We’re continuing our walk through the Book of Ephesians. The emphasis is on our corporate walk as believers. Paul now focuses on the defining characteristic of the church in Ephesus.
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
Ephesians 1:15-17 NIV
There are some things that need to be reinforced as we read this letter. Too often we miss important truths because we don’t know the purpose of the Holy Spirit in His revelation of Scripture.
This book was not written to baby Christians. At this point in the development of the church, the Holy Spirit is getting to some deeper issues. With the Scriptural foundation laid down in the book of Romans and the infancy of the Corinthian church behind us, this letter assumes a more mature walk.
Paul is writing to a church that’s walking in faith and exhibiting a true love for the saints. This is what pleasing the Lord is all about.
That’s because faith and love are the two non-negotiable attributes in the kingdom of God. Why would I say that? It’s clear from God’s Word.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Hebrews 11:6 NIV
Faith is more than just a head knowledge that God exists. You not only believe that He’s real, but that His way is the best way.
Of course, if you truly believe that God’s will is the right way to go, then you’ll seek it out. More than that, once you know His will, you’ll follow it wholeheartedly. That’s the only proof of a true faith in God.
That being said, faith alone is not enough.
…if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:2b NIV
This verse is talking about the agape-love needed in our Christian walk. This kind of love is not based in emotions. It has nothing to do with how you feel about someone.
This kind of love is a choice. It’s a commitment to treat people the way you would treat a friend. That’s the case whether you like them (emotionally) or not AND whether they’re present or not.
That means we don’t just treat them good while they’re standing in front of us. We don’t backbite and slander once they leave the room.
True love is a choice to walk with others in a way that positively affects their lives. It’s treating others the way we want to be treated.
Like I said, these are the two non-negotiable attributes. If you want to please God, you can’t just walk in one of these. You must have both faith and love operating in harmony.
It’s important to know that Paul was writing to a church that was showing the life of Christ in this way. Too often we want to “claim” every verse and promise we read in the Bible. Unfortunately, unless we’ve matured to a certain level, some Scriptures just don’t apply to us.
We’ll do well to remember this as we move forward in this book. Paul is writing to a church that’s beyond the baby stage of their Christian experience.
Paul was so impressed by their lifestyle that it became a part of his prayer life. Whenever he thought about the Ephesian church, he thanked God for the example of their faith and love.
That gives me something to think about. How do people see my life? Do they thank God for what they see in me? Or are they praying for God to change me and cause me to grow up? That’s a sobering thought.
We should all strive to be an example of godliness to those who are looking up to us. Allow God to have His way in bringing these qualities out in your life.
Question: To what extent does your life exhibit the faith and love that pleases God?
© 2023 Nick Zaccardi