The Light of His Grace

I want to back up some today to hit a certain topic a little harder, so to speak.  Ephesians 1:6 says, “to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”(NIV)  That glorious grace is the light of grace.  I want to take a specific look at the Light of God, His Glory.  I want to do so by taking you back through the awesome journey I had today.

I was reading in II Timothy today for my personal reading time and I came across this verse, “having a form of godliness but denying its power.”(II Timothy 3:5a) 

The term “power” caught my eye because of what we are studying in Ephesians together.  I went back to Ephesians and began to read chapter 1 into the first part of chapter 2.  As I read the Glory of God, His Light, His Brilliance just popped off the pages at me. 

The word “glory” or a form of it appears throughout the chapter.  It hit me that godliness IS powerful and that godliness is letting the glory of God or the light of God shine in us.

What a leap, right?  Let me explain my leap.   God is light (I John 1:5) and Jesus is the “radiance of God’s glory (light)”(Hebrews 1:3) and Jesus in the Light of the world (John 8:12).  When Paul speaks of his conversion in Acts 22:11 the KJV says that he (Paul) “could not see for the glory of that light”.  And as we all know Jesus was that light he saw. 

Going back to Ephesians, back to the prayer in chapter 1, do you remember?  It is light of God, the glorious Father, or the rays of His light (“enlightened” meaning to shed rays) that Paul prays God will give or shed upon His people.  Why is all this important?

In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”(NIV) 

It is the rays of His light, of His Glory, that He sheds on us that lights our lives.  Just as Jesus is the radiance of the Father, we are the radiance of the Son.  “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.”(Colossians 1:13).  In the light of Jesus the Father wants us to “shine like stars in the universe”(Philippians 2:15).  “For God , who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”(II Corinthians 4:6)

There is even now a battle between the realm of darkness and light and we are a part of that battle.  At the end of Ephesians Paul speaks of putting on the armor of God to fight the darkness, but in Romans 13:12 he calls it the “armor of light”.  It is the light that pushes back the darkness, it is a powerful light.  He is the Powerful Light.  In Him there is no darkness (I John 1:5). 

We must see to it that there is no darkness, sin, in our lives.  The darkness is the way of the world that Scripture makes many lists of, among them are hate, strife, division, factions, envy, doubt, bitterness, fear, sexual immorality and many more.  Those are the schemes of the devil, those are opposed to the light of life.

The light is the way of the Spirit and in His ways we find love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.  These are the things we need in our lives and only these things.  Or as Paul says it in Philippians 4:8, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” 

God’s light brings righteousness, holiness and godliness (godliness with power).  We are His children (adopted into His family), children of light (I Thessalonians 5:5).

So let us fight with the power of His light, that He has shed on us, and put in us by giving us the Holy Spirit.  Let us push back the dominion of darkness with love, righteousness and truth, clothed in His armor of light.  We must be good soldiers, fighting to the good fight, standing strong in the grace of our Messiah, His glorious grace, that He lavished on us.

Now in light of all this, let’s go back to Ephesians chapter 2.

EPH 2:1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.(NIV)

This passage starts out with reminding us that we were once a part of the dominion of darkness and disobedient, gratifying our sinful desires. 

Likewise, those in the world who are still living in disobedience are still a part of the dominion of darkness and therefore subject to wrath as we once were.  But because of God’s great love for us, in accordance to the pleasure of His will, which He purposed in Christ Jesus, God reached down and made us alive with Christ even while we were still dead in our sins He gave us His Son. 

He gave us His Light, a light we did not deserve.  He resurrected us in His power from the dead, to eternal life and did this with His glorious grace.  His glory burst onto the scenes of our lives and filled us with His light and made us a new creation in Him.  He says, “Let there by light!”  We were rescued from darkness by His grace and brought into the kingdom of light, the kingdom of the Son He loves.

Not only did God resurrect our lives from death to life, but also “raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms”.  Now, this spiritual reality has not yet been seen, but one day it will be sight and we will live in His light.  For in the New Jerusalem there will be no sun or moon but “the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp”.

God did this so that He could show us His super (hyper) riches of His grace, riches found in His “glorious inheritance” in the saints upon whom He has shed His grace.  God expresses this out of His kindness in Yeshua the Messiah.  Remember that part of the fruit of the Spirit is kindness.  Yes, God is kind.  He did all these things in kindness and will bring us together (both Jew and Gentile)  with each other and Him in His kindness.

Again Paul says we have been saved by grace, by His glorious, light giving grace, through faith.  Just so his readers don’t become conceited Paul states very plainly that this faith to believe and follow Him is not from us. 

We were dead in our trespasses and sins when He saved us.  We were still a part of the dominion of darkness and were not capable of seeing the Light.  It was Him who reached out for us behind enemy lines and brought us out.  We were not capable of such faith on our own. 

Even if it were possible for us to have intellectual assent to who He is and what He has done for us there is still No Way we would have had the strength to follow Him in godliness and life.  One cannot live in the light while still in the dark.

This faith is a gift, an undeserved gift.  The ability to follow Him is a gift.  The Holy Spirit in us to teach us, guide us and be the down payment of our inheritance a gift, a gift of God.  We do nothing to earn or deserve this gift. 

We did not flag Him down and cry out, “I am over here, come get me”.  No, He came in and got us when we were in the dark capable of nothing.  Jesus said in John 15:5b that “apart from [Him we] can do nothing”. 

He does not even want us to have this boast at our disposal.  Our boast is to be in Christ Jesus and Him crucified.

Now get this.  God has made us His “workmanship” meaning His masterpiece. 

We are His finest work of art.  He has put His light, His glory, His Spirit in us.  He created us in Christ Jesus, the light of the world, to reflect Him.  We are His greatest masterpiece because when people see us they really see His Son. 

They see the light in our life and it is His light they see.  In the movie The Lakehouse a father and son are talking about great works of architecture and the statement is made, “it’s all about the light”.  You see when you have a masterpiece the first thing you do after hanging it is shine light directly on it. 

He created us this way to do good works.  But what good works?  We have been implying it all along.  To shine His light on others as stars in the universe, not hidden under a bowl.

We cannot hide in our comfortable air conditioned homes watching our TVs or even in our beautiful, godly looking, churches. 

No, we must be about His work, to make disciples, to let the world know that He sent His Son so that we can be one with each other and with Him.  This is the work that God prepared in advance for us to do.  It was always His plan for His light to shine through us into this dark world.

Live the life that is worthy of our calling!  I say that to myself, as well.

In His Light,

Vicky

The Mystery

I learned something very valuable this past week.  Do not start a major endeavor, such as this blog, right before a big week.  This past week was Vacation Bible School week for us.  I did not write last week, and as a result God changed my direction a little.


I found myself in the book of Ephesians.  It has many of the themes we will be dealing with in this blog, and God made it clear to me that that is really where we need to start.  I remember what my speech teacher in school used to tell us, “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them and then tell them what you told them”.  Ephesians is going to stand as this blogs equivalent to “tell them what you are going to tell them”.


Let’s get started.


EPH 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment–to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.


After Paul’s introduction, he begins offering praise to the Father and Jesus Christ and says that He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ in the heavenly realms.  Then he goes on to describe those blessings.  Being chosen to be holy and blameless in His sight.  Let that one sink in a little.  We were not just chosen, but chosen with an end result in mind, being holy and blameless.  What does that look like?  That is just what this blog will be discussing and what Ephesians does such a good job at fleshing out.


He adopted us as sons through Jesus Christ according to His pleasure and will.  He gave us His grace, redemption and the forgiveness of sins.  Then He made known to us the “mystery” of His will according to His good pleasure.  It is this “mystery” that is the focal point of Ephesians and what we will spend our time on this blog exploring.  What is that mystery?  Look down a little further to the second part of verse 10.  That mystery is to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.  To bring us together — make us One in Christ and with Christ.  And notice when this will take place.  When the times will have reached their fulfillment.


Some of you might have found it frustrating that I did not mention “before the creation of the world” and “predestined” from earlier verses.  These are connected to our being chosen and adopted.  Just as the fulfillment of time has to do with the mystery, God does things in His time and in His time things often find a fulfillment in the heavenly realms before they work themselves out in the earthly realm.  Bringing all things together under Christ found it’s spiritual fulfillment in the heavenly realms when Jesus died and rose again, however, I believe we are even now seeing the earthly fulfillment of this heavenly reality.  God is bringing those who place there faith in Jesus Christ together as one under Christ.  In other words, He is making us holy and blameless in His sight – a spotless bride.


Have an awesome evening in the Lord!


Vicky