We have been ransomed through his Son’s blood, and we have forgiveness for our failures based on his overflowing grace, which he poured over us with wisdom and understanding. God revealed his hidden design to us, which is according to his goodwill and the plan that he intended to accomplish through his Son. This is what God planned for the climax of all times: to bring all things together in Christ, the things in heaven along with the things on earth.
We have also received an inheritance in Christ. We were destined by the plan of God, who accomplishes everything according to his design. We are called to be an honor to God’s glory because we were the first to hope in Christ. You too heard the word of truth in Christ, which is the good news of your salvation. You were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit because you believed in Christ. The Holy Spirit is the down payment on our inheritance, which is applied toward our redemption as God’s own people, resulting in the honor of God’s glory. (CEB)
Believe it or not, the first chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesian church comprises only two sentences in the Greek language for which he originally wrote. Ephesians 1:3-14 are one sentence, and Ephesians 1:15-23 is the other sentence. Thankfully, understandably, and mercifully, English translators have created multiple sentences for us so that we can better make sense of the text.
It’s almost as if Paul was so excited to talk with the Ephesian believers about who they are in Jesus Christ and what they possess in him that he blurted out in writing with a flurry of enthusiasm and excited fervor without stopping to take a breath or a break.
Paul stacked word after significant word on top of each other to communicate the spiritual blessings believers in Christ enjoy.
Redemption, forgiveness, insight, protection, inheritance, and salvation are just some of the blessings given. If that wasn’t enough, God has graciously given us the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, the one who comes alongside and helps us to live into the blessings we possess because of the person and work of Christ.
It’s as if we came to Christmas day expecting a package of underwear and found instead a bunch of big boxes with some of the most lavish and expensive gifts we’ve ever seen! This says much more about the giver than it says about us. It was according to God’s good pleasure in Christ that believers in Jesus have such privileges. Like the parent who sits back and watches the unpackaging of presents happen with great joy, so God delights and is pleased with the gifts given to us.
First and foremost, in the entirety of Holy Scripture, all the stories and narratives, teachings and writings, are about God. The Lord of all creation is both the subject and object of each book of the Bible. Every good thing we have in this life is because of God’s grace. Each positive experience is a direct result of God’s steadfast love toward people. All good gifts come from a good God who is delighted and pleased to give them.
Not even one of us purchased our own gifts and stuck them under the tree. God bought them all with the precious blood of Jesus and sent the Spirit to deliver them to us.
Take some time today in a quiet place and reflect on just one of the words in today’s New Testament lesson. Think about redemption or forgiveness, salvation, or grace, or any of the words which grab you. Say it repeatedly, quietly, and loudly, thoughtfully and with flavor. Consider what God did to bring you that gift. Contemplate the way(s) in which you have received the gift. Plan one way in which you might share your gift with another person. Then, give glory and praise to God for the grace lavishly given to you.
May your meditation lead to a deeper appreciation of what God has done for you; and may that revelation result in praise, honor, and glory to the One who accomplished so much on our behalf.
Gracious God, you have revealed and made known the way of deliverance from the power of darkness and brought me into your marvelous light. Help me to better understand all the ways you have acted on my behalf so that my life might reflect your grace and steadfast love to the world, through Jesus Christ, my Savior, in the enablement of the Holy Spirit. Amen.