|Volume 17 Number 7 July 2015||
Mark N. Posey
The book of Ephesians is about riches and blessings from God in Christ Jesus (1:7, 18; 2:7; 3:8, 16, 21). The statement in 1:3 gives a panoramic view of God’s blessings to us: source of blessings - “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” scope of blessings - “every [all] spiritual blessings” and sphere of blessings - “in the heavenly places in Christ.” Because of these blessings, we give God the glory that He deserves (cf. Revelation 4:11; Romans 11:33-36; Matthew 5:16). Consider the blessings we have received from God in Christ Jesus.
God Settled My Largest Debt
(2:1, 13, 16) with His Sacrifice
Three crosses donned the crest of Calvary many years ago: a Cross of Rebellion, a Cross of Repentance and a Cross of Redemption. When I survey the wondrous Cross of Redemption, I see heaven’s pledge (John 14:2ff.), the Devil’s defeat (Hebrews 2:14-15), the sinner’s plea (Romans 5:6-8) and the Christian’s hope (Titus 2:13). Unto God be the glory!
God Satisfied My Deepest Need
(1:7; 4:32) with Forgiveness
Sin is our #1 problem. Sin causes guilt (1 John 3:4; James 2:10), associates us with Satan (John 8:44), makes us sick (Matthew 7:17) and separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 3:23; 6:23). Since sin is our #1 problem, forgiveness is our #1 need. Forgiveness removes condemnation (Romans 8:1), makes us alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:1, 5-6), reunites us with God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21) and makes us friends with God (Romans 5:10). The lyrics of the Gospel song are true: “Burdens are lifted at Calvary!” Unto God be the glory!
God Provided My Greatest Desire
(3:3-4, 10, 16-19): Guidance
The mystery of Christ has been revealed, inspired and confirmed (3:3-4). Therefore, Christians are to walk together in unity (4:1-16), walk in truth and holiness (4:17-32), walk in love, light and wisdom (5:1-21), display God’s wisdom in the home and church (5:22-6:9) and stand strong in the armor that God has given us (6:10-24). Unto God be the glory!
God Prepared My Highest Longing
(1:10-11, 18; 5:26-27): Heaven
I want to spend eternity in heaven because I’ve been invited (Matthew 11:28-30), our citizenship is there (Philippians 3:20-21) and it has been prepared for the redeemed (John 14:1-6). Consider the song that reads, “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through, my treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.” C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world” (p.119). Unto God be the glory!
In conclusion, the only fitting response to our great God is to give Him glory – especially in the church, the company of His redeemed. May He receive that glory throughout all ages, world without end. Amen!
God Doesn’t Make Mistakes
“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).
It seems unavoidable these days not to know about Bruce Jenner “changing” to Caitlyn Jenner, as he is undergoing the process to become, in appearance, a female. It seems the media is fascinated with this storyline, and he receiving awards for doing so, as ESPN is giving him an ESPY for what he is doing. Not everyone, however, agrees this is a good thing for him or for society.
On the website bizpackreview.com, Dr. Paul R. McHugh considers changing sexes “biologically impossible,” and thinks being what is popularly called “transgender” these days is actually a “mental disorder.” He also cited a study that said transgendered people who have reassignment surgery are 20 times more likely to commit suicide than non-transgendered people. “The pro-transgender advocates do not want to know,” said McHugh, “that studies show between 70% and 80% of children who express transgender feelings ‘spontaneously lose those feelings’ over time.” Also, for those who had sexual reassignment surgery, most said they were “satisfied” with the operation but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery. “And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a ‘satisfied’ but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs,” said Dr. McHugh (www.bizpacreview.com/2015/06/03/former-johns-hopkins-chief-of-psychiatry-being-transgender-is-a-mental-disorder-biologically-impossible- 210202#ixzz3c6tsel6g).
Gender is not simply a state of mind, but it includes one’s bodily structure. No matter the surgical procedure performed, one’s DNA remains the same, whether male or female. The argument that one was “born the wrong gender” is an oxymoron, contrary to nature and to the will of God. In establishing His covenant with the Israelites, God unmistakably stated, “A woman is not to wear male clothing, and a man is not to put on a woman’s garment, for everyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD your God” (Deuteronomy 22:5). In other words, there was to be a clear distinction between the appearance of males and females, as is appropriate to both their gender and the lives they were to live. Some point out this specific prohibition is not found in the pages of the New Testament. However, the same principle is found in Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth. In 1 Corinthians 11:24-25, Paul wrote, “Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her as a covering.” What Paul was emphasizing is that God wants each of us to fulfill the role He has created for us, whether as a man or as a woman. For a man to act as a woman or a woman to act as a man is an abomination to God, displeasing to Him because it denies the role He has created for us to be. In this instance, the precept being taught is of the exact nature as that found in the Old Testament. Our society, by rejecting Scripture, has only sin left to govern its practices. There is no right or wrong, and evil is called good (Isaiah 5:20), exchanging the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:25). Reveling in this, and in other sins, will only bring judgment and condemnation (Romans 1:32).
Paul reminded the church in Rome, “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4). We also know, “First of all, you should know this: No prophecy of Scripture comes from one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, men spoke from God as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Our sensibilities must be determined not by human desires or current societal trends, but by the revealed will of God. As those who are created in the image of God, may we manage ourselves to please God, to reflect how He created us. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light – for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth – discerning what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:8-10).
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”