So last week Lane preached on several distinguishing factors of life in Christ, and we saw that we’re redeemed for a purpose, we’re redeemed for God himself, and God gives us himself – namely his peace. This week, Lane preached on essentially the same verses, but took a different spin on them by walking through what God (through Paul) is teaching us in this passage. Rather than hitting the topics that are addressed and bringing a full biblical view of each of them, Lane did a great job on focusing his thoughts on this text, and not getting bogged down in the numerous potential rabbit trails he could’ve taken us down.
So in this more focused and direct approach to these specific verses in Ephesians 1, Lane sees that Paul shows us five blessings that God has given us in making us his.
First, God has Chosen us. (v. 4) Now this kind of a statement is normally ripe for intense theological discussion about God’s sovereignty and our responsibility and how those two interact. Many get caught up in that debate and lose significance of this precious truth by trying to argue their personal position. But that isn’t what Paul is trying to do. He is giving encouragement and explaining blessings so that the Church will be more unified and secure in Christ, not divided over a doctrine. So Lane’s point is that we should let the text speak for itself, no matter what we would prefer it say. Paul goes on to say that God has chosen us for a purpose – that we would be holy for God’s glory. This is not a suggestion or a hope… we have been chosen for holiness and for God’s glory.
Second, God has Predestined us. (v.5) Again, this choice of words can spark much debate and raise many voices, but like the first point, we must take the text and understand what God is telling us. God has lavished his love on us, and we are the undeserving recipients of such a grace as sons and daughters in his kingdom. We are his kids, and he loves, protects, provides for, and secures us as such.
Third, God has Forgiven us According to His Riches. (vv.7-10) God has not forgiven us according to how bad we are and how much we have offended him, but rather according to his character. This, in my opinion, is a brilliant understanding of the text, and quite frankly it blew my mind. We cannot out-sin his grace because it abounds all the more. And God is not manipulated by our sin – he’s not playing whack-a-mole with a grace club and keeping our sin at bay. Rather, he has given abundantly according to his own will and character as a loving, merciful God. See, it does not depend on human will or exertion, but rather on the grace of a free and sovereign God.
Fourth, God has Obtained us as His Inheritance. (v.11) There are many who get bogged down with this concept and wonder about the cool stuff that we get as heirs of God’s kingdom. And again, this is outside the scope of what Paul is talking about here. God encourages us by telling us that we are his inheritance… it’s not about the stuff we get, but rather whose we are. God has bought us with a price and we’re his. Since we know that, nothing else really matters – we know he is sovereign and good, and will give us what we need when we need it… so let’s rest in the fact that we are God’s and leave it at that. To be sure, there are several implications for this which we’ll get to in the coming chapters I’m sure, but for now, the point is to know that we are God’s.
Fifth, God has Sealed us as his inheritance. (vv.13-14) Following from the last point, not only are we God’s, but he has sealed us as his own. We are secure in his kingdom, and nothing can un-seal us. This is yet another precious truth that stems from God’s sovereignty and gives us hope for the future because it’s secured by God and not us. God has put an indelible mark on his children and none can reverse what our Creator and King has declared.
So these five thoughts left me with a few questions that I’ll work through this week and see where God takes them.
Is my whole life resonating the praise of God’s glory? Do I demonstrate the rhythm of the Gospel in my life (conviction, confession, repentance, restoration, reconciliation)?
Am I bringing the Gospel with me in all aspects of my life, or are there places that I am either avoiding or failing to bring it to bear?
By whose power am I living? Do I lean on Christ and praise him for providing, or am I trying to do life on my own in hopes that I can be the one who gets the glory?
Where is God calling me to obey him? Where in my life am I living in subtle disobedience, or even outright rebellion?
This week I’m praying for sensitivity to the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts at work so that I would be bold in my faith, and a blessing to those around me for the glory of God. I’m also praying that I would bring my knowledge of Scripture and the Gospel into an experiential understanding. It’s not enough for me to know and be able to articulate it… I must know it with my life and live it out by faith. So join me in worship that God has not left us to our own devices, but has mercifully brought us into his kingdom for his glory, and that we get the joy of living under that security and peace.