Rejoice

READ : Philippians As was the case with many of Paul’s letters, he was in prison when he wrote this one. Yet his theme is “Rejoice!” Focusing on Jesus Christ, we can have joy in the midst of affliction. Paul has this joy because he knows that even if he is killed for his faith, he is the winner. “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (1:21). Dying is gain, because it will mean experiencing …

New Life in Christ

READ : Ephesians 4-6 Believing the truth about Christ must lead to new life in Christ. Paul always begins with doctrine and ends with ethics. This section begins with the words, “Lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called” (4:1). Since the church is the body of Christ, it must be united, which is only possible when we have “all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” (4:2 ESV). The talents …

In Christ

READ : Ephesians 1-3 Notice how often the term “in Christ” is used in this passage. It was “in him” (1:4) that God chose us from before creation that we might be “holy and blameless.” Therefore the grace that has been “freely bestowed on us” is “in the Beloved” (v. 6). God’s whole great plan is “set forth in Christ” (v. 9). Our hope (v. 12) and our faith (v. 15) is in him. God showed his great power “in …

By Faith Alone

READ : Galatians Galatia was an area in what is now Turkey, which included such churches as Lystra and Derbe. After Paul founded them and left, others came along insisting Gentiles had to adhere to the law of Moses, including circumcision. Paul writes this letter to counteract this false teaching and to reemphasize that we are saved by faith in Christ alone. Galatians was one of the biblical sources which caused Luther to emphasize that central truth and thus begin …

Pure Devotion to Christ

READ : 2 Corinthians 11-13 Paul is concerned that his readers have a “pure devotion to Christ” (11:3). He himself is an example of such devotion to which each of us is called. Such devotion leads us to share God’s Word with the world: “We have made this plain to you in all things” (11:6 ESV). Such devotion calls for paying a price. Paul tells of the price he paid in terms of the dangers and sufferings he endured. We …