“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 ”
Acceptance. It’s one of the strongest motivating forces a person can feel. Whether at home, at school, at work, or in our social lives, we all deeply desire to be accepted. The difficulty, especially for those who deeply follow Christ, is that we all too often experience the pain of rejection. The apostle Paul knew this better than most as he was frequently persecuted for his devotion to Christ. A devotion that caused him to live in a Roman prison for years.
Prison was a dark and terrible place filled with unspeakable hardships. It was a place of discouragement, pain, and hopelessness. Day and night the heavy, rusted chains would remind all who wore them that they were condemned to bondage. The prison cells would allow little if any light into the rooms, and prisoners were forced to live in literal darkness.
It's from such a place of rejection and hardship the apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians, Ephesians, Colossians, and to Philemon. The letter to the Ephesians was to be delivered by Paul's trusted helper and friend, Tychicus. We can only imagine what Paul must have thought and felt as he handed the letter to Tychicus that contained such sweet revelation of God’s love.
It's moving to think God chose Paul, a servant rejected by man, to deliver God’s message of grace and acceptance. It's as if God was sending a message that the judgment and rejection of the wicked meant nothing compared to the revelation of the gospel of Jesus Christ; the hope of glory...Christ in us. (See Col. 1:27)
What was this message faithful Tychicus carried into the city of Ephesus? What great hope did Almighty God desire for this "ambassador in chains" to write? (See Eph. 6:20) It was that “God chose us”. Though sinful, weak, lost, bound, hurting, and rebellious, God called us to be saved, and to be "in" Him before the foundation of the world. He called us, His Church, to be holy and without blame before Him in love. (See Eph. 1:4)
Whatever rejection you may have experienced, no matter how bad, how horrible, how dark, or how painful, know this -- God has already chosen you. His desire for you is passionate and intense. The apostle Paul gave this amazing letter to Tychicus to impart the life-changing revelation to the Ephesian believers that they were destined to be intimate with God, and to experience more of His glory than they could ever ask or think. (See Eph. 3:20)
Our Father is speaking to us today through Paul's letter. He's saying that "...He chose us before the foundation of the world, and that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." (Eph. 1:4) He's tenderly telling us that He wanted us before we even knew who He existed. (Romans 5:8)
As you live your faith journey in the midst of your local Church, worship and pray from the place of God’s acceptance. Shout with a voice of triumph and let all creation hear your praise. You who have received King Jesus are loved, accepted, and are “in” Him forevermore!
Steve Hannett is the founding Pastor of Abundant Grace Christian Church and Jesus Reigns International located in NJ. He carries a powerful apostolic, teaching, and healing anointing with signs, wonders, and miracles. He serves as local faculty with the Antioch School of Leadership, and is an apostolic leader with Christ Covenant Coalition.