Thursday, June 09, 2016

The Christian's Starter Pack - Ephesians 1:12-14

Today's Scripture
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:13,14


God gets great glory, praise and pleasure from people who put their trust in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. As I was reading through today's passage I was reminded that God does everything for his own pleasure. Before you switch off let me explain. Usually when you or I do things to please ourselves we become selfish and self centred. It is not good for us. This is not the case with God. When everything in your world is in its right place things work smoothly. When God is in His right place i.e. the centre of His universe then everything works smoothly. Men and women are blessed and things go well. When God is rejected everything falls apart for we were created to give God glory and when we fail to do this everything fails. Revelation chapter four verse eleven states - "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created."

Everything in the universe centres around God. This is because he is the creator, the maintainer and the reason why everything exists. In Colossians 1:16,17 it states 'for by him were all things created......all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist'. Again in Romans 11:36 it states 'For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen'. The fact that everything centres around God is not damaging to him or to us. Because God is holy and perfect the ultimate effect is blessing for all who will honour and worship God.

Have a read of Ephesian chapter one and notice how often it talks about God's good pleasure and God's own will - verse 5 - 'according to the good pleasure of his will,' verse 9 - 'according to his good pleasure,' verse 11 'who works all things after the counsel of his own will.' Now go back over the verses and you will see that the passage clearly demonstrates that God's joy and delight is to bless men and women. 

The list of what God wants to do for people who are prepared to trust His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ is impressive:

  1. He wants to make people holy and without blame in his sight.
  2. He wants people to know his love.
  3. He wants to bring believers into his family.
  4. He wants to clear (for us) the debt that is owed to him.
  5. He wants to forgive sins.
  6. He wants Christians to share in his wisdom and prudence.
  7. He wants to bring world affairs under the control of Jesus Christ.
  8. He wants believers to share in his wealth.
The Christian's Starter Pack

Did you know that every new Christian gets a starter pack when they first believe. It's like a taster of the good things that God promises to those who trust His Son. You see the day you trust in the Lord Jesus as Saviour, God sends His Holy Spirit to reside in you. The Bible calls it being indwelt by the Holy Spirit. In effect this is the very way that God comes to be in you and part of you. 

In this passage, verse 13, the Holy Spirit is given a unique name - He is called the Holy Spirit of promise. In other passages in the Bible the Holy Spirit is given other titles that are appropriate to the situation. Here it's the idea that God is promising that there is a lot more to come. Turning from your sin (repenting) and trusting Christ is just the start of a long and joyful journey. 

 If you don't have the Holy Spirit then you are not a Christian, Romans 8:9 states that if you don't have the Spirit of Christ you don't belong to him. Notice that another title of the Holy Spirit is used in this verse - He is called the 'Spirit of Christ' as he brings the Lord Jesus Christ into your life. But don't worry you don't have to do anything extra to receive the Holy Spirit. It happens automatically the moment you realise that you are a sinner and trust the Lord Jesus for salvation. 

The first way what actually happens is described is as being sealed by the Holy Spirit. The idea of 'the seal' is taken from the world of business transportation. When cargo is being sent from one place to another a seal is put on the goods so that their owner can be easily identified. The Holy Spirit identifies the Christian as belonging to God.

 The second things we are told is that the Holy Spirit is a pledge or a promise to the believer. In effect it's like a 'down payment' so that we know there are more blessings to come. It is a similar idea to that of the engagement ring in western society. It is meant to indicate that the wealth of the man will be available to the new wife on their marriage. Probably for most men the cost of the engagement ring exhausts most of their wealth!! These are great truths that should encourage every Christian. 

Notice the little word 'until' in verse 14. What we have been learning about the Holy Spirit is only valid for the period of time between becoming a believer and resurrection day. What happens then is described as 'the redemption of the purchased possession'. The truth is that the Lord Jesus paid for salvation on the cross. His death was the price that was required to redeem us. When you redeem something you either pay off a debt (like a mortgage) or you release someone from from an obligation they cannot get out of (such as a prison sentence or life slavery). Jesus death was the payment to clear the debt of our sin and release us from the slavery of sin.

At the moment Christians only enjoy part of the blessing of salvation - the spiritual part of it. The bible calls it 'the redemption of your soul' - see 1 Peter 1:9. Salvation has an additional dimension which we will enjoy at some point in the future. This is called 'the redemption of the purchased possession.' It is also described as 'the redemption of our body' in Romans 8:23. 

This is all amazing truth, it is all for the pleasure of God and it most definitely brings those who believe in the Lord Jesus into a place of great blessing.

To access podcasts and videos explaining the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ visit

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