Each One of Us
Tuesday - March 8th
Scripture to Read Today: Ephesians 4:7-16
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. Ephesians 4:7
In Ephesians 4:1-6, the Apostle Paul focused on how all of us who know Christ as our Savior are part of one Body - the Body of Christ (His family). Paul moves into the next section of Ephesians chapter four with the phrase "But to each one" (Ephesians 4:7). He indicates that the focus has shifted from the one body to the individual members of that body.
Paul's usual word choice for spiritual gifts is not "grace." However, in Ephesians 3:2, 7, and 8, Paul used the word to speak to God's kindness in calling him to his ministry among the Gentiles. In the transition, Paul focuses on God's unearned kindness that transformed him from a persecutor of the church to an apostle and Gospel preacher. However, he maintains that this same grace (being transformed from a sinner into God's servant) extends to each of us.
There are two critical things to keep in mind in terms of this grace that makes us able to serve the Lord. First, to be eligible for the grace to serve, you must have been saved by the grace that enters us into Christ's Body - the Church. "Each one of us" alludes to the people to whom Paul wrote Ephesians 2:8-9, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."
Nothing else in this Take5 devotional applies to you until you have been saved from God's judgment (that's what saved means) by God's undeserved favor (grace) through faith in Christ's death, burial, and resurrection for you. Before you can receive God's gracious spiritual gift of serving Him, you must first accept His gracious spiritual gift of eternal life. You miss the heart of the Good News of Jesus Christ (the Gospel) if you think you can earn salvation by serving God. Therefore, the first critical thing in understanding the gifts God has given us to serve is simple: Being saved by God's grace always comes before being given spiritual gifts to serve Him!
Paul includes himself with all of those to whom he wrote, "to each of us." He didn't want anyone to think, "Of course, The APOSTLE Paul has many gifts, but who am I compared to him? I don't have any spiritual gifts to speak of." Four chapters in the New Testament talk about spiritual gifts (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, and 1 Peter 4). The significant thing is that each chapter emphasizes that every believer has at least one spiritual gift.
God did not limit the gifts He gives us to serve only to those who lead or those who are in vocational Christian ministry. Therefore, the second critical thing we must understand in terms of the gift of grace God gives to serve Him is that "each one of us" (as followers of Christ) has been graced by God with a gift or several gifts to serve Him!
Each one of us saved by God's grace has been endowed by God's grace with spiritual gifts to serve Him!