Last week we covered Ephesians 5:1,2. The essence of that study was that the "new man" IN CHRIST was exhorted to be a follower of God and walk the way He walked. The way Jesus walked was in sacrificial love.
Furthermore, His sacrificial love produced a sweet smelling savor in the nostrils of God. We discussed various aspects of His love, the way He was treated, His response to the treatment, and even the results of His responding towards maltreatment with love; for example, one of the thieves that was crucified next to Him had a heart change somewhere throughout the day as he hung on the cross and observed the Lord's reaction to the world and religion both, as they ridiculed and mocked Him.
The sweet smelling savor aspect of Ephesians 5:2 brought us to the book of Leviticus where we discussed the five Levitical offerings. In those sacrifices, we delineated the fact that some of them were sweet savor sacrifices, and some of them weren't. From there, we discussed the fact that there were similarities to be noted to this truth when compared to Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.
In other words, there was an aspect to the cross that produced a sweet savor for God, and there was an aspect to the cross that reviled the Father. More specifically, it was Jesus' willingness as an obedient sin offering that produced that sweet smelling savor typified by those certain Levitical offerings, and it was man's disobedience for which Jesus had to die that reviled Him, causing Him to turn His face from the darling of heaven.
Matt's sin laid upon the Savior, caused the Father to turn His head, and Jesus felt separated and forsaken from the presence of the Father, because of something that He didn't do. He experienced that for me and for you. I can only imagine the anguish His humanity must have felt as the whole world's sin was laid upon His back, and now the one thing that He always was sure of, communion with the Father, was gone.
A while back I preached a message, "He was a man acquainted with grief and sorrows. In that message, I wanted all of us to be reminded never to say I'm all alone again, because the truth is that He was separated, so that we don't have to be.
From there, I missed the point to my conclusion. I was supposed to close by pointing out this passage in Corinthians in order to tie everything together:
2 Corinthians 2:15
For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:
The context of what Paul is saying in this verse surrounds the idea that he and others are preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. As this takes place, there is a twofold process:
(1) people's hearts are softened towards the truth, they open their heart towards God, and they are saved.
(2) People harden their heart towards the gospel, and they're moved further away from the presence of God.
No matter the result of the individuals: whether they are hardened or softened, the result of Paul's obedience is that it produces a sweet smelling savor for God. And the same goes for us Christian. When it comes to ministry, God isn’t grading us on how many are converted; He will grade us on whether or not we were faithful to do our part.
Now, let's tie that together. Jesus' love was sacrificial in nature, and when our mind becomes renewed to the fact that our new birth in Christ produces a new man who is connected to the vine and receiving power from the Holy Spirit, which is strengthening the inner man and producing the fruit of the Spirit in his life, which is manifest by love, then I as a living sacrifice become a sweet smelling savor unto God:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
Now, the text transitions from the place of Jesus' obedience to the world's Mardi Gras parade. I say it this way because essentially this is the idea being construed. The pagan world worshiped false gods through sexuality.
And the world still worships false gods today through sexuality. I don't want to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing this thought, but everywhere we look there's a Mardi Grad parade going on. There's sexuality on every TV show, in almost every movie, in all the music, the commercials....
God has within His word a proper order towards sexuality. It's the marriage bed that's not defiled in God's eyes. All other forms of sexual variance are being incited by the spiritual world in an attempt to get humanity to transgress the written word of God.
Studies have shown that when a person begins to get emotionally excited over someone of the other gender, there is a flood of neurotransmitters that cause a euphoric state or a feeling of well being. This can happen just talking to someone on the phone. "I'm excited about this person, maybe they will be the one, and maybe this will be happiness."
Then when it doesn't work out, there is a drop in Serotonin and Dopamine in the brain and depression ensues, driving someone like a drug addict towards their next fix. This is literally why you see women addicted to men, and men addicted to the sexuality of women even though these relationships are destroying them.
And Christians deal with these issues also, and the problem in this sense is that there was no real time to get to know the person in a spiritual sense. In other words, do they see the gospel the way I do? Are they hungry to see souls saved? Or are they of the Nimrodic order, "Come let us build a name for ourselves, let us build ourselves a city.... In other words, are they more about material possessions and worldly gain, or are they really sold out to God’s plan, which is Jesus?"
And because we make decisions about the other gender based mostly upon what we think they can do for us-- whether it be sexually, financially, or help for the kids..., rather than how all this fits into God's plan for my life, we end up in relationships that don't promote an advance towards kingdom work. Now, that doesn't mean that in some cases it doesn't help our personal situation. It doesn't mean that the building of your little "city" or "society" didn't resolve some of the pain you were feeling, but this the age old temptation. This is Cain's city, this is Nimrod's society. Let us figure out how we will make our lives more comfortable because of this fall we're experiencing, but it's a comfort produced with individual will rather than God's will as the mortar holding the bricks together.
The spiritual entities that are inciting all this know what they're doing. But ultimately their goal is to get man to transgress God's word. And so here we are living in the midst of a world system that is full of evil and sexuality, and we are being bombarded with these images from everywhere we turn.
And don't think your children are safe (common core comment).
And this is what Paul was talking about: you can't be part of this world's system, remember what he said previously:
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
The word fornication is literally porneia, where we get our word pornography. And the thought regards all manner of sexual impurity of which I'm not going to list, but just go back and review our teaching on the Nephilim, and their influence on Canaan (Leviticus 17-21) and you will have the idea, but then add to it all the thoughts and mindsets produced through all the bombardment of the world's message.
The next word in this verse that caught my eyes is the word uncleanness. We won't attempt to break down every word; nevertheless, let's take a few in an attempt to get a better thought of the overall text. The word uncleanness here is literally “a”, which in the Greek means-- without, and “katharsis,” which is where we get our word catharsis, meaning a purging, a cathartic induces vomiting and in the old days was used as a way to purge the body of something poisonous that was ingested.
Ultimately, the idea here is that the heathen/ pagan/ un-redeemed world has an unbridled lust towards things that are contrary to God's nature and word. I like the word "purging" and "catharsis,” because in the midst of true Christian grace, there is a cleansing that takes place. It should be noted that there is a counterfeit to true Christian grace. Because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the believer is convicted and made aware when there is behavior that isn't right. When there is something in the heart of the believer that isn't right, it's supposed to be brought to the Lord, where a purging or catharsis can take place.
One word in verse three that we can't afford to pass over is the word saints:
...let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
The word saints, once again, is hagios, meaning holy or separated. If you will remember, we have discussed this word on multiple occasions, and have pointed out that this word is also translated from the Greek as sanctified, meaning to make holy or separated out unto God.
But we must always remember that true holiness for the believer starts with the new position or standing before God. We are seen as separated, sanctified, holy, or righteous in the eyes of God because through faith, we connected ourselves to God's plan, which resulted in a spiritual miracle where we were translated from the kingdom of darkness (world) into the kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:13). Furthermore, through this miracle, the "old man" born of Adam died, and a "new man" born of Jesus resurrected. Therefore, the "new man's" position or standing before God is in Christ, and in Christ, there is righteousness not guilt, and there is now access to grace, which isn't just forgiveness, but power from God to live right.
With all this on the forefront of the mind, let the reader be made aware, if you're born again, you're saints, hagios, sanctified, separated, from the world, and you belong to God; furthermore, you have access to grace:
herefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
In other words, we are without excuse because God has provided a plan where we can be separated out from the world both in His eyes because of our new position in Christ, and in the world's eyes because of our access into grace, which empowers us to order our behavior as the children of God.
Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
Filthiness= shamefulness or obscenity.
Foolish Foolish talking= morologia.
So before we get going good, we need to remind ourselves that there has been a clear distinction drawn between the world and the believer, and in the world, there is uncleanness, and now we have added the idea that there is going to be talk also in the world. Just with this information, we should be made aware that at the workplace, family functions, and anywhere else your path may cross with the world, there will be foolish talk taking place. Furthermore, it's important that you understand you can’t just stop going to everything because the instruction we’ve received from the Lord wasn’t to isolate; rather we’re to separate. We are pilgrims on a journey, and the purpose of our presence is to expose the lost to the light.
Let's focus a little on this statement "morologia," which is the Greek for foolish talking.
Most of us who have been in Christianity are familiar with the word Logos, it's one of the Greek words that we translate into "word" or "preaching". Examples would be:
In the beginning was the word (Logos)....,(John 1:1) or:
the preaching (logos) of the cross is foolishness to them who perish.... (1 Corinthians 1:18).
So the essence of the word logos is: words, speech, or thoughts that are communicated, so Jesus when called the word is the physical manifestation of God's communication.
Here, the idea of logos has the word moro attached to it, which is where we get our word moron and logia, which is speech or conversation. Essentially, the overall context is that there is a speech or conversation that takes place amongst those who are blinded by the truth of God, and we as those that are called out from the dead aren't supposed to be of the morologia persuasion.
So moro, meaning dull in intelligence or stupid and logia speech, in a Christian sense would describe a person caught up in worldly conversation that contradicts the things of God.
The word jesting is eutrapelia. It's a compound word made up of eu and trapelia.
Trapelia= from tropo, which is to turn, meaning “easily turned.”
In English, the word jesting can also have the connotation of ridicule or making crude jokes to be funny at the expense of another person's feelings. If we run through the files in our minds, surely we can retrieve a mental image of the court jester, with his funny hat, providing entertainment for the king, through his witty words making fun of anyone available including the king, as a matter of fact, he was usually the only one who was allowed to make fun of the King.
But if you've ever been in a situation like that, if you could retrieve another mental image, like when you were a kid amongst a group of kids, and then all of the sudden someone gets the bright idea to single out something that they don't like about one of the people in the crowd: their nose, a birthmark on their face, the way they talk, and then suddenly, the entire crowd is turned towards and against this one individual. Hence, the idea of the word "easily turned."
In a similar fashion, Christians often find themselves in an environment where there is foolish talk about worldliness. Specifically, foolish talk about: fornication, uncleanness, or mammon, and when this takes place, it's almost as though the Christian, unaware, begins to be easily turned in their direction. "Christian" finds himself smiling, laughing, and even in some cases adding to the conversation and becoming a partaker with them in what they do.
Who are you talking about when you use the plural pronoun "them" preacher? I'm talking about the world. I'm talking about the un- redeemed.
Describe the situation of how kids are impressionable. Young Christians can also be impressionable, but the world can also be impressionable towards a believer who has their speech seasoned with salt: i.e. flavor (palatable) [Colossians 4:6] one who is wise as a serpent (have you ever watched a serpent hunt? He has stealth and a plan) and harmless as a dove (a dove is kind and sweet. In addition, it should be noted that the two main symbolisms I find in scripture re: the dove are: (1) peace between God and man—the dove brought an olive branch back to the Arc when the waters were subsiding, signaling Peace between God and man (2) the Holy Spirit whose job it is to convict the world of sin and move people to Jesus) [Matthew 10:16].
Here is some personal experiences about talking to people about things that would normally be difficult to discuss or just witnessing in general. One time the Lord spoke to my spirit and said, "What's the plan son? Are we reaching the lost and helping people get redirected on the path, or are you just showing everyone what you know and that you're right and they're wrong?"
Let me give you a couple examples, but I will be honest. In order to witness this way, you will have to have patience and be willing to learn from each occurrence. By the way, we should always pray and ask the Lord to show us after we witness to people if things could have been done different.
I explained a while back that Danielle and I never taught our kids about Santa Clause. We both agreed that we would focus our efforts on the fact that God was the giver of all that was good. Now, we didn't know then what we know now; nevertheless, we felt like it was most important for us to instruct our children and point them to Jesus.
We took a lot of heat from different people for that, but to be honest, we really didn't have much of a way to explain why we were doing it, part of it was that others had taken that stand, and it felt right to us, so we did also.
Then we had the episode where she was teaching children's church and she was teaching on the birth of Jesus, and then some kid said, "Yeah, and Santa."
I can see Danielle trying to keep her composure, and the children feeding off the first comment, are catapulted into a frenzied state, and the names of various entities are blurted out in a simultaneous cacophony, "Yeah, Santa!" Another one screams.
"And the Easter Bunny," says little Sally.
"What about Barney?" Seth screamed.
Then the whole class erupted into pandemonium, and like frenzied little natives they started circling her and screaming, "Barney! Barney! Barney!"
And in a state of disequilibrium and confusion, she blurts out, "Jesus can beat up Barney!"
Immediately, the mob is silenced and Seth's upper lip begins to quiver, and his right eye begins to fill up with a tear, and he causes a change of emotion to sweep over the congregation, where the previous chants of Barney are replaced by sobs and crying and suddenly the door swings open, church is over and the parents are ready to pick up their crying, wounded kids.
Now, I will be honest and say that I embellished the story a little bit. But a lot of it was true. The point I wanted to make is that as we learn more information about things that we have always believed were right but begin to realize that many of these things stand in the way of Jesus, we will want to take a stand. And I think we should, but let's think about this for a second:
(1) the person we're talking to doesn't have a clue of what we mean. We have to learn how to be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove in these situations in order to get the proper response.
(2) we have to be able to properly explain ourselves. You can't just make a comment about your opinion and expect to get the right results if you can't properly explain your position.
(3) but then again, what's your purpose to begin with. Do you really want to help people or do you just want them to do what you want?
If we want to help, then maybe we need to try a different approach.
Example: I have developed a technique over the years where I use the conjunction "if." Some of you may say, "I would never use the word "if" when talking about God. Well, I usually explain myself, I say, "I use the conjunction "if" on purpose, because even though I'm convinced God is real, because He transformed my life, I realize that others I talk to aren't convinced."
I have also many times formulated a question after I know they believe God is real. For instance, "Well, I know you think God is real, and I'm talking about the one who sent his Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins."
Stopping for a second, I give them the opportunity to respond, which they usually do with a head nod in the affirmative.
"So," I continue "If God is real, wouldn't you agree that there is also the opposite of God?"
They’re nodding the head again.
"Ok, then wouldn't you agree that if there is a real devil, and his whole purpose is to deceive people away from Jesus who paid for their sin, that one way to do that would be to come up with multiple religions in hopes that people would pick something other than Jesus who paid for man's sin?"
And this concept can be used for any discussion regarding the enemy pulling people away from Jesus:
Discussing the Santa issue or Christmas the way it is now is very easy during the holidays because people often ask me, with a big smile on their face, "Are you ready for the holidays?"
And my response is usually something like this, "Do you mind if we talk about that for just a second because I'm confused? I thought that Christmas was supposed to be about the birth of Jesus, and how God gave a gift of life to humanity by freeing us from our sin problem, but what I see is people focused on Santa not Jesus, statistics show that more people get drunk during this time and are depressed more than any other time of the year, so to answer your question: yes, I'm ready for the holidays. I'm ready to remember the fact that unto us a gift was given. His name is Jesus. The prophet said he would be called Emmanuel which means "God with us." I'm so glad God gave me that gift, and I want to thank him on that day just like every day. And I want on that day to teach my children that Jesus gave us the gift of life."
"Do you think the commercialization of Christmas brings glory to Jesus? Because I'm confused, I thought the whole thing was to celebrate what the Angels spoke of when they brought good tidings about the fact that the Christ had come into the world!"
"And for that matter how does this whole Santa issue help the cause of exalting Jesus?"
Lastly, I will remind you about the conversation I had with the guy on the street when I went to hand him a tract and ask him if he thought that God was real, and his response was, "No man. I used to believe in God, but it's like the Easter Bunny and Santa Clause, when I grew up, I learned they weren't real."
Paul is speaking to Christians and he has already explained that Christians aren't to walk as other Gentiles do.
The text is clear-- these people aren't partakers, they don't have an inheritance in God's Kingdom.
We must come to the proper conclusion that a true conversion will result in a true change in the walk.
Now, we must also be careful not to forget the process part of Christianity.
In other words, it takes time for a new Christian to have a renewed mind that begins to operate properly within the realm of victory where Jesus is the source of victory, the Holy Spirit is the force of victory, and the cross is the means or the access point, which allows the powerful grace given by the Holy Spirit to flow into the person. Why? Because, now the person's standing is righteous in the eyes of God. And he has access to grace and grace is more powerful than sin:
Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
And Romans 8:2
And so in this context, the believer is given access to grace, which strengthens towards victory.
For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.E
We must all understand that there is a difference between someone who is a Christian that is in the process, struggling with sin, but unhappy about it, and a person who calls themselves a Christian, is living in sin, and isn't convicted at all about what they're doing. It’s unlikely that a person who is comfortable living in sin is really saved.
Regarding some of the wording of this verse, let's focus on the covetous idolator. Covetousness describes an insatiable desire for more, especially, when you desire something that belongs to someone else.
Mammon was a name given to money in order to personify the wickedness that was associated with it. In other words, Mammon was given life and seen as the god behind the money that people were worshipping; therefore, the covetous idolator has chosen to worship Mammon. His God is money and what money can provide for him. This god stands between him and God, taking the place, even the heart's desire away from God. Because more of it can bring fleshly pleasures, it's sought for diligently and the heart is deceived into thinking that what it needs is more because it brings pleasure.
And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
We've discussed this word vain on several occasions in this study on Ephesians. The word simply means empty. In this context, the vain words are directly connected to all the previous behavior discussed regarding the walk of the unredeemed: fornication, uncleanness...
Therefore, vain words would be any communication that would allow a believer to continue living a life of sin without conviction.
Just briefly I would like to mention a couple scenarios:
(1) the world system has always had within it this that Paul warned against:
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
In other words, mankind has created its own wisdom on how to live life without God’s help.
And the word deceive here literally means to cheat. There are men who will cheat you out of the truth and deceive you through empty and vain words.
The context here is specifically referring to Christians being deceived by vain words. It should be noted that vain words can come from a multiplicity of sources. These empty words, which represent empty thoughts, can come from family, friends, and the world system: music Hollywood, or even from preachers.
When coming from preachers, these words can take on further variations. They can be empty in the sense that they give you meaningless information towards victory for your life. For instance, I can remember being in one service where we were asked to write our sins that we struggle with on paper. We were supposed to let someone read it and then we were supposed to put it on the ground and stomp on it, which was supposedly going to give me victory over the sin that was written.
Well, I have a few problems with that. Number one, you can't just trust anyone with everything that's going on in your head. If you need an accountability partner, let it be Jesus. That doesn't mean that there are never times that we need people to talk to about things we're going through, but I don't need to confess my sin to you to get free; instead, I need to confess my sin to Jesus. There is one mediator between God and men:
1 Timothy 2:5
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
But there is also the problem with preachers telling people that there isn't a problem with sin at all, as though sin weren't the problem between man and God.
I can give you two examples:
1. I personally know a young lady who was struggling in her walk. She went to her youth pastor in an attempt to tell him that things weren't right in her life, and his response was, "No you're alright." No she wasn't alright preacher. She's in sin and she's hurting and she needs you to help direct her in the right direction, which is to bring it to the cross.
2. There is a prominent preacher on TV now who is preaching heavily on grace, but his grace message is wrong, because it's taken to the extreme that you don't have to confess your sins to God because you've already been forgiven. Furthermore, this preacher whose name is Joseph Prince comes from the word of faith camp, which states that if you think about your sin, you become sin conscious and stay bound by sin. Therefore, you should think as little as possible about your sin and not confess it because that will be a negative confession and make you remember that you have a sin problem, which you were already forgiven of.
Well, it's certainly true that you were already forgiven when Jesus died on the cross. It's a done deal. But God requires that we confess our sins.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The word confess here has the same root as a word we spoke of earlier, logia, this word is homo= meaning same and logia= meaning say. When we confess our sins, we are saying the same thing about our sin that God says. We are acknowledging that something isn't right, and we need His intervention.
This is the way that true grace works:
Ezekiel 36:25-27—grace changes the heart and spirit of a man
Jeremiah 31:31—in the covenant of grace, man knows when he sins because the Law of God is written on is heart, because the Holy Spirit lives in him now.
John 2—the wedding of Cana miracle shows us that the New Testament causes an internal transformation. Grace changes the inside of the vessel.
John 14—Jesus promised in this chapter that the Holy Spirit would live in our hearts. That’s the difference between Law and grace. In the Law God’s requirements were written on stone. In the New Testament His presence and plan is in our heart.
Ephesians 1—when we get saved we’re sealed with the Spirit
Titus 3:5—when we get saved we’re renewed by the Spirit.
It’s also imperative that we understand that grace is nearly synonymous with the Holy Spirit. In other words, the Holy Spirit is the one that pours grace into our lives and our every day circumstances.
What these passages have in common is the transformation miracle of the human heart and its connection or union with the heart of God, now that the Holy Spirit has come to live within it. This is the first work of grace, a regeneration miracle has taken place allowing the Holy Spirit to live within the heart and reveal to the heart of man the error that is in him.
Next, true grace operates through dependence upon God, because He is the one that changes the heart of man.
Grace- a divine influence on the heart and its reflection in the life_Strong’s Greek Dictionary (paraphrased)
In order for true grace to operate, the focal point of faith must be the finished work of Jesus on the cross; for it is His work alone that allows the regeneration to take place. It's His work alone that allows righteousness to clothe a guilty sinner. It's His work alone that split the veil in the temple signifying that access into the presence of God was now made available.
Fasting isn't the miracle that changes or gives access to the presence of God. Prayer, quoting scripture, nor going to church...none of this is what allows the heart to be changed. It's Jesus and His cross alone that allows the sin in the heart to die and resurrection power to take its place.
But let me say this about prayer, fasting, and the word of God: if you want your heart softened by God, or you want more of Him, or you want freedom, as you fast and pray denying yourself, so He can be magnified, He will show you what needs to confessed, and He will point you back to the cross, because that's what the Holy Spirit does:
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
....: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
It's because of vain [empty] words that the wrath of God is poured upon the children of disobedience. We should remember the passage we covered previously in conjunction with this thought:
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
We already covered this thought in great detail, but let us visit this place again. A suppression of the truth regarding God's word, whether it be suppressed purposefully or accidentally, will result in bondage rather than freedom. Persistent failure, or bondage, or repeated sin, whatever you would choose to call it, will result in a form of God's wrath being poured out. It will cause a slow, insidious decay of morality, and can eventually, with time lead to the erosion of faith, and I don't care what any preacher tells you, if your faith is eroded by sin, and you apostasize, or turn your back on the faith, then you are no longer in covenant with God. And people who aren't in covenant with God are the children of disobedience upon which His wrath will be poured out.
Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
Partaker= symmetochos, means to be connected to. Ultimately, the idea is that there isn't supposed to be a connectedness between us and the world, because we are saints i.e. hagios or holy one's, separated out, you guessed it in Christ.