In his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul wrote a marvelous description of what God has done for us and what it has cost Him. God has transformed our present, to give us a future in His presence.
As you read what Paul wrote, see if you can pick out the key themes:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.
In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. Ephesians 1:3-14.
- God has blessed us :
- He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ. These include the blessings of ongoing forgiveness, life in God’s kingdom, and entry one day into His very presence.
- God has chosen us:
- He has chosen us to be holy and blameless in His sight, when this was precisely what we were not. Therefore He has caused us to become holy and blameless. Long before God created men and women and long before our own lives began, God chose us. He chose us to be holy and blameless through our spiritual union with Jesus. He chose those who would choose Jesus and would trust him for their salvation.
- God has adopted us:
- He has adopted us into His own family, as His own children. Many of us know someone who has been adopted into a ‘forever family’ here on earth. They are loved and blessed to be just as much a part of their new family as they would have been, had they been born into it. God has done the same with us. He brought us into His forever family in heaven, where we are loved and blessed to receive an inheritance right alongside God’s one and only Son.
- God has redeemed us:
- He has forgiven our sins and lavished his grace upon us. Having been pardoned by God, we no longer live under the death sentence that our disobedience deserved. Christ has borne our penalty in his body on the cross and paid with his own blood. Payment has been made in full by the only one ‘good enough’ and ‘worthy enough’ to do so. We are no longer trapped in the brokenness of this world, nor by the brokenness of our own lives.
- God has informed us :
- God has explained His eternal plan for our salvation which in former times was kept secret. What had only been hinted at in Old Testament scripture was accomplished and revealed through Jesus Christ. Everything that we need to know in order to be saved and to live in God’s kingdom has been made known. Nothing pertaining to ‘life and godliness’ has been withheld.
- God has made us His heirs:
- We aresealed by the Holy Spirit, guaranteeing our final redemption. We have an eternal home, a destination made ready for us by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The time is coming when we will know God as fully, as He knows us. Having seen these things and received them by faith they are that for which we fervently hope.
What a marvelous description of what God has done for us at the cost of His own Son so that we might live in Him now and be with him forever.
More than anything, the apostle Paul wants us to take all of this to heart. To understand it, to long for it, to hope and to cling to it. Just a few verses later he worded a prayer for God to make it so.
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” Ephesians 1:18-19, (NASB) (Emphasis mine).
This is theology at it’s best; true insight into the very mind and heart of God. It is the foundation upon which the doctrines of the New Testament rest. And what makes it so, is that it is real, for it is true.
It is therefore absolutely crucial that we accept it as ‘the word of God’ in order to live with this certainty from day to day. Let’s be reminded – and remind each other – that we have been blessed, we have been chosen, we have been called, we have been adopted, we have been redeemed, we have been informed, and we have been sealed.
Paul wrote in the past tense because all of these great acts of God had already been accomplished. Furthermore, all of the persons of the Godhead – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – are at this present time working together on our behalf.
Ephesians 1:3-14 and 18-19 deserves to be read, again and again to let the richness of God’s grace and the power of His deeds encourage and strengthen. May God indeed be praised by us!
Kitchener, April 2021.