Battle for the heart

Paul takes us into God’s war room. If we grasp his message we’ll more clearly perceive why the Christian lifestyle is significant. We’ll also realize there is a battle for our hearts.

Perhaps the place to start is by appreciating that Ephesians was written against a bleak background (Ephesians 2:1-3). Evil in all of its forms dominates and subdues humanity. Filled with insatiable fleshly cravings people plunge into pursuing life as they think best oblivious to their spiritual ruin.

Yet there is hope. Evil offers no contest to God’s power. Furthermore from the very beginning, God has had a plan. Paul longed to enlighten those caught in the thick of the battle to know God’s power for his people and the goal toward which God is working (Eph. 1:17-19).

To achieve this the apostle flung open the doors into God’s command center revealing God’s strategic plan. Beholding his plan causes Paul to break forth in praise. “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” (Eph. 1:3).

Our eyes fall upon a plan predating creation that determined what would happen. God would achieve spiritual unity by rescuing people from darkness through adopting them as his own.

What is unexpected is that this adoption would be made possible through God graciously purchasing sinful people by the blood of his beloved Son. Moreover God seals those he redeems with the Holy Spirit as a downpayment of the inheritance that awaits them!

Having outlined God’s plan for achieving unity between heaven and earth through Christ, Paul impressed upon those caught in the battle for their hearts about the nature of God’s power. God can transform those who are spiritually dead into becoming alive with Christ. However, this does not exhaust God’s plan.

The plan also calls for uniting spiritually diverse peoples, the Jews and the Gentiles. And once again the blood of Jesus makes this possible. God creates one new unified community in whom God dwells by the Spirit! Complete unity!

The evil that would separate people from God as well as people from other peoples must melt away before God’s power. Unity within the light dispels the divisive darkness. There is no contest.

While God’s power and working evoke praise, the Lord’s people also have a role to play. God’s plan calls for rescued souls to live worthily of who God has made them to be. They are to live in ways that will further his purposes, step closer to that inheritance awaiting them and preserve the unity of the Spirit which God has achieved.

Thus they are to banish sinful ways from their lives. The devil is not to be granted any footholds in their life. To continue living in ways of darkness would work against God’s purposes thus grieving the Spirit who has marked them for inheritance. Instead, these people purchased by Christ are to exemplify godly  characteristics in whatever societal roles they might find themselves.

There is a war raging between God’s light and evil’s darkness. The redeemed need to be aware of this and who their true enemy is. They need to put on the whole armor of God that they might stand against the devil’s schemes.

God’s power creates beachheads of light within the darkness. To be aware of the goals toward which God is working, how God desires us who have been redeemed to maintain the unity he has created, as well as how to be prepared to stand against the adversary’s schemes underscores the significance of living daily for Christ.

 

 

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