Anglican Morning Devotion for 12 January 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: 2Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:” (Ephesians 1:1-9; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Paul begins this Epistle by establishing by what authority he preaches. It is not by his own volition, nor by any pope or potentate, but by the ‘Will of God’ and, if by the Will of God, all that Paul teaches must be consistent with the Word of God that is the express will of God.
To whom does Paul address his remarks? “. . . to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.” Who are the saints? Are they the ones depicted in the stone figures and masonry of Rome, or are they all those faithful of God in Christ? Paul makes it clear that this Epistle is addressed, first of all, to the faithful saints of Ephesus; and, secondly, to the saints of God in Christ of all times and places.
What does it mean to be ‘predestinated unto adoption of children’ in Paul’s Epistle? Does it mean that the child chose the adoptive parent, or does it mean the adoptive parent chose the child? Until we have agreed on the answer to that question, we may remain divided on the means of salvation. You will recall what our Lord Jesus “Christ had to say regarding the matter: “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” (Ephesians 1:2 2) “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” (John 17:2) “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” (John 17:12) “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” (John 17: 24)
The Bible, being the Word of God, is true in the most minute detail; and that which is true is forever consistent. God the father has placed into the hand of His Son those whom He has chosen from before the foundation of the world. This is a great mystery, however, so are many other utterances of Scripture a mystery to us until revealed, in meaning, by the Holy Ghost.
How has Christ blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ? Have we yet set foot on the far shores of Jordan Waters? With the Incarnation of Christ, Heaven came down to the believers. Those who know Christ intimately are blessed with a profound comfort and grace that is independent of the physical world about them. In the true worship of Christ, the believer is carried aloft in a joy and comfort that the world cannot know. Even in the singing of the tried and true hymns of the Church, our souls are elevated to a higher plane.
Did God predestinate us according to our good behavior, or our earnest wills? No, not according to this Epistle. “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” Our salvation is an act of God’s grace and due to no merit of our own. The means by which that grace is forthcoming to draw us to the Throne of Mercy is by the immeasurable love with which our Lord loved us. Without His effusive love first being showered down upon us, we could not have loved Him at all. (See 1 John 4:19) We could not make ourselves accepted in Christ – it was an act of Godly will. “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”
The Holy Ghost brings to our remembrance all things of need in the Holy Scriptures, but no new thing not mentioned in the Word of God. “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure.” It is God’s pleasure to reveal to us, who seek His will and favor.