Ephesians 1:3, 7, 11 – “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… In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace… In him we have obtained an inheritance…”
As Paul begins writing to the Ephesians in 1:3, if you are reading this carefully, you almost get the sense that he is like a little child who has just gone on his first rollercoaster and had the time of his life. Or like a son or daughter desperate to get the attention of his Mom or Dad to tell them about something that has happened to them that they are very excited about. Ephesians 1:3-14 is all one extremely long run-on sentence in the original Greek. Paul is pumped, and he is spewing it out on the paper without taking a breath!
Within the words of Ephesians 1:3-14 include some of the most heated and divisive topics within the evangelical Christian church. Topics such as predestination, redemption, grace, God’s will, our inheritance, and so on. Yet, unfortunately, with all of the division and disagreement that is found in these verses, sometimes we miss the forest while we are making our way through the trees.
Paul is absolutely pumped about what he is sharing. When I read Paul here, I think the best way to summarize Paul’s words would be to hear Paul say, “LOOK AT WHAT GOD HAS DONE!!!” He is worthy of our blessing! He has blessed us. He chose us. He predestined us in love to be adopted as his sons! He has redeemed us through Christ’s blood. He has forgiven us of our trespasses. He has lavished his grace on us! He has revealed his mysterious will to us. He is working to unite all things to himself. We have obtained an inheritance from him! He is changing us to be for the praise of his glory! He sealed us with the Spirit who is the guarantee of our inheritance. LOOK AT WHAT GOD HAS DONE!
Wading through the trees, we obsess over the details of predestination and adoption and his grace and our inheritance and the Holy Spirit. Those are all glorious things to take joy in and study and seek to understand. But if we get caught up in the hoopla surrounding the debates, we miss the great and glorious work that shows us that it is not by our works that we are saved. It is by his glorious and gracious and loving work.
This is a reminder that we must all receive on a regular basis. God has done and is doing incredible things in and around us. He is working for the praise of his glory in us. If we don’t pay attention, we will miss it. We will begin to take credit for the blessings God showers on us. We will begin to think that the great work we see God doing is because we have somehow done something to earn his favor.
May we be like Paul who was so caught up in the glorious work of what God has done, that our lives shout out to the world: LOOK AT WHAT GOD HAS DONE!