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 predestined us for adoption to sonship 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. (NIV)
We tend to live up to how we view ourselves.
If we see ourselves as never getting ahead and needing to lie, cheat, and steal to obtain anything in this life, then we will view ourselves as common thieves. If we think the only way to have love and security in this life is to hustle for it – to make ourselves as presentable as we possibly can, then we will view ourselves as basically unlovely and search for love in all the wrong places by trying to keep up appearances. If we look at ourselves as stupid, then we will tend to make poor decisions even when it’s in our ability to make good choices because we see ourselves as unable to compete with those smarter than us.
The common theme in all these scenarios are people living apart from God. Without the Lord Jesus, we are like lost street children trying to survive from day to day. What we need, what we search for, is to have a good, blessed life in a loving home, a place to belong in a world of disconnection.
To be “blessed,” to have “blessing” in the Holy Scriptures, is to have God’s stamp of approval on your life – to know, experience, and feel Divine favor resting upon you.
The picture being painted at the very beginning of Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus is of wayward children roaming the streets as orphans. The Ephesians were ensconced in their idol worship of Artemis, the fertility cult goddess. They were going about life without a whim about the true and living God. In sheer grace God plucked them from their worthless condition and adopted them. God placed blessing upon them because of love and gave them a reason to rejoice and praise.
What’s more, the Ephesians were chosen and predestined for holiness and purity. God set them apart for divine blessing. It’s as if God brought them into the kingly palace, provided lavishly for them, and let them have the run of the place. They get to enjoy every privilege that comes with being children of the king.
The focus and orientation of today’s New Testament lesson is about how tremendously special the believer in Jesus really is. And it has nothing to do with how presentable we are to a holy God. Instead, out of the vast storehouse of blessed grace, God chose and adopted. On top of all that, God did it out of pleasure. Yes, that’s right.
God chooses, predestines, and adopts with a willing heart because it brings great pleasure and divine joy to do so!
There was no arm-twisting from the Father to the Son in securing redemption for lost humanity. And there was no persuasion necessary for the Father and Son to send the Spirit for our ongoing benefit and help in this life. Each redemptive event of Jesus was done out of the grace and love of God in Christ.
My friend, do you see how God views you? Do you know how special you truly are? Have you an understanding of the incredible position and majesty you have as a human being in God’s image and likeness?
As a child of the king, you live up to the position you know you possess. Freedom from worry and anxiety don’t come from willpower but from an understanding that God owns all things, and we will never be in need.
Deliverance from the power of darkness doesn’t come by trying to do better; it comes through the knowledge that God has redeemed us and chosen us to live in the gracious realm of divine love forever.
There is no need to hustle for love with God because you and I already have it.
The believer has every spiritual blessing in Christ. God has your back. We belong to God. And to belong to Jesus Christ is to be blessed. It makes all the difference in the world. It is our reason for gratitude and praise.
Gracious God, your loving activity has snatched me from the barren streets of sin and brought me into a realm of incredible blessing. Thank you for blessing me and giving me a place to belong forever; through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit reign forever and ever in a celebration of redeeming love. Amen.