Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ephesians 1:2-3

Continuing his introduction to the believers in Asia Minor, Paul mentions two realities that exist for the “saints” that are “faithful in Christ.” These who are holy and set apart by God for service and live every day by faith in Christ are also recipients of the “grace and peace” of God. There is no better place to be than at peace with the sovereign of the universe. As Paul establishes the position of the believer, this is a truth that overshadows all other reality in the Christian life.
In 1777, the American War for Independence raged on with fierceness and intensity. The American Patriots were short on manpower and supplies, and found that the converted merchant ships of their struggling “navy” were no match for the superiority of the world dominating British Fleet. The losses at Quebec, New York and Philadelphia had seemingly shaken any hopes of securing victory, and left the Americans somewhat despondent. If Independence would be had, a major change must come in the form of military support from another major world power. On the other side of the Atlantic, Benjamin Franklin worked craftily in the French courts until upon the victory at Saratoga he convinced the French to sign the Treaty of Alliance on February 6, 1778, officially pledging their power as the hope of America. Through French military support, naval support, and supplies, the American troops were rallied and the rest is United States history.
Like this alliance between America and France made all the difference between success and failure for the colonists, our being made at peace with God makes all the difference in our lives. Coming to an agreement of peace with France meant the difference between life and destruction for the American Patriots, and coming into peace with God has brought us life in place of the wrath of God. Before, we were certainly doomed, but now, we have peace and we are found in the family of God. It was not merely the crafty wiles of a seventy year-old diplomat that secured our peace with God. Rather, Paul writes in v. 2 that it was through the work of God himself.
He made us at peace with himself. He could have left us as enemies under his wrath, but instead he extended his grace and brought us into peace with Him. Our situation was desperate and we needed help, and he came and offered us that help. In Roman 5:6, Paul writes, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” We had no power to bring the peace of God to ourselves, but in his grace, he provided for us what we did not deserve. This would be like France seeing us in need against the British, and instead of signing the Treaty of Alliance, just dumping millions of dollars of supplies and troops into military support as our ally. God provided peace through grace alone, and not because of anything in us.
This is why Paul can write in verse three that we have been blessed by God, “who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” This is the loving and caring God, who of his own desires brought his enemies into peace with him. Through nothing in us, he extended freely the hope and life that we have in Him. Now, we are blessed with a bounty of blessings because of his unmerited kindness. Having been brought into peace with God, by the grace of God, to receive the blessings of God, we should turn in praise with Paul to say “Blessed be God!” We should be thankful and praise him constantly for his wonderful grace and undeserved love for us.
Reflect: How were we brought into peace with God? Why is this different from almost every peace treaty that man has ever made with other men?