Be encouraged. Your salvation is all about God.
Herein is not an exposition of a text. I want you to read this text, though, and then I want to tell you a few ways that the Lord has encouraged me through it. I’ve written on similar themes before, but I felt like it was worth revisiting them again, because God keeps revealing the beauty of these truths to me! Here’s the main point of this post, which I will explain more fully after you’ve read Ephesians 1.3-14: Our great confidence in our salvation as believers is mainly rooted in God’s passion for His own glory above anything else.
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.
The striking part of this passage to me is that our predestination, salvation, sanctification, and ultimate glorification (“our inheritance”) are all “to the praise of His glory.” In other words, our being chosen and being saved and becoming more like Jesus and someday living with Him forever in heaven (not bearing the punishment for our sins in hell), is all made definite because it is in accordance with “the counsel of His will,” to the praise of His glorious grace.” Read the passage again, watching for all of the statements that are grounded in God’s passion for His own glory. It’s incredible!
And that’s what’s so encouraging about these verses. Think about it: if our salvation is about us (our right to choose God, our working to make ourselves more like Jesus, our earning our inheritance, etc.), then what happens when we sin, or when we fail to be holy enough, or when we just don’t feel like pursuing God over a day, or week, or month, etc.? The implications of our salvation being about us are extremely frightening.
But, what if our predestination and being saved and becoming more like Jesus and someday living with Him forever in heaven (not bearing the punishment for our sins in hell), is all “to the praise of His glorious grace”? What if the point of all of that is not ultimately that we have free will, or that we have to exert effort in our sanctification (although those things are true, if understood properly)… but what if the point of all of that is that God is awesome and infinitely worthy of our worship?
Do you see the hope in that? God will never abandon such a purpose. He’s not going to look condescendingly on a struggling sinner and say, “OK, that’s enough of that… I didn’t realize how awful you were going to be when I predestined you.” NO. God is perfectly aware of our total depravity (moreso than we are). But He didn’t save us because we sought Him out, or because we do all the right things now that we’re saved. He saved us to make a name for Himself by conforming us to the image of Jesus in spite of us. So, if you’ve ever identified with that line in the Casting Crowns song that says, “Today I feel like I’m just one mistake away from You leaving me this way”, please be encouraged in the gospel! God is as committed to you as His child as He is to bringing glory to Himself!
I’ve been trying to think of anything more encouraging than that truth.
I can’t. 🙂