I’ll never forget that day in August before the start of seventh grade. After a week of drills, conditioning, and throwing my body on the ground after a volleyball, the coach left a list on the bleachers. Girls swarmed, squealed, and scattered again as they searched for their names. I was elated to find mine clearly written in black ink. I made the team! I’d been chosen!
The recipients of Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus knew the feeling. They had also been chosen. They were on the team and, better still, they’d already been promised victory!
Paul writes specifically to the believers at this church (Eph. 1:1), praising God the Father for the spiritual blessings He had blessed them with in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3). He goes on to explain to the Ephesians what these blessings are, including that they have been chosen in Christ (Eph. 1:4), predestined for adoption through Christ (Eph. 1:5), redeemed through Christ’s blood (Eph. 1:7), forgiven of sins (Eph. 1:7), and are recipients of abundant grace (Eph. 1:7-8). Additional spiritual blessings for all who believe include: the revelation of God’s purpose to bring everything together one day in Christ (Eph. 1:9-10), the assurance that we have been given an inheritance in Christ (Eph. 1:11), and the affirmation that the Holy Spirit will seal this inheritance for us (Eph. 1:13-14).
It’s important to notice how all of these incredible blessings are given according to what the text says: in Christ. It all hinges on Him. It has nothing to do with the saints in Ephesus (or us, who have also heard the truth of the Gospel and believed in Him) (Eph. 1:13).
God the Father is like the coach in the sense that we who believe are the ones who have been chosen to be on His team. However, unlike in my volleyball career—where making the team depended on my ability to work hard and perform to show my coach a desired result—the Father has given us Jesus to do all of that already. We could never perform our way to a restored relationship with the Father on our own, but Jesus’ sinless life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension have fulfilled every requirement for righteousness on our behalf. Now he simply invites us to receive Him and declare He is Lord. This is the Gospel—”good news” indeed!
Paul’s letter reminds us that God had this great rescue plan lined up from “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). Before speaking a single created thing into existence, God already chose us in Christ! He “predestined us for adoption as sons,” meaning that we would be regarded as children of God, with all of the benefits a child typically receives in a family and more (Eph. 1:5). More beautiful still, the Word tells us He did this “in love” (Eph. 1:4). We can rest assured in this truth, knowing that the plan God has been working out since before the dawn of time is not just full of spiritual blessings in the heavenly places, but that those blessings are a result of His everlasting love.
Be encouraged today: He is our security, and the promised inheritance to be with Christ is our hope!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashley Setterlind: Ashley Setterlind is a pastor’s wife, mama of two, and worship leader at LibertyLive.Church in Hampton Roads, VA. She is passionate about encouraging other moms to glorify God in their mundane moments by being deeply rooted in Christ. To learn more about her, visit @ashleysetterlind on Instagram or download her free ebook at www.ashleysetterlind.com.