Doctrine and life

by André Piet
January 9th, 2013

Paul's letters to the ecclesias are often easily seen to have two parts. First there is a doctrinal exposition, followed with many instructions for daily living. Doctrine and life. For example, the letter to the Romans, from chapter 1 to and including chapter 11, contain numerous doctrinal statements, while chapter twelve to the end present many directions for practical living. So also the Ephesian letter. In the first three chapters our position in Christ is revealed, while in the last three chapters, our walk is the central theme.

Usually, this subdivision is totally misinterpreted. It is claimed that Paul first writes about what is given us, and then writes about what God is asking of us. First grace and then law. First the promise and then the requirements. This presents a huge caricature of the truth, and is fatal for a correct understanding of grace.

The instructions concerning our walk are not "the other side of the coin". Instead, they display the great value of our calling! Hence, part two of the Ephesian letter begins with:

I am entreating you, then,
I, the prisoner in the Lord,
to walk worthily of the calling
with which you were called…

Ephesians 4:1

To call such valuable instructions, duties or requirements discredits God's grace and is an insult to the privilege that is lavished on us. The teaching that God is the Saviour of all, is a celebration, which we honor with a daily display of "garlands of joy"!

adorning the teaching that is of God, our Saviour, in all things.
For the saving grace of God made its advent to all humanity…

Titus 2:10,11


Translation: Peter Feddema

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