Is Christianity Just a Bunch of Rules? (Ephesians 3:14-21)

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Ephesians 3:14-21

Many people say that Christianity is just a bunch of rules: don’t steal, don’t cheat, don’t have sex outside of marriage, don’t use the Lord’s name in vain, don’t do this, don’t do that. If Christianity is just following an agreed upon set of rules, we would all fail. God demonstrated through the law given to Moses that you can know all the right things to do and still not do them. Christianity is not about you deciding to be the best person you can be. Christianity is about you admitting that you are unable to be all God designed you to be. It is about you turning to God and asking him to strengthen you, asking his Son Jesus Christ to make his home in your heart.

The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to several groups of relatively new Christians in the ancient city of Ephesus. In the middle of the letter he offers a prayer for these infant Christians. He prays that they would be strengthened with power in their inner being through his Spirit and that Christ would dwell in their hearts through faith (Ephesians 3:16-17).

We often associate the word “heart” with emotion. We say things like, “that touched my heart.” But, when the biblical authors use the word “heart,” they mean much more. For them, the heart is the control center of the person. Our biological heart offers a good illustration. Our biological heart is at the center of our circulatory system. From it, blood flows to every part of our bodies. So too is our heart, in the biblical sense. It is the central place where all our behavior, emotions, and thoughts flow from.

As Christians, we admit that we need a heart transplant – or at least serious heart surgery. The Holy Spirit imparts Christ into our hearts. It is Christ who gives us the strength to be the type of people God designed us to be. This is not to say that we do not have a role to play. Upon salvation we receive the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14), but it is our job to cooperate with the Spirit and be transformed by him (cp. Ephesians 5:18).

Are you trying to be the best person you can be, all in your own power? How have you done? If not well is your answer, I pray that God would impart to you his Holy Spirit, that Christ might strengthen your heart.



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