July 22, 2019. Ephesians 2:11-13. The Church, One In Christ part 1: Close.

Ephesians 2:11-13. 11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Over the next several days we will answer the question that Paul is answering in the letter to the Ephesians: What is the church? Ephesians 2-4 are possibly our greatest resource on understanding what the church is and your relationship to it and of course ultimately to Christ Jesus the Head of the church.

Remember in Ephesians when Paul is talking about “we” he means the Jews. And when he is talking about “you” he means the Gentiles. In verse 11 above he makes it really simple for us by saying you Gentiles, so we know exactly who he’s talking about. My guess the majority of people reading this blog today are Gentiles, so there is good news here for us!

Close

The great deception of our Enemy, his greatest trick and lie, is to convince us that we are consistently far from God. Think about how Christians talk to each other:

“I feel closer to God than ever before.”

“What are you doing to stay close to God?”

And one of my favorites: “If you’re far from God it’s not God who moved.”

I simply typed “Closer to God” into a Google search and all kinds of articles and blogs and books came up about how to get closer to God. I clicked on an article called “5 Ways to Grow Closer to God” on a very highly trafficked Christian web site and it listed things like 1. meet with God before anyone else, 2. get into God’s word every day, 3. join a small group, 4. record your blessings and answered prayers, 5. pick a theme verse for the year.

So basically a to-do list of things to improve your relationship with God.

Listen to me.

THIS IS NOT THE GOSPEL.

Read Ephesians 2:11-13 again. Did you read it? No, actually read it. It’s up at the top.

OK I’m gonna have to trust you.

What does Paul say is the basis of our nearness to God? You (Gentiles) who were once far off have been brought near by ________.

A blessings list?

A theme verse?

What about reading the Bible every day or joining a small group (two things I highly recommend btw)?

Nope.

What if we experience closeness to God by trusting that we are as close to God as we are ever going to get? What if we are made near to God by the blood of Christ alone. Full stop.

So many of us (me included) are plagued every day with feelings of distance from God and his grace. We can list a thousand ways we have drifted. A million reasons why God would turn his back.

But he hasn’t. He doesn’t. He won’t. Ever.

Because it’s not about you. It’s about Jesus and his shed blood. Christ alone. Never your performance or supposed “drifting.” Christian you are united to Christ. In Christ. Christ in you. Holy Spirit sealed. Even the Father is living in you. You’ve got the whole Trinity residing in you. They’re in you relaxing, enjoying the journey with you and yet you think you’re still far from God? Do you really think that the sinning you do, or your failure to read your Bible and pray every day can override everything God has done in redemptive history to bring the Gentiles into his covenant of promise? Including the work of Jesus? Trust me you don’t have that kind of power.

George McFly wouldn’t leave Lorraine, and God won’t leave you.

What about the church?

Now that’s the actual problem. You see, you can’t lose your closeness to God but you can drift from the church, the body, the family. And many of you have.

Satan wants you to feel far from God so that you stay far from his church. He knows that the church is where the gospel is displayed. Forgiveness granted. Love shown. Kindness displayed. Grace received. Holiness pursued. So if he can keep us feeling distant and dirty in relationship to God, he knows that we will eventually stop showing up to church, or consistently change churches over petty issues.

The only cure is the gospel. The truth that you ARE NEAR TO GOD. By the BLOOD OF CHRIST. Only truly believing that we are near to God will allow us to draw near to each other in true humility, honesty, and authenticity. Not worrying about what everyone thinks of us, while at the same time bearing the burdens of one another in the love of Christ.

The gospel (especially Ephesians 2:1-10) teaches us that every person is either far from God or close to God. There’s two options. That’s it. Separated or united. Alienated and distant or accepted and close. Without God or with God. Outside covenant with God or in covenant with God. Enemy or friend. Dead or alive.

“To live is Christ” means that we are close. Constantly close. Not close one moment and far the next. It may feel that way. But it is not our reality. The reality is that the blood of Christ has made us near to God forever. That’s the church.

Is that enough for you? Is the death and resurrection of Jesus enough to remove all doubts and feelings of distance? May it ever be.

July 20-21, 2019. Ephesians: Sit. Walk. Stand.

More than half a century ago Watchman Nee wrote a little book about Ephesians called Sit, Walk, Stand: the Process of Christian Maturity. In the book Nee points out Paul’s use of these three verbs to demonstrate how we are meant to grow in Christ.

SIT

First we must SIT or trust our position in Christ. The position that Paul spends all of chapter one and most of chapter two proclaiming to us as the spiritual blessings of Christ.
Ephesians 2:6. and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

“Most Christians make the mistake of trying to walk in order to be able to sit, but that is a reversal of the true order. Our natural reason says, If we do not walk, how can we ever reach the goal? What can we attain without effort? How can we ever get anywhere if we do not move? But Christianity is a strange business! If at the outset we try to do anything, we get nothing; if we seek to attain something, we miss everything. For Christianity begins not with the big DO, but with the big DONE. Thus Ephesians opens with the statement that God has ‘blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ’ (1:3) and we are invited at the very outset to sit down and enjoy what God has done for us; not to set out to try and attain it for ourselves.” – Watchman Nee.

WALK

Then only after we have learned to sit in God’s grace can we WALK – move out in good works towards others. Walking in love and light.
Ephesians 2:10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 5:1-2. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Ephesians 5:8. Now you are light in the Lord, walk as children of light.

Ephesians 5:15. Therefore be careful how you walk.

“What is the secret strength of the Christian life? Whence has it its power? Let me give you the answer in a sentence: The Christian’s secret is his rest in Christ. His power derives from his God-given position. All who sit can walk, for in the thought of God the one follows the other spontaneously. We sit forever with Christ that we may walk continuously before men” – Watchman Nee

STAND

Finally, after sitting in our position in Christ’s grace and walking in love and light we can truly STAND against our enemy. Not charge. Not attack. Not run into battle. STAND. Standing firm in Christ’s victory.

Ephesians 6:11, 13. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil…13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

“When you fight to get the victory, then you have lost the battle at the very outset. Suppose Satan sets out to assault you in your home or in your business. Difficulties mount up, misunderstandings arise, a situation that you can neither deal with nor escape threatens to overwhelm you. You pray, you fast, you struggle and resist for days, but nothing happens. Why? You are trying to fight into victory, and in doing so are relinquishing to the enemy the very ground that is yours.” -Watchman Nee

“To live is Christ” is to SIT then WALK then STAND. Like the order of grace-faith-works, this order is the same. First we trust. Then we move. Then, when attacked, we stand still in full victory knowing that we are more than conquerors already even before we have done a single thing.

July 19, 2019. Ephesians 2:8-10. Grace, Faith, Works (in that order).

Ephesians 2:10. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10 offers us what may be the clearest and most succinct summation of the life of the Christian in all of the Bible. Grace. Faith. Works. In that order.

Grace

Paul starts with grace because back in 2:1 he started with “your dead.” A dead person cannot save themselves. God’s salvation must begin with God’s grace. Even faith is only possible because God has done something that demands a response. God is the primary agent. He is the first mover. He is the initiator.

Our life in Christ is still only the result of grace. Look closely at verse 10. Even the good works that we walk in as Christians are prepared beforehand by God. And why? Because we are his workmanship. The entirety of our lives is grace. It’s all his work. The same grace that saved us is saving us. The same grace that made us alive has revealed to us our good works. We can only do a good work because first we are his good work. It’s all from grace.

Faith

Faith doesn’t save us, grace does. We are not saved by the worthiness of our faith, but by the worthiness of the One in whom we place our faith. Faith is always a response to grace. As Paul says in Romans, faith comes by hearing the word of God. God speaks then we believe.

Faith is not something we do. That is, it is not a work of the law or a work of righteousness. Paul makes this perfectly clear – this is not your own doing…not a result of works. Faith is believing. It is trusting the truth of God’s salvation in Jesus. This is why there is little talk in scripture about the amount of our faith and much more talk about the object of our faith.

Faith is a transfer of trust. It is placing all of my hope and confidence in the person and work of Jesus alone and my union with him. It is the reception of God’s grace found in Christ.

Faith is dependency. It is admitting that we need Jesus to rescue us, yesterday, today, forever. And this is why life in Christ will forever be one of faith. We never graduate past our need for grace. And we never graduate past faith as the means to receiving that grace.

Captain Phillips – from death to life by grace and the good work of those who would save him.

Works

Now here is where so many of us get tripped up. The line is fuzzy between not a result of works and created in Christ Jesus for good works.

But here’s the difference – created in Christ Jesus.

Usually as Christians we ask the question “what are the good works Jesus wants me to do?” But this fails to find Christ’s life as the source of our good works. Instead it’s an attempt to live up to some list that we think Jesus has created for us. A new law if you will.

Rather we should ask “what good works does Jesus want to do today?” Which, because we are in Christ, is the same thing as asking “what good works do I want to do today?”

Jesus lived his earthly life by doing good. What God wanted him to do and what he wanted to do were the same thing. Yes, he completely depended upon and submitted to the Father. But he also always did whatever he wanted to do? How? Because he was in the Father and the Father was in him (union).

So was Jesus looking for a specific agenda each day from God? Was he looking for a daily to-do list of the good works that he was supposed to accomplish that day? No. He simply “went around doing good” (Acts 10:38). He lived his life as an expression of God’s grace. He was Gods workmanship. Just like us.

Unlike us Jesus came to do the ultimate good work. The good work that only he could do. The good work that the uncreated one was “created” for – sacrificially dying for mankind on the cross as our substitute. This good work informed all his other good works. Every good work he did before the cross and every good work we do after the cross points directly to the cross. Every act of kindness. Every response of love. Every movement of grace. When these are done from faith in what Christ has already done, they become the workmanship, the masterpiece, of God’s new creation.

“To live is Christ” is to live by grace through faith unto good works. Yes, the order is important. Any other way is not the life of Christ in us. He lived his life doing good works, from faith by the power of the Father’s grace. We too can live that same exact way. When the good works flow effortlessly from simple unstated faith in the gracious love of our Savior… that’s God’s workmanship. His work of art. His glory.

July 18, 2019. Ephesians 2:1-10 part 3. After.

Ephesians 2:1-7. And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

BEFORE: Dead in sin, following the world and Satan, pursuing selfish desires, a child of wrath.

BUT GOD

AFTER: Alive in Christ, raised up and seated with Christ, receiving the glorious riches of his grace in kindness forever.

The AFTER is where we live.

I get it. Life often feels like the BEFORE. Still sinning. Still worrying. Still frenzied. Still doubting. Still selfish most of the time. All this makes the AFTER hard to believe.

But the AFTER is no mythology. It’s no fantasy. It’s not something that will happen someday. It is today. The AFTER is NOW. How? Because we are IN CHRIST. Now. Today. And forever.

And our AFTER changes everything. Most importantly it fundamentally changes WHY we do what we do.

BEFORE we did good works to earn. To earn God’s salvation or our own. To earn a feeling of belonging. To earn the removal of our shame. To earn our right to exist on this earth. To earn righteousness.

But to earn righteousness always just leads to self-righteousness… And death. And following the course of this world and the prince of the power of the air. And living in the passions of our flesh and carrying out the desires of the body and the mind.

But now that it is by grace that we have been saved through faith, we have a whole new WHY.

Why do we do what we do?

It’s not to earn. It’s not to achieve. It’s not to perform. It’s not to get it right…finally. It’s not to appease or pay back God. Not to buy our way into life and out of death. Not to get more or avoid less.

Our WHY becomes the same as God’s WHY. But what is God’s WHY? Why did he do it? Why did he BUT GOD?
because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, [he] made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved

Love.

Grace.

He loves us because he loves us. He is gracious to us because he is gracious. He did what he did, he BUT GOD(ed) us simply because it pleased him. He didn’t have to, but he wanted to.

Why do we do what we do AFTER we have experienced BUT GOD?

Same. We want to. It pleases us. We love because we love. We give grace because we have entered into grace.

A little glimpse of the Before and After with some grace in the middle. (But Simon?)

Our AFTER not only changes our WHY it also changes our WHAT. What do we do now that we are raised and seated with Christ?
Ephesians 2;10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

We do good works. We walk in the good works which God has prepared for us.

In Genesis when Abraham was shown the promised land God told him to walk all around throughout it. Explore it. Experience it. Enjoy it.

Genesis 13:17. Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.

Now that we have been fully freed from having to do good works in order to earn a place with God, we can graciously be given the honor, privilege, and promise of a life of good works. We can arise and walk in good works as the dwelling place that God has prepared for us as his workmanship. His “masterpiece.” His “poem.” Like a great work of art, our lives display God in all of his glory, grace, and beauty. Our lives are the framing of God’s work of grace for all the world to see. As we simply live lives of love and grace people see God on display. They read his epic. They hear his song.

“To live is Christ” creates in us a glorious AFTER. From chasing the world, the flesh, and the Devil in an attempt to earn my right to live, to simply living as the masterpiece of God propped up on display for all the world to see. Not our beauty, but Christ’s. Not our story, BUT GOD’S. His poem written on us. Made readable in our good works that flow from faith in the grace of God for us in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Stay for the chorus…Ephesians 2:10. Feel free to sing along.

July 17, 2019. Ephesians 2:1-10 part 2. But God.

Ephesians 2:1-7. And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

BUT GOD.

“If you understand those two words— ‘but God’ —they will save your soul. If you recall them daily and live by them, they will transform your life completely.” – James Montgomery Boice.

How many times today will you say the word BUT? And how many times will it be followed by something negative?

“I’d like to spend more time with him BUT I’m so busy.”

“I want to be kinder BUT I’m just so frustrated.”

“I’d like to be more involved at church BUT I’m not qualified.”

“I know I should talk to her about it BUT I hate confrontation.”

“I know I should forgive BUT he hasn’t apologized yet.”

“It’s probably bad for me BUT I deserve it – don’t I?”

“This sin is destroying me BUT there’s no way for me to stop.”

BUT – this is likely the most dangerous word in our vocabulary. It allows all our excuses. It keeps us stuck as victims. It prevents movement and growth. It labels us. Paralyzes us. And ultimately destroys us.

BUT GOD – these are likely the two most glorious words in the Bible but that are often lacking from our vocabulary. These two words are the story of God. And they are found all over scripture:

The whole earth was flooded BUT GOD remembered Noah and the waters receded (Gen. 8:1).

Brothers perpetrated evil against Joseph BUT GOD meant it for good (Gen. 50:20).

The Israelites were slaves in Egypt BUT GOD loved them and kept his promise to them (Deut. 7:7-8).

Saul sought to kill David BUT GOD did not give him into his hand (2 Sam. 23:14).

Our flesh may fail BUT GOD is our strength and portion forever (Psalm 73:26).

It is hard for the rich to get to Heaven BUT with GOD all things are possible (Matt. 19:26).

Jesus was crucified on a cross BUT GOD raised him from the dead (Acts 13:29-30).

BUT GOD is the gospel. It’s the climax of God’s story and our story in Christ. Our whole existence hinges on these two little words. The bridge between the before and the after.

We were dead in our trespasses BUT GOD made us alive.

We were the children of wrath BUT GOD was kind to us in Christ Jesus.

We were following the enemy BUT GOD seated us next to Christ.

We lived for our own selfish passions BUT GOD gave us a passion for his good work.

“To live is Christ” is the great culmination of BUT GOD. Two of the greatest words in all of scripture. Two words that saved our lives. Two words that empower us to live in the new life of Jesus our Savior. No one BUT GOD could bring to us so great a salvation. So let us rejoice in these two greatest of words. Let us find transformation by their power. And peace by their grace.

July 16, 2019. Ephesians 2:1-10 part 1: Before.

Ephesians 2:1-7. And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Do any of us really understand the transaction that has taken place in our lives in order to make us alive in Christ Jesus? Do we really understand what had to happen for our union with Christ to become reality? Do we have any grasp on the perplexity of grace? Do we have any clue just how amazing it really is? Do we truly appreciate our new status?

Maybe not.

And that may be in part because we don’t fully recognize where we came from.

For us to fully appreciate our salvation, our union, our redemption, we have to first appreciate the bottomless pit in which we once lived.

Before Jesus we were literally the “Walking Dead.” Dead in our trespasses and sins. Completely incapable of any form of self-salvation. Dead due to trespasses – our active rebellion. And dead due to our sins – our passive failures. No hope. Condemned. Guilty. Zombified.

Before union with Christ…zombie life.

Not just dead, but also deceived. Tricked. Drawn away from God following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.

We were driving in the wrong direction on a one-way street headed toward a cliff with a bomb strapped to our car. We weren’t just wandering, we were following. Actively chasing after the world and the Satan – the prince of the power of the air. We were enemies. We were on the wrong team. We were trying to thwart God. Whether you were saved out of drug addiction or out of religious self-righteousness doesn’t matter. You had bought into the system of this world, this “age.” A system created and propagated by the Devil. The system he’s been selling since day one – wisdom without the fear of the Lord.

You bought into it just like Eve and just like Adam. In fact you were born into it like the rest of mankind. Anti-God was your nature. Left to your own devices you would grow into a world class God hater, with the great irony being that you would probably be a pretty nice person. A nice person who was actually forever far from God’s grace. Because it’s not about nice. It’s not about who is good and who is evil. It’s about who trusts the grace of God by faith (2:8-9). Paul says we used to live from the passions of our flesh carrying out the desires of the body and the mind. So sexual promiscuity, lying, stealing? Maybe. But also the works that we thought could earn us salvation (v.9). It’s all the passions of the flesh. Be bad or be good – both are fleshly. Neither is grace.

All of this left you as a child of God’s wrath. You would never inherit God and God would never inherit you, that’s for sure. Your destiny was the wrathful love of God. His settled opposition to all that is evil. His love is so pure and his grace so glorious that it would destroy anything that opposes it. This is what each of us deserved. This was where each of us was headed.

But God (part 2 tomorrow).

“To live is Christ” must never be taken for granted or minimized or trivialized. It is the result of an act of God beyond compare. The dead made alive. The enemy made a friend. The distant brought close. The old made new. This union with Christ is truly a miracle of God’s grace and power. A miracle that, the more we understand it, will produce a greater and greater experience of God’s gracious work in our lives.

July 15, 2019. Ephesians 1:23. Blessed day 40: The Blessing of Jesus’ Fullness.

Ephesians 1:3-21. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places… that you may know… what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe… that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

We come now to the end of Ephesians 1 and to the end of our Blessed series. And Paul may have saved the best spiritual blessing for last – the fullness of Christ.

In Ephesians 1:15 Paul started a prayer for the church. He didn’t get too far before he launched into one of the most spectacular Jesus Creeds in all the scripture. Jesus is the resurrected and glorified ruler of the universe and head of the church. But as if all of this isn’t enough Paul adds that Jesus is the one who fills all in all and the fullness of the church.

If you look at verse 23 you see that it says that the body (the church) is the fullness of Christ. This is one of the most debated phrases in the book. Does the church fill (complete) Jesus? Or does Jesus fill the church? And either way works grammatically. But for many it is tricky to think of the church completing Jesus as if he’s not enough without us. In fact, that kind of language is never used anywhere else. But the idea of God or Jesus or the Spirit filling up the church is a common theme:

Ephesians 3:19. …that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Colossians 2:9-10. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

OK so what does it mean that we the church are filled by Christ?

Presence

First it means the greatest of all blessings – the presence of God. What Moses could not live without. What David begged for. What humbled Isaiah. What Jesus gave up for us.

The presence of God.

This is the culmination of all of God’s spiritual blessings in the heavenly places. We get to be with God. Even today. Right now. His presence is in us. The church.

Here’s the reality: Jesus Christ is truly present in the church. “Body of Christ” is not just a really cool metaphor. When Christians act by faith in Christ it IS Christ acting. When we think by faith in the gospel it IS Jesus thinking. It is the mind of Christ. Christ expresses his literal thoughts, emotions, and choices in the church. This is the great reality of our union with Christ, especially corporately. Jesus, the one who was filled with the presence of God, now fills us with the presence of God.

The Shekinah glory presence and power of God. Today it’s Christ in his church.

Power

But what does that look like? Read the rest of Ephesians. It might surprise you actually. It’s not a big sound and light show. It’s “be kind one to another,” and “speak truthfully with your neighbor,” and “sing songs to one another,” and “husband love your wives while wives respect your husbands,” and “slaves obey your masters while masters respect your slaves.”

The extraordinary resurrection power of Jesus that fills us with all of God’s fullness is actually the power to do very ordinary things, except now to do them from love and grace.

In the Old Testament God manifested his presence among his people by indwelling the Tabernacle and Temple with his Shekinah Glory. God’s glory was their head that moved the body through the wilderness. In this sense it not only filled the Tabernacle, it empowered the nation. This is what Christ’s presence does for us. It moves us. It activates and animates us. The one who fills all things fills us with his great power.

“To live is Christ” gives us both the presence of God and with it the power of God. This is his fullness in us. Christ fills us so that we can be Christ to the world around us. Not so we can sit still. This doesn’t necessarily change WHAT we will do today (although it might), but it will definitely change HOW and WHY we do what we do.