Thoughts from Ephesians

Lake Michigan grassy beach

Ephesians 1:3-4  “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, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”

The other day, I took off from work early, grabbed my camera, and rushed off to take some pictures.  I felt like a bird out of a cage, like oxygen was filling my thirsty lungs, and the world was right.

Ok, maybe all that’s a bit of a stretch, but it sure felt good.

The photo above was sort of a last second discovery.  I was done taking my pics and I was cold–and walking back to my car.  I glanced to my left, and saw the grassy beach, and thought, “Now, there’s a picture!”

The grassy plants were rustling in the cold breeze that was blowing in off Lake Michigan, but they were together, quietly huddled like a church choir singing Christmas carols on a cold December night.  The sun was setting, and the moment was just right.

This passage in Ephesians is actually one of the longest sentences in the Greek New Testament–it goes much farther than verse 10.  But for now, let’s focus our thoughts here.

  1.  How can God be blessed?  Can he be ‘unblessed’?  God is blessed (self-blessed?) when he sees us “in Christ”–in a faith-union with his Son, Jesus.  Get close to Jesus, and the Father’s heart is blessed.  Drift from Jesus, and his heart is grieved.
  2. Notice it says  we are blessed in Christ, with every “spiritual blessing”.  Not material, not social, not physical–but spiritual.  Oh, how sad to hear preachers talk about material blessings in the same category.  Just not true.  If so, then why haven’t I won the lottery by now?
  3. We are chosen.  No, we will never fully understand it.  But it’s true, we are chosen by God.  Simply chosen.  Not by anything in us (otherwise, that part of us would’ve blessed God, and would be worth mention–but it’s not).  To be chosen means you belong to him, and even when alone, you are still very much part of his chosen tribe.
  4. God’s desire is to live as people set apart for his purposes.  That’s tough, in a world of connection to so many things.  But the bottom-line is this, our deepest connection, the one that matters more than any other, is our connection with him.  And I think that’s what the word “blameless” is referring to.  That in the eyes of heaven, we are truly fighting to keep that connection first in our lives.

-B

 

 

 


Chicago Winter skyline

Ephesians 1:1-2  “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

When I read this, I have a few thoughts that float across my mind, like the pieces of ice in the picture above.

  1.  Paul was an apostle (ambassador for Christ), not by his own decision, by because God had called him to be that.  In the same way, God calls each of us.  Our call is no less significant, although it may be more obscure or anonymous to the public at large.
  2. Just as the “saints” (in Greek, literally “the set apart ones”), reside in the physical locale of the city of Ephesus and it’s shadows, so too, are we to reside in the spiritual locale of Jesus and the ways of God that he represents.
  3. To be a person set apart for Christ, we need to strive to be faithful.  This is a daily striving, not a one time thing, and not something anybody else can do for us.  This is a fight, and Ephesians is about fighting for faithfulness, even when we don’t feel like it.
  4. We need grace, we need peace.  These are promised us, because we need them.  Don’t feel bad for lacking them, or asking for more.
  5. You have a Father, who sees you in Christ.  His love for Jesus is inseparable, and because your faith is in Jesus, his Son, you are also inseparable from his favor, which is forever.

-B

 

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