N.T Wright in his commentary on the book of Ephesians likens it to the London Eye, the massive wheel-like attraction that gives you an unequalled view of Central London and its monuments, from the Big Ben to the Houses of Parliament, the palaces, cathedrals, parks and gardens, the very best there is. Likewise the book of Ephesians gives ‘a breathtaking view of the entire landscape’ already seen in the other epistles and displays theme after theme in all its splendor. It shows us the entire panorama of the New Covenant, in theology and practice. As we have pursued our study of Ephesians, we have been unearthing gold, mulling over redemption, forgiveness, eternal purposes, election, grace; the overall purpose of God and how it is to be lived out by believers.
As we study the overall purpose, the great plan of God in eternity past, as it is being demonstrated in the church in the present; and will be expressed in the earth through Jesus in the future, ‘in the fullness of time’ I find that God has been laying even greater claim to my heart, and I pray it be the same for us all. Indeed how can it be otherwise for through every word shines the splendid character, the very nature of our God. And as we decipher and break down these things that were in the mind of God before the foundation of the world, the heart is caught up in joy and wonder, in admiration, praise, and worship of God. The apostle calls it celebrating the glory of His grace.
We find ourselves at the junction of reason and mystery, gazing on eternal purposes yet not fully fathoming that which has neither beginning nor end. We see God, big, very big, surpassing all possible description, transcendent, yet near, yet caring, yet considering, even I. We think on God, we see goodness, we see perfect generosity; we think on God; as we should, often and often, continually. Sadly too little of that is done, too much of the other, thinking on ourselves, our rights, wants, desires. Thinking on God, not on our ideas of God, but on Him as revealed in the Word, whilst we soak our minds in it, is fundamental to robust faith.
What happens then is that our mindset is radically altered, our understanding enlightened and our allegiance to Him becomes unconditional and unshakeable. We sense the great privilege that it is to be identified with this One, it is no longer about us being saved, being blessed, but about Him being honoured and in so far as our being blessed honours Him and only in so far, then so be it, gladly. It is no longer about slipping in the odd sin, disobedience unnoticed, grumbling about His laws and commandments, oh no, it is now about, what may I do to give you pleasure today Father, hating every appearance of evil.
Obedience and holiness, cease to be legalistic in our eyes, they become eminently desirable, and repentance becomes a friend, a friend and an ally as we travel the road of truth. Yes, as our vision of God expands, sin becomes a wretched distraction and no longer an irresistible seducer. The value we place on obedience is directly proportional to how real God is to us and how tender our hearts are towards Him. There is a place in God where we shrink from anything that will displease Him, not out of fear of punishment, but out of love.
It is a personal choice to please this extraordinary Being that we are getting to know and who has done so much for us, and is still doing so much in us. It is a choice to side with the One who is unequalled in knowledge, in wisdom, in beauty, in understanding, in grace, in power, in majesty, in … As we see Him in His word, we naturally want to be with Him and be fully identified with Him, we esteem His opinion more highly than any other; and when He says it is so, then it is so to us.
After all Ephesians shows us that He has been planning and thinking good about us for a very, very, very long time. It seems to me that He can be trusted to know what is good for us and what is not, He can be trusted to give us the simple, ordinary things of life when He has so generously furnished the rest. The overwhelming picture of God that comes out in this book is one of unsolicited generosity for God did not wait for man to implore Him for a solution to the sin problem before He devised one; and even now He keeps going after every man to encourage him to accept the solution offered. It seems to me that I can be relatively assured in the fact that God wishes me well and knows better than I what is good for me. If I can trust Him for my eternal destination, surely I can trust Him for my present lifestyle.