How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He's the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. (Eph. 1:3-6)
As Paul opens this letter to the Ephesian church, he reminds them of God's tremendous love for his people. In response, Paul's heart expresses tremendous praise of the Lord. He is filled with joyful expression of thanksgiving remembering the blessings of God in his life. The focus of his praise is both God himself and God's provision of taking us to high places of blessing in him!
Before Paul settles in to bring the entire message he has been given for this first century church, he lays a foundation. Paul reminds the believers (and that means us, too) that even before the earth was formed from its void, God had each of us in mind - making us the focus of his love. God never stopped there in his planning, though. He goes on to tell us that God's plan included making us whole and holy by his love.
To be whole - that is the life focus of many people who have been crushed by life's dealings. Their dream is to no longer be broken or damaged "goods" - to be free of those things that impair them. Physically, intellectually, spiritually - all elements of their being brought into perfect order, no longer subject to the injury inflicted by their past experiences or acquaintances. Paul says this is the goal of our heavenly Father - to make us sound in every area of our lives where sin and sin's influence have created a lack of wholeness in our minds, physical body, or spirit.
To be holy - this is something most of us only dream of. It is the state of being pure again - no longer tainted by sin's influence or effect. We are made both "whole" and "holy" by one influence - God's love. We don't really understand the influence of God's love fully, but we can feel its pull, respond to its nudges, and yield to its caresses.
Paul says God took pleasure in planning for his family - he actually had a plan in bringing each one of us into his family. If you ever felt like your life was aimless or without purpose - think again! We are in God's plan! He planned a long time ago to adopt us into his family. We don't really understand this term "adoption" very well today. We think of it as someone who needs a family being brought into a family. Did you know that adopted kids (especially those with special needs) come with a provision for the adoptive family - financial incentive to take care of that adoptive child? Not so with God - he may get some pretty "damaged" goods when he brings us into his family, but he is the one to make the entire provision for all we will need in order to enter into his family, enjoying fully his family's provision and his love.
In God's view, adoption cost him everything - his Son. He chose us - that is phenomenal in itself! He received us into a place of "new" relationship. He made us his own by his specific selection - our salvation was not by chance - it was fully planned and expertly orchestrated. Paul says it well when he says, "He wanted us..." If you have ever felt a sense of being "unwanted" - either in relationship or standing - think again! We are "wanted" by the most important one who could ever want us!
It is time for us to recognize the placement we have been given in Christ Jesus. We are made whole - no longer damaged in any way. We are made holy - purity entering where only sinful lust existed in the past. We are celebrated by a Holy God - as the intentional selection of his hand. We are part of a great plan - created by the Creator of all. We are brought into a newness of relationship - ON PURPOSE. That should give us cause to revel in the praises of our God as Paul did in this passage. You and I are adopted into the family of God! Praise God!