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The “In” Crowd

October 29, 2011

1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is,the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.

I don’t recommend this Bible study method, but I found myself Easter-egg hunting in Ephesians 1:1-14. Using my trusty New American Standard translation, I began to pick up some repetitive words and phrases that caused Paul’s theological points to leap from the page.

First, it was all the “in” words that caught my eye. In verses 1, 3 and 10 and 12, and 6, it’s “in Christ Jesus” and “in Christ” and “in the Beloved,” respectively. In verse 3, it’s “in the heavenly places.” In verses 4, 7, 9, 10 and 13, it’s “in Him,” meaning Christ. In verse 4, it’s “in love,” and in verse 8, it’s “in all wisdom and insight.”

Tied to these are some pretty significant actions towards us as faithful “saints”, or the “in” crowd. Out of the box,  we’ve been “blessed with every spiritual blessing” in Him, and if we need more than every spiritual blessing, in Him we have “obtained an inheritance.”  Then there’s our having been chosen in Him “before the foundation of the world.” OK, let’s shelve that one for later.

Moving on, we’ve been redeemed and forgiven with super-abundant grace, in Him, and “sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise.”  Wait there’s more! We’ve been adopted “as sons” in love. And in all wisdom and insight, the greatest mystery of all time has been revealed to us, that is, the “summing up of all things in Christ.”

You might ask, why me? Well, we find out why in verses 5, 9 and 11, due to the “kind intention” and “counsel” of “His will,” for the praise of His glory and grace (verses 6, 12, 14).

There you have it; Ephesians 1:1-14 from 35,000 feet up.

I say we have been given more than enough to say “grace” over!

Wow.

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