CEC Devotions Team
Scripture Reflections @ CEC by Karen Callis (7/9/20)
"The book to read is not the one which thinks for you, but the one which makes you think. No book in the world equals the Bible for that." Harper Lee
Scripture & Devotion: Ephesians 1
...in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. (vs.12)
Two words. That’s all my brain can handle at a time. I can remember short, two word phrases. Well, maybe sometimes a little longer. Maybe three words. So I have purposed to work my way through the book of Ephesians and summarize each chapter with 2 words. In doing so, I will have the ability to summarize the entire book. I’m excited about that!
The two words for chapter one? IN CHRIST (or some version of that – in him, in Jesus) And truthfully, those words occur again in other chapters, but Paul wants to make it very clear from the very beginning that EVERYTHING – every blessing, every benefit, every single thing in our lives is because of who we are IN CHRIST.
What does it mean to be in Christ?
Paul says more about this in Galatians 3:26-28. "So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Through faith, we are in Christ. Faith in the finished work of Jesus for restoration and relationship with God. We are His children.
We are adopted in Christ. In my last devotional, I shared the story of Isabella, our adopted granddaughter. She is IN our family – as much a part of us as any other child born into our family. She has all of the rights and privileges of our family (such as they are.) 😊
We are chosen in Christ to be holy and blameless in his sight. He chooses to see me that way in Christ. He doesn’t have to, and we wonder why He even would. One of the Psalms asks the question – who may ascend to the hill of the Lord? Only he with clean hands and a pure heart. We know the depth of our own sin – the uncleanness of our hands and the impurity in our heart. We see our own weaknesses and know how desperately wicked our hearts truly are as we seek to protect ourselves and our own “kingdoms.” In spite of all this, God chose us IN CHRIST to be holy and blameless in His sight, making the way for relationship with Him.
We are redeemed in Christ through His death on the cross for us – this done in accordance with the riches of God’s grace, which He (God) purposed in Christ …
God’s purpose in Christ was to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth. This prompts me to pray “Your will be done, Your kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.”
We are chosen in Christ to be “the praise of His glory.” (another repeated phrase in Ephesians) When I think about this, it really does seem mind-blowing because I wonder how much of my life shows the praise of His glory. Oh, sometimes I do. But so often, I continue to be consumed with my rights, my needs, my wants over and above other’s rights, other’s needs and other’s wants and desires.
Today I am pondering these words – IN CHRIST – and am filled with gratitude that the God of the entire universe CHOOSES to love me IN CHRIST – not waiting for me to get my act together, not waiting for me to “straighten up”, not waiting for me behave perfectly.
In Christ, I am adopted, chosen, redeemed because God purposed it In Christ for the praise of His glory. What an incredible gift we have been given!
In Christ. Two words. Because You purposed IN CHRIST that we could have relationship with You, we are humbled and grateful. Our minds cannot comprehend your great and lavish love for us.