(Ephesians 4:28) “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”
One of the natural results and proof of “putting on the new man” and “putting off the old man” is we now conform to the morality of God’s law. Even though the ceremonial portions of the Law of Moses do not apply to us in this Dispensation of Grace, the moral laws of God still reflect His nature. “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15) hasn’t changed. In Christ, we do not have the freedom to steal just because we are under grace. In fact, we now have the freedom in Christ to choose not to steal.
The awesome thing about who we are in Christ is our motivations change. Instead of constantly looking out for personal wealth and working hard to create a “lifestyle of the rich and famous,” motivations for working are due to the needs of others. There are plenty of people who lack the basic necessities of life and God gives those of us who are able the ability to help fill those needs. This is the life of God in action. This is God answering the prayers of those who have not. This is the Church in action.
If we are truly motivated by the “new man” we don’t give to the poor in order to gain favor with God or other people. We give because we unconditionally love those around us who are in need. Because Christ unconditionally gave his life for us and because God unconditionally bestows on us “all heavenly blessings in Christ” we are changed into the personification of God’s character. Love is the true motivation now and we become the ambassadors of Christ with the goal of influencing the world by demonstrating the reality of the gospel.
Renewed Thought – Could we solve the problem of poverty in our country if the Church truly served God out of love based on identity in Christ rather than religious obligation and obedience?
(Ephesians 1:9) “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:”
Do you say “God bless you” when someone sneezes? Did you know the origins of this custom go all the way back to the Middle Ages? When we talk about God’s blessings, we often talk about things in the physical realm. We usually measure blessings and talk about blessings in terms of dollars, good health, and job opportunities. Those of us living in the United States are fortunate to live with many freedoms and much prosperity. We are rich in comparison to most of those living in the rest of the world. We should always be thankful for these things we call “blessings.”
But there are blessings beyond the physical realm. These are the real blessings that transcend social status, economic stratus, and national boundaries. Deep within His will, God reserved something for you and me regardless of where we live. The ability to participate in His eternal purpose and plan is an equal opportunity to all those in Christ. Spiritual blessings, once a mystery, are now made known. This is what He abounded towards us in all wisdom and prudence (see Ephesians 1:8). We are so special in God’s eyes that He chose to lavish (synonym for “abounding”) on us the knowledge that we are part of something that is part of Himself. We are one with Him in Christ. All that God plans to accomplish eternally is centered in Christ. We are part of this. We are part of what pleases Him. In Christ, God truly does bless all of us.
Renewed Thought – I am blessed in Christ today beyond my physical circumstances and situation. I am blessed in spite of my financial problems, relationship difficulties, hurts, sickness and pain. I am blessed beyond that which I can see in the present. I am blessed by a God that operates in the eternal.