Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Wrong Again!

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus,  (Ephesians 1:1)

Does the phrase “faithful in Christ Jesus” describe a certain class of saints in Ephesus or is it further describing what it means to be a saint?   I have quoted this verse from the NKJV which I believe confuses its meaning.  The KJV would say “and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.”  The Bible in Basic English which is a paraphrase says, “and those who have faith in Christ Jesus.”   The first three chapters of the Ephesian epistle deal with our blessings as a result of being “in Christ” by trusting Him.  The last three chapters deal with the practical implications of our position as believers in Christ.  Since this statement deals with those who are faithful “in Christ Jesus,” and is the lead in to the section dealing with being “in Christ,”  I believe that the faithful in Christ Jesus are those who have turned away from idols, from self worship, from unbelief of every form.  They have fully and completely trusted in Christ as the only true God and Savior. 

Those of us who preach the Gospel today tend to spend a lot of time on works that are the result of faith in Christ.  When people act certain ways that we consider unscriptural, we make it clear that Christians simply don’t do those things. Sometimes there is a sense of pride in the fact that we as Christians have changed and our lives are now “holy”.  If I were an unsaved person listening to some of the sermons that I have preached, I am sure that I would think that being a Christian is a lifestyle rather than faith in the Lord.  Surely if a Christian should do good works, then good works must make a person a Christian, right?  Wrong!   We need to get back to reminding ourselves and those to whom we preach that what the Lord really wants is our unconditional trust in Him.  He wants our love.  He wants to be our number one.  He wants our total committed loyalty.  That is why in Hebrews 11:6 He tells us that without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please Him.  David was a man after God’s own heart because He never turned aside to idols like most of the kings did.  He didn’t always live  right, but He always worshiped right.  He was always loyal to the Lord.  He fulfilled the first of the ten commandments that says we should have no other gods before the Lord.  I believe that this was also the condition of the Ephesians at the time that Paul wrote to them in this epistle and it is why he called them “ the faithful in Christ Jesus.” 

When we trust in the Lord Jesus, we become His bride (See Ephesians 5:32, Revelation 21:9).  He wants that bride to be totally devoted to Him.  A devoted bride will show her love of the bridegroom by the way she lives and the way she talks.  The Lord wants a people who trust Him, love Him and who are devoted to Him.   All the good works in the world will not please the Lord if they aren’t the result of a loyal, devoted, loving heart.  Good works can be a great weapon used by religious people to control others, or they can be the method that people who love the Lord show their total loyalty and devotion to Him.  One who is “faithful in Christ Jesus” is not asking, “What do I HAVE  to do to please the Lord?”   Instead they ask,  “What does the Lord want me to do to show my devotion to Him?”  Faith in Christ liberates us from the bondage of dead religious works and gives us a new love, a new purpose and a new life. 

I have noticed that people who really love the Lord are more concerned with their own sin than with the sin of others.  When Isaiah saw the Lord in Isaiah 6 he says, “Woe is me.”  Up until then he had been pronouncing woe on the real sin of others.  But now he is in the presence of the Holy God and it humbles him.  It changes his focus.  He does preach about the sin of others after this experience, but I believe that we can only be honest about sin of any kind after we have been honest before God about our own sin.  If every person were convicted of their own sin before preaching to others, our preaching would have the power that it ought to have.  Instead of people hearing us trying to control them through religion, they would understand that we believe in a Person who loves them.  This person can forgive them, give them a home in heaven, and give them a reason for living now.  He truly can give us a new life.

He gives all of this to those who simply believe in Him. They are “the faithful in Christ Jesus.”

Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of September 30, 2012
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1 Comment »

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January 22, 2013 @ 11:18 pm

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