Finite & Infinite
The Book of Ephesians, which we are studying this summer at 3Circle Church, is a power packed 6 chapter book. Chapter one, which is essentially the Apostle Paul’s greeting in what was a letter to the church of Ephesus, is no ordinary greeting. Before he gave the Ephesians instruction he gave them encouragement. Paul wanted to strengthen their confidence in all that God had accomplished for them through Jesus. Much of the greeting is a reminder of the stunning implications of the Gospel for believers.
First, Paul calls the Ephesians saints. SAINTS!! What a powerful word. In some religious tribes, becoming a saint is something you must earn with a lifetime of good deeds. The Gospel informs broken sinners that sainthood is an identity GIVEN to unworthy sinners who place their faith in Jesus. The members of the church of Ephesus were not perfect. This will become obvious as the need for instruction is clear throughout the Epistle. Nevertheless, Paul calls them saints. You see, as a believer, saint becomes your constant identity even though sin is an occasional activity. You sin because you are an imperfect human but you are a saint because you belong to a perfect Savior.
Paul informs the church in this greeting that they have been blessed IN CHRIST with every spiritual blessing. The phrase “in Christ” is seen often in Paul’s writings. This speaks of the amazing union of the believer with Jesus through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. How can Jesus be in me and I in Him when He’s in heaven and I’m on earth? The wonderful answer is the Holy Spirit who indwells all true believers. The Trinity is three in one. Jesus and the Spirit are completely unified, so when you have the Spirit you have the Son!
Finally, Paul speaks of the blessing of predestination. Unfortunately this word and concept have become a grease fire of debate and controversy in the Church. What we’ve made controversial God intended to be comforting. I truly believe the problem is that we are finite creatures getting to know our infinite God. There are truths in the Scriptures that are hard for me to understand and reconcile. The Trinity would be an example. But even though the infinite truth of the Trinity literally takes my mind to the limit, I still fully believe. This is true of the issue of the parallel truths of God’s sovereignty and human choice. The Bible teaches both of these truths, yet they seem irreconcilable to finite creatures. Let me assure you that what seems irreconcilable to us is completely reconcilable to our infinite God! What do we do then? Believe the Bible!
I believe that God is in complete control and knows everything. I also believe simultaneously that God has given me freedom and choices that have real impact. I also REJOICE in the truth that my salvation was no accident…..I was CHOSEN!! Don’t miss the joy of this truth in the middle of all of the debate. God chose you to be His child. What a magnificent truth. And just think my friends, we’ve only covered the greeting of the letter!!