Grace Be unto You Part 1

Philippians 1:2 Grace be unto you…

It is one of the greatest blessings that we can greet one another with, as we see Paul uses to bless his fellow believers from Philippi, but it is also the most misunderstood and overused part of the gospel blessings. Indeed, grace cannot be withheld from man because of demerit, lessened by demerit, or mixed with the law of works; but this does not prove that there are no conditions men must meet to get the benefits of grace. Not one scripture teaches unconditional grace, or that God gives grace to men who disobey the gospel. If so, then God is under obligation to save all, even sinners who disobey if He saves even one (Rom. 2:11). God is under obligation to saints only when they walk in the light and remain true to the gospel (1Jn. 1:7). He is not under obligation to sinners until they come to full obedience to the gospel. Grace teaches men to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously, and godly here and now (Tit. 2:11-12). If people do not obey its teaching grace can go no further. Anyone may: Receive grace in vain (2Cor. 6:1). Frustrate it in his life (Gal. 2:21). Fall from it (Gal. 1:6-8; 5:4). Fail of the grace of God (Heb. 12:15). Turn it into lasciviousness (Jude 1:4). Sin despite it (Rom. 6:1). Continue or discontinue in it (Acts 13:43). Minister it to others (1Pet. 4:10). Grow or not grow in it (2Pet. 3:18). Receive or reject it (John 3:16; Rev. 22:17; Heb. 12:15; Jas. 4:6).

To be continued…

To All the Saints

Philippians 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons

The letter to the Philippians was written from Rome about 64 A.D. by Paul. The immediate occasion for writing is disclosed in Philippians 4:10-18. Its theme is the joy of Christian grace and experience in all of life and death. Paul himself demonstrated the greatest joy in the greatest suffering and humiliation, starting the congregations (Acts 16:1-40). He mentions “joy” 14 times in the epistle. The keyword is “rejoice” (3:1). Christians are to rejoice in fellowship with one another (1:3-11), in afflictions of the gospel (1:12-30); in the ministry for saints (2:1-18), in the faithfulness of their teachers (2:19-3:1); in the Lord and not in Judaism or the flesh (3:1-21); in unity (4:1-3), and always in all things (4:4-23).

‘To all the saints in Christ’ – Those who are living as Christians (1Pet. 2:21-23), not just proclaiming it (Mat. 7:21-23) are always addressed as saints. We have the Old Testament saints (many listed in Hebrews 11), the New Testament saints will be those who are in Christ from His ministry on earth and lastly, the tribulation saints refer to those that will be saved during the tribulation (Rev. 6:9-11; 7:9-17; 15:2-4; 20:4-6). To say that all saints are sinners is unscriptural, for even if we were born into sin and lived in it, the moment we are born again, we are no longer identified by God’s Word as sinners – a man cannot be a saint and a sinner at the same time (Mat. 7:24; Rom. 6:16-23; 8:13). One cannot be holy and sinful and serve God and satan, or be a servant of sin and righteousness at the same time (Mat. 6:24).

‘Timotheus’ Timothy is associated with Paul in the address of the epistles to the Philippians and Colossians, and with Paul and Silas in the two epistles to the Thessalonians. Timothy was at this time with Paul in Rome (2:19).

‘Servants of Jesus Christ’ [Greek: doulos] one giving himself wholly to another’s will.

‘Saints in Christ Jesus’ All saved people are saints, so there are no grounds for making people saints after death (1:1; Acts 9:13, 32, 41; 26:10; Rom. 1:7; 1Cor. 1:2; 6:1-2; 2Cor. 1:1; Eph. 1:1; Col. 1:2; 2Thess. 1:10; Jude 1:3; Rev. 5:8; 13:7, 13:10; 17:6).

Praying Always

Ephesians 6:18-20 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. 

‘Praying always’ – praying must also be classed as part of the armour because it is an additional and very important part of the fight against spiritual powers of evil (Jas. 4:7; 1Pet. 5:8-9).

We have liberty in prayer [Greek: parrhesia] freedom of speech; liberty of access to God. Christians can have absolute confidence of access to God because all sins which separated us from Him are removed (Isa. 59:1-2). In the Old Testament days, men were not permitted to approach God. Even the mountain on which God gave the law was not to be touched by man or beast. Only the high priest was permitted in the holy of holies once a year, and even then, he could not approach God without proper atonement. Now we all have free and daily access to God by the blood of Jesus (Heb. 10:19-23; Eph. 2:18). We are invited to come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain help in time of need (Heb. 4:14-16). As long as we hold fast to his liberty of access to God, we are His house (Heb. 3:6). If sin is in life we do not and cannot have this liberty of access. God will not hear our prayers (1Jn. 3:20-23; 5:14-15).

‘Supplication’ [Greek: deesis] and entreating; continued strong and incessant pleadings until the prayer is answered (Lk. 18:1-8). Translated “request” (Php. 1:4); “supplication” (Acts 1:14; Eph. 6:18; Php. 4:6; 1Tim. 2:1; 5:5); and “prayer” 12 times.

‘Watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.’ Without this, prayer and Christian armour will be ineffectual (Mark 13:33; Lk. 21:36; Heb. 13:17).

‘Perseverance’ [Greek: proskarteresis] to adhere firmly to (Acts 2:42, 46; 6:4; 8:13; 10:7; Rom. 12:12; 13:6; Col. 4:2; Mark 3:9). Be close in pursuit of; always intent upon your object in prayer (Rom. 12:12).

‘Ambassador’ [Greek: presbeuo] an emperor’s legate. Such was held in respect in all civilized countries, but here the ambassador of the King of Heaven is in chains!

Above All

Ephesians 6:16-17 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God

‘Shield of faith’ – to have faith is to have unconditional trust in God’s promises and abilities. Our faith can then act as a shield that quenches all fiery darts – attacks from the enemy.

‘Fiery Darts’ [Greek: belos] darts or any missile was thrown, like the javelin, spear, arrow, or stone from a sling. The fiery darts perhaps refer to the combustible arrowheads that set fire to the fortifications, ships, houses, and even the shields of the enemy made of wood and leather. To quench these fiery darts shields were covered with metal. As applied to Christian warfare they refer to evil thoughts, lusts, passions, and temptations of various kinds that demonic forces use against us in our minds through our thoughts (1Cor. 10:13-14; 2Cor. 10:4-6; Jas. 1:13-15; Rom. 6:12; 1Jn. 2:15-17).

‘The wicked’ – This no doubt refers to satan who is captain of all other wicked ones and who uses his emissaries – or demonic forces against us (Matt. 13:19, 38; 1Jn. 2:13-14; 3:12; 5:18). The term is also used for other wicked persons (Isa. 11:4; 2Thess. 2:8; 2Pet. 2:7; 2Pet. 3:17).

‘Helmet of salvation’ – protecting our minds or taking our thoughts captive (2Cor. 10:3-6) is necessary to renew our minds (Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:23) to enter into God’s salvation process. We cannot think whatever we want or let random thoughts run amok in our minds (Php. 4:8; Col. 3:2).

‘The sword of the Spirit’ – the word of God (Ps. 119) which we must use (Lk. 4:4, 8, 10,12) to stand against all lies that the enemy will bring in against the truth (John 8:44; 10:10).

‘Word’ [Greek: rhema] the essential living Word of God (John 1:1, 14; 1Jn. 1:1; 5:7; Rev. 19:13); the embodiment and expression of all wisdom and prudence (Eph. 1:8; 1Cor. 1:30; Col. 2:3). The Spirit always acts in harmony with the written Word of God (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7-11). It should be quoted in times of temptation and it will cut in pieces the snares of the enemy.

Stand Therefore

Ephesians 6:14-15 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace 

‘Having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness. The sevenfold Christian armour: Loins girded about with truth. The breastplate of righteousness (6:14). Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (6:15). The shield of faith (6:16). The helmet of salvation. The sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (6:17). Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit (6:18).

‘Loins girt about with truth’ – to be girdled with the truth around the loins (John 14:7) will always help us to keep our balance – when no lie can up-end our beliefs. The truth will always refer to Christ which is the Truth (gospel) and He alone can set us free (John 8:32).

‘Breastplate of righteousness’ – also called the breastplate of faith and love (1Thes. 5:8). Righteousness is the state one should be in to automatically be covered in God’s breastplate; to be righteous is to be in right standing or to be without sin (Rom. 6; 1Jn. 3).  

‘Feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace’ – to be a doer of God’s Word (Jas. 1:22-26) is to walk according to that which set an example for others as we have received from Christ (1Pet. 2:21-23). The gospel will bring either God’s peace (John 14:27; Php. 4:6) or it will bring division (Mat. 10:34-39) as it reveals the intentions of the heart (Matt. 10:12-15; Heb. 4:12). Those who reject it will be rejected (Lk. 12:9).

‘Preparation’ [Greek: hetoimasia] being prepared; readiness. It is the gospel of making peace with God and of readiness to meet Him.

Be Strong in the Lord

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 

‘Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.’ Having laid before you your high calling and the great doctrines of the gospel, I will now show you the enemies that will oppose you and how you can overcome them (6:10-18).

‘Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.’ Twelve commands for saints: Be strong in the Lord (6:10). Be strong in His power (6:10). Put on the whole armour of God (6:11). Stand (6:13-14). Have your loins girded with truth (6:14). Put on the breastplate of righteousness (6:14). Have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (6:15). Take the shield of faith (6:16). Take the helmet of salvation (6:17). Take the sword of the Spirit (6:17). Pray in the Spirit (6:18). Be watchful in prayer (6:18).

‘Strong’ [Greek: endunamoo] to acquire strength. Translated “strengthen” (Php. 4:13; 2Tim. 4:17); “enable” (1Tim. 1:12); “be strong” (6:10; Rom. 4:20; 2Tim. 2:1; Heb. 11:34); and “increase in strength” (Acts 9:22).

As the Servants of Christ

Ephesians 6:5-9 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him. 

‘Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.’ Six commands for servants (Col. 3:22-25): To obey your masters (i.e., be faithful employees; Col. 3:22). To be conscientious in service (6:5). Not to render eyeservice (worship or adore; 6:6; Col. 3:22). To do the will of God from the heart (6:6). To render cheerful service to men as you would to the Lord (6:7; Col. 3:23). To recognize that if you are not properly recompensed by man you will be by God (6:8; Gal. 6:7-8; Col. 3:24-25).

‘Masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening.’ Three commands for masters (Col. 4:1): Act in the same affectionate, conscientious manner toward your servants, as they do toward you (6:9; Col. 4:1). Do not threaten your servants (6:9). Recognize that you have the same Master as your servants and that there is no partiality with Him (6:9; Rom. 2:11; Col. 4:1).

Children and Parents

Ephesians 6:1 -4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. And, you fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 

‘Obey your parents in the Lord’ Two commands are given for children (Col. 3:20): To obey their parents – in the Lord – never in sin (6:1). To honour their parents – by being respectful without compromising their relationship with God (6:2).

‘For this is right’ – Four reasons for children to obey parents: This is right (6:1). It is a commandment (6:2; Ex. 20:12). It is a blessing of well-being (6:3). Long life is promised (6:3).

‘You fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.’ Two commands for fathers (Col. 3:21): Provoke not your children to wrath. Avoid severity, anger, and cruelty. Cruel parents generally have rebellious children. Correct, do not punish. Punishment is from a principle of revenge; correction is from a principle of loving concern. Bring up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. The mind is to be nourished with wholesome discipline and instruction which will bend them toward God and Christian living.

‘Nurture’ [Greek: paideia] child training; education; discipline; correction. Translated “nurture” here; “instruction” (2Tim. 3:16); “chastening” (Heb. 12:5, 7, 11); and “chastisement” (Heb. 12:8).

‘Admonition’ [Greek: nouthesia] warning, admonition, reproof (1Cor. 10:11; Tit. 3:10).

Husbands

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it 

‘Husbands, love your wives…’ Eight commands are given here for husbands: To be the head of the wife (5:23). To love their wives as Christ loved His body (5:25). To love their wives as their own bodies (5:28, 33). To nourish [Greek: ektrepho] bring up, care for, protect (5:29; 6:4; Rev. 12:6). To cherish [Greek: thalpo] to foster, warm in one’s bosom (5:29; 1Thess. 2:7). To be joined as one flesh (5:30-31). To leave their parents for their wives (5:31). To cleave to their wives (5:31; Matt. 19:5).

Husbands are not to rule their wives, but love, nourish and protect them as the head of the body and must be just as faithful to their wives as they want them to be to them; give them no excuse for sin. They must give their wives honour and use their superior strength in protecting her and as being heirs together of life (1Pet. 3:7).

‘The church, and gave himself for it’ – Sixteen facts: Christ and His body: Christ is head of His body (5:23). Christ is Saviour of us (5:23). Christians must be subject to Christ in all things (5:24). Christ gave Himself for us (5:25). Christ sanctifies us with the washing of the Word (5:26). Christ cleanses us with the washing by the Word (5:26). Christ will receive us to Himself (5:27; John 14:1-3; 1Thess. 4:16; 1Cor. 15:23, 51-58; Col. 3:4). Christ is making us glorious (5:27; 1Cor. 6:11; 2Cor. 3:18). Christ is making us spotless (5:27). Christ is making us perfect (5:27). Christ is making us holy (5:27). Christ is making us faultless (5:27). Christ nourishes us, cares for us, brings us up, and protects us (5:29). Christ cherishes us, fosters, and warms us in His bosom (5:29). We are part of Christ (5:30-32; 1Cor. 12:12-13, 27). We are one with Christ (5:30-32; 1Cor. 6:17; Rom. 12:4-5).

Christ is the Head, Saviour, Sanctifier, Purifier, Glorifier, Builder, Nourisher, Cherisher, Unifier, Protector, and the Receiver of all reborn Christians who are prepared to follow His Word and example as stated in 1Peter 2:21-23 (5:23-33). Water is used in a figurative sense of salvation (John 4:14; Isa. 12:3), of the Spirit baptism (John 7:37-39), and cleansing by the Word of God (5:26; John 15:3;). Since men are cleansed and born again by the Word (Jas. 1:18; 1Pet. 1:23), it is clear that being born of water means being born again by the Word of God.

Giving Thanks Always

Ephesians 5:18-21 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God

‘Drunk’ [Greek: methusko] This again refers to the orgies of Bacchus when men and women would get drunk entering into all kinds of immoral acts. ‘Excess’ [Greek: asotia] debauchery of every kind.

‘Filled with the Spirit’ – This is the privilege of every Christian. It is true that every born-again person receives the Spirit of sonship and has the Holy Spirit in a measure (Rom. 8:9, 14-16), but this is not the kind of filling one may yet receive if he will accept the truth and seek God for the fullness of the Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Luke 11:13; 24:49; John 1:31-34; 7:37-39; 14:12; Acts 1:4-8; 2:38-39; 5:32). Different measures of the Spirit are noted as follows in Scripture: Mosaic portion (Num. 11:17, 25). The mosaic portion is divided into 71 portions (Num. 11:16-17, 25-29). Elijah portion (2Kin. 2:9). Double portion (2Kin. 2:9-10). Elijah portion on John the Baptist (Luke 1:15-17). Earnest of the Spirit (2Cor. 1:22; 5:5; 1Jn. 4:13; Php. 1:19). The Spirit “without measure” (John 3:34; Isa. 11:2; 42:1; 61:1; Luke 4:16-21; Acts 10:38); Spirit baptism or baptismal measure (Matt. 3:11; 20:22-23; Luke 3:16; John 1:31-34; Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-21; 8:15-24; 10:44-48; 11:14-18; 15:7-11; 19:1-7; Gal. 3:14); the fulness of God (Eph. 3:19; Rom. 15:29); the rivers of living water (John 7:37-39); and the full anointing of the Spirit and enduement of power from on high (Luke 24:49; John 14:12-15).

‘In psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.’ The difference between the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs is not fully clear. The psalms no doubt refer to the book of Psalms. Hymns and spiritual songs could include any psalm in the book of Psalms and also others that were commonly known among the people of that day (Matt. 26:30; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Ex. 15:1, 2; Num. 21:17; Deut. 13:1-18; Jdg. 5:12; Son. 1:1; Isa. 5:1; 26:1; 42:10). The reference might also be to spontaneous singing in the Spirit, as in 1Corinthians 14:15-16.

‘Songs’ [Greek: ode] is a song of thanksgiving.

‘Making melody’ [Greek: psallo] to play a stringed instrument with the fingers; to strike a chord; sing to the music of a harp (Rom. 15:9; 1Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; Jas. 5:13).

‘Giving thanks always for all things unto God’ – Because of continued blessings from God.

‘In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Through Him alone we can approach God (Mark 16:17; John 14:12-15; 16:23-26; Col. 3:17; 1Tim. 2:4; Heb. 10:19). ‘Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.’ Let no man be stubborn in his opinion to disturb the peace of other believers