Skip to main content

Ephesians 1:11: God Works All Things


Ephesians 1:11
[11] In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, (ESV)

There are two key words here in this verse that I want to look at today: "work," and "will." Paul is talking about God's working and his will.  And I want you to think of that in stark contrast to our work and our will.

We may have the will to do something, but as we all know, the work does not always follow our will.  The flesh may be willing, but the rest of us is week!  Every time I look at the mess accumulating in the inside of my truck I declare, "I'm going to clean up this mess!" Now, it has gotten to the point that if a homeless man was living inside the mess I would be unable to find them.

All silliness aside, I want you to consider the idea of our eternal salvation and right standing with God.  Even if a person would "will" to have a relationship with God, they would be completely incapable in their works to achieve it.  Man's will and work are not the same as God's. In the letter to the Romans, Paul describes this inability of Man's will:

Romans 7:18
[18] For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. (ESV)

I am thankful that the story of our lives does not end with the despair of our will's inability to work.  Rather, there is a God who has a divine will that works perfectly.  He "works all things according to the counsel of his will." It gives me great comfort to know that I am not responsible for the great work of providing my salvation, were I even able to will it. God willed that those he predestined would be saved.  And he worked that salvation according to the counsel of his will. Salvation is initiated by God, and completed by God.

The writer of Hebrews describes God's amazing work on our behalf. And he also encourages us to run with endurance the race that we are in as Christians. What is our motivation?  The faithful ones who have gone before, and the Savior himself who founds our faith and perfects it. Hear these beautiful words:

Hebrews 12:1–2
[1] Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, [2] looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (ESV)

Are you feeling weak in your battle against sin?  Are you doubting if you will make it?  Be encouraged! God is the author of your faith.  His work and his will is perfect, even as your work and will is weak and incomplete.  Trust in Him.  Rely on His strength. He finishes what he starts, and that includes the work that he has begun in you.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Romans 8:18: For I Consider That The Sufferings Of This Present Time Are Not Worth Comparing

Romans 8:18
[18] For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. (ESV)

Perspective. What an important word. Let's be honest. We do not like the idea of suffering. We will do almost anything to avoid any kind of suffering. Some churches have gone so far as to preach against the idea of suffering, declaring it to not be a part of the true believer's life. Paul is not shy about the topic.

Paul uses the sufferings of this present time as a means to consider the greater glory that awaits us. Perspective. Paul is not in any way attempting to diminish our suffering. A view toward eternity puts our suffering in a proper understanding. Yes, our suffering is terrible. In the grand scheme of eternity it is not even worth comparison.

Maybe you are thinking that Paul does not know what he is talking about when it comes to suffering. In 2 Corinthians 11 Paul describes countless beatings, often near death, being ston…

Romans 15:14: I Myself Am Satisfied About You, My Brothers

Romans 15:14
[14] I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. (ESV)

The Apostle Paul was a strong man. His words to the churches in all of his letters are full of doctrinal truth and instruction that are not for the faint of heart. In this letter to the church at Rome he had to correct them in their understanding of how to deal with issues that could potentially divide them. Paul had never even been to Rome yet. He had not met these believers.

Paul is telling the church at Rome in this verse that the reason they were able to receive his strong words was because of their spiritual maturity. He declares that they are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another. This is an incredible compliment that Paul would not offer to every church.

This concept of being filled with goodness and knowledge speaks of a group of believers who had listened to the Word of…

Romans 15:16: To Be A Minister Of Christ Jesus To The Gentiles In The Priestly Service Of The Gospel Of God

Romans 15:16
[16] to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles in the priestly service of the gospel of God, so that the offering of the Gentiles may be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. (ESV)

The time of the Early Church was a time of great transition. Up until Christ coming and bringing redemption to all who believer the people of faith were the Jews. If you wanted to worship God the only appropriate way was to go through a priest who would offer sacrifices on your behalf to God. All of the sacrificial system was fulfilled in Christ. Now, there was a new way to righteousness.

This time of transition was a challenge for all involved. The Jews had to move from an approach to God that involved keeping the Law. The Law was fulfilled in Christ. Now the way of salvation was a way of faith. There were some traditional aspects that were now gone. It was hard for them to move away from their traditions. It is hard for all of us to move from our traditions.

For the Gentile convert…