Ephesians 4:1-3… “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye WALK WORTHY of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
“Vocation? Isn’t that like a job of some sort?”
Colossians 1:10… “That ye might WALK WORTHY of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;”
“Work? I thought grace was not about works…!”
Ephesians 2:8-9… “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.”
“See, I told you… no works!”
Wait for it… we all love Ephesians 2:8-9; but verse 10 does follow.
Ephesians 2:10… “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Why should we, under free grace, walk worthy?
The saved man is created in Christ Jesus UNTO good works. That’s why. Works can have absolutely nothing to do with our salvation as Christ is all sufficient toward that end, but we were saved (created in Christ) in order to perform a function; work. If this is not the case, why did God save us and NOT bring us directly into His world? What are we still doing here? Being “in Christ” we are judicially perfected and seated with Him in heavenly places, right now. Why not simply make it physically so as well? The reason is, that God has a purpose for all saved men. We learned in the last post that Gods simple will for all men is for them to be saved and to then come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2:3-4).
Allow me to ask: How is that to happen when Christ is not personally, physically present in the world and God has declared a period of grace and peace; whereby He is not imputing men’s trespasses unto them, and therefore, has left us all to our own mostly wicked devices? Sure, He has left us with His completed Word, but how are people supposed to become aware of what it says? True, people have the free will to either explore the Bibles pages or to ignore them. Everyday experience shows however, that the vast majority are way too preoccupied with worldly things to bother. satan loves that, satan encourages such preoccupation tirelessly. Therefore God asks His own, those saved (and at least somewhat learned) in the dispensation of free grace, those who ARE His body in the world, to occupy a certain position while He is away. Let’s examine:
2 Corinthians 5:18-21… “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
The saved man, reconciled to God in Christ, has been given something (all things in fact – Romans 8:17) by God, to whom ARE all things. He has given us specifically a ministry, which is defined as “the office, duties or functions of a subordinate agent of any kind” according to Websters 1828. This ministry is one of reconciliation which Websters defines as: “the means by which sinners are brought into a state of favor with God after natural estrangement or enmity; the atonement.” That (since God has, in this dispensation of Grace, reconciled the sinful, fallen world back to Himself) we, as men in recognition of our sinful state and reconciled back toward God, now have OWNERSHIP of this ministry of God toward the world.
We have ownership of this ministry IN Christ’s STEAD (“instead” of Christ Himself) since He is not currently in the world. Christ is not in the world today as much of the world awaits His second coming. He has left us here to make the world aware of what God in Christ has done on its behalf, in His place. These verses call those He has saved and left on earth “ambassadors”. Webster defines an ambassador as: “a minister of the highest rank employed by one prince or state, at the court of another, to manage the public concerns of his own prince or state, and representing the power and dignity of his sovereign.”
The cross-work of Christ then, as commissioned by God, has made us ambassadors of God the Father, that, in Christ’s stead, we are to beseech those around us to be reconciled to God as He has reconciled Himself in Christ to all men.
Note carefully and make no mistake here: just because God has reconciled Himself to mankind, does not mean mankind has in turn reconciled itself back to God. Mankind is an extremely stubborn creature and reconciliation is a two way street. See “Simple Salvation” to learn how a man is reconciled back to God. God in grace has CHOSEN to reconcile Himself back to mankind. An opening (a way back to God who forsook all men at the tower of Babel – Romans 1:18-32) has been made for mankind. Mankind must now CHOOSE to reconcile itself (each man individually) back to God. The death, burial and resurrection of Christ is the pathway to reconciliation.
When the saved man attempts to fulfill his vocation and help to reconcile an unsaved man back to God, presenting to him the gospel of his salvation; it is as if God Himself in that ambassador is speaking to that man (as long as that ambassador is functioning properly with the proper gospel message – the word of reconciliation and NOT another gospel – 2 Corinthians 11:4, Galatians 1:6-7). Comprehend fully these words: “As though God (God Himself) did beseech you by us…” to be reconciled back to Him through His Son Jesus Christ. God today speaks through the body of Christ… saved man, to unsaved men. Wow!
See how Paul regarded this calling upon his own life:
Acts 20:24… “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”
This ministry of the grace of God was to Paul more dear than his own life. I ask you in all candor… could there be a higher calling for a man then to represent his Sovereign Creator in this foreign world? How then ought a man in such a position to walk or conduct himself daily in this foreign land, this world without Christ? Paul provides counsel:
Titus 2:11-14… “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”
Clearly we are to daily conduct ourselves in a manor pleasing to the one who sent us; denying ungodliness and our worldly lusts, which are far too numerous in this sinful flesh to mention. This is difficult as the flesh is naturally sinful. It is the full understanding of what Christ has done for us working inside us; the absolute grace and mercy we have been shown, that, as we reckon (internalize) this knowledge unto our selves, we will eventually be enabled to, more and more, put our sinful carnal desires aside. They will mean less and less as we learn more and more (through Bible study) what Christ has done on our behalf.
We are to look forward with anticipation to the glorious appearing of the Lord that we might be caught up together with Him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17) and perfected physically; but until then, His desire is that we are to remain here and be a “peculiar people” zealous of the good works He ascribes to us.
I’d like to end this first part of “Walk Worthy” with this, Paul’s prayer (Gods desire) for all saved men:
Colossians 1:9-17… “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might WALK WORTHY of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
Ephesians 1:17-23… “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
What more is there to say on this prayer for the believer that the Holy Spirit in Paul did not say?
Next post: “Walk Worthy, part 2 (cheap grace?)!“