From Death to Life: It’s All About Christ (Ephesians 1:1-6)
It’s All About Christ (Ephesians 1:1-6)
You Have Every Spiritual Blessing (1:3) If this were a Psalm, it’s a hymn of praise, not in minor chords with a melancholy cadence but a shout of joy in double-time. “Blessed be God who has blessedus with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”
This is the power of the resurrection. God is a holy blessing in his nature and those he blesses bless Him! When was the last time you blessed and praised Yahweh? Paul blessed the Father often; he couldn’t help himself.
Take-Home: How can you not bless the One who gives every spiritual blessing?
When you find Christ, you receive eternal blessings. Not one blessing, not two blessings, but every blessing. Let that sink in, every gift that the Father has; He wants to pour out on you. Every blessing the Father has, He has reigned down upon you in Jesus Christ.
So, where can you find these blessings? They are in the heavenlies. Notice that Paul did not say heaven, but heavenlies. God’s gifts are always spiritual, which means if you are only looking for earthly blessings, you are bound to miss spiritual blessings. But every spiritual blessing impacts your life today. Like a good gumbo that marinates over time, God’s blessings fill your soul today but get better day after day.
Take-Home: When you are united with Jesus by faith in the Gospel, every blessing belongs to you.
You Have Been Chosen (1:4-6) Blessing (What) is the broad description of Yahweh's mercy; now Paul moves to the particulars (How). For he chose us in Him. To choose something is to pick someone out for yourself.
The concept of chosenness is profoundly biblical and thoroughly Jewish. Deut 7:7 “The LORD had his heart set on you and chose you, not because you were more numerous than all peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples.
Now you might ask, “Didn’t I choose God?” Yes, you did, and freely, but only because in eternity, God had first decided and prepared a way for you (Stott).
By saying God chose and predestined (1:5) us, with deeply Exodus language, Paul juxtaposes the salvation of all who believe in Jesus with the promised redemption through the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob).
Can you imagine, you a Gentile in Ephesus, hearing that your hope and salvation is of equal value and status as the Jewish patriarchs?
Take-Home: Your salvation is not second-rate!
When Yahweh chose Abraham and made a covenant with Israel, it revealed who He is, the relational God.
Take-Home: The Father is not only interested in your submission but relationship. You will be myown possession out of all the peoples, although the whole earth is mine (Exod. 19:5). When God chose you, He changed the paradigm from duty to devotion. Duty will only carry you so far, devotion lasts forever.
It’s not about You; it’s about US – I often hear the topic of divine chosenness couched in individualistic language, “God chose/predestined me.” However, the biblical record has an entirely different emphasis. The Father’s election is primarily a corporate truth. When you think of the Father’s eternal mercy, it’s we, not me. God’s salvation was never designed as a solo endeavor. From the beginning, the Lord planned for all nations, tribes, and tongues to worship in relationship around His eternal throne!
It's not about you; it's all about Jesus – In this opening passage, the name or title of Jesus Christ is mentioned no less than fifteen times. Jesus is the way that God’s salvation comes to pass. In Christ, the open door, you experience abundant and eternal life. God puts Christ and us together in his mind from the very beginning.
God always had a plan. The Father chose us in him before the foundations of the world. A common expression in the NT, Paul affirms that your salvation was designed before creation, rooted in the mind and compassionate nature of the Triune God. Before you needed Him, the Father made a way. This is the NT’s way of saying that Yahweh did not leave your salvation to chance; He made the way, prepared the sacrifice, and offered the invitation before the foundations of the world.
Take-Home: Before you needed Him, the Father made a way.
Just because it’s not about you doesn’t mean you have no responsibility. For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him. Before the foundations of the world, God made way for you to know him and experience His love for at least two purposes:
Jesus makes you blameless, a common word that refers to the unblemished offering a person would sacrifice to God. Jesus, the innocent lamb, died for you so that you would be holy. In other words, salvation that doesn’t result in a life of change has not changed your life.
Take-Home: Jesus died and chose so that you would LIVE for Him.
You also have a new responsibility chosen by God to love deeply. John 13:34 “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Take-Home: Jesus died and chose so that you would LOVE for Him.
You have been chosen and predestined. The word predestined itself has been the cause of numerous theological debates, books, and brawls throughout history. Yet, Paul is not saying anything new but simply describing God’s choice more fully. If you will, Paul is looking at the jewel of salvation from a slightly different angle. One side he calls chosen, the other angle he terms predestined.
God choosing and predestining has nothing to do with determinism or fatalism. To ask what part of salvation is God’s part and what is man’s is misguided, assuming humanity and Yahweh stand in isolation.
Take-Home: Salvation is entirely the work of the Lord in which humans are totally involved.
Knowing that creation would be tainted by sin and the Fall, why did God create at all? In the words of John Stott, “the Father destined us for a higher dignity that even creation would bestow on us. He intended to adopt us.
Adoption, what a beautiful picture of the Lord’s mercy. Why would Paul use this language? The legal adoption process was unknown in Hebrew society, but well known in the Roman world.
I have friends in this local church who have adopted, some are fostering right now, and they tell me about the love you feel when you first walk in and see the one who is to be your child. This child is going to become part of their family. They will grow up w/ your name as your children; they are going to become heirs of your wealth.
That’s what Jesus did to us. He walked into the orphanage into our orphanage of sin and said, ‘that one... I will give that one everything.’ So when the Lord adopted you in Christ, you receive a relationship with Abba similar to Jesus’ relationship with His Father. You are part of the family.
When you adopt, one of the things you do, and one of the most difficult, teach the adopted child your values. That’s what God did. In predestining us to be sons, God determined that He would make us into people who reflected His values, people whose lives would bring him glory.
Take-Home: Relationship with the Father always leads to a life that reflects the Father’s values.Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and don’t do the things I say?
God did not leave your salvation to chance. Before you needed Him, the Father made a way.
If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child and having God as his father. –J.I. Packer
Do you see God as your Father? Do you feel worthy to be called His son or daughter?
If you want to follow Jesus as your Lord and Savior you can do so using words like this:
My life is broken—I recognize its because of my sin. I need You. I believe Christ came to live, die and was raised from the dead to rescue me from my sin. Forgive me. I turn from my selfish ways and put my trust in You. I know that Jesus is Lord of all, and I will follow Him.