Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the holy ones who are in Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to you and peace from God who is our Father and the Father of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

O how blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

He is the One who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ. Even as He chose us in Him from the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish in His presence.

In love He decided beforehand to adopt us unto Himself through Jesus Christ. This was all according to His good pleasure; it is precisely what He wanted to accomplish! All to the praise of the glory of His grace—grace that He has freely given to us. No! Grace that He has lavished upon us in the One whom he loves.

It is in this One-the One whom our God and Father adores, Jesus Christ-it is in this One that we have redemption! We have been purchased off the chopping block by His blood! And now, we are free! Free to serve God. Free to love God. Free to become everything that God intended for us to be!

Our defects? Our sins? All of those warts and blemishes that we brought upon ourselves through our selfish way of living? God sent them away! He made them disappear! They are gone forever! Why would God do such a thing? Well, all of this is according to His nature, His character, the very essence of who He is.

You see, in terms of grace, mercy, goodness, and compassion our God is immensely wealthy. He is rich in these things-rich beyond our wildest imagination. His being is filled to the absolute brim with goodness and grace.

And, He has made that grace (that mercy, that goodness, that compassion) overflow unto us. All that goodness flows from His character onto us, and into us. And one of the many results of this benevolent act of our God is that we are filled with wisdom and discernment that comes directly from Him.

He is constantly giving us knowledge—revealing facts to us about Himself and about what He is accomplishing. But, He is giving us more than mere facts, He is giving us the ability to properly understand those facts. And as we properly discern the facts of this life—as we begin to see and understand the history of the world from God’s perspective—He is giving us the ability to change our attitudes. He is empowering us to change our way of life based on what He is doing in the world. You can call this gift from God—or this grouping of gifts—the gift of discernment. Whatever you call it, it gives us the ability to personally witness the chaos of life, to endure the sufferings of life, to wade through the ambiguity, and the apparent meaninglessness of this creation run amok, and to still discern the presence of God. It empowers us to feel God’s movement in a fallen world, to see God’s presence in an evil environment, to latch on to God’s eternal purpose for all of life, to bring our lives into harmony with what God intended for His creation all along. What a way to live! Co-laboring with God as He mysteriously and gloriously carries out His eternal purpose right in front of our noses!

You see, God has revealed this mystery to us—the mystery of His will, His desire, His purpose for His creation. This mystery is no longer a secret—we know precisely what God is up to in the world because He has now told us what He is up to.

And bringing us in on His plan pleases God. In fact, revealing this mystery to us is precisely what God had intended to do in Christ from the beginning. Now that Christ has come, God has ushered in an entirely new dispensation:

  • A dispensation that has already begun (it began at the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead);
  • A dispensation that is now in full operation;
  • A dispensation that will come to its final conclusion at just the right time—a time that God Himself has predetermined!

Nothing ever can and nothing ever will prevent God from accomplishing His eternal purpose in and for His creation. And here is His eternal purpose in a nutshell:

  • To bring His entire creation—the things in the heavenlies and the things upon the earth—everything;
  • To bring it all back unto Himself in Christ!

And so it was in Christ that we were chosen. Don’t you see, God decided on us long beforehand. All of this is working together in order to accomplish God’s eternal purpose. This is exactly what He wants in and for His creation.

And so He called us unto Himself—those of us who were among the first to believe in Christ—in order that we might be to the praise of His glory. But this is not just about us. No way! This is about you too—those of you who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, those of you who have placed your trust in Christ. When you did that you were sealed by God—branded, permanently marked as belonging to Him!

When you placed your trust in Christ, God gave you His Holy Spirit—the very Spirit He promised long ago. And when He gave you His Spirit He was making a down payment—a tangible expression of an irrevocable promise. His promise to us is

  • That we are His and He is ours;
  • That we will inherit everything He promised us;
  • That we have been redeemed by Him.

All of this—every single detail: the planning of it, the carrying out of it, the pain of it, the suffering of it, the humiliation of it (as well as the victory, the glory, and the exaltation of it)—it is all His.

Concluding Remarks:

Brothers and sisters, there is not a single thing we can do to change this fallen world. We can’t even change our fallen selves, can we? We try, we try, and we try some more. We work, we work, and we work some more. We pray, and we pray, and we pray some more.

And in the end, what is left? A fallen human being—lots of potential, capable of good things here and there, able to fake it for a little while—but in the long run, a man or a woman who is absolutely incapable of escaping the ravages—the devastation—of  human sin.

For that reason, this passage from Ephesians ought to penetrate us to our very souls. That which we were and are incapable of doing for ourselves, God has done on our behalf. He planned it, He carried it out, and now, praise God, it is an accomplished fact of human history.

All we can do is embrace it. Accept it. Trust it. Obey it. Build our lives on it.

God has accomplished His eternal purpose for His creation. And brothers and sisters it ought to cause us to fall down on our knees before Him and worship.

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