Reading through the first fourteen verses of Ephesians is really powerful. I especially enjoy how the NLT translates this beautiful text. Take a moment and check it out. But as you read it, try to pay close attention to all the things that God has done through and in Christ Jesus.
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.[b] 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
9 God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. 11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God,[c] for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.
12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own[d] by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.
Isn’t that powerful? Eleven different times (in thirteen verses) the author uses the phrase “in Christ” or “through Christ.” You think maybe he’s trying to make a point? This passage is completely and totally about God’s action in our lives through the life of Christ.
Notice this list of all the things that God did:
- blessed us with every spiritual blessing – v3
- loved us and chose us to be holy and without fault – v4
- adopted us into his family – v5
- poured out his grace on us – v6
- purchased our freedom with the blood of his son – v7
- showered his kindness on us – v8
- identified you as his own – v13
- gave you the holy spirit as a means of identification and guarantee – v13
Now notice all that we have because of what God did:
- united with Christ – v3
- a promise of a future inheritance from God – v13
- the Holy Spirit – v13-14
Now here’s the interesting part. Did you catch Paul’s response to all this? For whatever flaws he may have lived with, Paul seems to have had a pretty firm grasp on reality, and more importantly, his place in reality. While he is going through all these ways that God was at work in the lives of his children, Paul’s only reaction was to praise God. That’s profound to me.
I say it’s profound; not really in the sense that I didn’t understand it before. But because Paul is laying out a fundamental response to God’s action in our lives – WORSHIP! That’s my response to God’s love, and greatness, and grace, and provision . . . to worship Him. Once I get on the same page with Paul in this regard it kind of helps (or maybe forces is a better word) me to realize what I’m supposed to be about, not only in my formal worship time with my church family, but also my whole life.
My daily response to God’s action in my life is to give my life back to him in worship.