Commands without capacity

Hi friends,

How often have you gotten the sense - implicitly or explicitly - that as Christians, we need to do more?

But we aren’t taught HOW to grow.

Consider these thoughts from Dr. Fred Sanders, a professor at Biola (shared on Twitter):

Imitation of Christ is an important theme, but the ethic of Ephesians is better characterized as participation in Christ for the goal of imitation of God.

Check your favorite ‘imitation’ passages in Eph and you’ll see this little swerve. Be imitators of God, as beloved children. Forgiving one another as God in Christ has forgiven you, etc. It’s not absolute or exclusive, but the focus on God’s character predominates.

I suspect Eph mutes the imitation of Christ theme because the book is so focused on Christ’s ascension/enthronement, and “imitate the enthroned Lord” is an odd ethic. Participation in his exaltation, issuing in imitating the Father’s generosity, aligns better.

What a difference it makes to experience God’s presence as the defining reality of our lives. And then to live our lives in imitation of God.

We are already united to Christ, beloved, filled with the Spirit, recipients of grace, with transformed hearts, and on and on it goes… now it makes sense to become fully human, fully alive, as we practice the good works which God already prepared for us!

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