Ephesians 1:1-6 ESV
“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 to himself 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.”
Blessed of God
This letter of Paul’s is written to the saints (the holy ones) of God, the set apart by and for God, who now have the likeness of nature with the Lord, by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ. They are also the set apart (unlike, different) from the world, for Jesus called us out of the world.
These saints of God are also the faithful in Christ Jesus. They are the trustworthy, believing, and faithful saints (holy ones) of God, by God’s grace and through genuine faith in Jesus Christ. They believe God and his word, for they have been divinely persuaded (convinced) as to God’s perfect will for their lives. So, they submit to that purpose.
These are those who are blessed of God in Christ Jesus with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. We are blessed with God’s love, his mercy, his grace, his forgiveness, his salvation, his deliverance of us from our bondage to sin, and with empowerment of the Spirit to live godly lives. And we are blessed of God with eternal life.
And we are also blessed with his comfort, encouragement, hope, healing, nurturing, teaching, counsel, guidance, protection, and the like.
We still live in flesh bodies, though. So, we still have the propensity to sin, and we are still capable of sinning against our Lord. But we are no longer under the control (power) of or slavery (bondage) to sin. Sin no longer has dominion over our lives, for Jesus set us free. We now have empowerment of God’s Spirit to say “No” to sin and “Yes” to God and to his will.
According to His Purpose
I don’t know about you, but this just “blows me away,” i.e. it absolutely amazes me. God the Father chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. Before he created the world, he already had chosen us in him. He had planned for us to be his before he even made the first man and woman.
And he chose us, not just so he could forgive our sins, and not just so we could go to heaven when we die. He chose us to be holy, set apart for God and apart from the world, to be conformed to his likeness, and to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world.
Before he created the world, he already had planned that Jesus Christ, God the Son, would be the sacrificial Lamb to take away the sins of the world. For, if God chose us before the foundation of the world, then he already planned on Jesus dying for our sins before the creation of the world, too.
And why did Jesus die? He died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. His gave his life blood up for us on that cross that we might honor him with our lives (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15, 21; 1 Co 6:19-20).
When we believe in Jesus with God-given faith, we die with him to sin that we might walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin (Rom 6:1-23; Lu 9:23-26; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
For, his plan was that now we would walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God and no longer according to the flesh. For if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. But if we walk according to the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we have eternal life (Rom 8:1-17).
Ephesians 1:7-10 ESV
“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.”
To be redeemed means to be bought back for God, which is what Jesus did for us when he shed his blood for us on that cross. He bought us back for God so that we would now honor God with our lives (1 Co 6:19-20).
He forgave us our sins so that we would no longer be under condemnation but that we would now walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh.
But this is not merely a suggestion or a recommendation, but it is a command of God. For if we continue in our sin, and if we walk according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit, we don’t have eternal life with God. Instead, we will die in our sins because we did not die to our sins.
Therefore, not everyone who professes faith in Jesus Christ has God-given faith which results in repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord. Not everyone who says they are saved and bound for heaven are saved and bound for heaven. For, if we don’t repent, and we don’t obey, and we continue living how we want, then we don’t have eternal life with God.
But, yes, all that God has provided for us, and everything he has done and is doing for us, and all the blessings we have from God are all because of his grace and not from ourselves. There is not one thing we can do in our flesh to ever be good enough or to earn God’s approval. Even the faith to believe and the repentance necessary are gifted to us by God.
We just have to appropriate to our lives what the Lord has provided for us, and this only comes through surrender to our Lord’s will and via submission to his Lordship over our lives. If we try to go it in the flesh, we will fail. We must yield to the Holy Spirit’s control and follow our Lord wherever he leads us. Then, it is Christ in us who gets the glory, and not ourselves.
An Original Work / January 10, 2012
Fellowshipping with my Lord, Savior, King.
He is Lord of all; Lord of ev’rything.
He is with me through ev’ry hour of day,
List’ning to me speak, as I humbly pray.
He cares for my needs,
and He intercedes for me,
‘cause He loves me in ev’ry way.
Obey His commands, and do all He says.
Sitting at His feet, daily in His word,
Let His word speak to me in ev’ry way,
Giving comfort and healing through each day.
Oh, how Jesus loves,
And He cares for you,
Which is why He died for our sins, in truth.
Love our Lord God, Savior, and King of kings.
Worship Him in truth, for He reigns supreme.
He created us with a plan in mind
For us to be His servants, and Him mind.
Follow Him in truth;
Go where’er He leads.
Share His love with others, and their needs meet.
Others: their needs meet.