Salvation has location. Ephesians 1 emphasizes what we find in Christ. Terms like In Him, in the Lord Christ, in Jesus are repeated throughout the chapter, and this concept bleeds over into chapter 2. Paul explains that being in Christ constitutes a new life, emerging from the death of sin into the spiritual resurrection in Jesus. We are made alive through Him. Paul concludes chapter 2 with reconciliation to God, emphasizing the elimination of racial and carnal divisions through the cross of Christ. This leads into chapter 3, discussing this as God’s eternal purpose. Christ’s role, our reconciliation, our spiritual rebirth – all of this is God’s plan based in His love.
In this book, Paul expresses his sympathy and understanding for everything the Ephesians are facing. In these first three chapters, Paul reminds us it matters not who we are, where we come from, how old we are, our cultural background, what sins we may have committed – we all need Christ, and He is available to all. Chapters 4-6, however, change focus from God’s plan to our response to that plan. He focuses on our walk, our conduct. We once walked according to this world, but now I must change my path if I am to be a follower of Christ.
Walking Befitting Christ’s Sacrifice
Ephesians 4:1 begins with a statement to walk worthily of our calling. The first three chapters make clear the care and deliberation that went into our salvation. We should therefore be as careful and as deliberate in our own lives as Christians, as followers of Christ. In verse 22, Paul calls on us to crucify our former selves, putting on new selves created in the holiness of God’s truth. We are not to walk as the world. In this, Paul points our three important facets – walking in love, walking in light, walking carefully. This is presented in the context of Paul writing that salvation is in Christ, that salvation remakes us anew, and that His sacrifice and salvation is not an accident.
- Walking in Love – Ephesians 5:1. Are we willing to give ourselves up for one another? Our walks of love are to resemble the love God shows us. John 13:34-35, I John 4:7-11, Romans 5:8 – these recount God’s love for us is a sacrificial unconditional love even when we are unlovable. We have to put to death hatefulness and enmity to clothe ourselves in the love of Christ.
- Walking in Light – Ephesians 5:7-8. Matthew 5:14 records Jesus calling His followers a light to the world. If we claim to wear His name, we should brighten the world around us, avoiding darkness in our attitudes and conduct. Philippians 2:15 reminds us to consider the example we set in all we say and do. Wearing the name in Christ necessitates that we walk in light.
- Walk Carefully – Ephesians 5:15. Some translations say to walk circumspectly, carrying the idea of looking around carefully as we walk. We carefully consider those things we engage in and approve of, examining their benefit to our Christian lives. Proverbs 14:16, I Thessalonians 5:21 – these remind us to be careful in all we do as followers of God.
Paul calls us to walk wisely in light and love as response to Christ’s sacrifice for us. God shines His love on us in His deliberate and intentional plan for our salvation and reconciliation to Him. Our walk should be the same. Jesus did not die on the cross so I may live however I want – foolishly thinking that will bring me closer to Him. We should sacrifice ourselves as Christ sacrificed for us. We have a new life with new expectations and a new hope when we submit ourselves to Him and walk after His example.
lesson by Tim Smelser