The focus verses for this post are still Ephesians 1:1-14. Suzie writes on her blog, "Digging into one passage and staying there for a while — a day, a week — helps us to really soak in the story of that passage."
Okay in my last post, when answering the question of theme, my answer was this: God's love, divine purpose, and provision.
Well that's not exactly what they were looking for. The theme is 'in Christ'. And I love it. This phrase 'in Christ' didn't really stand out to me much in the NLT version I was reading from, but once I knew what to look for and then went and read our passages in a few other versions, (ESV, NIV, The Message) it really came alive.
Now first off, before Ephesians was a divine book in our Holy Bible, it was just a letter from a spiritual leader to a group of fellow Christians. So I like to take it and remove headings and verse numbers and try to read it as it originally was; a letter. That's how I've presented it here, but I'm also going to mark it up as I study it and look for my theme, 'in Christ'.
New International Version (NIV)
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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. 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, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
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, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 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, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory
.So from this point I went and wrote out all the things we are 'in Christ'.
- we are blessed with every spiritual blessing.
- we are chosen to be holy and blameless in his sight.
- we are adopted into His family with pleasure!
- we are given glorious grace.
- we are forgiven, paid for (with the price of a life).
- the mystery of His will is made known to us.
- we are chosen.
- we have hope.
- we are included.
- we are marked with a seal--given the Holy Spirit.
"In Christ we are blessed with every spiritual blessing.” I keep going over it asking myself. What is this “spiritual blessing”? Then it hits me, “That’s the intro…. Its from there Paul is laying out these “spiritual blessings”" Its a spiritual blessing to be chosen, forgiven, redeemed, adopted, included, united, lavished, marked, sealed, given something to hope for, to hope in, to belong."
So yesterday and today I am going to think about these truths and how I don't want to take these things for granted. I am loved so much that Christ gave His life so that I would never have to feel worthless, left out, alone, unwanted, unloved. My life has a purpose and His Holy Spirit is proof of my inclusion. He leads me every day and is here, now, willing to teach me what I need to know. There is reason to hope and more importantly there is GREAT reason to rejoice and PRAISE my Creator. My Father. The lover of my soul. Who took pleasure in giving me these things. He didn't do it begrudgingly. And I would be wise to remember that the next time I have a bitter, unwilling, spirit that doesn't want to do what is asked of me.
I can't wait to see where this study takes me. Like a child up against the wall marking how tall they grow through the years, I hope to come out on the other side of this thing with a notable difference!