Friday, January 20, 2017, 4:04 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Trust Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 1:1-14 (NASB).
To the Faithful (vv. 1-2)
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul wrote here to the saints of God, and who are faithful in Christ Jesus. They are the loyal, true, trustworthy, dedicated, committed, persistent and continuous followers of Jesus Christ, who are full of and steadfast in faith and in allegiance to God, yet not yet perfect (fully mature). Yet, all the glory goes to God, for only in Him, by his grace, and in the power and working of His Holy Spirit within us, can any of us be found faithful in Christ Jesus.
Holy and Blameless (vv. 3-8a)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on 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 on us.
We who are in Christ Jesus, by faith in him, have been blessed with every spiritual blessing. So, what are some of those spiritual blessings we have been given? We have been granted faith and repentance unto forgiveness of sins and salvation. We have been delivered out of slavery to sin so that we can now become bond-servants (or bond-slaves) of God and of his righteousness. Also, we have been provided with new lives in Christ Jesus, free from bondage to sin, and free to now walk in the Spirit in God’s holiness, as well as the promise and hope of eternal life with God in heaven.
We, too, have been furnished with the Holy Spirit of God to indwell us, and to empower, strengthen and keep us in his love, as well as to teach, counsel, admonish, encourage, comfort and help us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing unto God. We have been given spiritual gifts of the Spirit for the building up of the body of Christ, and we have been assigned, by God, roles and responsibilities (body parts) within the church for the mutual edification of one another and for the furtherance of the gospel of Christ. And, we have been granted all we need, in the Spirit, to exercise these gifts and to fulfill these assigned roles, in love, and for the benefit of others.
We were chosen before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before God/Christ. What this means is that, even before God/Jesus created the world, he chose us to be one of his, and to be holy (set apart from the world because we are becoming like Christ) and blameless (because of what Jesus did in dying on the cross for our sins). He is the one who knit us together in our mother’s wombs, and who called us into his service even before we were born. What this is saying is that our God is absolutely sovereign over all that he has made, and that God even placed us with the parents he gave us, and he allowed us to go through the things we have gone through in our lives in order to make us into the people he wants us to be for his purposes and for his glory. And, he didn’t make us to be self-serving but to be God-honoring and obedient in all that we do.
According to His Purpose (vv. 8b-14)
In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
Our God is eternal, i.e. he is without beginning and without end. I, who am human, and finite, have difficulty with this concept, and yet I accept it by faith. My human mind thinks in terms of beginning and end, so eternity is something that is just difficult for my mind to grasp, and yet I believe it because God said it. Yet, because our God is eternal, and all knowing and all powerful, etc., he sees the whole big picture, and he planned the whole big picture, too. Even before he created the world he had us in mind, and who we should be, and what we should do, and what our ultimate end would be. And, yet, I believe he has also given us the will to choose him or to reject him, i.e. he didn’t make us puppets on a string and him the puppet master, as though we have no choice in what we do or how we behave. We do!
Anyway, the whole point of this is that we were not placed on this planet earth by chance or by accident. God made us for a purpose, and with eternity in mind. We are not here for our own will and good pleasure, but for the glory of God, and to serve his purposes for our lives. We are here on planet earth, in other words, to serve our Lord and to love our fellow humans with god-like (agape) love. We are also here to love God, and we love God by obeying Christ’s commandments (his Word).
When Jesus Christ died on a cross, he became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. We are for the praise of his glory! Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self) we will lose them (for eternity), but if we lose our lives (are crucified with Christ in death to sin), we will gain eternal life (See: 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Pet. 2:24; Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Ro. 8:1-14).
A lot of people are giving the impression these days that God’s grace is a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse, but this is far from the truth. God’s grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. In fact, Jesus Christ “gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Tit. 2:11-14). Through Jesus’ death on a cross he redeemed us (bought us back for God) with his blood, not so we could live however we want, but so we would be his very own possession and he would be our Lord (owner-master).
When Jesus is truly our Lord, and we are following him in obedience, and in surrender to his will for our lives, which he had planned for us all along, not everyone will like us. Many will hate and reject us, just as they hated and rejected Jesus Christ, and for many of the same reasons. And, yet we are not to fear what humans may do to us, because God has a plan for it all, to bring many to faith in Jesus Christ, and for the growth and maturity of his followers. We often grow the deepest in our faith with our Lord when our faith is being put to the test, i.e. when it is challenged by opposition. So, don’t be afraid of persecution, because it must come before times will have reached their fulfillment, and our Lord will return for us, his bride. Be strong in the Lord and in his love, and keep sharing Christ and love God fully.
Trust Him / An Original Work / August 15, 2012
Based off Psalm 27:14
Wait for the Lord; be of courage;
Be strong and take heart today.
Do not fear when foes attack you.
Trust in God always.
He will rescue you in times
Of trouble and distress,
He’ll comfort you in all ways
As you trust Him with your life today.
Trust in Him always.
God is with you; He’ll not leave you.
You can always count on Him.
He will fulfill all He promised
Before you began.
His word teaches you
All that you need for this life.
Let Him lead you. Open your heart;
Let his truth envelope you today.
Listen and obey.
Love your Lord God; follow Jesus.
Repent of your sins today.
Make Him your Lord and your master;
Trust Him and obey.
Follow Him where’er He leads you
In His service; be His witness,
Telling others about Jesus’
Price that He did pay
For your sins always.