|"NJ White Heron"|
Found him in a local pond : )
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
So after reading Acts, I read what Paul wrote, "an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God" I know what he meant. I just read about Paul's blindness and conversion : ) It's nice how God laid out the Bible isn't it? It is the inspired Word of God. The best explanation for how Paul became an Apostle is God's will.
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 should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
The word "predestined" is a hard one for us to grasp. The best explanation I've heard is that God puts trials, hardships, blessings, people in need, helpful people, extra money, no money, in our path as a part of His plan for us to grow and believe in Him. We have the choice to believe or not. He doesn't force us like robots. Just like the rain brings flowers, troubles bring hope and a renewed purpose in Him.
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
As I read this I remember my Greek Professor saying we can always know when Paul is writing, lots of run-on sentences. Verses 7-10 are one sentence : ) Just a fun fact about the Bible. The writers have their own styles which makes it even more credible. After Paul's conversion, I always smile at the beauty of his words. He was an angry, controlling, fighter. Through Christ he is an eloquent, beautiful, Evangelist.
13 In Him 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 is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
(Ephesians 1:1-14 NKJV)
Can you see the difference between a man driven by each letter of the Jewish law to a loving compassionate man? Actually, I can relate. I was angry and empty before I accepted Jesus as my Savior. But Paul's writing is so inspired and beautiful. You can see why he's a favorite Apostle of many Christians (plus the fact that he messed up big time like we have). It's encouraging to see how God can change a life.
"you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise," There's not a lot of mystery here. We receive the Holy Spirit when we chose to trust Jesus and believe, and listen to the Word of truth.
Here's a song by Michael W. Smith Glorious Grace.
Ephesians must have been Michael's inspiration for writing this song. It's beautiful! Michael W. Smith is still singing to the Lord, he's been singing since I became a Christian 38 years ago. We saw him on the Mike Huckabee show last night.
Dear Heavenly Father,
I lift those in the Southern California wild fires to You. I pray You will bring rain and strength to the firefighters who are working so hard to get things under control. Please bring peace to this situation and protect those in harms way. Thank You for Your most awesome compassion : )
In Jesus Name, Amen.