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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Lavish Grace of God

One of the Scripture readings in church on Sunday was Ephesians 1:3-14.  A professor from our university (which is right across the street from church) had the message.  Pastor Groth is one of Joshua's and my favorite professors, and this sermon was almost like a class session...I was even taking notes!

This passage in Ephesians is one I have read before, but I gained so much insight into it on Sunday, and it connected with other things God has been teaching me (see this post on God's purpose, this post on faith, and this post on God's promises that I've written in the last week).

This is the first part of the Ephesians passage:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who 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, that we should be holy and blameless before him.  In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us..." (Ephesians 1:3-8)
There is SO much in this passage!

1) God "has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places."  EVERY spiritual blessing!  God's grace is abundant.

2) Nothing that God does happens except in and through Christ.  God has blessed us in Christ.  He has chosen us in Christ.  He predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ.  He has blessed us with "his glorious grace" in "the Beloved," Jesus.  In Jesus we have redemption.  God set forth his purpose in Christ (that's in verse 9, not quoted above).  In Christ "we have obtained an inheritance," that is, eternal life.

3) We did not choose God.  He chose us!  How can a child choose to be born?  God chose us before the foundation of the world.  That's thousands of years before we were born--or even thought of by our parents!  God knew us from that time on, and he chose us to be his.

4) Faith is pure gift.  We didn't ask for it.  God chose us to know him--we didn't ask to know him.  He chose us to be redeemed and forgiven.  It's all by "the riches of his grace," not by our own doing, or by anything we deserve.

5) The reason we are God's children is to serve him.  He chose us "according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace."  God has done millions of amazing things.  He deserves for his glory and grace to be praised!  That's what our lives are all about.

6) Our relationship with God is not up to us.  We can stop worrying about our relationship with God, Pastor Groth said, because it doesn't depend on us.  God has what it takes to keep us believing in him.  He has us in his hands now, and he's not going to let us go.  Also, we should stop trying to take credit for anything in our spiritual lives.  If it wasn't for God, we wouldn't be able to do anything that pleases him.  As it is, all we can do is thank him for the faith he has placed in our hearts, and thank him for helping us live a life that pleases him.

The rest of the passage from Sunday includes so many more wonderful things.  It also includes tricky things like predestination, which I'm not going to try to explain today because I know not all of my readers share my Missouri Synod Lutheran theology (and that's absolutely fine!!).  Also, once I actually complete my theology and English degrees, I'll be much better equipped to write about such things. :)  For now, just read the Scripture passage yourself!

I do hope you take this from what I have been learning:  God blesses us lavishly.  He does everything through his Son Jesus Christ.  God chose us,  we did not choose him, and he did it before the creation of the world.  Our faith is not dependent upon us.  God has called us as his children to serve, praise and glorify him.  And finally, we don't need to worry about our faith:  it's in God's hands.

Linking up today:
New Life Steward; The Fontenot Four; Raising Homemakers; A Wise Woman Builds Her Home; Deep Roots at Home; Women Living Well; Live Called


18 comments:

  1. This is one of my favorite passages! THANK you for linking up with us today!!

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    1. It's SO good! :) And of course, thank you for hosting. :)

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  2. Awesome, Awesome Stuff...and it makes me smile that you get so excited about what our God has done ... and that digging in the Word excites you as well! Celebrate His love, His choosing, His redeeming in and for you today! I love you, Jaimie Elise.

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  3. Predestination is a tough topic that I've heard logically explained from different points of view. I'm still not absolutely sure where I stand with this. It's good when a sermon is a learning experience. It should be.

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Thanks for your comment!
      Predestination is discussed a fair amount in the Bible, especially the New Testament. Your interpretation of the Scripture passages is going to be based on your own theological background and biases. Personally, I come at it from a Missouri-Synod Lutheran standpoint, and I've studied it in a few theology classes at my Missouri-Synod university, so that's where I get my understanding.

      If you're interested I could do a post explaining it more in-depth. Let me know!

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  4. I love this passage! It is such a great reminder of our identity in Christ!

    I have to admit, I'm a little nervous about when we hit predestination in my t{squared} series on Thursdays! That's a ways down the road though!

    Thanks for linking up with WIP Wednesday!

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    1. I know. Me too. :)

      And let me know when that happens! That's a discussion I'd love to join!

      Thank you for hosting. :) Also, your post yesterday has some new comments! Thanks again for that!

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  5. Thank you for linking up with us today! I love this. It's so jam-packed with great things we need to remember.

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    1. Of course! Thanks for hosting! It is SO packed. This is a passage I'm going to need to go over a lot to really get everything.

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  6. Isn't it SO true that God does AMAZING crazy wonderful things each and every day ALL the time. Miracle upon miracle...the sun coming up, the breath of life continuing, etc. When you think about it like that how can you CEASE to praise him EVER? I LOVE this post!!!! Thank you so much for linking up!!!

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    1. Oh my goodness, YES! Thanks so much, Kelly! :)

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  7. Visiting from Into the Word Wednesday. What a great sermon! I love this line: "The reason we are God's children is to serve him." Our purpose really is that simple, no matter how complicated we make things!

    ~Tiffany
    http://tiffanyd22.blogspot.com

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    1. Isn't it nice when God simplifies our craziness?!? :D
      It WAS a great sermon. I'm going to miss having classes with him. :)
      Thanks for stopping over!

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  8. HE chose US! That alone boggles my mind!

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    1. I know! It's incredible! That right there is an amazing testament to His grace and love...why would He want us sinners?!? All because of Jesus...

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  9. I love the mind-boggling love that God has for us! "We love Him because He first loved us." Thanks for linking up to Thrive @ Home! :)

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    1. Thanks for hosting the link-up! And yes--mind-boggling is right! :)

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