Ephesians 4:25

Verse of the Day Devotion: Ephesians 4:25 

“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” – Ephesians 4:25       

In this section of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Paul is laying out how we are to live out this new life in Christ.  In the first verse in this chapter he writes, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3.  Paul is saying that because God has provided such an incredible and abundant salvation, we should walk according to our calling as children of God.  And to walk this way in all humility, gentleness, and patience: desiring to maintain unity in the body of Christ and not bring dissension and disunity. 

He then tells them that because they are Christians and have this new life, they should live as such.  “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.” Ephesians 4:17.  These Christians are gentile converts.  They should no longer walk as they did formerly.  He then described this former life.  “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.” Ephesians 4:18-19. They are to walk away from this life “and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:24. From verse 25 to the end of chapter 4, we see a list of attributes associated with this new life.  We will look at each of these, one a day, to examine what this life is. And the first is today’s focus verse, “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.” Ephesians 4:25.

We must eliminate all deceit from our conversations.  Lying is understood as the universal vice of the pagan world.  And because the Ephesians had recently been converted, this no doubt was a new concept for them.  It was important that they understood and accepted that lying is evil in order to enable change to happen.  Paul knew this and made it the first attribute in his list of this new life.  We must be completely honest with everyone, and if a difficult truth is necessary, be compassionate and loving as you present it.  Truth should always be the way we interact with others. 

The Lord spoke to Zechariah the Prophet regarding deceit and that they should not practice it at any time.  “These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace; do not devise evil in your hearts against one another, and love no false oath, for all these things I hate, declares the LORD.” Zechariah 8:16-17.  God hates deceit, and we should understand this and act accordingly.  We should not think telling a “little white lie” is acceptable in any way.  If you break a glass, say so.  If you lost something someone loaned you, admit it.  We should be honest regarding the value of something we sell, or any defects inherent in it.  And finally, we should never encourage anyone to be deceptive on our behalf.  Truth is truth, and anything other than truth is a falsehood.  Let us choose to be honest at all times, no matter the consequences it may bring us.  “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  If we want to be like Christ, than truth must become our way of life. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Ephesians 1:7

Verse of the Day Devotion: Ephesians 1:7 

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” – Ephesians 1:7

This section of scripture starts with Paul declaring God our Father as blessed.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as 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 to himself 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.” “Ephesians 1:3-6. 

Let us look at these verses for a moment.  In verses 4 and 5, many take this to be evidence of Calvinism.  Calvinism is the idea that God chooses whom He will save, and ultimately whom He will not.  However, we were chosen because of God’s foreknowledge and not because He chose us for no reason.  “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” Romans 8:29-30.  The word here translated foreknew means exactly what it sounds like, knowing beforehand.  Now, the idea of ‘knowing’ is an intimate knowing, not just knowing of Him.  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?  And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.” Matthew 7:21-23.

And this salvation, granted to all of us but accepted by but a few, is a free gift from the Father.  It is not  something we earn by working for it.  If that were the case, it would not be a gift but a payment for work performed.  And since no one can live a perfect life, except of course Jesus the Christ, we are unable to earn our salvation.  In this we have a reason to rejoice for He gave us what we needed, not what we earned.  But again, not all have accepted.

Now to our focus verse.  “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”  Ephesians 1:7.  What a beautiful verse.  This is a great cause for celebration for us who have accepted His work on our behalf.  First, we are redeemed through the blood of Christ.  He loved us so much, He was willing to send His only begotten son to die a torturous death to give us the salvation we had no access to except through His sacrifice.  The Son of God was willing to die on our behalf.  And through His death, we have received forgiveness of all our sins.  The penalty has been paid on our behalf.  It is as if we never committed them.  He did not have to do this, however, there is no greater love.  “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13.  He gave Himself for us.  He is due all the glory, honor and praise we can give.  And I will add obedience.  “You are My friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:14. 

Christ gave His all for us, the least we can do is give our all to Him. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Ephesians 2:10

Verse of the Day Devotion: Ephesians 2:10 

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10     

This focus verse opens our eyes to the truth that we had little to do regarding our salvation.  However, the one part we played in this was our choice to be saved.  “Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38.  And, “But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:8-10.  We need to repent of our sins, confess Him truthfully as Lord and believe Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead so that we may also rise to life being once dead in our sins, then we will be saved.  And this must be from our very heart, and not simply through actions. However, from this point forward, there is nothing else we can do, it is totally God’s work that changes us from dead to living. 

Let us look at the flow of the beginning of this chapter.  “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.  Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” Ephesians 2:1-3.  We were spiritually dead in our trespasses and sin, with no way of correcting our situation at all.  We were all destined for an eternity separated from God. 

However, by the incredible love and grace of God, we have the opportunity to repent and accept the forgiveness provided by the work of Christ.  “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:4-7.  Because God loves us in a manner beyond our understanding, He provided a means by which we can be forgiven, making us no longer dead in our sins but alive in Christ.  And because of His incredible act of love, we have a future where we will be with Him for ages unending where we see His immense grace and love, in His amazing kindness through Christ. 

And all this is available to us only because of the work and grace of God.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.  Our salvation has nothing to do with any works we may do.  For anything we attempt on our own regarding our salvation is fruitless, for it required a perfect sacrifice, which we could never be for we had sinned.  It is completely the work of God, for if we could address our sins, we could then save ourselves by works and thereby have a reason to boast.  “Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.” Romans 3:27-28. 

Therefore, with all that was said above, it is God who does everything.  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10.  We are saved because of what Christ did, because He died to pay the penalty for our sins.  “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:3-4.  We are His workmanship, for it was through His death we died to sin, and it is through His resurrection that we are raised up as a new creation in Christ.  Always remember, we needed salvation because of what we did, but are saved because of what He did.  “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.  And because we are new creatures, we are His workmanship created because of Christ.  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10.  This new person was made, in love, to do the work of God which He prepared us to perform.  So let us step out and fulfill our calling which He prepared us to do for His glory.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.