A Personalized Look at Ephesians 1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have been reading and re-reading through Ephesians the past few days.  This morning I decided to read it in a more personalized way.  Now, I realize that this letter was written to the churches who met in the cities of Asia Minor or modern day Turkey.  It was written for the Church as a “we” and not an “I”.   I have placed in ITALICS those words that I have changed to make it a more personalized letter to individual believers.  This has caused me to read this differently and my only response is praise to Him who called me by His own purpose and grace. I have only personalized verses 1-12 for this post.  I hope this will be a blessing to you.

Here we go….

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus (Asia Minor), and faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed be You the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as You chose me in Him before the foundation of the world, that I should be holy and without blame before You in love, 5 having predestined me to adoption as a son by Jesus Christ to Yourself, according to the good pleasure of Your will, 6 to the praise of the glory of Your grace, by which You made me accepted in the Beloved.

7 In Christ I have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward me in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to me the mystery of Your will, according to Your good pleasure which You purposed in Yourself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times You might gather together in one all things in Christ, both[a] which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.11 In Christ also I have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of You who works all things according to the counsel of Your will,12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

13 In Christ you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who[b] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,18 the eyes of your understanding[c] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all  things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Footnotes:

  1. Ephesians 1:10 NU-Text and M-Text omit both.
  2. Ephesians 1:14 NU-Text reads which.
  3. Ephesians 1:18 NU-Text and M-Text read hearts.

New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Who’s Life is it Anyway?

My life is not my own.  experience_christ_in_you_meme-1024x537

It belongs to Jesus Christ.  My life is found only in Him.  I have spent many years with regret on my mind.  Things I should have done and didn’t.  Other things I did, and I shouldn’t have.  I am sure that you have some regrets from your past as well.  There have been times in this past year where I wished that my life would end, that the cancer in my body would become so bad that it would take me out.  I felt so badly about the way I have lived my life to that point that I thought it would be better for all if I was dead.  If I look at my life from the perspective of what this world defines as successful I would fall short.  I don’t have any children, my marriage is over, I haven’t made more than $30,000 in any year since I was 16, I don’t currently own a home or a car.

Wow!  Just writing the previous sentence should make me depressed.  But, it doesn’t anymore.  The difference is that “my life” isn’t mine anymore.  In reality it hasn’t been mine since 1982 when I received Jesus Christ into my life and He forgave all my sins.  Yet, even from the beginning of my walk with Christ I have had the idea that I can still do what I want as long as I pray about it.  As believers in Christ, we can’t simply have this idea.  Our lives are no longer our own, they belong to Christ.  In regards to our physical body 1 Cor 6:19-20 states, You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.”  Notice it says we were bought with a high price.  The price of our redemption and forgiveness came at the expense of Christ’s brutal death on a Roman cross.

I am in Christ by faith.  Christ is in me.  Apart from Him I can do nothing.  I have no right to do whatever I please any longer.  Romans 6 gives many points to support these ideas of complete surrender, dying with Christ on the cross when he did, my old self was crucified with him as well.  I must daily, moment by moment, trust in Him to live His life in me.  This is not passive, since I will learn to go with His flow over time.