Friday, November 1, 2019

Ephesians 1, New Believers, and the Kanye Effect

"Man says to God, 'Prove it and I'll believe it'. God says to man, 'Believe it and I'll prove it.'"

In the first book of Ephesians, Paul is addressing brand new Christians and is explaining some pretty basic things.

"In Him you also trusted, after you heard the world of truth, the gospel of your salvation" (Eph. 1:13)

It is clear that these are people who believed in something they didn't quite understand. Paul's letter is Christianity 101--coming after the people had chosen to follow Christ. In verse 17, Paul prays they'd understand "the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of (Christ)." In verse 18, he prays "the eyes of (their) understanding may be enlightened", that they'd know "the hope of His calling" and realize all they'd gained through "the riches of His glory". He goes on to pray they'd understand how God's great power works through believers.

All these and more are truths a "seasoned" Christian lives by---we know this stuff. Well, we think we do. Truly, even the oldest and wisest among us can't fully understand all the ways of God. However, these Ephesians were brand new believers. They'd put their faith in Christ and were now figuring out what this Christianity thing was all about.

I'm reminded how careful we must be with one another as we all walk the individual faith roads God's got us on. Many times, seasoned Christians can be harsh with new believers---even doubting their conversion---because they've not yet figured out the "social graces" of Christianity in the 21st century. (Dear God, may I always have the privilege of living on the fringe of society and being just a little stranger than the others...ha!)

I sometimes wonder if these older-in-the-faith Christians aren't just a little envious of the new believer with all their passion for Christ and willingness to follow at all costs. Sometimes seasoned Christians mellow down into a comfy chair and spend their days looking a the world over the top of their spectacles.

Paul's letter to Ephesus may have been directed to new believers, but we can all benefit from the reminder chapter one gives us about the basics of our faith and our responsibility to new believers.

Let us be like Paul and give thanks for them, as well as pray for them. (v. 16)

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