As we conclude 2016, the launch year for Of Larks, I am filled with thankfulness and a renewed desire to humbly draw into the knowledge of God that the Scriptures graciously impart. Before writing with Of Larks, all of the writers here first expressed a mutual agreement to this doctrine, in a desire to be faithful to Scripture; as I reflect on the year and the beginnings of this blog, it is a joy and reason for thanks for what we believe to be the impetus and goal for what is happening here.
Now with a new year ahead and a desire to press into this theme even more, I think of Paul’s words at the opening of his epistle to the Ephesians:
“I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.”
For all who know Christ through faith (Eph. 1:15; 2:8; 3:17), Ephesians delivers cause for unity: increasing knowledge of the One who unifies. As believers, we have a unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4:3), aiming for a unity of the faith, of belief in truth (Eph. 4:13). Instead of living in darkness, wrath, and futility (Eph. 2:3; 4:17; 5:8)—our former way of life without Christ—we have been given knowledge (Eph. 1:17; 4:13), wisdom, and insight (Eph. 1:8; 1:17); we have been enlightened (Eph. 1:18). Because of this, we can know.
In Ephesians, what we can know includes
- salvation revealed in Christ, once a mystery of His will (Eph. 1:9; Eph. 3:3-5).
- a new hope and inheritance, with insight into the power of His might, and riches of His glory (Eph. 1:18-19).
- that the unsearchable riches of Christ have come to the Gentiles (Eph. 3:8b-10).
- a love in Christ that surpasses knowledge (Eph. 3:19).
- sound doctrine of the Son of God so that we are not swayed by messages that are untrue (Eph. 4:13-14).
- the profound revelation that since salvation has come to the Gentiles, all believers are a church, a body, with Christ as the head (Eph. 5:29-32).
All of this knowledge has come through Christ, our head, who is our authority and fullness through His great power (Eph. 3:19; Eph. 4:10); He is the reason for the oneness and unity of our faith (Eph. 4:13; Eph. 4:4-6). And we have been brought into the light of the knowledge of Christ by His great grace and kindness (Eph. 2:7)—by the kind of love we never exhaust, even in the ages to come (Eph. 2:7). This light allows us to also speak to one another out of the unified pursuit of growing in our faith. As our understanding of Christ and Scripture becomes more robust, we are increasingly freed from
- walking in futility of mind according to the ways of the world (Eph. 4:17), because we can have renewed minds (Eph. 4:23);
- speaking falsehood to one another from worldly perspectives and lies, because we can speak the truth of Scripture’s teachings to each other, just as though we were speaking it to our own selves, since in Christ we are members of each other (Eph. 4:25);
- letting talk that is corrupted of the world come out of our mouths, because we can speak grace to one another (Eph. 4:29)—grace from the mysteries and knowledge of salvation revealed and elaborated upon in this epistle, as first given as a stewardship of grace to Paul to speak to us (Eph. 3:2, 7, 8).
As believers, we have the privilege of speaking to one another from an abundance of this truth, goodness, and grace. Paul prays that the believers at Ephesus come alongside of this message of Christ as one, alongside of this knowledge he was given by God and imparts (Eph. 1:16-17; 3:1-3)—which is all to the praise of God’s glorious grace (Eph. 1:3-6). He concludes mid-way through the book with doxology because of this praiseworthy revelation (Eph. 3:20-21)—while echoing his earlier prayer for the recipients to have, “the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Eph. 1:17). Following this are his sections about unity in Spirit (Eph. 4:1-14) and love because of Him (starting with Eph. 5:1-2).
Paul teaches us in Ephesians that discussion together toward knowing and believing more of the insight, truth, and wisdom of God made known to us as Christ's body through Scripture is good, and this leads us into true, increasing unity in faith and love with our fellow believers.
We are blessed to be able to study the Scriptures and consider our praiseworthy God here through this blog, and we continue toward 2017 in our hope that the words at Of Larks express overflowing, joyful hearts that have received such grace in Christ together.
“until we all attain to the unity of the faith
and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”
 As salvation has come in Christ, mysteries have been made known to us to believe; salvation in Christ has come to the Gentiles according to His plan and He is the head of the church, His body. “Mysteries” (μυστήριον) is used in Ephesians to mean something now revealed: “There is a serious problem involved in translating μυστήριον by a word which is equivalent to the English expression ‘mystery,’ for this term in English refers to a secret which people have tried to uncover but which they have failed to understand. In many instances μυστήριον is translated by a phrase meaning ‘that which was not known before,’ with the implication of its being revealed at least to some persons.” (Louw, Johannes P., and Eugene Albert Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. electronic ed. of the 2nd edition. New York: United Bible Societies, 1996.)