Our youngest daughter and I spent last weekend serving at a campground where local kiddos from our community are given the opportunity to attend a week of summer camp at no cost to them. Since it is not yet camp season, a group of us from church raked, painted, laid new bark, and deep-cleaned cabins. I served in the kitchen alongside three wonderful ladies, helping to keep the hungry workers fed and happy (COFFEE was the biggie in the mornings).
Why am I talking about this? Because (gasp!) there was no cell phone service at the camp. No internet, nothing. And except for being disconnected from my husband, it was a very nice break. When there was a moment of free time, I was exhausted and simply sat. Sat and prayed. Sat and listened to the bird songs amongst the cathedral of trees. Sat and read my Bible. (Okay, I actually laid prostrate on the floor and read my Bible.) I read through the book of Ephesians that weekend. Oh, how I love that book!
While I sat, just being (when was the last time I had done that??), I thought of the wonders of being a child of God. Three things jumped out at me in the first chapter of Ephesians.
First of all, I was chosen by God. For someone who struggles with her identity and value at times, this is an incredible thought.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 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, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.” ~Ephesians 1:3-6
God chose us to be with Him. He predestined ALL of us for adoption. Our pastor explains predestination along these lines: We are predestined to heaven, but no one is predestined to hell. God desires that all would be saved and that none would perish (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus has paid the way for us already. We simply have to accept His gift. But we are free to make the choice to reject the gift and choose to go to hell. We are free to “jump ship”.
The second thing to note in the above verses is that Jesus “who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing” has already given us all the spiritual tools and gifts we need to live this life, in Him. Needing extra strength, a healthy dose of wisdom today? Look in your “toolbox”. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, what you need for today is ready and waiting for you.
And finally, did you know that God the Father has paid a dowry for us as the Church? He has given us a promise, an engagement ring, that He will come back for us, His Son’s bride.
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” ~ Ephesians 1:13-14
We were purchased by the blood of the Son, Jesus Christ, by the Father, to be the Bride of Christ! The Holy Spirit has been given to us as a guarantee that Jesus is returning for us, to bring us to His Father’s house, to spend eternity with Him. When the Church is raptured, the Holy Spirit is raptured with us. The word we often translate as “rapture” or “caught up” is rapturo in Latin, and in the Greek harpazō, meaning “to seize, snatch out or away”. The Holy Spirit is a promise, earnest money paid, an engagement ring given, to the Church. When the Church is caught up, snatched out of and away from this earth, the Holy Spirit goes with us. The Holy Spirit’s job – to woo, guide, teach, and protect the Bride – will be finished.
“Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:17
Wanna be adopted as a child of God? The Holy Spirit is wooing you to become part of the Bride of Christ! 🙂 Talk to Jesus about accepting His free gift of salvation today! By the grace of God, through faith in Jesus, you are saved.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” ~ Ephesians 2:8-9
” ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.’ ” ~ John 3:16-18