Study: Hope Church Triad Program
Today’s Chocolate: Green & Black’s Organic Milk Chocolate with Almonds
Today’s Passage: Ephesians 1:3-14
Welcome to a new week in the Triad study, with a new passage to investigate every last corner of, like a room in an adventure game where you’re stuck on a puzzle and just start hunting for item and verb combinations in some desperate hope of advancing your progress. Well, okay, hopefully it doesn’t go down like that. We have the first handful of verses in Ephesians locked and loaded for study today, and the Triad study identifies this week’s theme as “guarantee.”
And honestly, as I sit down to write this, I’m feeling very tired, so let’s just look straightforwardly at what this passage guarantees us. Paul wastes no time in telling us that God “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (3). It’s not merely a promise; he’s saying God has already blessed us. And not just with this or that spiritual blessing: with all of them. Crud, what else is left? We haven’t left the first verse of the passage, and apparently we’re looking not at a trust fund that will someday pay off, but spiritual good stuff by the armloads.
The verbs that follow show the grounds of the guarantee. Paul says that God “chose us” (4) and “predestined us for adoption” (5), grounding our position before him not in our power to earn it, but in his love for us. Jesus Christ’s blood, already shed for us, secures our redemption and “the forgiveness of our trespasses” (7). And perhaps the guarantee in respects is more like a trust fund after all, as Paul says, “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance” (10-11). He goes on to identify the Holy Spirit as a seal securing the goods, “a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory” (14). Imagine a legal document, written by the King of Creation himself, identifying you as the beneficiary of his estate. The Holy Spirit is the wax seal on that document, bearing the imprint of the King’s ring itself, proof of the authenticity of the document. Or you might picture the Spirit as a similar seal on a box containing the inheritance, preventing tampering until the King is prepared to open up the box and present the goods to his sons and daughters.
I know I’m getting a bit punch-clock here, running down the chapter by the numbers in the most rudimentary of summaries. But it strikes me that a crucial part of the guarantee described in this chapter is the Holy Spirit himself. As Paul notes, he’s the “Spirit of promise” (13), the proof in person. Got the Spirit? You’ve got an inheritance coming your way.