A lot is packed into Ephesians 4:7–10, the four verses we’ve covered in this chapter. They present the basis of our transformation in the cross and resurrection of Jesus, the resounding victory He declared and implemented in the dark, obscure time between those two events, and the grace He has given for our transformation through the gifts He has distributed in His victory. Just as the first six verses ended with a majestic, cosmic panorama of the stakes of our transformation, this section ends with an astounding picture of our participation in Jesus’ triumph over sin, death, and evil. We are left with a remarkable picture of what it takes to be transformed into the image of our conquering Savior and King.
Perhaps it’s surprising that our transformation into a new kind of life follows the same trajectory as the one our unconventional conqueror took to win that decisive battle. Through death with Him—and through death to our old nature and ways—we are buried in the ground. But like the seed that dies and then lives, we are born into something new. We are raised up with Jesus to live in fellowship with His body, the people who believe and follow Him. Our roots grow deep into His Word as we immerse ourselves in it and act on it in trust. We are meant to find nourishment in the soil of His church, grow in the climate of love and grace, and give and receive the gifts He has given as the spoils of His victory. Over time, supernatural things happen. We can’t make ourselves grow, but we can position ourselves and participate in our growth by letting Him live His life through us. As we do, we transform into His likeness—strong, sturdy overcomers of the winds, floods, droughts, and storms that have come against us.
If you have never experienced this kind of change, do whatever is necessary right now to enter into the new life He freely gives. If you have never trusted Him to take your old nature into the grave and bring you out in resurrection, place your faith in Him now and ask Him to come into your life. If you have trusted in Him and the work He accomplished on the cross and in His resurrection, count on that reality daily, hourly, even moment by moment. Embrace “the exchanged life” that so radically transformed Hudson Taylor’s experience. Consider yourself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ. Root yourself thoroughly in the Word He has given you, take steps of faith according to His Word, and connect with other believers who minister the grace you need and who need the grace that is in you. Trust Him to transform you, and don’t give up.
If you do that, I can promise that you will not be disappointed. You will be changed. God loves to do amazing things with ordinary lives. You can hardly imagine what He will do with yours, but it will be glorious. He will bring you into full maturity to tower above the landscape that once seemed so intimidating, offering the beauty and fruitfulness of His work in you for many to enjoy. You will be like a tree planted by streams of water (Ps. 1:3), a vital part of His eternal plan to fill the universe with His glory, experiencing and offering life in His wisdom, power, and love.
Ingram, Chip. 2021. Yes! You Really Can Change: What to Do When You’re Spiritually Stuck. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.
We have just released a new Bible Study based on Chip Ingram’s amazing book, You Really Can Change. These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.