Ephesians 1:3 says, “God has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world”
He chose us. But who is the “us” that He has chosen?
Well, “us” appears to be whoever is reading this letter, Jews and Gentiles. In Ephesians chapter 3, Paul explains that both Jews and Gentiles are chosen in Christ Jesus. He calls it “the mystery of Christ.” It’s a mystery that was “hidden for ages in God…” and yet it was there all along.
We can even read about God’s plan right in the first chapter of Genesis. On the sixth day, God says, “Let us make man in our own image.” A close reading of Scripture reveals it’s still the sixth day. Even according to physicists, from the standpoint of the Big Bang (because time is relative) it’s still the sixth day. The first man perfected inHis image is Jesus, the “firstborn of all creation,” “the promised seed…” And we were “chosen in Him.” He is the Word through whom ALL things are created…
God is still making us in His image, and He has “chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” for a purpose. But what’s the purpose?
Well, not long after we read about creation in Genesis1-2, in Genesis 12 we read about how God chooses Abraham and his seed, and God tells Abraham why he chose him and why he will bless him. God says, “And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you, ALL the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:2-3)
Abraham is blessed so that he will be a blessing to all the families—all the Gentiles—of the earth…Theologian N.T. Wright writes, “The covenant between God and Israel was always designed to be God’s means of saving the whole world. It was never supposed to be the means whereby God would have a private little group of people who would be saved while the rest of the world went to hell.”
Abraham was chosen that others might know that they were chosen too.
In Ephesians 1:9-10 we read that God has blessed us (those who read Paul’s letter), chosen us, and made known to us the mystery of his will as a “plan for the fullness of time, to unite ALL things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.”
We (those to whom God has already revealed the mystery of his will) have been chosen to share that mystery with others so that others might know that they are chosen too.
In Ephesians 1:10, Paul wrote the plan for the fullness of time is “God will anakephalaio, unite all things under one Head: Christ.” We know that He’s already uniting us, His Body, but verse 10 says, “He will unite ALL things.”
Reading on in Ephesians 2:4 we read, “God made us alive together with Christ.” And verse 8: “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this [faith and salvation] is not your own doing [you’re not writing your own story]; it’s the gift of God…so that no one may boast [it’s God’s choice]. For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works.”
And what are the good works that we have been created for? Well, Jesus seems to think we are created to love the Lord and our neighbor: “There is no commandment greater than these” (Mark12:30-31). So we, the Church, are chosen—but not just as a chosen few because “others will never be chosen.” Actually, it’s just the opposite. We are blessed so that we can be a blessing to all the families of the earth. We are chosen by Love Himself that we might choose to love our neighbors. We’re chosen to proclaim that God has chosen to unite ALL things in Christ.
Being the Church, being chosen isn’t about being in some select group for the sake of ourselves; it’s about being blessed to be a blessing so that all the families of the earth might know the gift of God in Christ Jesus.
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
This devotional was prepared by Kimberly Weynen, Peter Hiett’s assistant. It is a compilation of devotional thoughts from Kimberly and excerpts from Peter’s sermon titled “Beyond The Wall.” To read, watch or listen to the sermon in its entirety click here: Beyond The Wall
*For discussion questions click here: 11.18.2012 Discussion Questions