Advent: December 12

Advent: December 12

Ephesians 1:1-23

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 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. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 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 fulfilment – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

Paul opens many of his letters with a word of grace. It’s not grace from Paul, but amazing grace from Father God and Christ Jesus that Paul desires to pass on to his listeners (these letters were for reading out loud). But Paul does not stop there. His love for his Lord Jesus Christ spills out from his overflowing heart.

In the following verses he describes how amazing Father God is: He has blessed us in Christ – every spiritual blessing. Read on to find out what they are. Chosen for holiness, predestined for adoption, redeemed, forgiven and grace upon grace. He has chosen us to be holy and blameless before him. If this makes you panic, because you don’t see yourself as ever being holy and blameless, then start to rest in the truth that God will bring this to pass.

Why does God offer all this? Because he is the Lord, the Lord, the merciful and gracious God. God is merciful and God is gracious. God set in motion a plan to reveal the love that binds the Holy Trinity in one, in which mankind would be created and redeemed by the blood of the incarnate Word, in order that at the end we will be brought into unity in Christ.

Now is that not one of the best letters you’ve read. And we’ve only read 10 verses of it!

Why does God offer us so much?

Are you ready to be made holy and blameless?

Father God, you care for me in a way that bears no reason or logic. I am undeserving of every blessing you have prepared for me. I am special to you, yet I still choose to reject what you offer and find my own way. Open my eyes, Lord, to your abundant grace so that I may turn back to your loving embrace. Amen.