I’ve helped a few businesses do inventory. Meticulous counting of every single item may seem tedious, but the owner gets an accurate picture of current products in-stock. It takes time and at times the business shuts down so all of the attention can be given to this process.
I trust noone considers taking ‘spiritual’ inventory to be a tedious process. I know Thanksgiving is next week (the real Thanksgiving, my American friends and family), when typically we give thanks. I’m not sure who atheists thank on that day, probably themselves, not recognizing in any way the God who gives them the breath they use to deny His existence!
In Ephesians 1:3-14 Paul is pouring out his gratitude and praise to God as he takes inventory of the blessings Christ-followers have in knowing Him. So what has God done for us?
1) God has chosen us. We didn’t choose Him, quite the contrary. He chose us before even our world was created. His choice was that we would be holy and blameless, set apart for His purposes as an exhibit of His marvelous grace.
2) God has predestined us to be adopted. Some of us understand the ‘adoption’ process better than others. This isn’t a plan to include children through some social service agency. This is God’s initiative to bring us into His family as sons through Jesus Christ, His Son. For this Paul urges, God’s grace must be praised!
3) God has redeemed us. He has forgiven us and provided an once-for-all sacrifice, a final payment for sins. Christ’s victory cry from the cross, “It is finished!” declares a completed transaction. No further installments are needed. Again this blessing is the result of grace.
4) God has revealed His will to us. This hidden mystery is now disclosed and we discover the heart of the matter. It’s all about God’s anointed Revealer, namely Jesus Christ, the one Mediator who brings God to us and us to God. God’s plan unfolds and culminates in a unified Christ-centred plan.
In the second paragraph of this doxological expression, Paul repeats himself. To be chosen, to be predestined, to be included in God’s will are themes that take reflective meditation to absorb. Surely any truth about God staggers the human mind as we struggle to grasp it.
So how does God’s plan unfold in our history?
1) We hear the word of truth. Someone proclaims the message to us. They live out the gospel before us and show us in deed and word who Christ is and how God offers to redeem us.
2) We believe the word of truth. We confess our faith in Jesus Christ, having acknowledged our sinfulness (repentance) and affirmed Him as our only Saviour.
3) We are sealed by the Holy Spirit. As we commit ourselves to the God who has revealed Himself to us, He commits Himself to us. He deposits His Spirit, the one Jesus promises, into our lives and from this point on we are included in God’s family plan.
So this Thanksgiving (Cdn) week, is there not just cause to be thankful? Would you join me in taking inventory, and having done so, declare your praise to the glory of God’s name? Let’s sing our thanks, pray our thanks, post (on Facebook and other social media) our gratitude that others may know we ‘get it,’ we really are beginning to grasp all that God has done for us!