Inheritors of God's Kingdom
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians lays out the relationship we can have with God, and the relationship people can have for one another. Both encourage unity and peace.
Paul (or the writer attributing the letter to the teacher, Paul) begins with a greeting and encouragement for the Ephesians. (This may have been a generic letter for a variety of Christian communities in addition to Ephesus.) Paul identifies followers as adopted by God and inheritors of God’s kingdom.
My sister-in-law married a man with a daughter who is in her early twenties. His daughter has been a slave to addiction for many years. She has given birth to four children but has not been allowed to care for any of them. The first two were adopted by loving families. The two youngest were also adopted by a loving family – by my sister-in-law and her husband (the babies’ step-grandparent and grandparent).
Here’s what I know about them. Those babies are being raised by families that love them unconditionally. They were all given a chance at a life they never would have known if they were in the care of a mom in active addiction. They have all the same love, provisions, and experiences offered to the birth children of the adoptive families. In short, those babies are loved and cared for as if they had been born into those families.
We have been adopted by a loving God. We have been given a chance at a life we never would have known if we had been abandoned by God and left to fend for ourselves in a harsh world. There is none in the world that God loves more than another. We are all given full and unconditional love by a God that does not see our adoptive status. God sees only beloved children and loves us as such. Such an unconditional love is not as hard for God to offer as it may be for us to accept. But it is ours nonetheless.
Narrative Lectionary Text: Ephesians 1:1-14
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In 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, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 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; this is the pledge of our inheritance towards redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.