Friday, March 6, 2015

Religous Errors Refuted by The Letter to The Ephesians

     Paul's  letter  to  the  Ephesians  is  rich  in  theological content! It  is a masterpiece of
doctrinal and practical instruction. If a person studies the letter a thousand times, the next
time they look into its meaning new information will be uncovered. Ephesians refutes many
commonly  taught  ancient  and  modern  religious  errors. In  this  post  we  will  examine
several errors that are demolished by the letter to the Ephesians.

    Denominationalism is refuted within the Ephesian letter. Most denominational people
believe a person has the right to "join the church of their choice." This concept was not
taught by any any apostle of Christ, neither did such an idea enter the mind of God. In the
Ephesians letter, Paul said, "There is one body." (Ephesians 4:4) One is one more than
zero  and  one less  than  two.  It is singular!  Paul  himself  identifies  this  body  as "the
congregation which is his body." (Ephesians 1:22-23) One body is one congregation of
the redeemed.

     Calvinism is refuted by the Ephesians letter. One of the tenets of Calvinism is the idea
that sin is inherited. Calvinists teach and believe that human beings are born with a sinful
"nature." Paul informed the believers in Ephesus that sin resulted from their practice not
their birth. He told them, "You were dead through your trespasses and sins, in which you
once walked...we also once lived in the lusts of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh
and mind..." (Ephesians 2:1-3) He is discussing how they lived, not how they were
born. In  verse  3  he  says  they  were "by nature children of wrath." The word "nature"
(Grk. phusis) does not refer to a birth state but "a mode of feeling and acting which by
long  habit  has  become nature." (Thayer's Greek and English Lexicon, page 660)
The  context  confirms  Thayer's  comment. In  this  context,  phusis  connotes  "in this
condition," that is, the way the Ephesians formerly lived, thought, and acted.

     Faith Only and Grace only as  a  means of salvation are refuted by the Ephesians
letter. The Methodist discipline and the Baptist manuals affirm that a person is justified
by faith alone and grace alone. They affirm what Paul denies! Paul said, "by grace you
have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of
works, that  no  one  should  boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)  Since  salvation  is "by" grace
"through" faith, it is by neither alone! Furthermore, in the Ephesians letter Paul attributes
their  salvation  to  other  elements  such  as "through his blood," (1:7); "the word of truth,
the good news of your salvation," (1:13); "Christ." (5:23) In Paul's mind, people are not
saved by anyone or anything alone. Several factors contribute to salvation from sin.

     United  Pentecostalism   is   refuted   by   the    letter   to  the  Ephesians.  United
Pentecostalism teaches  that  there  is  only  one  person in the Godhead, namely Jesus.
Paul wrote in the letter about "God our Father," (1:2) "the Lord Jesus Christ,"(1:2) and
"the Holy Spirit of promise." (1:13) He also wrote, "there is one Spirit," (4:4), "one Lord,"
(4:5), and  "one God and Father of all." (4:6) The Godhead consists of three persons not

     Seventh Day Adventism is refuted by the marvelous Ephesians letter. Seventh Day
Adventists believe the Old testament law regulating the sabbath day is still binding. Paul
says Christ has "abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained
in ordinances." (2:15) The  law  that  contained  the  sabbath  day  regulations  has  been
terminated or nullified. It is no longer binding.

     Premillenialism is refuted by the letter of Paul to the Ephesians. One of the elements
of premillenial doctrine is that Christ came to establish the kingdom of God, but the Jews
rejected him, and the "church" was established as a substitute until the thousand years
reign on earth, then the kingdom of God will be established. Paul said the assembly or
congregation of God was the result of divine planning. It was "the eternal purpose of God
which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." (3:10-11) The establishment of the Lord's
congregation  was  no  afterthought, it  was  God  plan  before  the  ages! Inexhaustible, 
unfathomable, unlimited wisdom with rich variety underlies the existence of Christ's body.

     Religious Institutionalism is refuted by the letter to the Ephesians. Only one religious
society has any right to exist by divine decree. No human religious institutions, regardless
of how "worthy" their aims, have the right to supplant the mission of the Lord's congregation
by  preaching the good news of salvation in Christ! Heaven is honored and God is glorified
"in the congregation and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." (3:21)
God is glorified in this way because "the congregation" is his saved people, and "Christ
Jesus"  is their Savior. Together they reflect and represent the summary of all that God set
in order for the eternal good of humanity.

     Universalism is  refuted  by  the  Ephesians letter. Universalism asserts that all human
beings will eventually be saved. But  Paul  wrote,  "Know  this  of  a certainty, no sexually
immoral person, nor unclean person, nor  greedy  person,  nor  one  who  is  an idolater
has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." (5:5) Christ  is  "the  Savior  of the
body."  (5:23) According to Paul, there are people who will not be saved.

     Ecumenism is refuted by Paul's letter to the Ephesians. Ecumenism is the movement
designed to "unite all churches" by overlooking doctrinal differences. Paul wrote, there is
"one faith." (4:5)  There  is  one  system  of  belief. There  is  one "word of truth." (1:13)
It must not be compromised. Ecumenism is like rheumatism; if it isn't put in check, it will
spread to other parts of the "body." Paul says believers are in a war, not in a truce signing
ceremony. (6:10-20)

     The Non essentiality of immersion  is also refuted by the Ephesians letter. Nearly
all denominational organizations deny that immersion is necessary for salvation from past
sins. They reason: "Baptism is a work. We are not saved by works. So, we are not saved
by baptism." They fail to realize we are not saved by works of human origin, neither are
we saved by works that permit boasting. Immersion is not a humanly prescribed work,
and immersion does not allow boasting. Immersion is an act commanded by God. (Acts
10:48), and when one is immersed, they are saved by grace. (Acts 19:1-5; Ephesians
2:8-9) The Ephesians had been immersed "into the name of the Lord Jesus," (Acts 19:4-5)
and they "were saved by grace through faith." (Ephesians 2:8-9) They were in the body
of Christ. So, Paul wrote to them and said the Lord has "cleansed it (the assembly of the
saved, RD) by the washing of water with the word." (Ephesians 5:25-27) The "washing
of water" refers to the purification from sin that God granted when they were  immersed.
(Acts 22:16; Titus 3:5)

                                                                                                                       R. Daly

Copyright 2015




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