Going Deeper 12.31.2020

The second reading for the second Sunday of Christmas... Ephesians 1:3-14

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, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.

We do well to dwell on the significance of these two phrases: "He chose us" and "He destined us for adoption."  It is a very big deal to be honored with the label "child of God"!

One commentator shared this insight: "Adoption was not uncommon in antiquity. Among the elite it served the important function of allowing for an heir if one had no children, or if one’s children died. The adopted person (who could be a child or an adult) gained social status through association with the parent’s social status. In the same way a biological child would, the adopted child benefitted from the social and political connections of their parent. They also gained wealth through their inheritance. In return the adopted child honored the parent through taking the parent’s name and being loyal to them."  Wow!  That's us!!

This was the great exchange at Calvary.  Jesus was forsaken by His Father, taking upon Himself the consequences of our sin-- punishment, rejection, and death-- so that we might be gifted His identity as a beloved child of God.  "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us."  

May the profound nature of this truth never grow stale for us!!  And may we commit ourselves to increasingly live "to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved."  Sounds like the best New Year's (and every day) resolution of all!!

With You in His Grace,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"