Silence: 30 seconds
Read Scripture Text: Ephesians 1:3-10
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 fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
Time to face the truth: we have goodness in us and also the slant, at times, to act/think in ways that aren’t loving towards ourselves or others. In biblical language, we call this original goodness and original sin. My friend, James Choung, names it as Designed for Good and Damaged by Evil.
As parents, we want to shield our children from evil and brokenness. But it’s inevitable. And we can’t shield them. The best we can do is show them how we have given our lives over to the Lord Jesus Christ as our deliverer and healer from evil and into goodness.
This is an accurate picture of the Bible’s meta-narrative (the big story overarching all 66 books). The Bible is filled with holy stories that, in some way, is depicting this picture:
- Designed for good (God made US good and FOR good)
- Damaged by evil (just like there is good, there is an evil force that breaks goodness in us and around us)
- Restored for better (by Jesus dying on the cross for injustice and being resurrected…death, evil, and sin no longer have the final word)
- Sent together to heal (you and I have a purpose of goodness and to do good in this world)
In this Ephesians text, Paul the writer is telling the church at Ephesus (a city near the mediterranean sea) that they have been gifted by God through the life and work of Jesus.
A theologian said,
“But the point is that we aren’t chosen for our own sake, but for the sake of what God wants to accomplish through us.”Wright, N.T.. Paul for Everyone, The Prison Letters: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon (The New Testament for Everyone)
The call to receive and follow Christ is also a call to partner with God and his purposes in this world: to heal, make new, give hope, and create new life through our thoughts, words, and action. This is something the world tries to give in different forms but comes short.
Reflection Question: What circle from the picture do you most connect with right now? What is your story and how do you see yourself in God’s big story?
Prayer Response: Take a moment of silence and ask God to speak to you. What might He be saying to you right now?
Lord, I ask that you speak to me and tell me Your story for my life. Amen