Joining the Saints



Scripture:

Ephesians 3:18-19
I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Observation:

As Paul’s prayer continues he reiterates that which is important to him. His desire is to nurture disciples who will be God’s holy people. These are the saints; not those who have been declared as such by the church, but ordinary people who become extraordinary by the infilling of the Holy Spirit. All are called to be saints, because of Jesus’ incarnation; so that we might be adopted into God’s holy family. The transformation occurs when we become partakers of the divine nature; when we step into a relationship with our holy God. 

Yes, this is a mystery and it’s hard for God’s people to comprehend. This mystery of discipleship goes beyond our human understanding and so Paul tries to given an example. The temple to Diana or Artemis was in the city of Ephesus. This was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and people came from all corners of the earth to see this masterpiece of human construction. This massive temple was the cornerstone of the city. 

Now, Paul is asking the people of God to envision the all-encompassing love of Christ which is taller, longer, and deeper than the temple to Artemis. This love of Christ is far greater than one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It surpasses even the pinnacle of human understanding or knowledge, leaving sophia dwarfed in the shadow of Christ. 

It is this overwhelming love which is promised to God’s followers; a love which is poured out from God and fills us to overflowing. Paul’s passion for his dear disciples is that they would desire to be a holy people, filled to the brim with the love of God. It is this mystery for which he prays, that the eyes of God’s people would be opened to the possibilities in store for those who will fellowship with the Triune God. 

Application:

Far too often we are turned off by this language of “saints” or “sainthood.” We can only envision people who are engaged in the extraordinary and in false humility we respond, “I could never be a saint.” This response does not come from a humble heart, but from one that refuses to submit to the authority of Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Uniting with the saints does not have anything to do with our own abilities, or will-power, or good works. Uniting with the saints has everything to do with our entire consecration and submission to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is adoption into the family of God by which we begin to take on the family characteristics. We become holy because God’s family is holy. The DNA of the family becomes our DNA and not by our works, but simply because it is a gift of God. 

I think Paul is praying that we would get over ourselves! God is offering us far more than we could ever begin to imagine, if only we will submit ourselves to the leadership of Christ in our lives. This “sainthood” is the result of holy love, poured out into the lives of those who have united with God. When we are struggling through difficult days we may wonder whether God is in our midst. We may think that God isn’t giving us enough to get through what we are facing, but realistically, the question may be whether we are removing enough of ourselves so that God’s overwhelming love can flow in and through every crevice of our being. In every moment of pain and suffering, the anointing love of God becomes the balm in Gilead. Yes, there is cure for our pain, when we seek the face of God. 

To know Christ is to have an intimate relationship with him. We are to strain toward the goal, to know and become like Christ. To be a saint. If we say that we can’t be a saint, we are denying the power of the Holy Spirit to transform our lives. We are denying the holiness of Christ, and it is his holiness that is revealed in all of us. 

The church should be a house of prayer, filled with saints. Yes, we embrace the holiness of Christ and the journey which transforms. Together with Paul we pray that the eyes of all God’s holy people will be opened to see the expanse of holy love laid out before us. 

Prayer:


Lord, I want to join my heart with the Apostle Paul. May you lead in ways never imagined, and reveal your love in depths of grace. Amen. 

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