In this sentence Paul lays out God’s work in salvation.
While there remains some mystery in the process Paul make absolutely clear the fact that God is the initiator of our salvation – Before the foundation of the universe God set in motion a plan that would culminate in the life, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus.
Salvation is His work not ours.
Like the ones that precede them the 8 verses we are going to look at today (Ephesians 1:15-23) form one sentence in the Greek.
Paul moves from one long connected thought to a second.
In these verses are 3 ways Paul urges us to respond to God’s work on our behalf – 3 benefits that are available to us when we receive His gift of salvation.
First, we are to know God better (Ephesians 1:17)
Knowing about God and knowing God are completely different things.
God is not just something to be studied and examined; He is someone to be loved and worshiped.
Over time our relationship with God should increasingly be built on commitment, trust, and familiarity.
Example – Jesus and the Pharisees
I. Packer (“Knowing God”) – “What matters supremely…is not…the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it – the fact that he knows me.”
William Barclay – “The Christian life could be described as getting to know God better every day.”
Second, we should experience the hope to which we have been called. (Ephesians 1:18)
One of the distinguishing characteristics of followers of Jesus is that we are to be people of hope…
1 Peter 3:15 – “Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”
In Scripture the word “hope” usually looks forward to the completion of one of God’s promises.
RC Sproul – “Hope is called the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19), because it gives stability to the Christian life. But hope is not simply a ‘wish’ (I wish that such-and-such would take place); rather, it is that which latches on to the certainty of the promises of the future that God has made.”
What we trust and believe God is going to do in the future changes how we think about the present.
Finally, we are to understand the immeasurable greatness of God’s power. (Ephesians 1:19-23)
Statistically Ephesians focuses on words for power more than any other New Testament letter.
We are reminded through this that Christ’s victory is total – He is over all and above all (verse 21).
The proof we have of this is Jesus’ resurrection.
The resurrection allowed Jesus to demonstrate that the power of man is no match for the power of God.
The power of Jesus is final, it’s absolute, it’s insurmountable and it’s at your disposal.
Romans 8:37-39 – “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Conclusion – We have a unique opportunity to experience this in this current season.
What’s the most unexpected gift you’ve received? How did you respond to the gift giver? What did you learn today about how God wants us to respond to His gift of salvation?
How do you see the difference between knowing about God and knowing God? What helps you to connect with God more personally?
When in your life have you placed your hope in the wrong things? What was the result of this? What promises of God can you apply to your life today?
What does the concept of resurrection power mean to you? How does the fact that Jesus raised from the dead impact your life. Where could you use more of God’s power in your life?
How can you better access these three benefits of salvation during the current season?