What is this inheritance? We are! You and I and all of God’s people are his inheritance. What we learned in verse 11 about being God’s inheritance is reiterated here in verse 18. Paul prays that we know God, and, in particular, that we know we are God’s own inheritance. Of course, in a very real sense we already belong to God. But, when we finally stand in his presence, we will be fully his people. God will claim us as completely his own, in the presence of his holy angels.
In his prayer for the recipients of Ephesians, Paul asks that we might know God better, in part by knowing “the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” Paul wants us to know that we are participants in some astounding inheritance, and he prays to that end. For sure, he’s not trying to steal anything from us. Rather, Paul wants us to know what we truly have to look forward to in the future.
When we worship, we communicate with God. We thank God. We praise God. We express our love for God. God is the true receiver of our worship.But there are times when we might talk to ourselves when we worship. At least that’s what we see modeled in Psalm 103. This glorious psalm begins with what we might call “self-talk.” The psalm writer, identified here as David, speaks to himself: “Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.”
What is the basis of Christian hope? First of all, it’s the very character of God, revealed to us in manifold ways, most of all in Jesus Christ. Thus, in Ephesians 1, Paul prays that we might know God better so that we might know hope better. In particular, the more we grasp the wonder of God’s calling, the more we realize all that his calling entails, the more we will be people of confident hope.
When we consider God’s calling, we respond with hope. Notice that our hope is not something we conjure up in ourselves through positive thinking or by trying to have a good attitude. Rather, it is our response to knowing God. It is our response to all that God has given to us and will give to us in Christ. Therefore, in this passage, Paul does not exhort us to be hopeful. Rather, he prays that God will enable us to know the hope that is already ours in Christ.
Since I’ve started thinking of Easter as a season and not just a day, one benefit has been the chance to reflect more deeply on the meaning of Christ’s resurrection… there is so much more to consider, so much more to reflect upon, so much more to learn, so much more about which to wonder, so much more to celebrate. The season of Easter urges us to engage with the “so much more.”
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! For centuries, Christians have greeted each other on Easter Sunday with these triumphant words. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus not only because one we love has conquered death, but also because we share in his victory. Because Christ is risen, sin and death have been defeated. Because Christ is risen, we are saved. To use the language of 2 Corinthians 6:2, “now is the day of salvation.”
Today, we pause to reflect on the meaning of the cross. We open our hearts to receive once again God’s amazing grace and love for us. We acknowledge that this day is good, not because of the horrible thing that happened to Jesus Christ, but because of what God was doing through the cross for us. All praise be to him!
As we break down walls that divide people from people, as we forgive those who have wronged us, as we seek God’s justice for all people, as we extend the love of Christ to others, loving not only those who are different from us but even our enemies, people’s hearts will be opened to hear the good news of what God has done in Christ. We will say, “Be reconciled to God, and this is what reconciliation looks like. Come and see!”
You see, it’s not just that the individual is a new creation, though this is part of the truth. When we receive God’s grace through faith in Christ, we begin to live in the new creation that is yet to come. We begin to experience that which we will know fully in the future: forgiveness, restoration, healing, freedom, justice, and peace. Yes, our experience of the new creation is incomplete in this life. But it is real. And it is wonderful.