As I look at the first two chapters of Ephesians, I can’t help but marvel all over again at all that God has given you and me who have put our faith in Jesus.
Paul starts this letter to the Ephesians in worship, saying,
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. (3)
How have we been blessed?
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons 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. (4-8)
That’s a mouthful. Paul tells us that before this world was ever created God had a plan. He chose us to be a people that are holy and blameless in his sight. This despite the fact that he knew we would be a sinful, rebellious people who would turn our backs on him.
But though he knew all this, he made a plan to save us and make us his own. He sent Jesus to die on the cross and take the punishment for our sins that we might be forgiven. By his blood, he bought us out of slavery to sin and did not merely make us his own slaves, but adopted us as his beloved sons and daughters.
More, he has put his seal on us, guaranteeing our inheritance with him. The Holy Spirit both protects us and holds us from anything that would tear us apart from God, and his presence and work in our lives is a foretaste of what we will have someday in heaven when we see God face to face.
All this was not because of anything we did, but rather it was entirely because of his own pleasure and will.
And when God chose us, this was by no means some random or capricious choosing of who to save and who not to save. Rather, Paul tells us, “in love” he chose us. Though we were totally undeserving of it, he looked on us with love and lavished his grace upon us. How and why he decided to choose us, we will never know. All we know is that for some reason, God chose to set his love upon us.
Because of this, the glory for our salvation does not at all go to us. Rather, Paul says three times that this is all for the praise of God’s glory (verses 6, 12, and 14).
In short, we are a part of God’s incredible plan, a plan to unite this rebellious, sinful, and disfunctional world under Christ. And while he could have done so by simply wiping us out as we deserved, he chose to set his love on us and make us a glorious part of his plan for this universe.
Honestly, I feel totally incompetent to express this all. All the superlatives in the world could adequately express how awesome God and his grace is.
So I think I’ll just stop here and take more time to wonder at it all.