Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ephesians 1:3-6

Ephesians 1:3-6
Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the one who blessed us in every spiritual blessing in the heavenly things in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the beginning of the world to be holy and blameless before Him in love after determining beforehand for us to be in Him into adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will, into the praise of glory of His grace that He bestowed upon us in the one who has been loved.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

This writing style is traditional Paul.  There are run-on sentences, little punctuation, and clause after clause after clause of thoughts piled on top of one another.  Don’t be distracted by the writing style.  It is confusing, and that’s okay.  It’s good to see this style, because it actually reads as a deep theologian excited about what he is saying.  People speak in run-on sentences typically when they are excited and are trying to convey much information on one topic in a very limited amount of time or space.  It is easy for us to read this passage and critique him on his grammar and lack of punctuation.  A better response is to hear his excitement and desire to give as much praise to God as possible.  In this sense, Paul is very much like a teenage girl who has had the best thing ever happen to her.  Paul explodes with wonderful praise and glory to God, leaving it up to the listener to sort out all of the details into a pattern that makes logical and rational sense.

Is it easy to get lost in the midst of Paul’s enthusiasm?  Why can this be frustrating?  How can this actually be an example for us to not be afraid of being excited about God rather than a trip down into frustration about not being able to understand?

Second Thought:

One of the preeminent themes in Ephesians is Jesus Christ – as it should be.   Look at what Paul traces back to Christ in this passage.  Our spiritual blessings come in Christ.  The fact that God chose us is in Christ.  Our adoption comes through Christ.  Even the reference at the end about “the one who has been loved” is a reference to Christ.  Paul’s message here should be crystal clear.  We are in a relationship with God because of Christ.  He is the reason for salvation, forgiveness, grace, mercy, relationship … everything.  All that we have in this life that is good comes from the hand of God through the lens of Jesus Christ.

Why is Jesus so central to God’s grace?  What does this mean for you and how you think about God?  How can this central focus on Christ influence how you speak to people around you?

Third Thought:

Taking this point a little deeper, notice how much of what Paul says here is God’s effort versus how much of this is our effort.  In fact, everything listed here is God’s effort.  Salvation is God’s effort.  Grace is God’s effort.  Love is God’s effort.  Blessing is God’s effort.  In fact, Paul is even clear that all of these things come because God chose.  We don’t choose God, He chooses us.  We cannot come to God without Him first coming the whole way to us.  Paul’s thrust as he opens this letter is that everything always starts with God.  God chose relationship when we did not deserve it.  He deserves the praise.

What is the difference between living as though we chose God versus living as though God chose us?  How are these significant shifts in thinking away from one another?  Why is this point vitally important to your life?


Passage for Tomorrow: Ephesians 1:7-10
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