Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ephesians 1:2 comments: grace and peace in the darkness

2  Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice here that grace and peace are wished for and most definitely prayed for by Paul for the Ephesian church. Grace and peace have to be requested and wished for because the world is under the operative control of Satan.

2Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

As a result the world, which consists of the people who dwell upon the earth (see Psalm (9:8; 49:1; 96:10; 96:13; 98:9; Isaiah 24:4; 34:1; Revelation 3:10) lies in utter darkness.

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

We talk about the world of sports, the world of politics, and the world of entertainment, etc. etc. Satan is not a very pleasant god to have rule over you. Just ask the millions of children, if you could, who die each year before the age of five or the millions of children who are sexually or physically abused. Mankind has opted for a very nasty and hateful god to rule over them which isn’t surprising as 4,000 years of war and wholesale murder has taught us that the one over whom he rules is no better.

But, the God who created us has sent us light in this dark and abysmally painful place.

John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

So, when a Christian prays and has a good outcome the God who created him or her has interceded and interfered in this present evil world.

Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

Christians thinking they are bringing in some kind of perfect world, a kingdom for God to hand over to Him when He returns if they believe even that He is returning, are at a terrible disadvantage when an atheist says, “if God is good or even real then why do innocent or good people suffer?” Hymns like, “This is My Father’s World,” are very confusing in light of this Biblical truth.

God has to intrude His peace and His light into this dark world. He is able to remove His peace when the people who were given it rejected Him and no longer wanted Him.

Jeremiah 16:5 For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even lovingkindness and mercies.(Notice that God's peace is lovingkindness and mercies as things connected with "even" are synonymous as see Genesis 6:17.)

When you, Christian, pray for God to heal you, to save your family, to help you put food on the table, and a roof over your head you are asking for God to intervene in the darkness of Satan’s world system. This darkness even extends to religion. Here is God’s definition of religion.

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

But Satan can twist our definition of religion until;

John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

Jesus, teaching in the temple, spoke to the Jews who wished to kill Him;

John 8:44  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

So grace and peace are things to be desired. They are not present in this world naturally. How did this happen you ask? There were two parties to this deal. On the one side was Satan and on the other was mankind in the form of the first man and woman.

Satan, the devil, is our adversary;

1Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

and was also titled Lucifer, son of the morning;

Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

He is one of the cherubim, a beast, a creature;

Ezekiel 28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

Read Ezekiel,chapter 1 and 10, and then Revelation 4 to see a description of the cherubim.

In his beauty and perfection he walked freely in God’s garden, the Garden of Eden;

Ezekiel 28:13  Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.14  Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.15  Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created,

But then…

…till iniquity was found in thee.

You say, what did this beautiful creature dressed like the Hebrew priests would eventually be dressed (see the breastplate of judgment in Exodus 28) and playing beautiful music continuously (tabrets and pipes are references to musical instruments as see Genesis 31:27; 1 Samuel 10:5; & Isaiah 5:12) do? Well, first in his ambition, in his pride, he sought to place himself above the God who created him.

Isaiah 14:12  How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

He had a plan. God had given dominion over the earth, over His creation, to mankind, who were made in His image, His likeness, to be one.

Genesis 1:27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

They had communion with God and were totally free to do whatever they wanted, except for one thing.

Genesis 2:16 ¶  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

So, Satan’s plan was to question what God had said, to arouse doubt and rebellion in the heart of the man and woman. Satan walked in the form of a serpent, a dragon, sometimes called a worm by our ancient ancestors, as a serpent, dragon, and worm could be synonyms. See Job 41 for a description of him now and see 2 Corinthians 11:14 for how he can appear to us. In Genesis 3 you can see how he destroyed man’s fellowship with God by enticing them both to break faith with their Creator. And so, the world fell into darkness. Satan had triumphed temporarily. All future generations inherited Adam and Eve’s rebellion and its consequence.

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

And the earth itself, all life, and the universe has fallen and is suffering to this day, which means that this event brought a lot of other things we are not told about but can surmise;

Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

Praise be to God that He has offered us a way out of this mess.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Pagan gods did not love mankind, sinners and all. Allah does not love sinners. But the God of the Bible loved a wicked world in its entirety and wished to draw it back to Him.

But, now you know why we have to wish and pray for grace and peace and why it is not a natural condition of the world. Now you know why “good people suffer” and now you know why so much death and destruction seems to be man’s plight. Now, you know where grace and peace comes from and it’s not from any human institution or wishful thinking. It is from the Lord Jesus Christ reaching down from heaven into the darkness that enshrouds us.

No comments: