Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Sep 22 2013 - Ephesians 1:1-23 – The hope to which he has called you

What can one say about Ephesians 1? It's a wonderful chapter in which Paul expresses the blessings of our salvation in Jesus Christ. There are so many rich phrases and thoughts one could meditate on that it's difficult to know which to choose. I have decided to focus on the theme of hope.

I was talking to a friend recently. He had been visiting the area where he had lived some 30 years ago. The woman now living in the flat where they had lived invited my friend and his wife in for a cup of tea and to see how the old place had changed. She shared that she had recently lost her son to some disease and she was finding it difficult to cope. My friend shared with her how he and his wife had faced many health problems and if they believed that this life was all there is then they also would find it difficult to cope. But they believed that there is a wonderful future in store for them because of Jesus.

It is difficult to live without hope. Paul prays that the Christians to whom he is writing might have a clear view of the hope to which God has called them (Ephesians 1:18). That hope is to be found in Jesus Christ. God's purpose is that all things in heaven and earth should be brought under the rule of Christ – under his headship (1:10). This plan has been put into effect through Jesus' coming into the world, and particularly through his death and resurrection. Through his resurrection from the dead, Jesus has been exalted to God's right hand and has been given authority over all things. He has defeated every power that currently dominates our sad world (1:20-21). The day will come when his resurrection power will transform all things and make them new, and he will reign over a transformed creation.

This is our hope. And it is no mere wishful thinking. We have already been given a part in the world to come through faith in Jesus Christ. Our sins have been forgiven because Jesus died for us (1:7). The mighty power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in us who believe (1:19). The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the risen Saviour, is at work in our lives and is the guarantee that we will share with him the inheritance of the new creation in the age to come (1:13-14). We have been promised a glorious inheritance with Christ and his redeemed people (1:18). Our hope is not mere whistling in the dark, it is guaranteed by the triune God: the promise of the Father in his word; the saving work of the Son in his death and resurrection; the indwelling work of the Spirit. All of this is ours through the lavish grace of God (1:8).

And this hope is not merely for the future. It frees us and empowers us to live now something of the life of the age to come and to be engaged now in God's plan of bringing all things in heaven and earth under the headship of Christ. Hope gives us purpose, direction and power.

Glorious Father, by your Spirit, open the eyes of our hearts that we may know you in all the glory of your grace and may see and know the hope to which you have called us in Christ. May that power which raised the Lord Jesus from the dead enable us to live the life of the age to come to the praise of his glory. May our lives together as your people make the future visible and give hope to the world.

Peter Misselbrook