The Bible says that before the foundation of the world, God chose us to be in Him, to fulfil a specific purpose that is in line with His good, perfect, and pleasing will. Ephesians 1:4-5 says, “Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love. For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent].”
What I love about this particular truth, is that living out God’s perfect will for our lives (which is always good and for our very best interest) has everything to do with us being in Christ. In other words, when we are consciously aware of having our identity in Him, we are empowered and able to do exactly what He has purposed us to do. No matter what impossible challenge looms over our ability to get the job done, when we understand who we are in Christ, there is nothing that can stand in the way of His purpose being fulfilled in and through us.
I want to bring this truth to the table, so to speak, that the motivating purpose behind all that God has ever done in this world has been His intense love for us. His desire to have us live in Him and to know Him intimately is far stronger than we could ever imagine. Can you just for one moment allow yourself to imagine that? That you are so completely loved and cherished by a God that was willing to give everything so that He could satisfy His intense love for you, and make a way for you to experience the full extent of that love, and live every moment of every day in Him?
Please take your time in reading the next couple of verses. Read them carefully, paying attention to the Spirit of love that inspired them.
Ephesians 2:4-5 says, “But God—so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, Even when we were dead (slain) by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him...].”
Ephesians 2:6-7, “And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One). He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favour) in [His] kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.” AMPC
Again, will you allow yourself to imagine that YOU, in your weakness of character, shortcomings and insecurities, are LOVED so completely, so intently, so deliberately by God? And the only way He could satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us was to conquer and eliminate the barrier that prevents us from being inseparably connected to Him.
In the previous letter we saw how Jesus faced the greatest challenge anyone could ever face. He had to endure every aspect of the cruelty of the cross and become the ultimate sacrifice to free mankind from the curse and bondage of sin. This was the barrier preventing us from being inseparably connected to Him. And to do this, He not only had to take the sin of the world upon Himself, He had to become sin itself (Isaiah 52:14, 1 John 3:5).
Knowing full well, the full extent of what He had to face, as an innocent man, certainly took its toll on Jesus’s state of mind in the garden, moments before His arrest. However, something significant happened to Him in that moment of intense turmoil and distress, that caused Him to stand up strong and full of determined purpose, ready to fulfil what He knew He was destined to do.
In next week’s letter, we will see what transpired in that garden that brought about that drastic change in Jesus. Having said that, it’s very important to have this letter as a background to the next, to receive the full benefit of its remarkable truth!