The last time I wrote (four eternities ago), I talked about how Christ’s sacrifice for God affects us in that we can now be reunited with God. This time, we’re going to attempt to understand what being reunited with God means. So, let’s continue on with Ephesians.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
If you’ve read my previous posts, the phrase, “In him,” has come up before. And in verse 11, we see yet another time Paul decides to write this. I strongly believe it’s because Paul is trying to send the message that we cannot do this salvation thing on our own. It’s always humbling to be reminded of that.
In verse 11, you can see that it uses the word, “inheritance.” (Technically, it’s “obtained an inheritance,” because it’s one word in Greek). This means that we are now able to have our sin forgiven as promised in the Old Testament.
Then Paul writes, “having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will.” While I don’t want to get into the subject of Calvinism and Arminianism, I believe this verse does say that when we come to Christ, it isn’t all by chance. The Spirit can lead others into sharing their faith, speaking truth, and many other actions that can result into a non-believer becoming a Follower. Isn’t that awesome? And I believe it also hints to the fact that God planned to forgive sin since before time began.
Verse 12 is one of my favorite verses not because it’s theologically startling, strongly comforting, or anything like that. It’s just because it’s funny. He basically writes, “By the way, this is to glorify God.” And it’s funny because he writes this in the same sentence that he wrote, “In him…” He didn’t even give it a sentence before he reminds us of the purpose again.
Verse 13 seems complex at first, but in all honesty, it’s just the process of salvation. It begins with hearing the word of truth. There’s at least two entities involved here -the hearer and the teller. Someone has to tell the word of truth for you or anybody to hear it.
Then, the hearer decides whether or not they want to believe what the other person told them. Now, there’s only one entity involved – the hearer. This is important for believers to realize in terms of evangelizing. We can’t make someone believe because it’s up to them. If someone doesn’t come to Christ after we successfully share him, it’s not our fault.
Last, after believing, Paul writes, “We immediately join the church registry, tithe exactly 10% of our earnings, vote Republican, love America, listen to Toby Keith/Mac, go on an annual mission trip to meet poor people, attend a Southern Social Club, and wait until we die.”
Or maybe not.
He tells us we are given the Holy Spirit. Now we’re back to two entities, and since the Trinity exists, we technically have four of them. In my next post, I’ll attempt to talk more about the Holy Spirit and what He can do for us. However, for now, let’s discuss what we see in this text.
Like I said earlier and what I believe is implied in the text, this is personal now. The Holy Spirit comes into each individual person. This is important to understand because the Spirit might lead one person to do something and another to do something else. Neither are wrong; it’s just what the Spirit wants.
Also, in verse 15, Paul refers to him as the, “guarantee of our salvation…” In the HCSB, it says, “the down payment of our inheritance…“I like the translation of that phrase more because it makes it a little more visual. The way we know that someone will pay us is by a down payment. If you buy a car, you usually have to give a down payment. Why? So that they know you are serious about fully buying the car in the future.
The Spirit is how we know that God is serious about spending eternity with us in the future.