Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blessing upon Blessing

Ephesians 1:3-14

This portion of scripture paints a vivid picture of the exceedingly great blessings the Father heaps on those who love Him. In verse three, we read that the Father has “…blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” As Christians, we are blessed beyond measure. Think about what that means! God has opened the Heavenly store house of blessings to us, giving us free access to His strength, wisdom, love, whatever we need He will provide!

In verse four we read that God chose us “that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” This is one of those spiritual blessings. To be holy and without blame before Him means that He has cleansed us from all iniquity and no longer remembers our past sins! But there’s more…

Verse five tells us that He has “predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself.” What an enviable position, to be called sons of the Most High, not merely servants!

Added to that is verse seven, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…” We are not only sons, without blame and holy, but we are forgiven of all our sins as well, and redeemed from our former life of slavery to sin – redeemed to His service!

But God is not done yet! “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance…” The Father not only adopted us as sons, but He treats us as real sons in that He has given us an inheritance in Christ! It sounds too good to be true… but it is true!

Not only that, but we are “sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” (verses 13 & 14) All praise be unto Him Who has redeemed us! God left nothing to chance, or for us to mess up… He has sealed us with His Holy Spirit to ensure that we will receive this inheritance!

Wow! Blessing upon blessing, gift upon gift, glory upon glory! How great is the Father’s love toward us. All blessing and glory and honor be unto HIM, the Only, Wise GOD! Whatever He does, He does with extravagance. And His wonderful plan for the redemption of fallen man is no different. When God does something, He does it thoroughly, perfectly, and generously.

God didn’t have to provide a way for us to be ransomed and set free from the monster we let loose on ourselves. He certainly didn’t have to pay the ransom – give His own life – for us. He didn’t have to forgive our sin… but He did. And He didn’t stop there, “As it is written, ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’” (1 Cor. 2:9 NKJV) God’s plan of salvation goes far beyond anything we could have ever dreamed of. He could have stopped with the forgiveness of sins, and made us slaves in His house, but instead He adopted us as His sons and daughters. He could have stopped with making us adopted children, but He went on to give us an inheritance, as begotten children receive. To top it off, He has sealed us “with the Holy Spirit of promise, Who is the guarantee of our inheritance…”

Praise be unto Him Who sits on the throne, Who is the beginning and the end, Who always was and always will be, Who is all-powerful, and Who’s love is as big as HE is! Praise the one true God, Creator and supreme ruler of the universe! Praise GOD!

What is Sin?

God created everything in the world (John 1:3), except evil or sin. Sin appeared when what was created for good was twisted and used in rebellion against God. Lucifer was originally created as God’s chief musician, which is a very high calling; perhaps even the very highest of callings, for he led Heaven in praising, worshiping, and exalting God – which is the greatest good any created being can ever do. But Lucifer became puffed up with pride in his exalted position, and, forgetting his place entirely, rebelled against his Creator.

All sin is against God. It can also be against other humans and even ourselves; but, ultimately – no matter what the crime – when we sin, we sin against God, because we have taken something that He originally created for good and tried to twist it around to use against Him. Now, a Christian may not do this knowingly, but in reality – if we really stop to think about it – by doing something we know is wrong we choose to go against God, to do something of which He does not approve.

“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:13-15 NKJV) “For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16 NKJV) Sin is the result of a choice or series of choices to yield to the evil desires of the old man, or “first Adam” (i.e. Adamic nature). This does not mean that all natural desires are evil. In fact, God created us with natural desires that, when properly fulfilled, can bring us much innocent pleasure. It is when we seek to fulfill these desires in ways that God did not intend that we fall into sin. These desires become evil when they are twisted and aimed in the wrong direction.