Thursday, September 20, 2012

September 20, 2012

Ephesians 1:3-6

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

Encouraging Words...

Our Father, the Creator of all, is truly sovereign over His creation. We are His and His love for us is eternal. As my journey through life has transitioned along the path of Orthodoxy I continue to be blessed by the explanations and teachings of the early church fathers that date back to the beginnings of Christianity. These notes from the Orthodox Study Bible help to explain these verse from their perspective.

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Everything comes from God, and everything should be drawn back to Him. God's original intent for the Incarnation was not redemption from the Fall but adoption as sons of God (v. 5), that is, deification. For when God contemplated creating the world, He planned on bringing it into union with Himself through the Incarnation of His Son, that is, through the Son's union with human nature. That is why St. Athanasius can say, “God became man that man might become god.”

The Father chose us (v. 4) in Him, the Son. Christ, who is God by nature, became Man by choice. If we choose Him, we, who are human by nature, become “gods” by grace. If we are in Christ, the Son of God, we are sons of God. Paul is not addressing individuals as such but us, the community, the Church. And he is not addressing the issue of human will in salvation but the will of God, which is that all are chosen (see Rom 11: 32; 1Ti 2: 4; 2Pt 3: 9). But being predestined (v. 5) by God does not nullify human will: in everything, God is the originator, the initiator; we merely respond, but our response is necessary. Becoming a Christian is not so much inviting Christ into one's life as getting oneself into Christ's life. What is true of Christ must become true of one who is in Him.

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