12th July 2009 (Trinity 5)
The passage from Ephesians is packed so full of ideas that it is tempting just to pass over it quickly, without taking it in. However, if we did that we would miss lots of important and encouraging truths. So let’s try and unpack it a little.
Paul gives us an encouraging overview of the past, the future, and the present. The past begins before the creation of the world – even before the big bang! God had us in mind even then! He was looking forward to the time we would be members of his family, as important as if we were sons and heirs, and as pure in his sight as Jesus. Of course, only Jesus could bring that about through his life and death for us, a redemption price that he so willingly paid so that we could be forgiven and accepted into the Family.
The future Paul sees not only as fulfilment for us, but also as fulfilment for the whole creation – peace and harmony everywhere, with everything in its proper place. That too would happen through Jesus’ reign.
The present is the time all this is working out. Now is the time people receive their invitations to live with God. When they accept, there and then God’s Spirit comes into their lives – God lives with them now, guaranteeing they will live with God in the future.
Through all this a number of themes colour Paul’s writing. One is his emphasis on our union with Christ – ‘in Christ’, ‘in him’ are expressions dotted all over this passage. All the blessings he talks of come from Christ, and are ours only as we are united with him by our faith, by which we throw in our lot with him and give him absolute authority in our lives. Another theme is love – ‘love’ and ‘grace’ dominate everything. And so it’s no wonder that praise is a third theme: God’s love for us is so amazing!
1) Read the passage, replacing ‘us’ with ‘me’. How do you feel?
2) How can others be invited to share in these riches?