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Adopted and Redeemed (Ephesians 1:1-6)

Ephesians 1:1–6 - 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. 

 

What does today’s passage say?

In today's passage, Paul identifies himself first and foremost by his calling from God as an apostle of Christ (v. 1). He then offers a blessing of grace and peace to fellow believers in Ephesus, grounding this letter in their shared identity in Christ (v. 2). Paul then praises God for the remarkable spiritual blessings that He lavishes on believers - things like redemption, forgiveness, and insight into the mystery of God's will for humanity (vv. 3-4). Most astoundingly, he declares by His grace through our faith in the finished work of Jesus, God has adopted us wretched sinners as His very own children predestining all who believe to His glorious blessings (vv. 5-6).

 

How can I apply Ephesians 1:1-6 to my life?

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians begins by identifying him as an apostle called by Christ and offering grace and peace to fellow believers. In just these opening verses, we already find anchored truth for how to walk as children of God. Paul’s words invite self-reflection - have we embraced God’s calling on our lives? Do we begin each day grounded in the reality of His grace and peace or allow earthly chaos to eclipse eternal truth? This passage also reveals the magnificence of salvation. Out of sheer kindness, God has adopted us as sons and daughters. He predestined those who respond to the gospel in faith to enjoy intimacy with Himself as Abba Father. As we study this passage, let us be in awe of the blessings and identity now freely given to us by God as heirs to the Kingdom. Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

1.    Recognize Your Calling in Christ (v. 1): As we start our journey through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we immediately see him identifying himself by his calling from God - an apostle of Jesus Christ. This small but profound reminder challenges us to view our own lives through the lens of God's calling. What does it look like to recognize our calling daily? Firstly, it means embracing that our primary identity and purpose stems from our salvation in Christ. We are His followers before any other title. This calling transforms why we get out of bed each morning and how we engage in even menial aspects of life. Doing the dishes, for example, becomes an act of worship when done by one called to live for God's glory. Secondly, remembering our calling motivates passion and focus to use our unique gifts and abilities for the kingdom. One may feel called to serve the poor while another uses their artistic talents to create Christian media pointing people to the gospel. Still others honor God simply by working with integrity and kindness in their workplace. Lastly, recognizing our shared calling unifies us as believers. We are all called to proclaim Christ, serve others, pursue holiness, and help fulfill the Great Commission. When faced with loneliness, we can remember that there are countless others on this same journey of faith. And when struggling to find meaning in seasons of obscurity, we can cling to the promise that God places us where we are for a reason - to display His love (1 Peter 2:9; Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Thessalonians 4:7).


Food for Thought: Do you view all components of your life as holy callings? Why or why not? What unique passions and gifts might God be calling you to use for kingdom impact right now?


2.    Embrace God's Grace and Peace (v. 2): As Paul continues his opening in verse 2, we get a beautiful picture of the abundant grace and lasting peace we have in Christ. God's unmerited favor is the very foundation of our salvation - and transforms how we wake up each morning with hope rather than shame over sin. What should embracing this grace and peace look like practically? For one, it dramatically shapes how we view difficult circumstances when our human nature expects turmoil. We can trust that behind illness, job loss, or tragedy, God's grace is still actively working for our eternal good. As we lean into the security of His grace, confidence begins displacing our anxiety over the unknown. God's peace then fills in the gaps - serving as an umpire resolving the tensions swirling in our soul, allowing us to carry on with joy and gratitude despite storms. Secondly, embracing grace humbles us to extend the same mercy we've received to those around us. When a barista messes up our drink order or a friend speaks harshly, the rich grace we live under calls us to patience, compassion and forgiveness in response. As recipients of immeasurable grace, how easily we forget how others are still progressing on their spiritual journeys just as we are (2 Peter 1:2-4; Hebrews 4:16, Romans 5:1-2).


Food for Thought: In what situations do you most struggle to remember and embrace the grace that defines you? What tangible step can you take right now to extend more grace to those around you this week?


3.    Rejoice in God's Spiritual Blessings (vv. 3-4): In verses 3 and 4, Paul describes some of the incredible spiritual blessings we have in Christ - blessings like adoption, redemption, and inheritance. Consider for a moment all that God has freely given you. Before knowing Christ, you were separated from God with no hope. But in His mercy, God sent Jesus to secure your place in His family. Through faith, your sins - past, present and future – have been forgiven.  You are now a child of the One true God and have immediate access to Him for all eternity. Thinking on these remarkable spiritual realities cultivates wonder, joy and gratitude in our hearts. These precious truths move us to offer all that we are back to God in worship. They compel us to share the hope we have found with others still lost and separated from His blessings. Most practically, remembering the enormity of what we have in Christ protects us from grumbling and complaining in seasons of discomfort. Our complaints about long lines, irritations at work, and other inconveniences now seem so petty especially when we realize that we have the very Spirit of God residing within us! Hardships will come and go in this life, but they will always be temporary; the spiritual blessings of our salvation and redemption are eternal (1 Peter 1:3-5; Romans 8:15-17; Hebrews 10:19-22).


Food for Thought: What particular spiritual blessing from today's passage is especially meaningful to you today? In what tangible ways can remembering God’s spiritual blessings help you maintain an attitude of gratitude this week even during frustrations and inconveniences?


4.    Celebrate Your Adoption as Sons and Daughters (vv. 5-6): Verses 5 and 6 give us a beautiful window into God's incredible love and kindness that moved Him to make adoption possible through Christ. Even before creation, in His grand plan God envisioned all those who would accept His offer of salvation by faith to become part of His family. Though once chained in the darkness of sin, God predestined that those who heard the gospel and believed would experience the transforming reality of adoption as His sons and daughters. And so the offer stands today for all - whoever puts their trust in Christ's finished work on the cross and His resurrection is saved and receives the Spirit of adoption. Our shame is washed away, and we become heirs with Christ according to the pleasure and purpose of the Father. Out of sheer grace, God makes room at His table for the orphaned, extending intimacy with Himself we don't deserve. As adopted children united with the Son of God, we now bear the marks of His image - clothed in His righteousness and purity. This truth revolutionizes our sense of identity and empowers us to walk freely, no longer chained to past failures. Let your heart swell today in celebration of God's kindness in adopting lost sinners like us into His family through the salvation Christ freely offers (Galatians 4:5, Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 John 3:1).


Food for Thought: What feelings arise as you reflect on the fact that salvation and adoption into God's family are available to all by grace through faith? In what areas do you still fail to see yourself as God sees you - as His beloved child? How does this truth empower your walk?


When we recognize our calling, embrace God’s grace, rejoice in His spiritual blessings, and celebrate our adoption into the family of God, our walk is strengthened and inspired. How quickly we trade these realities for lesser distractions. But when they remain central, our perspective shifts from temporal to eternal. These truths anchor and empower every thought, word and deed. They compel us to live all of life from a place of worship, to see even mundane moments as holy callings before an audience of One. May we let these words take deeper root so that our lives yield amazing fruit for the glory of God.

 

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray that You would give me eyes to see my identity, purpose, and blessings as You do. Empower me to recognize Your calling and to walk in it with passion and joy. Let Your grace and peace protect my soul daily, bearing fruit in my attitudes and responses, especially when I face trials. Remind me constantly of the enormous spiritual blessings that are mine in Christ so that worship, gratitude, and generosity define my days. I praise You for adopting me as Your beloved child and ask that You would help me live out that life of adoption for Your glory.

I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

 

Ephesians 1:3 – “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.”

 

 

With His Blessings,

Pastor Corby

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