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18 May 2013

Ephesians - Part 3

Remember, as we continue our study of the book of Ephesians that Paul is writing to people who have been privy to his teachings for several years. So we are reading generally about people more spiritually mature in their understanding than today’s Church. I feel like I am just beginning to know where they were spiritually, when these letters were written.

Ephesians Chapter 2:
Verse 1: And you (hath he quickened), who were dead in trespasses (G3900) and sins; (Supplied by translator) Strong gives paraptoma (G3900) a definition of a side slip, unintentional error, willful transgression. After reading all 23 references for this word, the part about willful transgression I am inclined to think that it is not accurate. Here are examples:
Romans 4:24-25: 24. But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25. Who was delivered for our offences (G3900), and was raised again for our justification.
Romans 5:15-18: 15. But not as the offence (G3900), so also is the free gift. For if through the offence (G3900) of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment (a decision) was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences (G3900) unto justification. 17. For if by one man's offence (G3900) death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18. Therefore as by the offence (G3900) of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

From Leviticus, chapter 4, is revealed that a sacrifice was only offered for sins of ignorance (Rom 4:25 above). What is the difference between a sin of ignorance and an intentional sin? If a person committed a sin unknowingly and it came to his knowledge, then he was to bring a sacrifice to the priest (Lv 4:27-28). Sin is as a result of faults we carry which we do not realize at the time, and is the root cause of our sin problem. All these faults make up what we call the sin-nature. This is what Paul was talking about in Romans 7:15: I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate (Revised Version)

Intentional sin is with knowledge after you have been enlightened as to the cause: Hebrews 6:4-6: 4. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5. And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6. If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. Both Peter and Judas spent over three years with Jesus, and both denied him. Peter had a weakness from which he was able to recover, where Judas’ guilt overwhelmed him to the point that he hung himself. Peter is a type of those who do not understand at the time of why they sin; Judas is a type of the unrepentant who will be overwhelmed by their own guilt when their life is compared to that of the Son of God, as they stand before God after their resurrection, (Rv 20:11-15).

1 Corinthians 5:7-8: 7. Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: 8. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven (doctrine, Mt 16:12), neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Only Passover and Unleavened Bread were kept in the wilderness (cf Lv 23:10), and Paul instructs us to keep it, not literally, but with a new spiritual understanding. The other feast days are also kept spiritually - after you enter the promised land - i.e. after you learn to listen to the Spirit of God and not the spirit of man.

Adam’s sin, which brought death to all mankind, was out of ignorance. Both Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed (Gen 2:25). Their communication with God was no different than man today. Had Adam known that God is love (1Jn 4:16), he would not have hidden out of fear (Gen 3:8-10). If my intellect (knowledge) is weak, then my will power will be weak. So, if my heart desires to do something, likely it will overpower my will and cause me to do it. By receiving an accurate understanding from the Father through the Son, our intellect grows and so does our will power, and our desires begin to change. For it is God working in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Php 2:13). We will, however, have struggles to do right.

Verses 2-3: 2. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course (or, age) of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience: 3. Among whom also we all had our conversation (conduct) in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. The worldly mind, or carnal way of thinking, lives a daily life based on the desires of the flesh (cf Rom 8:5-8). Who is the prince of the power of the air? Prince is translated from the Greek word archon, meaning first in rank or power, also rendered chief, magistrate & ruler. A person may be influenced by another, or something else outside them, however, desires of the flesh come from the heart - WE are in charge of the decisions we make. So the prince, chief, ruler is self, and not some external supernatural being causing us to sin. Air is a symbol for our spirit, which we are to control.

Verses 4-5: 4. But God, who is rich in mercy, [because of] his great love wherewith he loved us, 5. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened (given life to) us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) The riches of God’s grace and glory (Eph 1:7, 18) were mentioned in the first two parts of the study. Here is mentioned rich in mercy: other riches mentioned are faith (Jam 2:5), works (1Tim 6:18), goodness (Rom 2:4), liberty (2Cor 8:2) and full assurance of understanding (Col 2:2). Yea, the riches in Christ given to us by the Father are immeasurable and past finding out (Eph 3:8), except God reveal them to us. As we receive the truth as it is in Jesus Christ (Jn 14:6), we are receiving eternal life (Jn 5:24-25). In type, we enter into his death and resurrection: Romans 6:3-4: 3. Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4. Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Read verses 6:3-11).

Verses 6-10: 6. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7. That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9. Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. The Father is manifesting the exceeding riches of His grace (love, mercy, etc) toward us in His only begotten Son, and making us rest together with Christ in a heavenly understanding. For by grace are we being saved, which comes by means of the faith of Christ, his spiritual understanding. We are the Father’s workmanship, being created in Christ inwardly. God is doing away with the darkness, the worldly way of thinking, and taking us through the Genesis one experience of being made in His image, that we should act on His way of thinking unto good works. Amen.

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