Rev. John Muhlfeld
Parents and children have experienced tension since the very first parents and children! Sin disrupts all of our relationships, especially among those with whom we share close quarters. Thankfully, our perfectly wise Father is in the process of redeeming family relations through the grace of His perfectly obedient Son, Jesus Christ.
Most marital advice to men tends to either be dominated by guilt or diluted by man-centered tips and tactics. But God provides a better way in Ephesians 5. Believing husbands may reflect the grace of the selfless Savior to whom they have been joined by faith. Indeed, all Christians may find grace to serve others though the ultimate Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
For many people, the command for wives to submit to their husbands as to the Lord seems highly problematic. Many wives view it as demeaning. Many husbands view it as excuse to be demeaning. Many single people view it as irrelevant to them. Many others are unsure of what it looks like in practice or why it’s so important. But God shows us in His word how all of our earthly relationships offer an excellent opportunity to reflect the glory of our selfless Savior as we grow together in His grace. In addition to offering practical teaching on marriage, Ephesians 5 gives us deeper insight into the love of Christ for His Church.
Life is a minefield of bad decisions waiting to happen. Even staying where we are offers no protection but only a different set of dangers. Our only hope for life and godliness is to follow the Savior who has gone before us in perfect wisdom and who guides our steps as we look to Him for grace.
Paul didn’t hide the hard truth that we don’t merely live in a darkened world, or do darkened things, but that we are darkened people due to the curse of the fall. Our hearts are blackened as a result of Adam’s sin. The good news is that Jesus, the light of the world, can not only rescue us from our former life of darkness, but enable us to live as His radiant disciples in a world desperately in need of His grace.
Every believer has been fully cleansed from the penalty of sin through the blood of Christ, but purification from its residual effects is an ongoing process. How can a Christian grow in purity in the midst of an impure world? God’s word provides the answer though the grace of our immaculate Savior.
God spoke and the world came into existence. Jesus spoke and Lazarus arose from the dead. The Holy Spirit spoke and Paul became an international missionary. Words matter. They have the power to glorify God or deny Him, to serve others or cause them harm. Sadly, our words often tear down rather than build up. Paul shows us how to put aside the useless words of our old nature in favor of life-giving words that speak of our Savior.
The phrase “reformed and always reforming” has been used to justify many unbiblical practices in the church, as if every human innovation is in keeping with the spirit of the Reformation. Its true meaning is found in Ephesians 4: that having been saved by grace we pursue a life that is constantly being reshaped by the word of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Rather than blazing a trail to some undiscovered frontier, we actually return from our corruption to the likeness of the One who set us free.
We were born again in Christ but never meant to remain infants. God intends for us to grow to maturity as we serve one another in love. But how do we grow in spiritual maturity? Through God’s enduring word that leads us to our glorious Head, Jesus Christ.
In His wisdom, Christ builds His unified Church by bestowing a diversity of gifts. He equips each of His people with specific gifts so that we might serve one another and make His glory known. He grants us His power, in a plurality of ways, so that we might advance His purposes in a world desperately in need of His grace.