11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
(Ephesians 1:11-14 NIV)
The Apostle Paul continues on with his praise to the Lord and his “big picture” overview of God’s plan for the ages.
Yesterday we saw Paul telling us that God made a way to redeem us (buy us back from the slavery of sin) so that we could spend eternity with Him.
Today, Paul shares God’s plan and promise for us, and the hope we have because of Christ.
The first thing to note is that God has a plan. Life is not random chaos happening around us and to us, even though it often feels like it.
Remember God’s heart toward us and His promise to His own through the prophet Jeremiah:
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
(Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV)
The second thing to note is that we are a part of God’s plan. It’s one thing to know that God has a plan; it’s an entirely different matter (in a good way) to know that we are a part of His plan. Everyone likes to be included, to be part of what’s taking place:
- In elementary school, being chosen to be on a team
- In high school, being asked to be part of a school group or activity
- in the business world, finding out you have a job after a corporate reorganization
- In the acting profession, finding out there is a script written specifically with you in mind
- In the music world, being chosen for a music group, and having a solo written for you
Paul says that we were chosen by God – he wants us on His team! We are not an afterthought!
We have all been disappointed in life – wanting to be a part of something, but not chosen for the part. But when it comes to eternal life, God offers it freely to all – He chooses to invite everyone. What we do with His invitation is up to us. We can graciously and humbly receive it as a free gift, admitting that we cannot earn it, or we can choose to ignore or reject it.
Paul uses verses 13 and 14 to remind us that God makes good on His promises. Again, we have all been disappointed by someone who makes a promise then breaks it – a parent, a family member, someone we trust and look up to, a public figure, etc. And likewise, we have all made promises that we have not kept, hurting others.
In verses 13 and 14, Paul tells us that we have an inheritance waiting for us with Christ in heaven. As a sign, a good-faith pledge to us that He will keep His promise, He puts a down-payment (a deposit) on the deal. And what is the down payment, the deposit? His very spirit, God’s Holy Spirit, living in us as followers of Christ. Think of the Holy Spirit as God’s living engagement ring to us. That’s how much He loves us!
Now that is something to thank God for! Take some time today to thank the Lord for choosing you, for giving you (as a follower of Jesus) a part of Himself, His Holy Spirit, to live in you as a security deposit and a sign that He loves you and will one day take you to heaven to live with Him for eternity.