Ephesians chapter 1 is the kind of chapter where I don't really know where to begin. There is so much here to digest, to wonder over and to thank God for. However, there is a clear theme that is repeated again and again throughout the chapter. That theme is the sovereignty of God in our salvation and in our lives as a whole.
Paul doesn't get past verse 1 before reminding us that his apostleship is "by the will of God."
He tells us that the Father has blessed us with "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" and then lets us know that this blessing is based on His sovereign choice of us "before the foundation of the world."
He goes on to say that God's motivation was love as He "predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will."
God did this "to the praise of his glorious grace" and invited us into by "making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth."
Long story short: You cannot read this first paragraph without concluding that God is the initiator in our salvation, not us. You may have a hard time wrapping your mind around it (I sure do), but that doesn't make it any less true. I often think of the sovereignty of God this way...
I don't fully understand it, but I sure do appreciate it! I don't really "get it," but I sure am thankful. Paul goes on to tell us why we should be ecstatically thankful.
(1:11-12) In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
So, if God is absolutely sovereign, what am I responsible for? Paul answers by reminding his readers of their own experience upon hearing the Gospel.
(1:13-14) In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Our responsibility is simply to believe!
So, as a believer, how should I respond to the truth of Ephesians 1? Paul tells us 3 times!
- (5:6) ...to the praise of His glorious grace.
- (5:12) ...to the praise of His glory.
- (5:14) ...to the praise of His glory.
After all, Jesus is "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come."
More in A Year Through The New Testament
December 31, 2014So, who wins?
December 17, 2014An Inevitable Victory
December 11, 2014Eternal Realities
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