In my last blog, we looked at Ephesians 1:3 and learned that we have been blessed beyond our understanding – “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms” simply “because we belong to Christ.” (NLT) I know that I don’t begin to understand the heights and depths of those blessings. I don’t begin to understand how those blessings impact my life even today – although I sure enjoyed meditating on the passage yesterday. Another verse that came to mind – one that we looked at just a week or so ago:

1Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand in the place of honor and power. 2Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth.
Colossians 3:1-2 (NIV)

It’s how I want to live my life – so confident of the realities of heaven, so confident that this world is not my home, that the things of this world have less and less power to drag me down. That was the message and application of Ephesians 1:3 for me. Now let’s move on to verses 4 and 6. I’d like to continue looking at the verses in two different translations, the New International Version (NIV) and the New Living Translation (NLT):

4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Ephesians 1:4-6 (NIV)

4Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.

6So we praise God for the wonderful kindness he has poured out on us because we belong to his dearly loved Son.
Ephesians 1:4-6 (NLT)

When I read these passages, several words stand out to me, and they make the verses have very personal meanings:

“chosen” – Before the creation of the world (“before the foundation of the world” is how it reads in the King James Version) God chose me. I am not in Christ because of some fluke accident. I am in Christ because I was predestined to be in Christ. Now I’m not going to get into doctrinal discussions about predestination vs. free will because I don’t believe we can fully reconcile the passages in Scripture that address both subjects – but I believe they are reconciled in God. (God’s mind is so much bigger than mine, which is quite a comforting thought!) Suffice it to say that I am fully confident that it is not God’s desire for anyone to perish but for all to come to the point of repenting for their sins and turning to Christ for forgiveness (2 Peter 3:9). Furthermore, I’m confident that I have been “chosen before the creation of the world” and that knowledge changes me. It does something in the core of my being that changes how I view myself and the world around me.

Furthermore, I have been chosen for a purpose – to be “holy and blameless in His sight.” When I view myself as someone whom God has called, chosen and predestined to be holy and blameless, I act differently than when I view myself as someone who is called to a lower standard. I walk taller and am more aware of my actions. I want to please the One who chose me.

The New Living Translation doesn’t use the word “predestined” – instead, it describes it as God’s “unchanging plan.” We serve a God who never changes. His plan has been to bring us to Christ from the beginning of time. The Old Testament tells the same story as the New Testament. God has always made a way for people to find Him.

Why? Because it gives Him “great pleasure.” It boggles my mind that I give God great pleasure, but Scripture is clear about it. Psalm 147 is just one place that tells us that “the Lord takes delight in His people.” God takes delight in me. I love the word “delight.” If you look it up in a dictionary, you’ll find words like “extreme satisfaction,” “great pleasure” and “joy.” Adopting me into His family has given God great pleasure. I’m real good with that!

Lord, thank You! Thank You for adopting me into Your family. Thank You for purposing from the beginning of time – before you even created the world I would live in – that I would become holy and blameless in Your sight. Forgive me when I don’t live up to that calling. It is my great honor to please my King.

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