Ray's Study of Ephesians: Part 1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed 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 upon us, in all wisdom and insight 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. 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. 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.
-Ephesians 1:1-14, ESV
Adopted by God
- Adopted by God
You have been, in love, adopted...
There is no doubt about it: Ephesians is my favorite book in the Bible. Every time I read through Ephesians I learn something new. It's why you see so many highlights and writings in the photo above.
Last week I wrote an article about what it means to be adopted. Much of that article came from my passion for the book of Ephesians. In light of that passion, I've decided to write a series of mini devotionals on the book. If you're interested in the Adopted article, I am including a link to the right.
This book starts out like so many of Paul's letters - with a friendly greeting. But he jumps right into the purpose of his letter. Right away in verse 4 Paul sends a powerful message: You have been chosen before the foundation of the world. When I think of being chosen, I tend to think back to high school gym class. Lined up against the wall just begging to not be the very last person chosen for whatever game was on the agenda for the day. I'm not a very athletic person and I certainly was not one in high school. Being chosen early in gym was not something I experienced. I did, however, often experience being one of the first out in a game of dodgeball.
It is easy in life to sometimes feel the same way. I look at my life and the mistakes that I have made and wonder how God will use any of them. This passage serves as a gentle reminder that before the world was even created, we have been chosen by the very Creator of the universe.
Let that soak in for a minute. You have been chosen long before the word was created.
In Genesis 1 and 2 we see the world as God intended. We see Adam and Eve in perfect relationship with God the Father. We see a perfect creation where death and destruction wasn't even a thought. We see mankind as God intended us to be - one with Him. And long before Adam and Eve bit that fruit, God knew that mankind would rebel. Yet still, before the foundation of the world...He chose.
But we have this problem of sin causing us to be separated from Him. Another problem that God the knew long before it happened. And He chose. He chose to to offer up His Son, Jesus Christ, as the redemption for our sins and trespasses. It was the price that He was willing to pay to bring us back into His family. He created us, we rebelled and He bought us back. And because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross, God looks at you and sees one who is holy and blameless.
If you're like me, you may be wondering why He chose. The answer is found at the very end of verse 4: In love. God the Father chose because He loves you. The greek word for love used here is Agape, a self-sacrificing love. This is the very essence of God. He sacrificed so much to adopt you and buy you back. He sacrificially loves you now just as He did before the world was formed.
I hope that by now you see that you are the glory of His beautiful creation. You are His masterpiece. After every piece of creation God called it good. It wasn't until man was created that He called anything very good. And here's the important message: You still are very good to Him.
As you go through your day, remind yourself that in Agape love, The Father chose you. And He is still choosing you. He wants you to come to Him. To be one with Him. You are His son and His daughter.
He chose you. The question is will you choose Him?
You are the glory of His beautiful creation. You are His masterpiece. You are loved by the One who is love defined.
© 2015 Ray Smith