- Published: 13 December 2010
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Ephesians 1:1We must recognize, that in general, there are 3 classes of believers in the world today. We cannot realize the force of the words above, saints and faithful , unless we know this.
1. Those who have life according to John 3:16. These are children (John 1:12, margin). They have not attained to an adoption or sonship. No works are ordained that they should walk in them. No such responsibilities are given to little children. So far as we know, these will be in the new earth, paradise, with Adam and others who have not been members of some family of God, either on earth or in heaven. John's gospel was written after Israel were set aside, after their complete fall. So these believers can have no part with Israel and her kingdom which has been closed to membership for over 1900 years.
2. A second class are those who imagine that the kingdom is still open and that they are to carry out the commission of Israel in relation to the world and the nations. They practice the rituals and ordinances of Israel, and pretend that they are Jews ( Rev 2:9; 3:9). And the sad part is that they imagine that their kingdom is to be in heaven, whereas Israel were never told that they would go to heaven, but that their kingdom would be here on earth. Now these folks are mostly believers. They have life. But their works are built of the wrong materials. They will not stand the fires of testing, for they know not, and do not, the will of God for this age. And since the kingdom is not open to them, they must have their part with the first group, paradise, or the new earth.
3. This third class is made up of those who have heard the gospel of the dispensation of the mystery and have believed it. These are divided into two groups, the saints and the faithful. Having a sonship, they have responsibility. They are created unto good works which were before ordained that they should walk in them. Those that believe, but walk after their own wills are saints. Those who believe and walk worthy of the calling are faithful. It is not that some may reject the truth, but they have neglected it. That is the prevailing condition in Christendom today. People who believe are all too satisfied to stay in the wilderness.
Manna did sustain life, and that was what it was for. But it was not to be compared with the milk and honey in the promised land. In fact, some of Israel would have preferred the fare in Egypt to that manna, and so they grumbled about it.
As a nation, Israel had a great commission. The church also has a great commission. Those who learn the mysteries of their calling and do the good works associated with that calling, are not only saints but faithful.
There has been some controversy about what saint and faithful mean. Some think that there are two classes, the saints and the faithful. And some think that there is only one, the faithful saints. If the latter were true, then there would be little need for the warnings and exhortations of the last 3 chapters of Ephesians.
In the first place, saints are made. Upon believing, they are saved by grace thru faith, nothing of themselves, (lest they should boast), but a pure gift from God.
A saint is one who is sanctified, or cleansed. This happens at the time of believing, not some time afterward. God does not put believers on probation for life, but gives it to them at the moment of their belief.
But a faithful one is something different. Faithful means full of faith. One is not counted faithful till he has walked in the good works which were before ordained for him. In the kingdom age, a faithful servant was one who made use of the talents or pounds that were entrusted to his care.
So here in Ephesians 1:1 we have those who have accepted the truth of the mystery, have believed it. And we have also those who not only believed it, but worked according to it. Hence the two classes, saints and faithful.
These two groups are mentioned in 2 Tim 2:11-12. Those who have died with Him shall live with Him some time; those who suffer or endure shall reign with Him. Those who have died with Him are the saints; those who endure or suffer are the faithful.
Again in Phil 3:18-19 we find the saints falling into error, making their god their belly and minding earthly things. They will suffer loss for it. But in verse 14 in same chapter you find a faithful one seeking the prize of the high calling.
The last 3 chapters of Ephesians are taken up with instructions as to how to be faithful. The very first exhortation covers all the rest, Walk worthy. This includes such things as; keeping the unity, putting off the old man with his deeds, putting on the new man, and putting away lying (the lie). Also a 3-fold walk, in love, in light, and circumspectly. Being faithful involves the relationship of husbands and wives, parents and children, and servants and masters. Being faithful also involves being able to stand, to withstand, and when salvation has been worked out, to still stand; all this armed with the whole armor of God. This is how saints become faithful.
Remember this; a believer can do anything an unbeliever can do. He still has the old nature in him. That is why that chapter 2 of Colossians is taken up with "BEWARE." Even the apostle Paul was very concerned lest he should be unapproved (1 Cor 9:27).