“Ephesians” starts with an explanation of how salvation is all about God’s mercy and grace and ends with assurance that God’s favor and provision is always there for His people. Paul never minces words about life’s difficulties or sugar-coats the Christian life. Instead, he shows us that we will love God and others more when we have experienced the power and peace that come only because of this unmerited favor from God.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. …take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore,….praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints…Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible (Ephesians 6:10-24).
Paul ended his letter to this church in Asia with a vivid picture of a warrior armed to the teeth (think swat team). Our fight for the gospel and holy living is not against people but against spiritual forces of evil. Our armor is spiritual: truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, and the word of God. Our chief tactic is prayer. Our goal is to stand firm…not to be knocked down when persecution or rejection come and the darts of Satan come at us from every direction. Keeping on your feet during hard times and opposition takes alertness and perseverance. You can’t pray when you’re sleeping or just tired of the whole battle. Knowing our weakness, Paul ended his letter with a prayer for grace. Our strength to stand firm in the fight is found in God’s might and his unmerited favor toward us. His glorious grace is what this whole letter is about. And experiencing that grace in the midst of a fight to the finish causes us to love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible and sincerity.
Remember how Paul began this letter:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love. He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace …”(Ephesians 1:3-6, bold is mine).
And so, we are grounded in this teaching about God’s eternal plan of salvation and his purpose to lavish upon us love and forgiveness and eternal life. When we think about this hope and the glorious grace that brings it all to fruition, our prayers take on new vitality. God gives us strength for the fight so we can pray for one another and the spread of the gospel. Through this unmerited favor, we are able to identify and control our desires that lead us into treating others harshly or demanding our own way. We aren’t knocked over even when opposed by people in high places or by slander whispered in the dark. We can welcome the light because our deeds are right. And since prayer is our chief battle plan, we can love others while we fight for the right. Love and prayer through the grace God gives… especially for those we are face to face with in the local church and in our family.
Are you grounded in the truth of God’s glorious grace?
Are you armed with the spiritual armor?
Are your tactics the right ones of prayer and love?
May I suggest that you reread these posts on Ephesians? Hit Blog Categories, then Ephesians, then scroll all the way to the bottom of the page. Hit page 5, then scroll past the top blog and begin with the first post. I would read at least the first two and this last one. It will clarify the main idea of Ephesians about the glory of God’s grace.
Why not read the whole letter of “Ephesians” at one or two sittings? It is a letter, not a book! You can do it! Grasping this teaching on God’s sovereign grace will touch your heart and stretch your mind.