Recently, I have been working to prepare a sermon on Ephesians 1:3-14. If you don’t have your Bible’s handy, you can read the text here. The main idea of the sermon is that God is glorified in His remarkable plan of redemption, by electing a people for Himself before the foundations of the world, saving them through the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and sealing them through the work of the Holy Spirit.
God is Glorified in Election
God is glorified, firstly, because He chose and predestined a people for Himself before the foundations of the world. Election is not a popular topic; especially, in our consumer driven individualistic society. We are taught to make our own decisions, and we believe this right extends to our salvation as well. However, Ephesians 1 tells us that in God’s sovereign plan He has predestined those who would join His church before the foundations of the world.
This means that we can rest assured that our work in evangelism is not in vain, nor do we have to depend on our own power to bring others to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. God has elected a people for Himself, and He will bring those people to salvation for His glory.
Our job is to be instruments in His sovereign plan by obeying His command to proclaim His gospel to the ends of the earth (Matt. 28)
God is Glorified in Redemption
God is glorified, secondly, in the redemption of the elect through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus died on the cross, to provide a way for man to once again have a relationship with God. If we believe that Christ has the power to save us from eternal destruction through His death on the cross, then we experience a repaired and restored relationship with God. Here we see that salvation only comes through faith in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.
This means that we cannot work for our salvation. There is nothing we can do outside of having faith in Jesus Christ. And our last point makes it clear that God provides us with that faith through His electing grace for His glory.
God is Glorified in Sealing
God is glorified, thirdly, in the sealing of His church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Those God has elected to salvation are saved through the blood of His Son Jesus Christ, and are kept in Christ until their death by the work of the Holy Spirit.
This means that we do not have to work to gain salvation, nor work to keep our salvation. We are secure in Christ because of the sealing power of the Holy Spirit.
However, this does not mean that walking the church aisle and praying a prayer with the pastor ten years ago precludes you from living a life pleasing to God. It is still necessary to reflect Christ in our thoughts and actions. What makes a Christlike life possible is the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us and working to remove the idols of our hearts.
Come As You Are!
In order to attain salvation, we do not have to clean ourselves up. Salvation is not like trading in your old car for a new one. You don’t have to spend time fixing yourself up in order to gain a higher trade in value. We can come to God just as we are, and expect to get the highest price we would ever get for a beat up old car, eternal life and a relationship with the God of the universe.
If you are trying to get your life right before you approach God, don’t. Come just as you are. Accept the call of God on your life, believe in His Son for salvation, and you will be saved. To God be the Glory!