One of my new year’s resolutions/goals this year was to read through the New Testament. I’m only a few books away from finishing, and I’ve got to say — I’m super excited about it. This is the first time I’ve ever taken time to read my Bible regularly and with the intent of learning. I feel like this was such a topical read, though. I rarely used a study Bible, only looked up a few words in a concordance, and didn’t use a lot of other sources to do any deep digging. I’m okay with that, though, because I feel like I needed to read once for simply the sake of reading, and I’ll spend the rest of my life reading for the deeper understanding and knowledge that comes with spending time in the word.
Anyhow, when I was only a month or two in, I started to — pretty randomly — read Ephesians in addition to wherever I was in the Gospels at that point. I stopped after the first chapter but so much of what I read is underlined and highlighted. (There is nothing I love more than seeing a Bible with lots of writing and underlining and highlighting and love! My Bible has really narrow margins and I have yet to find one that has them, at least not without buying the Bible online first and returning it if it’s not a good fit, so… if you have a NKJV translation with wide margins, hook a sister up!) The other day, I was thinking about these verses as I grabbed lunch. I had just reread them in my through-the-NT journey and they were really resonating with me.
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.
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
(Side note: I love to talk to myself while I’m driving. It’s how I process my thoughts, by thinking out loud, and it has always been super helpful to me. In fact, if I know I have a tough conversation coming up, I “rehearse” while I drive — I have that conversation with myself, playing both sides, with every possible outcome in mind. It really helps me prepare and organize my often-scattered thoughts.)
Okay, so I was driving back to work, thinking out loud about the first few verses of Ephesians one. Here’s what my thought process sounded like:
“He chose us. We’re chosen by Him. And we’re predestined — I wonder what the word means. And he accepts us. We’re redeemed, and forgiven. He has given us an inheritance and He purchased us. What do all of these things have in common that they’d be included together in this chapter?”
And then it came to me. Every. Single. One. Of those actions is not accidental or done by chance — they’re all intentional, purposeful actions. And by being purposeful and intentional, they really highlight the sovereignty of God.
I promise I won’t write specifically on this topic every day. But it’s so prevalent in my mind right now because I’m trying to adjust the way I’m living my life. I cannot help but think of it today.
Given this thought, I just had to look up the words from these verses (in the context of the verses, of course!) in their original language:
- Chose: to pick out, to choose, to pick or choose out for one’s self
- Predestined: to foreordain, to appoint beforehand
- Accepted: to make graceful; to peruse with grace, compass with favor; to honor with blessings
- Redemption: a releasing effected by payment of ransom
- Forgiveness: release from bondage or imprisonment
- Inheritance: an inheritance, property received (or to be received) by inheritance
- Purchase: a preserving, a preservation
None of these things is a “whoops-look-what-happened-when-I-wasn’t-looking” action. They were all done beforehand. They were done with the knowledge who we as human beings are. They are done with love and with compassion. God is purposeful; it only makes sense that I live my life the same way, right? I’m not sovereign God. I’m just human Krista, and regardless of how I try to live my life, I’m still a sinner, and I will mess up. I feel like that’s what a lot of people use as an argument against Christianity. “If you’re just going to mess up anyway, why try?” Because it makes sense to try. I’ll mess up less — and in smaller ways! — when I am actively pursuing living a life to honor a sovereign God.
So, that’s it. I will try.