Pondering the Passages: Ephesians 1:3-14

For those of you joining me on this adventure in pondering Scripture – glad to have you aboard. I’ve already been energized by you as you have let me know about your desire to participate. Let’s get started.

Ephesians 1:3-14

Memory Verse for the week: Ephesians 1:3 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

This is one of the richest passages in Scripture and a great place to start our pondering. It would be very easy for us to spend more than one week on this great passage.

As I pondered this passage here are a few of the things that went through my mind…

v.3 – Paul often seems unable to contain a sense of gratefulness to God and frequently gushes forth verses like this: “Praise be to God…” Question for me: Am I similarly overwhelmed by what God has done for me such that praise is regularly heard coming from my lips? The next few verses outline some of the things that he has done for me:
chose me
loved me
adopted me
redeemed me
forgave me
lavished grace on me
made His will known to me
marked me with His Spirit

Quite a list to praise God for. I note that none of these things have anything to do with “stuff” – material things. They are spiritual blessings – not material blessings.

As I read the passage I note two reasons why God has chosen me: 1) to be holy and blameless in His sight… v.4 and 2) that I might be for the praise of His glory…v.11.
Q: Am I seeking to live a holy and blameless life? What are my unholy sinkholes?
Q: Specifically, what can I point to in my life and say “I know that this brings praise to God?”

This phrase “to the praise of His glory” is used 3x in these verses (6, 12, 14). Me thinks therefore that it might really be important to God that I live “to the praise of His glory.” How am I intentionally doing so?

Paul uses the word “predestined” twice in this passage (5, 11). Predestination is a biblical doctrine but  a lot of people get hung up on the word. Here are a few thoughts about what it means as far as we are concerned:

IF you have put your faith in Christ and believed the gospel, if you know that He is your Savior and that His blood covers your sins, and if your life daily reflects the fact that you are one of His “holy ones”, then you are predestined. You do not have to get hung up on whether you are one of the few that He has  “elected” for His kingdom.

Understanding predestination is like looking at something from 2 completely different angles. From God’s perspective we have been chosen before the beginning of time. From our perspective we made a choice by our own free will to repent and be saved. Predestination and free will are working together not against each other. The Bible affirms both.

Predestination should be a comforting doctrine for the believer not a confusing doctrine. God is in control. Even when it looks like everything is spinning wildly out of control we can be assured that our God is in control and that He “works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.” (v.11)

For Paul, the future is a powerful motivation for the present. Twice in this passage he talks about the future. V10 – “when the times will have reached their fulfillment,” and v14 – “…our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession.” I’m not sure that we think about Heaven enough and what it is going to be like and how we are going to react when we find ourselves in God’s presence. Perhaps if we did we would live differently.

(Post your comments by clicking on the bubble at the top right. Don’t worry if they overlap with mine. I suspect that often God will be teaching us similar things. I would suggest that you write out your comments BEFORE you read mine and then post them as they are after reading mine. That way mine won’t influence what you write. We are all learning together as we go along.)

Next passage to ponder: Matthew 5:1-12

Next memory verse: Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled.”

10 thoughts on “Pondering the Passages: Ephesians 1:3-14

  1. This is great. I just read it and have to get going…co-op starts back today and then have Eric’s funneral 🙁 but I will definitely post later. THANK YOU!!!

  2. He has blessed me with every Spiritual blessing.
    He chose me
    He adopted me
    He redeemed me
    He forgives me of my sins
    He made His will known to me
    He marked me with His Spirit
    In my heart I know I love HIM so, but am I demonstrating this love in a way that He really knows He is loved by me? Am I putting forth my best effort for Him, the way He has for me?

    Prayer ~ to live each moment of each day for Him, as if it were my last. To bring praise, honor and glory to HIS name.

  3. One of the things that stand out to me is that God gave us everything (chosen, adopted, redeemed, etc., “with all wisdon and understanding”. It is amazing to me that God knows what we need before we do. Of course He does … He created us. But if you think about the “from beginning of time” He knew there would be a Susan, a Shey, a Kim, a Debbie and we would all need these things. I love an “All Knowing God!”

  4. Thank you for confirming the definition of predestination. It has always been my thought that predestination and freewill must work together otherwise there would be no need to witness because, as I see it, those who have been predestined would live the life that God expects, and others would live as they choose, with no hope of an eternal life in Heaven.

    What a gracious and loving God we serve. He gave us the knowledge to tell others that they too can have hope and know that they will spend eternity with our Savior.

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV

  5. As I ponder this passage God reminds me He held nothing back! HE chose, HE made known, HE,HE,HE. Wow! In CHRIST HE included me! Thank you Father! I am so blessed by the great I AM.
    Vse 13: I was included in Christ when I heard the message of truth ,the gospel and believed!
    Question to God. If you have eternally blessed me then how do I bless others?
    Answer
    TELL THEM THE MESSAGE OF TRUTH, THE GOSPEL AND PRAY THAT THEY WILL BELIEVE
    Heavenly Father
    I ask for your Holy Spirit wisdom and understanding in speaking to others about Salvation in Christ alone. Father send someone my way who needs to know they can have eternal blessings in Christ Jesus. I love you.
    Fran

  6. I see this as a love letter Thanking God. As you and others have stated:
    He loves me
    He chose me
    He forgives me
    He has marked me with his sprit and lavishes his grace on me.
    He has sealed me. I’m his and he wants everyone to know.
    Paul is very articulately expressing and acknowledging the awesomeness of God.

    Am I expressing my gratefulness to God, I mean really expressing it. It is so easy to get in the routine of giving thanks in an automated fashion. Do we ever just get to the point where we are bursting at the seams to thank God for all that he has done? When is the last time that I so acknowledged God that my actions would of made people think I had gone crazy because I was so excited by it.

    It is overwhelming to think about and comprehend…. He chose me to have this relationship with, it was predestined. I have to be careful not to fully think about how undeserving I am of that gift…. Actually I think that is exactly what I have to remember so that I will be able to full express and acknowledge just how great God is with all of the emotions it entails. Bring a private person this is an uncomfortable thought.
    His love for me is out there for the entire world to see…. Can I say the same about my love for him……….

    Shay as a comment to your post:
    When I think of heaven I’m split.

    I am excited to think that I will have eternal life and the inheritance that that entitles me to.

    I am scared; No one wants to be scolded. What opportunities have I had in life to share his word and did not, as an introvert, probably more than I want to know… and when that day comes, I know God will let me know. I’m working very hard to change this and get out of my comfort zone. I think that is one of the reasons he wants me to go to India.

    I am fearful – In the healthy way.
    I do tend to think of that day, when I go to heaven, when it comes to making some decisions. God is my father. I can honestly say that there have been some decisions that I have made because I didn’t want to have to face God and explain why I deliberately made the wrong choice. I know that this seems to contradict the previous statement but that is just how he made me.

  7. For some reason this part hit me right between the eyes:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. That the Holy Spirit is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance, that is so awesome!

  8. Really loved reading everyone’s comments. I have enjoyed pondering the passage. I got a lot of the same stuff everyone has mentioned. For me the most amazing part was how Christ demonstrated his AMAZING GRACE. How Christ took my place. How the law required the shedding of blood to pay for sin and how Christ took my place….he didn’t change the law…He fulfilled it….in my place. THAT is GRACE! Wow! Such good stuff so fun and encouraging to me to see how we can all read and ponder the same passage and how God uses it to speak to each of us. Love that we have a personal God and can each have our own personal relationship with him!! Looking forward to this week!

  9. Undeserving was the thought that kept going through my head. I’ll echo Jennifer in that I do not look forward to giving an account because there will be much to answer for.

    Despite all of the times I turned my back on the sacrifice of Christ He was still there with unfailing love when I finally surrendered MY life and gave it to HIM (verses 6&7)

    The fact that I can be looked at as holy and blameless (vs 4) is so powerful.

    I know I do not do enough to allow others to hear the message (vs 13) and give them the same opportunity that I had to know the truth. I must do my part in reaching others for the Kingdom.

    Just a few random thoughts from my time with this scripture over the past week. Thanks for making this forum possible.

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