|Vol. 15 No. 11 November 2013||
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, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Ephesians 1:3-6)
The above passage of Scripture has been misinterpreted by some to mean, before God created anything, He decided individually who would be saved and who would be lost. Such a view is certainly not what Paul was teaching! As the saying goes, “not the man but the plan” was predestined.
As Paul wrote to these Christians, he reminded them that God chose us, before anything was created, to be holy and blameless before Him. This is possible through Christ’s sacrifice, and how we are, by the blood of Christ, adopted as His children by His will. God’s purpose in redeeming us through Christ, then, is eternal, and anyone who submits to Him in faith can be a recipient of His grace, freely bestowed through Christ the Beloved.
What we should take away from this passage of Scripture, then, is the amazing love of God for us. How amazing is it? It began before we were created, before anything was made. God knew in His omniscience that we would sin, and if we were to have any opportunity for eternal life, Jesus would have to die for our sins. Christ knew the price that had to be paid, and He was willing to become flesh and blood in the fullness of time (Galatians 4:4) that redemption could be provided. It is so amazing to consider all this that John said that it is the way we know what love is. “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:16).
We understand God loves the world, He loves every human being who ever has and ever will exist (John 3:16). What we must also realize is that this means He loves each of us personally, individually. I don’t believe we will ever grasp the depth of God’s love until we stop and realize it this way. Since all have sinned (Romans 3:23), that means I have sinned, you have sinned, but God doesn’t want any of us to perish, but He desires each of us to come to repentance and find life (2 Peter 3:9).
How incredible is that? How lost we are without God’s love, but how loved we are, how special we are to God, to Christ. The love of God and His grace for us obviously isn’t cheap; it cost the death of Christ, the shedding of His blood. For something as great as that, how great should our love be? How deep should our appreciation be, our love go and our life be committed? “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9).
My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
for thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
if ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.
I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
and purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
if ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.
William R. Featherstone
May we not succumb to the philosophy that God loves us so much that He will allow us to remain in the image of sin. May our love for Him show itself as genuine as we seek to become more and more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18). The next time temptation comes your way, remember His love, His sacrifice. Remember your life shows your love.
Guy Orbison, Jr.
The apostle Paul reminded us that you really cannot “take it with you” when he wrote these words to Timothy: “For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either” (2 Timothy 6:7). This truth should help us to put material things into proper perspective. Everything associated with the material universe is temporary and will exist only as long as the universe exists. Thus, to put all our time and efforts into accumulating material things is what Solomon described as “vanity and striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14).
So, how should we view the “things” of this world? Well, we should recognize that they’re really not worth much in view of eternity. We should use them but not hold on to them with our hearts. We should also be generous with them; that is, we should use them in serving or helping others. Those who try to “store them” up usually forfeit them, like Achan or the rich man who built bigger barns. You can never keep them forever. They are designed by God for the “here and now” and must be spent in the “here and now.”
It’s really not a matter of how much you have or don’t have, but how you view what you have. When you add it all up, it really amounts to nothing that will last.