A Timely Lesson from Ephesus

A favorite song from MercyMe cycled up at a good time. The lyrics from the song Greater perfectly describe my need to trust who God says I am.

Bring your doubts
And bring your fears
Bring your hurt
And bring your tears
There’ll be no condemnation here
You are holy, righteous and redeemed.

That is the truth I have to remind myself just about every day. There is no condemnation in Christ. Yet I too often default to shame and self-effort. I have to daily remember that the grace of God is already mine. I need to remind myself everyday that I am redeemed.

Paul spent a little over two years teaching and discipling the new believers in Ephesus. Just a few short years after he left Paul received reports that those new hearts had reverted to old habits. Things were a bit of a mess and the word came back that the old behaviors of rage, immorality, lying, stealing and gossip were resurfacing. Paul wrote a letter to address this sad turn of events. Yet the amazing thing to me is that the first three chapters never address their sin. Paul even calls them Saints for crying out loud! If I was writing that letter it would have had an entirely different tone. Something more along these lines. “What are you thinking? I am so disappointed in you. What is wrong with you? Do you know how much I sacrificed for you?” But Paul doesn’t do that. All he does is remind them who they are.


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, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1, ESV)

Makes me feel a little better that folks who were mentored by Paul needed a refresher course in who they were. It makes me feel a lot better that Paul understood that the first thing on the list was to remind them of who they were and only then address their wrong behavior. We tend to reverse that order.

One more amazing reminder from the song.

Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world

Praise God for that! And praise God for His amazing grace and patience with this very slow learner.

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