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Ephesians 1 - Be Grateful

Ephesians 1
"1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 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, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. {A}In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 {B}In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 {C}In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13{D} In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. 15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 {E}And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all."

There are five major points to the opening chapter of this prison letter of Paul, all of which show why we should always live a life of gratitude.

A - We have been adopted by God through Jesus Christ. As we read those words, we are reminded of God's amazing love spoken about in John 3:16, 1 John 4, and many other places, but I also want us to be reminded of the choice that God made in this action. God specifically looked down at us and - in love - chose us to be His children. Not only are you a child that is loved deeply and in a way that only a parent can begin to understand, but you are a child of choice! Your Creator looks at you in a way that cannot be understated... He gave His Son for you to bring you back to the family so that He can love on you even more. That is something to be thankful for!

B - We have redemption through Jesus Christ. Redemption indicates a position of being lost and then found. It is impossible to truly understand how much the sacrifice of Jesus Christ means until you can envision how far lost we were. Passages like Romans 5:6-11 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 speak to our condition prior to coming in contact with the blood of Jesus and it puts into perspective the fact that we could have never achieved redemption on our own. Thanks be to God for this inexpressible gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)

C - We have an inheritance through Jesus Christ. We have been adopted into the family of God, redeemed from our lost condition, and now we see that we have an inheritance promised to us that cannot be found anywhere else but in Christ Jesus. In 1 Peter 1:3-5, we find out that inheritance is not like the things we receive as an inheritance here on earth, instead, this inheritance is imperishable, undefiled, unfading, and kept in heaven for us specifically. That inheritance? Eternity with God the Father where there will be no more sadness, sickness, dying, tears, unfair treatment, or evil. Thank you God for a future where we can rest from our work and rejoice forever!

D - We are sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. This idea of being sealed represents the peace we should feel when we are walking in the light of God. 1 John 1:7-10 is a powerful reminder to the Christian that you can have the blessed assurance that you sing about. Think about the lyrics to the first verse of that old hymn - "Blessed assurance! Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of heaven divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood." - what a picture painted by those words! The Spirit of God, involved in our lives, serving as our seal and our guarantee of the inheritance spoken of earlier... Thank you God for always being faithful and fulfilling the promises you have made!

E - We are under the leadership of the King of Kings. We do not belong to any form of leadership that is not ordained by God in His word. Ultimately, the only leader we follow is Jesus Christ our Savior and our Lord. Therefore, it is a relief to know that our King is seated at the right hand of God thereby giving us the confidence to move through each and every day. Our Savior not only leads us, He stands as our mediator before His Father, the Righteous Judge. Galatians 4:1-7 explains that we are the adopted children of God, fellow heirs with Jesus Christ, so not only is Christ our King, but in an incredible show of humility and love, He has stepped down to be heirs with us. What love He must have for us... to be ridiculed, beaten, and murdered on our behalf only to now serve as our mediator and fellow heir... Thank you Jesus for your humility, thank you God for your beautiful plan!

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