The leader of the local Connecticut Youth for Christ chapter, Peter Lyons, invited me to join him in his work. As part of this he began to take me through a study on the book of Ephesians. I was powerfully impacted by the first chapter with its strong emphasis on who we are in Christ.
We were working in the King James Version, focusing on verses 3-6. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”
Wow! That much spiritual blessing: endless, immeasurable, heavenly, with and in Jesus!
“According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world,”
Another wow! These blessings were prepared before the world began, when God chose me to be His son; and He chose me because He wanted me (as He does each person who is willing to believe) and worked the out circumstances that would draw me to Himself.
And His gift for us: “that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love:”
In His eyes we are holy and pure in His love right now! He sees our record as washed clean in the blood of Christ and sees us standing before Him justified in Jesus. This is a wonderful truth for a person like me who tends to be perfectionistic in evaluating myself. For Jesus I don’t have to perform; He has made me clean, holy and pure!
“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself…”
Our Heavenly Father made sure this happened, working out all the details so we could believe, be saved and be transformed into a new creature.
“according to the good pleasure of His will….”
This was a very significant point for me. It was His good pleasure to adopt me as His son, not an “OK, you can come, too” attitude, but a “Wow, have I been waiting for you! I’m so glad you came! I’ve been looking forward to your becoming my child!” kind of attitude.
Then the passage continues, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the beloved.”
He has made me accepted. He has made each believer accepted as we are in Christ. I don’t have to do anything for this acceptance! It is a gift! I am dearly loved because He is love. I am fully, eternally, eagerly accepted.
That makes me want to obey Him–not to earn His approval, but in response to His wonderful, warm, transforming love. So I memorized and meditated on this passage, and continue to do so to the present, soaking in, reveling in and basking in these great contra-conditional truths of God’s marvelous, mighty love for all His children.
This passage in Ephesians 1 became the incubator for cultivating a greater understanding of God, His character, His ways and how He wanted to have me join Him in His great plan for the universe.
This was the beginning of a new level of freedom, one that included my whole being, my whole soul: mind, will and emotions. It brought me into the light of God’s presence, gave me a sense of belonging, of worth and a certain knowledge that He was making me competent in His power.
Picture Dad working in the tire shop with a helper, Harry