Archive for November, 2010


Ephesians 1:7- 23

November 25, 2010
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Ephesians 1:7- 23

7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
 11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
 15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[f] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (NIV)
“In Him” is the point I cannot drive home enough. Other phrases such as “His Blood”, “He made”, “His will and “He purposed “ shows over and over what we contribute to the equation of our salvation, and that being nothing! It was at the “fullness of time” or in perfect timing that Jesus came to gather both the “heavenly things” as well as the things on earth all back “in Him”.
Verse 11 once again starts with “In Him” and presents what we obtain being “in Him”. You who are “in Christ” obtained an inheritance as an adopted son! You see while the natural son might be disowned, yet the adopted son was never natural, but placed in the family and instated by decree of the family that the adopted was now a natural child. The predestination is not some pre-existing clause that somehow initiated you to be created “saved” and some not… and then just one day come to that realization as some Reformed traditions promote. Rather, that according to “His Will” those, “as verses 12 and 13 state, “who “trusted” to accept the counsel of “His Will” after having heard the word of truth would become not only sons, but be the “praise of His glory.
The Glory… is Jesus! (John 17:5) We in Christ are His praise unto the Father for what the Father does in and through Jesus! Now we in turn become the glory unto God through Jesus (John 17:10). Now how does this take place? Through trust! Trust is the responsive action based on having faith and belief in the other, who in this case is God in Christ… and then you are placed “in Christ”! Another note some miss is that the “gospel of your salvation” is not a set of doctrines but rather a person as Paul states “you were included in Christ when you heard” Often the gospel is represented by a series of events, and in some way this is true. However, here Paul is clear that salvation is the Person of Jesus Christ as you were placed “in Christ” when you heard, responded and believed on Jesus.
In verses 13-14 the Holy Spirit is finally mentioned filling out the whole of the Trinity as far as being mentioned. Here Paul states in verse 13 has place the Holy Spirit on you as a seal! A holy seal or decree that shows God Himself seals us. This concept of the “seal” is that of the kings ring which would be leave the insignia of the king on a royal letter in the wax that sealed the letter. The Holy Spirit is that seal that shows we are of the King Himself. The Holy Spirit is given as proof of ownership of sorts and proof that we are His until God redeems those who become His possession, to the praise of His Glory.
Paul spoke of those faithful in Ephesus as the “praise of His Glory”. So as Paul hears of their faith in turn gives thanks to God for their faith, even stating they are mentioned in his prayers. Paul prays that the may also receive the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him [Jesus]. Sadly, many traditions today have cut believers off from revelation and reduce it to experientialism (as if experiencing God is a bad thing) or worse claim it to be some sort of occult majick  or Gnosticism. Yet, Paul (who is writing scripture knowingly or not) teaches this as a good thing as he himself prays the believers receive these things. Paul prays “that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you”. Enlightenment is given that you may know gain understanding in relation to revelation that leads to hope. This enlightenment that leads us to hope can only come by revelation from God through the Holy Spirit.
To grasp the flow to this one might chart it out like this
  1. Understanding the calling that was heard at salvation leads to
  2. Enlightenment unto hope leads to…
  3. The Hope in you were called to… leads to…
  4. Stronger belief in Jesus which leads you to…
  5. The Power of God that raised Jesus from the dead…
This power also raised you! It made you a new creation… yet also power in that the Kingdom of God has and is coming down to us. All authority and power is not Jesus as he rules over His Body… the Church. However, this rule and authority is different that just a king to his kingdom. This is a King to His own Body… it is relational… and in His Body, which is the Church the fullness of Christ fills everything… that includes you who are “in Christ”.

A question to consider

November 23, 2010
What if the people we believe do not fit into our theology, do in fact fit into God’s theology?
I am looking at this question as what we hold may be true but not complete… so being open to the possibility that God has more than what we now believe that pulls us ever deeper into Who God is, and who we are in Christ. To close off God with a sealed theology turns faith into religion that keeps God at bay and only allows hope in appeasing His anger. That is not growing in Love, but perishing in fear.