BY CANAAN April
In my last article, I talked about how we have already received, and will continue to receive, spiritual blessings in Christ (Ephesians 1:1-6). We were chosen by God the Father to be blessed. We didn’t choose God, but God chose us with a plan. He lovingly predestined him to be his son (Ephesians 1:5). Galatians 3:26 says that you are children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. By believing that Jesus Christ is our Savior, we are made children of God by that faith.
Ephesians 1:3-14 glorifies the Trinity God (God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit). In the original Greek Bible, this is a single sentence, not separated like in the Japanese translation. It was God the Father who chose us to be His children, and this was His will.
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. (Ephesians 1:7-14)
Going into today’s passage, it was Jesus Christ, the Son, who actually put this plan of God the Father into action. He made redemption by hanging on the cross (verse 7). “Redemption” means being freed from slavery by paying a price. Israel was once set free from Egyptian slavery by the blood of the Lamb. Likewise, we have been delivered and set free by Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, from sin and the slavery of the devil.
And redemption is substitution. We are not self-redeeming beings. Therefore, Jesus Christ made “blood atonement.” Our sins are forgiven by the blood of Jesus on the cross. We are forgiven of our sins. This is due to God’s abundant grace. As sinners, we were to be judged by God because of our sins. But Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. This is the gospel, the good news. The wages of sin is death. But God gives us life that overcomes death, eternal life.
The mystery of God is made known to us who have been given the remission of our sins (v. 9). All things are gathered together in Jesus Christ (v. 10). Now is said to be the era of division. In families, societies, and nations, there are conflicts, divisions, and antagonisms. But at the end of the world, all will be brought together in Jesus Christ. Christ will be the head.
The world is full of discord, disharmony and disagreement, cannot become one. This is true for small units such as families as well as large units such as nations. Unfortunately, churches and Christians are not united. Some may look to politics. But politicians cannot solve this problem. Because humans are sinful and imperfect beings. Only Jesus Christ can bring two things together & give harmony and unity.
At the Last Supper, Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples. Father, that they may be one, just as you are in me and I am in you (John 17:21).
God the Father and Jesus the Son are perfectly one. It is the desire of the Lord Jesus to be one like that. Christ is our peace, and the time will come when the two will be brought together, the walls of division will be broken down (Ephesians 2:14), and the Jew and the Gentile will be made one. The time is approaching.
The spiritual blessing that follows the forgiveness of sins and the gathering together is to “inherit the kingdom” (v. 11). As descendants of Adam, we were once heirs of sin, curses, and death (Romans 5:12). But the last Adam, Jesus Christ, came and broke the curse.
To inherit the kingdom means to be made an heir. Romans 8:17 says, if a child, also an heir. … we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. We are made children of God. That means heirs. We can have the amazing blessing of inheriting what God the Father has. In the Old Testament, the land of Canaan, the promised land, was the inheritance of the Israelites. This is visible. In the New Testament age, we, the spiritual Israelites, will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.
The criminal who was crucified with Jesus was the first to speak ill of him. But he heard the loving and merciful prayer of Jesus. ” Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:24). He asks jesus ” Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). Jesus said to him.” Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). He was made the heir of the kingdom.
The citizenship of those who believe in Jesus is in heaven (Philippians 3:20)
But the kingdom is not just about the future. Including the present. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus commanded his disciples to pray, ” Thy kingdom come ” (Matthew 6:10). Kingdom is the rule of God. By praying that the rule of the devil will be broken, the blessings of Heaven will descend upon the earth, and that God will reign and receive God’s peace (shalom), healing, health, financial blessings, I believe that we can receive various blessings such as success and victory.
We have seen God the Father in verses 3-6 and Jesus the Son in verses 7-12, but we can see the work of the Holy Spirit in verses 13-14. The Holy Spirit assures us that we will inherit the kingdom (v. 14). The fact that it says, “I was sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise,” can be said to have been given an engagement ring. The Holy Spirit Himself has assured us that in the future we are invited to the marriage feast with Jesus Christ the Lamb. The Bible describes Christ as the Bridegroom and the Church as the Bride. The wedding is still ahead, but we are already engaged. Marriage is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit.
God has also stamped us with a seal of confirmation and put his Spirit into our hearts as a guarantee (Ⅱ Corinthians 1:22).
God has plans for the world to come. It is to be one in Christ, to be gathered into one. It’s about unity, not division. Especially Gentiles and Jews.
“You” in verse 13 refers to the people of the Ephesian church, Gentile Christians. On the other hand, “we” in verses 11 and 12 refer to Paul and other Jewish Christians. And I think the “we” in verse 14 refers to all Christians, both Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians.
It began with God’s election before the world began, followed by the redemption of Jesus Christ on the cross 2000 years ago, and the assurance of the coming kingdom by the Holy Spirit. I think this is the part where the trinity of God appears, and the grand scale of the past, present, and future is depicted. And finally, it ends, “To the glory of God.” We are made heirs of the kingdom. This is a wonderful spiritual blessing.