Most of of us have made some sort of New Years’ Resolution. Some of us want to get fit, some of us want to eat more healthily, and some of us want to read Scripture more. I’m one of those that often make resolutions, especially regarding spiritual matters, but I often fail to keep them.
But I want this year to be different… I want the rubber to hit the road in my Bible reading.
Resolve to Apply
In 2016, not only am I resolving to read Scripture more often, I am resolving to apply Scripture more often.
A lot of people begin Bible reading plans around this time of year (the one I am using can be found here), but often times people fail to keep up with their commitments. One of the many reasons I think this happens is because although people want to read the Bible, they often fail to see how what they are reading is relevant to their own lives – like reading a law textbook or something.
So in order to help us change this, and to help you keep your resolution to read the Bible, I am going to start a regular series called, “Making Scripture Practical”. In this series, we will go through an entire book of Scripture, passage-by-passage. Rather than giving mere exposition or exegesis of the passage, I will try to give some very down-to-earth, concrete, practical ways to apply the text. The first book we will go through is Ephesians.
Folks, this is where the rubber meets the road in the Christian faith, because we don’t want to be mere hearers of the Word, we want to be do-ers of the Word. So here it goes…
Making Predestination Practical
Read Ephesians 1:1-6 before you begin…
In this passage, the Apostle Paul unpacks the biblical teaching on election and predestination. Here are at least three ways that predestination becomes practical:
Because God chose and predestined us, we can have hope that His purpose will be accomplished.
Notice what the Apostle Paul says in verse 5: Because God chose us, “In love, he predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” If you trust in Jesus, God chose you even though you didn’t deserve it. But God chose you in order that you might be holy and pure.
The reason we can have hope is because God didn’t only choose us, He made sure that everything needed to happen to bring you into His holy family! That’s what it means that God predestined you, like Paul says in verse 5. Paul says God chose to adopt you into God’s family if you trust in Jesus, and just like you might have your mom’s nose or your dad’s eyes, if you’re in God’s family you have God’s holiness.
So because you were chosen and predestined, you can have hope that God’s purpose both for you and for the world will be accomplished. Do you have hope?
Because God chose and predestined us, we should act differently.
Knowing that God chose us and made sure everything happened to bring you into His family doesn’t mean that we can just sit back and do whatever we want, saying, “God already chose me, so it doesn’t matter what I do!” No, Paul says that God chose us so that we would be “holy and blameless in his sight”. You couldn’t be holy on your own – so God chose you and did everything to make you holy. Amazing grace!
Now, the same grace that chose you helps you act differently. So we should ask God to help us change how we live so that we can show how much we love Him.
Because God chose and predestined us, we should love and worship God.
Paul says in verse 6 that God chose us “to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.” This means that the ultimate reason God chose you, brought you into His family, and made sure everything happened to get you there, was so that you might worship Him for His amazing grace in Jesus.
But worship isn’t something we do only on Sunday mornings – it is a lifestyle of showing how amazing God is and how much He loves us in Jesus. “In love,” Paul says that God chose and predestined us, and we are to love God because He first loved us (1 John 1:19).
So the way you worship God for His grace is by loving Him in return and living a life that shows how much He loves you (which is what it means to be holy and blameless, like Paul says).
Questions and Reflections
- How does it make you feel to know that God did everything it took to bring you into His family?
- What are some ways in your own life that don’t show how much you love God that you need to ask God to change?
- Why should you praise God for choosing to bring you into His family?