Yesterday in devotions our team leader led us through a brief study of Ephesians 1:3-14. We read through that passage and began answering the questions as a group. What is clear from the passage is the rich salvation we have from God in Christ. It is in terms of every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm, predestination into sonship (God’s children), redemption through Christ’s blood- his death, God working out all things according to the counsel of his will, the receiving of the Holy Spirit- as a seal marking us out for the day of (completed) redemption.
One fellow is a Calvinist who likes to talk about predestination, so he made his point, and then I as a nonCalvinist chimed in and we had a friendly back and forth one on that (nothing new for us). We had a nice discussion over the passage.
I by and by made the point that this is stuff we know quite well, good to go over again, that we take for granted (not that we should), first principles, rich and deep as it is. The team leader had mentioned a bit about this speaking into our practice, and had noted the entire letter. I pointed out that this letter is more steeped in the body of Christ the church, than any other.
We need to remain strong on first principles. We must always start from them, perhaps the most basic of all in Paul’s writings, being the simple phrase “in Christ.” We must hold on to them, as pedantic and redundant as that may seem at times. But we must not stop there. As our team leader suggested, it would be good for us to go over that entire letter (Ephesians) when our regular devotional leader for now, a chaplain, is not present.
The church and how that works out in a down to earth way, experiencing something of the love of Christ and in that- the fullness of God, growing up together as church into the maturity of Christ, living holy lives as witnesses in the world, the mystery of Christ and his body the church with reference to marriage, basic family standards, and finally spiritual warfare. This is a great letter, one to be read over and over again (of course true of all the books in scripture, but some speak especially directly to where we live.
And so we must be careful not to despise or take for granted first principles, or the basic things, indeed the foundation on which our faith in Christ is built, perhaps better said, from which our faith is built on the foundation of Christ. And we should reflect on those first principles, and try to appreciate more the depths of them, particularly in a section like that first chapter in Ephesians. And then we must go on to what is intended to be added to that, all the rest of God’s revealed will as in the remaining chapters of that book.
Don’t take this for granted, something I don’t think I do, on the one hand, but on the other hand, in a certain way, I am afraid I really do. A good reminder for me yesterday. And hopefully for any reader here. In Christ together for the world.