Ephesians 1:3-14 (NRSV)
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Verse 3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, Verse 4just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. Verse 5He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, Verse 6to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Verse 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace Verse 8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight Verse 9he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, Verse 10as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Verse 11In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, Verse 12so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. Verse 13In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; Verse 14this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God's own people, to the praise of his glory.
God’s word is meant to be heard. God has chosen us and adopted us as God’s children. In Jesus we have redemption and forgiveness. “In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit.” (vs. 13) In Baptism and its affirmation we celebrate that we have been called and claimed by God. In the church we claim that God’s call is effective because we have heard God’s promise in the word.
Martin Luther, in his explanation of the third article of the creed says: “The Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, and sanctified and kept me in true faith.”
How are we made children of God? Ephesians confesses it this way: “God chose us before the foundation of the world…and destined us for adoption as his Children through Jesus Christ.”
O Holy Spirit, who calls and gathers us in, fill us with your word and make us holy and accepted children of God, with and through the creator, redeemer, and sanctifier of this world. Amen.