Series EPHESIANS with Pastor Mark Finley |
Lesson 2: God’s Grand, Christ-Centered Plan |
Memory Text: Ephesians 1:9 – Making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. |
2.1 Chosen and Accepted in Christ
The passage in Ephesians 1:3–6 celebrates the rich blessings that God has granted us in Christ before the world began. It emphasizes God’s loving choice and acceptance of believers as His beloved children, chosen before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in Christ. This act of providence reveals God’s deep love and clear desire for our salvation, having chosen us in Christ even before our existence – a manifestation of His grace and commitment to our salvation.
2.2 Costly Redemption; Lavish Forgiveness
The passage in Ephesians 1:7–8 highlights the costly redemption and generous forgiveness that God grants to believers through Christ. These concepts, as mentioned in other parts of the New Testament, reflect the metaphorical liberation from the slavery of sin. Through Christ’s sacrifice and His forgiving love, God lifts us from the bondage of sin and lavishes us with His gracious generosity.
The concept of redemption involves liberation from slavery, symbolized by Christ’s sacrifice. Through Christ’s atonement, not only are our sins forgiven, but we are also given a new identity as free citizens of heaven. Though one might feel unworthy, the cross emphasizes this very fact – it is a demonstration of God’s undeserved grace and love for us, accepting and redeeming us despite our unworthiness.
2.3 God’s Grand, Christ-Centered Plan
The scripture in Ephesians 1:9–10 reveals God’s magnificent plan, aiming to unite all things in Christ at the fullness of time. This comprehensive plan, predetermined before the foundation of the world, emphasizes unity in Christ as the divine goal for the universe.
Paul refers to God’s plan aiming to bring everything together in Christ, spanning across all times and spaces – a vision that commences in the death, resurrection, and establishment of the Church. This redemption in Christ is thus a significant part of God’s comprehensive and ultimate plan, aiming to unite all things in Christ and manifest unity in the name of Christ.
2.4 Living in Praise of His Glory
The verses in Ephesians 1:11–12 emphasize that believers, as heirs according to God’s predestined will, are called to live to praise His glory. Paul reminds them of their identity as children of God, clarifying that their blessings are based on God’s purposes and eternal decisions to unite everything in Christ.
The term “inheritance” in Ephesians 1:11, 14, 18 stresses the importance that believers are not only recipients of blessings but are regarded as heirs of God. This underscores that their position and blessings are not based on their efforts but on God’s grace through Christ.
Paul highlights that Christians haven’t just received an inheritance from God but are God’s inheritance, meaning their identity as children of God and heirs is a central element of their faith. This emphasizes that their blessings are not earned but received through God’s grace.
2.5 The Holy Spirit: Seal and Down Payment
In Ephesians 1:13–14, Paul briefly describes the conversion process of his readers. He emphasizes receiving the Holy Spirit as a seal and guarantee for believers. The Holy Spirit acts as a seal, marking believers as belonging to God and as a guarantee of the future complete inheritance of salvation and redemption through Christ. This underscores that the precious presence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers anticipates the future inheritance and is received as a gift from God.
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