THE REFUGE DEVOTIONAL
The city of Ephesus was a city that was surrounded by pagan worship. It was the capital of the Roman province of Asia; it was a vital commercial center of the Roman Empire. It has been said that there were around 50 different temples to different god’s. It was also the site of a famous temple known as Diana. She was a fertility goddess which became one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The people in Ephesus were multi-ethnic and were very hostile towards the Christian faith. It was here the Apostle Paul labored for nearly three years in the school of Tyrannus as The Spirit of God developed this church. Somewhere between 7 to 9 years later after the church had been formed, Paul is being held captive in Rome where he is a prisoner awaiting trial. After hearing the struggles the church’s were facing he pins this letter along with other letters addressing the issues. He commands all the Christians to stand firm, not yielding or bowing down to the corruption they are being confronted with. In this letter He begins by exalting the sovereignty of God through the saving grace of The Lord Jesus Christ; praying that each believer would be strengthened inwardly, being rooted and grounded in the truth that is driven by love. After the Apostle proves the sovereignty of God, that redemption is found only in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, he tells them, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.”
We live in a time and day where the lives of many Christians are synchronized with the world. This is truly tragic, for it distorts the purity of the Gospel to those who are graceless and with no hope at all. Christians have been called to live out their faith through obedience to God’s moral decrees. They have become ambassadors for His kingdom here on earth, for they have been rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred into His beloved kingdom where there is the forgiveness of sins. The vivid imagery of our lost estate and God’s gracious mercy is painted for us in the words of Ezekiel when he speaks under the inspiration of God’s Spirit saying, “On the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water for cleansing, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised. When I passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood, I said to you while you were in your blood, ‘Live!” Then God continued to speak through his servant saying, “Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold, you were at the time for love; so I spread My garment over you and covered your nakedness. I also swore to you and entered into a covenant with you so that you became Mine, declares the Lord GOD. Then I bathed you with water, washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil.” You see, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Those who are in Christ are precious to our Father Who is in heaven. You were once held captive by sin and death, but now you are washed, you are sanctified, you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now beloved of Christ, think of the gracious mercy God has bestowed upon you while you were darkened to the reality of eternal damnation. God moved upon your heart; He sent His Son to hang violently upon a cross for you. He give up His life for you so that you may have life. Now after seeing God’s love displayed for you, shall you not be a prisoner taken captive by His infinite love? Has He not immersed you in His kindness, calling you His very own? Come now saints of God, cast off the sins that once held you in bondage. Yield to Him in holy obedience walking in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.
“ Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,”
Ephesians 4:1 NASBS