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Seeing the End from the Beginning

Ephesians 1:11-12
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, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. (NIVUK)

Life is messy! It is fine to talk academically about life-cycles and business cycles, but being caught in the middle of personal trauma or economic 'down-turn' (which means bankruptcy for some) is real life - in which there is often more panic than hope. However, the Christian has a huge advantage. We know that we are chosen to belong to Christ, with all the security which that brings, because Father God planned that we should. That plan included our redemption at the cost of Christ's life, the gospel message being transmitted, translated and preached and our receiving it with joy – all under the direction and inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

However, our salvation is not designed as a launch-pad for our personal pleasure and self-fulfilment. It is God's plan for God's purpose. He wants our lives to be a part of His cosmic purpose of bringing everything into line with His strategy (Ephesians 3:11) which was settled before creation was begun (Ephesians 1:4). His ultimate purpose is to bring praise to Christ so that His glory may be seen. The Early Church had to grapple with a whole new mindset. They were not just religious people obeying rules, but redeemed people entering a relationship, a working family, in which the Family-Head will be recognised as Lord of all (1 Timothy 6:14-16).

Do we use God for our ends or let Him use our life for His glory? Unlike governments who need to satisfy their populations, or politicians who crave votes at the next poll, God's kingdom works differently. King Jesus is not kind to us because He needs to be elected; He has already been appointed and His Kingdom will last for ever (Revelation 11:15). Democrats may argue that there is no place for them to exercise independent power - and they are right ... and that is a very good thing! It may be humbling, but we cannot contribute anything to God's kindly love in choosing us or to Christ's sacrifice that redeems us (Ephesians 2:8-9). The only thing we can do is to accept His choosing and His sacrifice, and then live in gratitude so that all Heaven may rejoice at the goodness of God in saving us.

Wanting God to be praised is one of the themes of this chapter (Ephesians 1:6,12,14). That is the shout of angels (Luke 15:7), it is the song of heaven (Revelation 7:9-12), and should be the heartbeat of the church (Galatians 1:3-5). But, and it is a big 'but', where is the reality? When churches prefer social engineering to discipleship, Christian families rely on community wisdom more than covenant grace, and believers react to business crises like worldlings - where is the confidence in the sovereign planning of God who has all power? Not just the power to 'fix things for me', but the power to demonstrate His amazing character ... so that everybody will worship and adore Him. When His glory becomes our daily objective, all other goals will find their right perspective!

Prayer 
Dear Lord God Almighty. Thank You for being the only reliable reference for all creation, and the only Saviour of sinners. Forgive me when I forget that my life is designed to be to the praise of Your glory and not mine. Please show me afresh how much You have done for me so that I will live out this day in a way that will glorify You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams

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