“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
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, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 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, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:3-14 (ESV)
The above text is often referred to as a doxology (blessing). And we sing them in our red hymnal under songs 624-626. As we enter into the last month of the year, are we able to sing and say “praise God from whom all blessings flow”? Few more weeks down the month, we will gather for the last service gathering at the Watch Night Service. Again, it gives us a good opportunity of reflection. Have we been faithful to the Lord our God? Are we able to fulfil the commitment that we set out in the beginning of 2014? How have we run the race in 2014?
Ephesians 1:3-14 is actually one unusually long sentence, presenting one description of God’s work in Christ, one after another. Every new element provides a further explanation about what God has done. The rhythm, recurring phrases and exaltations make this doxology one of the most impressive expressions of praise. Its purpose is to praise God for binding us to himself by the grace he has shown in Christ.
The expression “in Christ”, “in him” are among the most important components of Paul’s theology, especially in Ephesians. “In Christ” with its 164 occurrences; 36 of which are in Ephesians, is much more likely the central motif. Every element in Paul’s teachings flow from his understanding about our union with Christ. How blessed to note that God’s purpose and election take place in Christ. God’s grace and redemption are fond in Christ. All things in heaven and on earth are summed up in Christ. People hope in Christ, hear the word in Christ and by faith are sealed in Christ.
This doxology of Ephesians 1:3-14 reassures us of the many blessings that our God has installed for all of us. It is our position in the Lord Jesus Christ that also confirmed the promises and blessings. What a privilege that we are enjoying and it is for us to claim upon them. Come 25th December, we will host BC Christmas 2014 and speaker, brother Watson Rajaratnam will bring God’s word so that those many more will find hope in Christ!! Let’s also be reminded of the illustration that recent speaker, Dr Andrew Goh, used as a challenge for us. Are we ready to give our blessings that we have freely received. Do we want to see only the “pillars, walls and pews” looking at the same congregational gathering in our outreach endeavours! Let’s be part of the chain to bring this blessing to our friends this Christmas. Please start to pray and send out the invitation cards that we have prepared for you.
Elder Andrew Lim