Ephesians 1 opens with Paul announcing peace and the grace of God to the believers in Ephesus. He describes God's spiritual blessing on humanity in Jesus’ name. The text makes clear that the spiritual blessings are the everlasting purpose of God. God’'s will has always been that God's people remain holy and blameless before their Creator. Paul emphasizes God’s relationship with humanity, the traits of that relationship, and what it means to be adopted in God’s kingdom. In this relationship, God’s role is to show loving care for God’s people. Our obligation as believers is to obey God and to offer our praise for God’s gift of grace.
Today’s reading expresses that God created us to be God’s people, a church serving others and praising God. As God’s people, we have to pursue God’s perpetual redemptive purpose. Jesus Christ, the agent of redemption and the mediator of God’s grace, is our guide.
We understand the purpose of God to bless God’s people through the love of Christ whose sacrifice on the cross made us free from the power of sin. Through Christ, the grace of God transforms our inner being. Christ makes known the mysterious will of God, and our responsibility as believers is to proclaim this mystery. Christ, who is the gospel and who is the spiritual blessing to all people, assembles and unites the people of God as one holy church. As Christ’s church we offer our praise of God and witness to the word of God. God’s spiritual blessings sustain us in hardships as we await the time when God will ”bring unity to all things” under Christ” (NIV).
Loving God, help me understand your everlasting purpose of uniting all things in the church of Jesus Christ. Amen.
The readings for this week are full of praise for God’s gift of Jesus Christ and an emphasis on human helplessness apart from God. Jeremiah portrays an exiled people’s despair turning to joy at their restoration. The psalmist proclaims God’s power to protect and provide for God’s people, and Paul’s letter to the Ephesians explains that God’s will from the beginning has been for our adoption as God’s children through Christ. Praise and thanksgiving to God are the common and appropriate responses to all these mighty acts of God.
Read Jeremiah 31:7-14. How have you been restored by God’s kindness?
Read Psalm 147:12-20. In what ways have you experienced God strengthening and restoring you?
Read Ephesians 1:3-14. How do you set your hope on Christ? How do you live differently because of that hope?
Respond by posting a prayer.