Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grace and Hope in Ephesians 1

Ephesians is decorated with sparkling jewels of Christ. The first chapter alone mentions Christ directly or indirectly at least 18 times in the first 14 verses. Everything is summed in Christ and He is the object of our inheritance.

My grandparents did not have much money, so they did what they could in preparing for birthdays and Christmas by visiting garage sales. I did not catch on to their pattern of shopping until I was much older, and felt rather embarrassed—yet each birthday and Christmas, they lavished gifts on us grandchildren. They did what they could within their means as an expression of love—and they prepared all year long for 15 minutes of childish delight.

God’s loving gift of grace in Christ Jesus is not second-hand, and it includes a present as well as a future reality. “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11). He gave Himself as payment in order for us to have an inheritance—Himself. But when do we gain our inheritance? When do we finally meet face to face? We will gain Him when He is ready.

Yesterday I heard Pastor Adrian Rogers give an illustration that fits perfect here: each November they take their daughters shopping, allowing them to choose what they would like to have for Christmas. Then, right there, they buy what they have chosen; but, they don’t give it to them when they get home. Instead, they wrap and put away their gifts until Christmas.

When I heard this, I heard Adrian point to the principle that we know what we have in Christ and the hope that we have in His coming. I also heard in my own heart the excitement that grows. As Christmas day draws near for the girls, their excitement grows as they look forward to finally acquiring what lay under the Christmas tree—then the rapturous joy when they finally claim it!

For us our excitement and our energy grows as we await the day we finally claim our inheritance that was purchased for us on The Tree of Calvary—Christ Himself at His coming!

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