1 I, Paul, am writing this letter. I am an apostle of Christ Jesus just as God planned. I am sending this letter to you, God’s holy people in Ephesus. Because you belong to Christ Jesus, you are faithful. 2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 3 Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Those blessings come from the heavenly world. They belong to us because we belong to Christ. 4 God chose us to belong to Christ before the world was created. He chose us to be holy and without blame in his eyes. He loved us. 5 So he decided long ago to adopt us. He adopted us as his children with all the rights children have. He did it because of what Jesus Christ has done. It pleased God to do it. 6 All those things bring praise to his glorious grace. God freely gave us his grace because of the One he loves. 7 We have been set free because of what Christ has done. Because he bled and died our sins have been forgiven. We have been set free because God’s grace is so rich. 8 He poured his grace on us. By giving us great wisdom and understanding, 9 he showed us the mystery of his plan. It was in keeping with what he wanted to do. It was what he had planned through Christ. 10 It will all come about when history has been completed. God will then bring together all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. 11 We were also chosen to belong to him. God decided to choose us long ago in keeping with his plan. He works out everything to fit his plan and purpose. 12 We were the first to put our hope in Christ. We were chosen to bring praise to his glory. 13 You also became believers in Christ. That happened when you heard the message of truth. It was the good news about how you could be saved. When you believed, he stamped you with an official mark. That official mark is the Holy Spirit that he promised. 14 The Spirit marks us as God’s own. We can now be sure that someday we will receive all that God has promised. That will happen after God sets all his people completely free. All these things will bring praise to his glory.
In reading this passage I didn’t event get past the first line before I was encouraged! Paul starts this letter off with such a declaration of identity, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.” What authority there is when we stop and realize that when we live as God has called us to, in His ways, following His leading, then we are in the will of God and what God wills, His purposes, no one can stop. Amen to that!
Bethany, a witness of Christ Jesus by the will of God; Bethany, a teacher by the will of God; a wife by the will of God; a daughter by the will of God; a friend by the will of God…. It goes on and on.
Lord, thank you that you fill me with vision and purpose and thank you that you have given me a life worth living. Help me each day to walk in this reality: as I walk in your ways I am walking in your will and no one can stand in the way of your will. I’m so glad Lord to be a part of your plans, which are so much grander than I can imagine. Thank you that my life counts in the story you are writing. Amen.
Written by Bethany Waugh