OK back to basics for a minute.
When we talk about our union with Christ we want to look at it from two positions: 1) We are IN CHRIST, and 2) Christ is IN US.
Or another way to look at the Christian life and scripture is through the lens of INDICATIVES and IMPERATIVES.
- Indicatives: the truths about who we are in Christ.
- Imperatives: the commands that we are called to obey so Christ can live in us.
So far Ephesians has been mostly indicatives. The focus has been on who we are IN CHRIST. Ephesians 1 is possibly the clearest description of our position in Christ in all the Bible (we spent 40 days looking at Ephesians 1 in our Blessed series). Ephesians 2-3 gives us one of the loftiest views of our position not only in Christ but in the church. And then chapter 3 ends with an incredible prayer that we would deeply experience all that we are in Christ.
And then in chapter four we transition to our walk in Christ. The imperatives. Or as Francis Schaeffer famously asked, “How should we then live?”
In Ephesians Paul will talk about our walk seven times. Here they are:
Ephesians 2:1-2. 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
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 4:1. I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called
Ephesians 4:17. Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.
Ephesians 5:1-2. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 5:8. for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
Ephesians 5:15. Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
Over the next few days we will explore our walk in Ephesians. But what does Paul mean by walk?
Our walk is most easily understood as the way we live our lives. But an extremely important concept that is easily overlooked is that WHERE you live determines HOW you walk. Think about it just from a physical point of view. Live on the beach? Walk on the sand. Live in the mountains? Walk on the rocks. Live in the woods? Walk on the branches and leaves.
Live in Christ? This should impact how you walk.
Walking on the moon – that’s human. Walking in Christ – that’s divine.
But let’s go one step further. Where does Paul get this idea of walking from?
A deeper analysis of Ephesians reveals that everything Paul has been saying so far in this letter is rooted in Old Testament stories. God’s story. The story of redemption through Israel. We pointed this out earlier from Ephesians 3:17-18.
17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
We are rooted and grounded in Christ and in his love. We live in Christ. He is our land. Our promised land. We can connect this back to the story of Abraham. When God showed Abraham the land of Canaan and restated the promise to him he then told Abraham to walk through the land.
Genesis 13:14-17. 14 The Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring as the dust of the earth, so that if one can count the dust of the earth, your offspring also can be counted. 17 Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.”
(You’ll notice that the language of Genesis 13:17 and Ephesians 3:17 is very similar).
You see walking in Ephesians isn’t just about a list of commands to keep, or rules to obey. It’s about claiming the covenant promises of God. When Abraham walked his land was he obeying God? Yes. But he was also doing so much more. He was walking by faith in the promises of God. Moving his tent from place to place was a way of saying I believe that God is faithful and that he has done all that he says he has done and will do all that he says he will do. Simply living in the land was a great act of faith. And this is what God is asking of us – to simply live in Christ. That is, live knowing that your loved.
“To live is Christ” is to be blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. And then it is to walk in those blessings. To be rooted and grounded in Christ’s love but also to move and live and have our being in Christ’s love. Live. Abide. Dwell. Stay where Christ himself stays, in the kingdom of God’s love and grace. There’s no better place to live.