Summary: In a world of uncertainy, God’s promises make us certain. We can be certain that the Father has choosen us by grace alone, the Son has redeemed us with his blood, and the Holy Spirit has marked us as God’s own.
Praise God That You Can Be Certain
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Word of God through which the Holy Spirit strengthens us to speak God’s Word faithfully is Ephesians 1:3-14
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment – to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
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, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:3-14 NIV)
Dear friends, chosen by God’s grace in Christ:
A U.S. soldier walking the streets of Baghdad does not know when a sniper’s bullet could strike him down. Uncertainty clouds the day.
We, too, face uncertainties. What kind of yield will the fields produce? What will the market pay? Uncertainty clouds the day. We make plans for the weekend, but someone gets sick. We hope for home improvements, but the money doesn’t come in. We work hard at a personal relationship, but it falls apart. Uncertainty clouds the day.
How quickly uncertainty can block out the sunshine of happiness! Your day flows along fine. The phone rings. There’s been a family tragedy. Uncertainty clouds the day.
How are we to cope with the uncertainties in life? The world may cope by worrying or giving up. Or thinking that life is short, it may live indulge in wild living with an I-don’t-care attitude. The world may advise us to always be looking out for ourselves, since lives a gamble. Or it might cynically say like many colleges or universities do, “There is no sure truth.” None of this works.
How do we cope? Or better: How does God want us to cope with life’s uncertainties? He wants us to focus on his promises. His promises are sure. They do not fade or fail. His promises shine through the clouds of uncertainty. They are a certainty, and they bring us certainty. Praise God that you can be certain. That is the theme for today.
What can we be certain about? The Holy Spirit tells us through the words he gave the Apostle Paul to write to the Christians in Ephesus. We can be certain that 1) you are chosen by the Father, 2) you are ransomed by the Son, 3) and you are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Praise God that you can be certain because he has promised these things.
1) You are chosen by the Father
Paul himself faced uncertainties as he wrote this letter. He was in prison in Rome on trail for preaching about Jesus. The Christians in Ephesus faced uncertainties. They lived in a pagan city. While Paul had been doing mission work among them, craftsmen who made shrines for the idol Artemis had started a riot against Paul. Would more violence surface against them?
What is Paul’s response to these gloomy uncertainties? He praises God for what he has done: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves” (Ephesians 1:3-6 NIV). He praises God that he can be certain. Paul was certain that in Christ God had chosen him and his fellow believer, including you. He chose us for adoption.