the grain offering (Lev. 2:1–16), depicting Christ’s total devotion to God in giving his life to please the Father; and 3) the peace offering (Lev. 3:1–17), depicting his peacemaking between God and man. All three of these were a “pleasing aroma to the LORD” (Lev. 1:9, 13, 17; 2:2, 9, 12; 3:5, 16). The other two offerings, the sin offering (Lev. 4:1–5:13) and the guilt, or trespass, offering (Lev. 5:14–6:7), were repulsive to God because, though they depicted Christ, they depicted him as bearing sin (cf. Matt. 27:46). In the end, when redemption was accomplished, the whole work pleased God completely.”

May each of us strive today to please the Lord as children of God. This is our great privilege because of our gracious position. With great privilege comes great responsibility.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: How can We Please God? Part 2.

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)

The Holy Spirit of God is grieved when believers in Christ sin (Ephesians 4:30-31). It stands to reason that the Holy Spirit of God is pleased when believers in Christ seek to live holy lives (I Peter 1:16).

What are behaviors and attitudes which please the Holy Spirit of God? The Apostle Paul provides a sampling of a Christ-like life in today’s text. We have thus far seen that to be kind to one another pleases God.

Tenderheartedness pleases God. To be tenderhearted (εὔσπλαγχνος; eusplanchnos) means to be compassionate and to behave with dignity. It is the opposite of being hard hearted and unfeeling.

Forgiving one another pleases God. To be forgiving (χαρίζομαι; charizomai) is a present, active participle. It is a behavior which is to be consistent in the Christian’s life. It means to cancel a debt. In other words, we do not hold a grudge against another believer when they have sinned against us. While we may never be their best friend, we resolve to not be their worst enemy.

This attitude and behavior of forgiveness should be done in light of all that God has forgiven us. This has been accomplished by the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “Those who have been forgiven so much by God should, of all people, forgive the relatively small offenses against them by others. The most graphic illustration of this truth is the parable of Matt. 18:21–35.”

Who is it that has sinned against you? Resolve today to no longer be unforgiving towards them. Continue this resolve when feelings of anger begin creeping into your mind, emotions and will.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Westminster Confession of Faith: Of Good Works. Part 4.

We will devote each Lord’s Day in 2021 at hiswordtoday.org to present a portion of the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). For those unfamiliar with the WCF, a brief explanation is appropriate. 

The Westminster Confession of Faith is a Reformed confession of faith. Drawn up by the 1646 Westminster Assembly as part of the Westminster Standards to be a confession of the Church of England, it became and remains the “subordinate standard” of doctrine (to Scripture) in the Church of Scotland and has been influential within Presbyterian churches worldwide.

It is to that “most precise and accurate summary of the content of biblical Christianity” that we will give our time and attention to each Lord’s Day in the year of our Lord, 2021. I trust you will be edified and encouraged each week by The Westminster Confession of Faith.

Chapter Sixteen: Of Good Works. Part 4.

7. Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others;a yet because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith,b nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word,c nor to a right end, the glory of God;d they are therefore sinful, and cannot please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God.e And yet their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing unto God.f

a. 1 Kings 21:27292 Kings 10:30-31Phil. 1:15-1618. • b. Gen. 4:3-5 with Heb. 11:46. • c. Isa. 1:121 Cor. 13:3. • d. Matt. 6:2516. • e. Amos 5:21-22Hosea 1:4Hag. 2:14Rom. 9:16Titus 1:153:5. • f. Job 21:14-15Ps. 14:436:3Matt. 23:2325:41-45.

I encourage you to read the portions of Scripture listed in this post.

Have a blessed Lord’s Day.

\Soli deo Gloria!

The Book of Ephesians: How can We Please God?

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 (ESV)

Dr. John MacArthur writes, “God is grieved when his children refuse to change the old ways of sin for those righteous ways of the new life. It should be noted that such responses by the Holy Spirit indicate he is a person. His personhood is also indicated by personal pronouns (John 14:17; 16:13), his personal care of believers (John 14:16, 26; 15:26), his intellect (1 Cor. 2:11), feelings (Rom. 8:27), will (1 Cor. 12:11), speaking (Acts 13:2), convicting (John 16:8–11), interceding (Rom. 8:26), guiding (John 16:13), glorifying Christ (John 16:14), and serving God (Acts 16:6–7).”

The Holy Spirit of God is grieved when believers in Christ sin (Ephesians 4:30-31). It stands to reason that the Holy Spirit of God is pleased when believers in Christ seek to live holy lives (I Peter 1:16).

What are behaviors and attitudes which please the Holy Spirit of God? The Apostle Paul provides a sampling of a Christ-like life in today’s text.

Be kind to one another pleases God. The state of being verb be (γίνομαι; ginomai) is a present, middle imperative verb. This means the God is commanding believers to personal obedience. This is to be an active obedience. It is to characterize the believer’s existence.

What is the believer in Christ to be? Kind! Kind and kindness (χρηστός; chrestos) means to be loving and gracious (Luke 6:35; Rom. 2:4; Eph. 4:32; 1 Peter 2:3). Kindness is a characteristic of self-sacrificial love of the will (I Corinthians 13:4).

God’s command for the believer in Christ to be kind is specifically to be directed towards other Christians. Believes are to keep on becoming kind to one another. We are to be useful to one another.

Kindness can be evidenced in a variety of ways. For example, it may involve picking up an individual’s groceries when they are housebound. It can involve mowing an individual’s grass or raking their leaves. It can also be picking them up for church. These are but three of hundreds of ways we can be kind and useful to one another. How may you be kind today to a fellow believer in Christ?

Soli deo Gloria!