Gospel Gazette Online

Vol. 12 No. 5 May 2010

Page 10

One God and Father of All

James MeadowsPaul echoes the language of Malachi. “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10). “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him…” (1 Corinthians 8:6). “Thanks be to God, who came to show us the way to the Father and to show us the Father Himself. Our appreciation of the Fatherhood of God is deeper than it could have been before Christ came. Now Gentiles as well as Jews have come through Christ to know this one God as their Father” (F.F. Bruce). “The fatherhood of God, all embracing, all pervading, speaks of family unity and rebukes all discord” (T. Croskery).

God is Father of all by creation, but in Ephesians He is God and Father of all—Jews and Gentiles—in the church. Both are reconciled “unto God in one body by the cross” (Ephesians 2:16).

Our understanding of the “one God and Father” presented in Ephesians will increase our love and motivate us to endeavor “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3). First, Paul was an “apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God” (Ephesians 1:1). Second, grace and peace come from “God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:2). Third, the God we serve is “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:3, 17; 3:14; 6:23). Fourth, He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Fifth, He has made a way whereby we can be His adopted children (Ephesians 1:5). Sixth, He has made known unto us His will (Ephesians 1:9-11). Seventh, He is “the Father of glory” and gives unto us “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Ephesians 1:17).

Eighth, He “hath put all things under his [Christ’s] feet, and gave him [Christ’s] to be the head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22). Ninth, our God is “rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4), love and kindness (Ephesians 2:4-7). Tenth, God prepared the works we should walk in (Ephesians 2:10). Eleventh, we now have “access by one spirit unto the Father” (Ephesians 2:18). Twelfth, we are “fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). Thirteenth, He is the God of “manifold wisdom” (Ephesians 3:10). Fourteenth, He is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:10). Fifteenth, He has made it possible for us to be filled with His fullness (Ephesians 3:19). With such a God and Father how can we do anything but strive for the unity that His eternal purpose included in the one body?

With such a God and Father we will strive to do those things that please God. First, we will practice those good works “which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10. Second, we will give glory to God “in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages” (Ephesians 3:21). Third, we will not walk as we formerly walked in the ways of the world (Ephesians 4:17-19). Fourth, we will “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). Fifth, we will strive not to grieve “the holy spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30). Sixth, we will follow God, as dear children (Ephesians 5:1). Seventh, we will give “thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20). Eighth, we will do “the will of God from the heart” (Ephesians 6:6). Ninth, we will put on the “whole armour of God” (Ephesians 6:10-13), which includes the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

God is “above all, and through all, and in you all.” “All,” in the context of Ephesians, refers to those who make up the church—“he is a common Father to all who believe.” He is “above all” through His Son that has “all things under his feet” and who reigns as “head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:21-22). He is “through all” in the church through which His manifold wisdom is known (Ephesians 3:10) and in which He is glorified (Ephesians 3:21). He is “in all” as He dwells in the church “builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22).

The Christian believes that he lives in a “God-created, God-controlled, God-filled world” (William Barclay), and that access to the Father through Jesus Christ by one Spirit is his to enjoy (Ephesians 2:18).

The Trials of Life

Bob Howton

In his wonderful booklet, When Life Tumbles In, the late Batsell Barrett Baxter skillfully brought together the best of his knowledge of life and biblical precepts, and amalgamated them with the inspirational themes of contemporary artists, to produce a worthy compilation of information. The presumptive title of the booklet seems to insist that everyone is familiar with the problems of life. The Patriarch Job, of the long ago, said it this way, “Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1). The idea then, is not “if life should bring me trouble” but rather, how shall I react when life brings me trouble? We can cringe in anxiety and frustration, and pitch a big “pity party,” but that will only exacerbate the existing problem. Brother Baxter’s book points us to resolutions of the problems of life and the resultant happiness that follows. In the chapter entitled, “The Problem of Loneliness,” he has this to say:

I have found the following paragraphs from the book “Light from many lamps,” a source of strength. Henry Francis Lyte walked into his study…an old man…near the end of the journey. He was tired and ill. The doctor told him that he had only a few months to live. He thumbed the well-worn Bible on his desk, and it fell open at one of his favorite passages: “Abide with us; for it is towards evening and the day is now far spent” (Luke 24:29). In the quiet of his curtained study, he read and reread those comforting words.

All at once he was no longer old and tired! All at once he was no longer sad and burdened, no longer discouraged. Words sang through his mind; and he put them down on paper; and in less than an hour he had written one of the most beautiful and inspiring hymns of all time: “Abide With Me.”

When the famous nurse, Edith Cavell, went before a German firing squad, she whispered the words of “Abide With Me.” When the HMS Stella was sinking with 105 victims during the Second World War, a woman—one of the noble unidentified of the world—stood on the bridge and sang “Abide With Me” until the others were singing with her, and they went down bravely.

We are reminded of Paul’s great statement to the Romans, “If God be for us who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). It is quite possible that we may face some dire circumstances in life, as we face the trials of the “daily grind,” but I am reminded of the simple thought we often expressed to our children, as they prepared to leave the house for school, or some recreational pursuit. We often said to them: “They who walk with God are never alone.” It is only when we have separated ourselves from the loving care of family and friends, and have turned our backs upon the admonition of God, that our prospects are at low ebb, and seem hopeless. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). That should be a comfort and a consolation, no matter what the conflict! Abraham Lincoln once observed, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful, if when in great perplexity and turmoil of spirit, we would stop and consider that God Almighty is in charge, and He has expressed through the Ephesian writer, our final task: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11).

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