CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK....
The next area to consider more deeply is the love, grace, and kindness bestowed on us by God. Jesus shed His blood so that we could be forgiven for the things we have done against God. This is our present salvation reality. By "present" I am referring to the time from the birth of Jesus until now. In God's eternity and sovereign control, today or now describes what has and is happening through the gospel of God's grace. The point of the gospel and of God's salvation plan that happens in the present is for us to conform to the image of Jesus while here on earth. Forgiveness has been present and ready for the adopted to receive since our election.
When I talk about the present, I mean from Christ's birth, through the early church, to our current age. Thus, our present reality is eternity present. This period of time encapsulates the New Testament Christians' walk with Christ, until His return. This is our "now" in Christ.
Paul gives us a definition of what is meant by redemption. He defines redemption as the "forgiveness of our trespasses," thus we are reconciled to God through Christ. This forgiveness that comprises redemption is given to us by His grace which is "lavished" on us. The idea of lavished brings to mind extravagance. God has provided for us all the grace we will ever need.
This idea of lavished is measure by the riches of His grace. In verse 3 we are told that He has given us "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ" (3). So we are given "every" blessing and we are given grace according to His riches. These two ideas help us understand what is meant by God being "lavish" toward us. There is not a situation in which God has not given enough grace to cover our sin.
Looking back at verse four we see that He has done these things "in love." The driving force for God's entire plan is His love for us. So He chose to love a person that did not exist at the time He predestined him or her. He chose to love someone who had not and would not do anything to merit such grace and love. We are recipients of something before we know we have access to it.
All of these things are done "in Christ." We are placed "in Him" upon our entrance into the family of God. All of what we are as believers can be attributed to our being "in Him". Our redemption is secured because we are "in Him." God's kind intention to us is because we are "in Him." All things will be summed up in Christ, including us (all things). We live, move, breathe, grow, and love all because we are placed "in Him". We are safe because we are surrounded by Him. Our salvation is eternal and permanent because we are placed in a safe refuge, Christ. Paul drives this fact home over and over throughout chapter one.
Stepping back to verse three, the reader sees we have been given "every spiritual blessing..." in Christ. If we ever need something, we already have it. God has blessed us, not based on our need, but on all He has. Understand that He is not measuring what we need, He is not limiting us to what is necessary. He has made us heirs, He has given everything to us. When we are challenged to grow in an area which is not comfortable, we have the power and ability through Christ to achieve success. We succeed because He has given us what we need to achieve that which He has called us to do and what He has called us to be.
These things are ours because of our adoption. As heirs of God, we are His children and brothers to Christ. We have become members of His family. This family bond cannot be broken. The reasons for this family bond are three fold. First, love drove the adoption. The word used here is agape, it is God's unequaled, ever present love.Second, we are adopted by grace. God shows us His lavish grace. Third, He shows us His kind intention. He wants to show the depth of His kindness toward His children.
The range of meaning for the Greek word used for "kind intention" expands the idea of God giving us the care of a parent. Understand, I mean that His desire for us is all good. We can trust His intentions for our future. That means we need to remember His ultimate goal for us is to be "holy and blameless." In other places (Hebrews and Psalms) this is described as discipline.
In next week's post consideration will be given to God's kind intention toward believers and how this kindness works in our trials.
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK....