What is the purpose of your holy living?
Dear BPCWAians, In this final summary of the book of Ephesians, we must not miss the point of how the different aspects covered in this epistle come together to support the key theme of the book. We saw last week that the key theme of this book is the revelation of the mystery of the church. And the key purpose of the church, which God intended from the beginning of the creation of this world, is to make known to the world the glory of God (3:9-11). So how does this relate to the many exhortations of the Apostle for our personal walk, family life, life at work, and also fighting the spiritual warfare by donning on the full armour of God in the rest of the book of Ephesians?
(1) Purpose of gifts (Chapter 4). Every believer is given “grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (4:7). Why does Christ give gifts unto men (3:8)? The purpose is explicitly clear, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (4:12). Our attention is drawn back to the central theme of the church, the body of Christ! It is not only for the good of the individual saint, but for the work of the ministry and the church. Do not forget that. Unlike natural talents, these are spiritual gifts, and it is for a spiritual purpose. There are diverse gifts but only one purpose – to build up God’s church to fulfil the purpose of glorifying Him, and to do so by “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (4:3). That is why we must not use our gifts for selfish and prideful use to vaunt oneself. Such carnal use of gifts does not promote peace, but instead generates strife and promotes vainglory. Instead, we must exercise these gifts within the church responsibly, and use these spiritual gifts in love and only to benefit God’s cause (4:16).
(2) Purpose of holy living (Chapters 4, 5 and 6). We are reminded that we are supposed to form the holy temple of the Lord (2:21) and that each of us are designed for and called to good works (2:10, 4:1). We are to live holy lives after salvation (4:17-22). God calls us to a holy life by being filled with the Spirit (5:18) in order to walk worthy of the vocation of God’s call (4:1). But we must realise that living a holy life is not so that we can be moral people. Neither is it for getting physical blessings for our own life. Rather, the motivation and purpose is to fulfil the call of our election – to be to the praise of His glory as individuals in the church He puts us in. Why are we to be single minded and stable and not to be seduced by false doctrines (4:14-16)? Why do we want such purity? Again, because of God’s church (4:12-13)! The reason why you would want to put off the old lifestyle and put on the new (4:17-5:21, 6:1-9) in every aspect, is so that we do not in any way put Christ’s Name to shame as individuals. The end purpose of striving to live a holy life is that we will form a godly church that will declare God to the world (3:10). The Apostle Paul was willing to suffer much for the believers because of his love for God’s church (3:13). We too must have the same purpose. We must not miss this point. We cannot just be holy but remain only as an individualistic believer who does not love the body of Christ which is the church you are in. Such a concept is contrary to God’s design from the beginning.
(3) Purpose of the Christian family model. The Christian family model is given so that it reflects Christ and His Church (5:22-33). Guess what? We are again drawn to the central theme of the epistle – the Church! The Westminster Confession of Faith in 24.2 rightly points out that children are for holy seed for God’s church. The purpose of aiming for a sanctified walk and a Christian family is to point man to Christ, thereby bringing glory to His Name. This is why when a family does not obey God’s model, Paul said that “the word of God is blasphemed” (Titus 2:5). It brings shame to God’s name. Are you aware of that, fathers, if you would not lead, and mothers, if you would not obey God’s model? You fail not just your family, but God and His church by stumbling others. After having studied the book of Ephesians, let us be very clear that all the instructions about the biblical roles of the husband and wife is not just for us to have happy marriages. The marriage model and roles are supposed to draw our minds back to the church being Christ’s bride. When we realise it, then we must know that Christian couples and families who stay away from church are not fulfilling God’s plan for marriages. How can such a married life so separate from God’s local church properly picture the relationship between Christ and His church?
(4) The purpose of fighting spiritual battles. In Ephesians 6, we see how God gives us the full Christian armour for the purpose of fighting Satan and his evil attacks. The armour is not given so that we can handle life’s troubles better, hence be less stressed out. He designed and provided this full armour so that we do not fail the purpose of our election – to be a godly building brick for His church, and to strengthen His church by our holy walk and obedient families. The power and the armour for godly living is so that all glory is given to God in His church (Eph 3:20-21):
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
When we see this overall picture, then would the individual parts of the epistle bring even greater meaning. With that, we will live out the individual roles so as to meet the overall purpose of God meaningfully and zealously. You must love God’s church because He redeemed it with His own Blood! How do we do so and fulfil our purpose in this world? By seeking unity, fighting falsehood, using our gifts for His church, and living holy personal and family lives by the Spirit’s filling, donned in His full armour – all done to fulfil the purpose of our election – to be to the “PRAISE OF HIS GLORY”!
Yours in our Lord’s service