“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
Paul has just completed his description of the Christian’s armor when he goes directly into this beautiful expression of his actions on behalf of all fellow saints. He prays for them, and he is intense in doing so.
“Perseverance” means “persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.” It comes from “persevere,” which means to “continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty.” He remains steadfast in his prayers for his fellows.
Our determination in our prayers as well as in our worship and in our diligence in living for Christ should be obvious and enduring—we do not “faint,” “grow weary in well doing,” nor allow ourselves to become discouraged in our commitment. Rather, we remain constant and steadfast.
“For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (Acts 20:27-28).
On his way to Jerusalem, the Apostle Paul stops along the coastline near Ephesus and calls for the elders in the Ephesian church to join him there. He takes the opportunity to warn them and to edify them about some important matters.
One of the points of edification is that Jesus purchased the church by the shedding of His blood on the cross. To call the church a blood-bought institution, then, is a scriptural idea. The blood of Jesus Christ was the price paid so that the Lord’s church could some into existence.
A full awareness of this fact surely stirs some emotion within us—surely it calls to action a feeling of deepest gratitude that Jesus loved us so much that He suffered for us and He established His church so that we would have the privilege of being a part of it. With this solid spiritual relationship with Him in place, then, we have an assured hope of going to heaven.
“I said, ‘Lord, be merciful to me;
Heal my soul, for I have sinned against you” (Psalm 41:4).
Since the first pair sinned while basking in the Great Garden Paradise God had prepared for them, mankind has had the need for praying this prayer verbalized here by David. Apparently not referring to any particular sin, David just realizes he regularly stands in need of God’s saving mercy.
David knew that justice alone would not heal his relationship with God—it also took mercy, along with grace and love. It was David’s soul that needed healing, not his physical body. The answer to David’s prayer was already at work because God’s plan included sending a Savior to mankind whose sacrifice would blend justice and mercy and make possible forgiveness.
That wonderful plan is available to every individual who desires to come to God on God’s terms as revealed in scripture—that is, to all who will become obedient believers. And at the center of that plan is Jesus Christ who became The Great Healer—it is Jesus whom we serve and to whom we come for spiritual healing.
“For the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God” (Hebrews 7:19).
“The Law” in this passage refers to the Old Testament scriptures that governed man’s relationship with God before Jesus came. The Law was not perfect in that it did not offer what mankind needed to give “hope” for a life with God in the afterlife.
Drawing near to God does not mean we picture Him as just another human being with the same kinds of responses to life that we have. As well, we cannot base our relationship with Him on events that happen in our lives whether good or bad nor should we think of Him as a good buddy who will bail us out of all our problems.
Rather, we “draw near to God” by seeking Him on the terms He presents in His word, by depending on Him, and by trusting Him completely. Then we can have that “better hope” that was ushered in with the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, making possible the forgiveness of sin and a relationship with God in the here and now as well as in eternity.