Prison Pen-pal: Ephesians 1:3-10

I’ve been disobedient to the call on my life. Part of that call is to write about the Bible in a way that makes sense for people. I’m sorry for having ignored God. Part of my disobedience was that I felt insignificant. I wasn’t getting likes or comments. It was disheartening that I wasn’t popular or important on the internet. While journaling the other day God’s Spirit awakened my heart to a very encouraging reality. I’m not important. In fact, the word he illuminated for me was “inconsequential.” For some that might sound harsh, but for me it was invigorating! I am inconsequential! But God has given me a very consequential task which I must take seriously.

My friend Carl and I are reading through the book of Ephesians throughout March as many times as we can. I welcome you to join us and be nourished by the truth of God’s word. I’ll write a bit on here about little revelations I gather from the text.

This series will be called: Prison Pen-Pal, because Paul was in prison when he wrote this letter.

Ephesians 1:3 – 10 // Praise for Spiritual Blessings in Christ

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace,which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he[d]made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

Every Spiritual Blessing

After Paul’s introduction he writes that God has “blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” The following verses explain what the spiritual blessings are and what they look like. I see four blessings that belong to the faithful in Christ.

1. He Chose Us

Playing sports as a kid can be rough. Two captains pick the best players and what’s left, usually the athletically disinclined, end up staring at their friends from the bleachers. This is not the case with God. Before God set into motion the creation of the world He picked us. He selected us for his team. We aren’t JV or B squad. He picked us. It wasn’t just to be on his team but to be “holy and blameless in his sight.” This requires effort on our end. We cannot be holy if we do not live crucified lives. We cannot be blameless if we reject the lifestyle of Jesus.

God chose us, we must choose him!

2. He predestined us for adoption

One of the most beautiful things in the world is adoption. I have an aunt and uncle who have adopted two beautiful little Chinese girls. They are, at least in character, diametric opposites in terms of social interaction, energy, and disposition; and they are WONDERFUL! God similarly, regardless of our attributes, adopts us. He brings us into his family. The word “predestined” is controversial to some but here I believe it is awe-inspiring.

That God would elect me to son-ship in light of my failures is baffling. Not only does he select us to be his sons and daughters, co-heirs with Jesus, he does it with pleasure. He is not begrudging the decision to broaden his home for us. He is not living in frustration at the decision to allow us into his family. No, it is God’s pleasure!

3. We Have Redemption Through His Blood

Blood sacrifice is an odd concept for the modern world. Why kill something? Killing doesn’t fix anything, does it? Imagine that you had committed many, many crimes against society. You have if you think about it. You’ve lied to people you love; this is perjury. You’ve hated humans; this is murder. You’ve squandered company time; this is theft. Each man and woman has a mountain of wrong doing built up against them. The evidence is overwhelming.

Imagine that you had to pay the penalty for your actions (or inaction). The jury declares you guilty and decides that your penalty is death. Your blood must be spilled to satisfy the need for justice by those you’ve wronged. When the day of retribution comes, when your debt will be paid, another person comes to take your place. What has this person done wrong? Nothing. Why would he do this for you? Because he loves you, and the debt must be paid.

The theology of sacrifice runs deep throughout the Bible. But animal sacrifice wouldn’t cut it. Animals are not human. They do not atone for our misdeeds. The Hebrews would require that the animal sacrifice be spotless. Not blemish. No damaged goods allowed. This is why Jesus had to live a perfect life and have a human body. He had to be spotless, absolutely perfect, with real flesh to redeem man from themselves and from God’s need for a payment.

The redemption that comes through his blood provides us forgiveness of sin (missing the mark). It was a provision of God that came through grace by God’s riches. His great love provided a perfect sacrifice to atone for our fallen, broken, inadequate nature. And he LAVISHED it upon us. He pours out this gift freely, without qualm or hesitation! What a generous God! He is not waiting upon the clouds with a bat, waiting for us to mess up so that He might pummel us. He is waiting in heavens with grace ready to LAVISH is down upon us. What favor! What amazing grace!

4. He Made Known To Us The Mystery

What I don’t get about those that don’t accept the love of God, is that they often are mystified about the mystery. It bothers them that they don’t have it all figured out. That they do not, and cannot, have all the answers about God.

If God is truly God; the all-powerful, ever-present, all-knowing God, then He cannot be figured out. He is limitless. We are limited. And yet He has revealed part of His mystery. This is the man Jesus. The Christ. The redeeming Savior King.

God did not do this flippantly. He is not capricious. Paul writes that “With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will.” Great preparation was made so that Jesus’ entrance into the world would have the exact desired effect on eternity.

This is the mystery. “For God so love the world that He gave his only Son…” (John 3:16).

God gave. All we must do is believe and we will received. This gift is precious and free. It is mysterious and worth pondering and seeking and treasuring and sharing for all our lives.

 

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The end result of the blessings of God for us is that all things will be united under Christ. All things on earth, under the earth, above the earth and around the heavens in the unknown galaxies ever-expanding. It will all be brought into unity. The galaxy is a vastly beautiful space right now. Imagine its beauty when it has been brought into unity under Christ through God.

 

One Comment Add yours

  1. kmederich says:

    Great way to celebrate March with Ephesians. I have felt the same way about putting my soul out there on the internet. I have found that there are people who read it but usually don’t respond. That is just the way it is in the cold north!

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