The Mystery of His Will

Ephesians 1:1-2 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.”

The teachings here are addressed to the saints, specifically to those who are in Ephesus. But as is applicable to all followers of Christ, this can be applied to all who are committed to Christ to following him wherever he leads them.

For, a saint here is not speaking of someone who has died and who has been declared by a church (or an institutional church) to be a saint. A saint is one who is holy, (unlike) different from the world, because he/she is of the likeness of the nature with the Lord through genuine faith in him (Eph 4:24).

These saints are the faithful in Christ Jesus. They are those who have been persuaded of God to believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives, and they are loyal to that faith. They have fullness of faith in Christ which is evidenced by what they do in heart response to God (Hebrews 11).

Ephesians 1:3-6 ESV

“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.”

So, the “us” being spoken of here are us who have been divinely persuaded to put our hope and trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord (master) and Savior of our lives, who have died with Christ to sin, and who have been resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him (Jn 6:44; Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).

We are no longer one with the world doing all the kinds of things that people do in the flesh, for we have now been united with Christ as one with him through faith in him so that we are now becoming like him in thought, word, and deed. For, Jesus delivered us from our slavery to sin so that we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).

We have been blessed of God in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. And what are some of those blessings?

• Divine persuasion to believe in Jesus Christ (Jn 6:44)
• God’s grace to us in the gift of salvation from sin (Eph 2:8-9)
• God’s grace to us in the gift of faith to believe (Eph 2:8-9)
• Death with Christ to sin & resurrection to new life (Rom 6:1-23)
• Deliverance from slavery to sin & empowerment to live righteously as slaves to God (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9)
• Transformed hearts, minds, and lives of God’s Spirit (Eph 4:17-24)
• The Holy Spirit given to all who obey him (Jn 14:15-18; Acts 5:32)
• Forgiveness of sins (Col 1:14; Matt 26:28; Lu 24:47; Ac 26:18)
• Adoption into God’s family (Rom 8:14-17; Eph 1:5)

He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (unlike the world, like Christ) and blameless (pure, upright) before him. He chose us for adoption to himself as sons and daughters through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of his will.

And he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. And repentance is not merely a change of mind, but it is a change of mindset resulting in a change of heart, attitude, beliefs, and behaviors. It is being turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God so we can receive forgiveness of sins (Acts 26:18).

And it is his will that we should be holy in all our conduct and that we should no longer live according to the flesh but that we should walk (in conduct) according to the Spirit. And it is his will that we should leave our lives of sin behind us to follow him in obedience to his commands (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Pet 2:24).

And we and all that he has created us to be are all for the glory and praise of God. Our lives are to be lived for his glory to give him honor and praise, respect and reverence, and obedience and submission to his will and purpose for our lives (Rom 12:1-2; 2 Co 5:9; Gal 6:7-8; Col 1:9-11).

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.”

When Jesus Christ shed his blood for us on that cross, he did so in order to redeem us (to buy us back for God) so that we would now be God’s possession and so that we would now glorify (honor) God with our lives (Tit 2:11-14; 1 Pet 2:9; 1 Co 6:19-20; Eph 2:10; 1 Co 15:23; Gal 5:24).

Redemption also means salvation and deliverance from our slavery to sin so that we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. We are delivered out of bondage to sin so that we can now walk in obedience to our Lord to follow him in his ways and in his truth (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; Rom 12:1-2; 2 Co 5:15; Lu 9:23-26).

There is no forgiveness, though, where this transformation does not occur. We aren’t forgiven our sins on a mere confession or profession of Christ as Savior of our lives. We must be born again. The old life must be put to death with Christ so that we can be reborn to our new lives in Christ, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (1 Jn 1:5-9; Eph 4:17-24).

For, if we continue living in sin deliberately and willfully, making sin our practice (habit, addiction), then we don’t have forgiveness of sin and the hope of eternal life with God, but we will die in our sins. For, we are all going to be judged by what we did, by how we lived, whether we lived to please our flesh, or whether we lived to please God (Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10).

For, all of this is according to God’s plan and purpose, and it is not according to the will of man. We can’t make up our own gospel to fit our own will and purposes or our own lifestyle choices. If we live to Christ, we will live with Christ for eternity. But if we live to the flesh, it will end in death (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10; Gal 6:7-8).

Here I Am, Lord

By Daniel L. Schutte

I, the Lord of sea and sky
I have heard my people cry
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save
I who made the stars of night
I will make their darkness bright
Who will bear my light to them?
Whom shall I send?

Here I am, Lord
Is it I, Lord?
I have heard You calling in the night
I will go, Lord
If You lead me
I will hold Your people in my heart…

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