Monday, June 28, 2010

Adopting the Apostle Paul's broad perspective (John Stott)

Ephesians 1:1-13

"Mark well the statement: he chose us in him. The juxtaposition of the three pronouns is emphatic. God puts us and Christ together in his mind. He determined to make us (who did not yet exist) his own children through the redeeming work of Christ (which had not yet taken place). It was a definite decision. It also arose from his entirely unmerited favor. When he chose us, we were unholy and blameworthy, and therefore deserving not of adoption but judgement. Further, he made us his children...

...At this point it may be wise to pause a moment and consider how much all of us need to develop Paul's broad perspective. Paul was a prisoner in Rome. Not indeed in a cell or dungeon, but still under house arrest and handcuffed to a Roman soldier. Though his wrist was chained and his body was confined, his heart and mind inhabited eternity. He peered back 'before the creation of the world' (v. 4) and on to the fullness of time (v. 10), and grasped hold of what 'we have' now (v. 7) and ought to be now (v. 4) in the light of those two eternities.

How blinded is our vision in comparison with Paul's! Easily and naturally we slip into a preoccupation with our own petty little affairs. But we need to see time in light of eternity and our present privileges and obligations in the light of our past election and future perfection. Then, if we shared the apostle's perspective, we would also share his praise. For doctrine leads to doxology as well as to duty. Life would become worship, and we would bless God constantly for having blessed us so richly in Christ..."

-John Stott, A Study on Ephesians

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