In This Together

28 03 2020

At a time like this, our response to hardship rests heavily on how we see ourselves.
In studying Paul’s epistle, we often see the plural pronouns “we” and “us.” Who is he referring to? The salutation says, “To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus” (1:1). The congregation, meeting in synagogues and homes, was multi-cultural (both Jewish and Gentile).

The point? These solid truths are written about all genuine believers together.

Considering the first stanza (1:3-6):

  • God blessed us with every spiritual blessing
  • just as He chose us in Him
  • having predestined us to adoption by Jesus Christ
  • He made us accepted in the Beloved

Its beautiful to know that you in particular were chosen by God, but let’s not be too hasty to individualize so much of God’s Word which addresses our corporate standing.

Stanza two and three adds:

  • we have redemption through His blood
  • we have obtained an inheritance
  • that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory
  • having believed, you (plural) were sealed with the Holy Spirit
  • the guarantee of our inheritance

God’s story is one of gathering throughout history, from every tribe, tongue, and nation, a new, chosen people, for His own glory.

At all times, even and especially when times are hard (like Covid-19 weeks), what should give us our bearings? Who are we to be as the global and local community of believers?

We can rest in the confidence that the lavish kindness of God is safely and eternally reserved in heaven (1:3).

We can marvel that God has been, is now, and will continue to choose a global, multicultural, multi-generational community for His own good pleasure,

  • and keep clearly in our collective mind that He envisioned this gathering from before the foundation of the world,
  • and focus on His purpose that we be holy and without blame before Him in love” (1:4).

We can take confidence that God set our collective destiny beforehand, as adopted into His eternal family because He delights to do so (“the good pleasure of His will,” 1:5).

And we can lift up voices and hands and good works in a praise-response to His amazing grace — the undeserved kindness by which He has given us, together, full belonging and safety in His beloved Son.

A final thought.
I count eight times in Ephesians 1:1-14 where Paul says “In Him” or something similar. Can you find them?

All these blessings are treasures which open up to us in the person and work of Christ Jesus. I encourage us all to burrow deeper into Jesus right now.

  • Put your full trust in Him.
  • Surrender every last portion of your heart to Him.

Let this time of hardship be the renewal your heart has needed for a long time.

Reaching out to you in our shared belonging to God in Christ,