Photo Credit: Micheal Podger via Unsplash
In my recent bible study, Entrusted by Beth Moore on 2 Timothy, I’ve fallen in love with the apostle Paul. I love that most of his encouragement was done through writing letters. He offered encouragement while living in the worst of conditions locked away in prison. Set apart, but not forgotten and never unfruitful. Even then he was a good steward. His heart burdened with the responsibility of sharing the good news. He needed to make sure that others knew how to live as we are called.
Paul wrote most of the New Testament. Lately, as I read I’ve fallen in love with his salutation in most letters. May grace (God’s unmerited favor) and spiritual peace [which means peace with God and harmony, unity, and undisturbedness] be yours from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:2 That is just an amazing way to start a letter. I want you to have grace-God’s favor, God’s empowerment, I want you to have spiritual peace. Be settled, undisturbed, unmovable, be in unity. This greeting appears in all but 3 books that Paul wrote. It was of great importance to him. When we read sometimes we dismiss the beauty in the greetings. I hear his heart’s cry. Be at peace with God, with one another. Rest in knowing God is in control.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul writes to the universal church. Likely the letter was shared from church to church in that region. Paul writes to the saints who are faithful, loyal, and steadfast in Christ Jesus (vs. 1). Since the Bible says that we are saints (1 Cor. 1:2) then we know Paul is also speaking to us. So when we read Ephesians we should take it personally.
We see that we are blessed by God in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm (vs. 3). This means that we have access to the power that Jesus had and walked in on the earth.
Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.
5 For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]—
6 [So that we might be] to the praise and the commendation of His glorious grace (favor and mercy), which He so freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:4-6
God chose us before we were ever born because He loved us! He planned in advance to adopt us. This way there could be no doubt that He wanted us or was stuck with us. The beauty in adoption is that no one is forced to adopt or pick a child they would not like. Adoption gives the parents the ability to choose exactly the child they would like. Adoption is all about making an intentional well thought out choice. There has never once been an accidental adoption. You could have an unplanned pregnancy. Adoption though is always planned and sought out and prepared for. God has adopted you!
In Him we have redemption (deliverance and salvation) through His blood, the remission (forgiveness) of our offenses (shortcomings and trespasses), in accordance with the riches and the generosity of His gracious favor, 8 Which He lavished upon us in every kind of wisdom and understanding (practical insight and prudence), Ephesians 1:7-8. He lavishly gives us insight and wisdom. He shows us His will (vs 9). [He planned] for the maturity of the times and the climax of the ages to unify all things and head them up and consummate them in Christ, [both] things in heaven and things on the earth. 11 In Him we also were made [God’s] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will,
His will is we be unified in Christ in Heaven and on Earth. Is it any wonder that the enemy tries so hard to create division. Satan always tries to produce the opposite of what God intended. Our world is more divided than ever before. Time is short and as long as we allow division we make ourselves weak. If we are walking in love and unity side by side then we would see God’s glory as never before. God’s glory on Earth as it is in Heaven.
We must learn to be quick to repent when we break the commandment of love. For each time we step away from that we give satan place in our lives. We have every spiritual blessing! Looking ahead we are also seated with Christ in Heavenly places (Eph 2:6). That means that satan is already under our feet. We need to begin to walk in the authority that we have. I encourage you to take some time to meditate on Ephesians 1:1-11 and see what this means for you this week.