Receiving comes first, and then because of His kindness, we respond to God with worship and service.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed
us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and
blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons
through Jesus Christ in accordance with his pleasure and will.
– Ephesians 1:3-5
I received a surprise call one day that included an invitation to a sushi restaurant. Another couple invited my wife and me to dinner, and I was far more excited to spend time with them than I was to eat raw fish for the first time. With enough sauce, the sushi didn’t taste as bad as I had imagined. The highlight of the night came later as the couple said goodbye to us. I asked how we would get home because we were at their house and they had picked us up. The man exclaimed, “With your car!” as he tossed me a set of keys to a Ford Mustang. I was speechless (and that doesn’t happen very often). It was a gift—an incredible display of grace! They explained that someone had given them a car many years ago, and they wanted to repeat the gift. They even have a 10 Rooted In Grace girl named Charis (which literally means grace).
We did absolutely nothing to deserve the car, yet it was now ours. We were stunned in the best way; grace impacts your life as you realize how much you have been given. To be the recipient of grace is extremely humbling. It is a combination of feeling unworthy and deeply appreciative. Accepting an unmerited gift from Jesus is part of drawing near to a Savior who grants us complete forgiveness and eternal pardon. It is possible to attend church for many years but never begin a relationship with God or receive His grace.
In the passage above, the apostle Paul was writing to the church in Ephesus, explaining to them how much God has already given them. One of the most important spiritual steps as a Christian is realizing how much God loves you and how much Jesus has done for you. Repentance simply means turning from rebellion against God and choosing to follow Jesus (it is a 180 degree U-turn and a new start). It happens when we are ready to put our trust in God, and even the ability to repent is a gift from Him. Receiving comes first, and then because of His kindness, we respond to God with worship and service.
It is a bold statement when Paul says that God has given us every spiritual blessing and that we are blameless in God’s sight through the sacrifice of Jesus. Take some time to read this section of Scripture, and throughout the day, think deeply about God’s ability to uphold His grace in your life.
Excerpt republished with permission from Rooted in Grace by Jesse Bradley c. 2012