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A meditation on Ephesians 1:15-16


Paul wrote to the Ephesians 'I have not stopped giving thanks for you.'

What was it that caused this continual thankfulness?

Firstly, Paul thanked God because of their 'faith in the Lord Jesus'. He knew that genuine faith in Christ does not have a human origin – it is a gift from God. It has a history of a divine intervention into human lives in which God rips away the dark blindness of human hearts and minds and opens them to see, to recognize and to acknowledge the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. If there is genuine faith, then there has also been the work of God enlightening, convincing, convicting, liberating, regenerating. No human being has the ability or the power to turn to God left to themselves. Left to ourselves the 'god' we would turn to would be a 'god' of our human imagining, a poor substitute for the real God, without power, without reality.

If I have genuine faith in Jesus Christ, if you have genuine faith in Christ, then this is something to constantly thank God for, for this is the gracious work and the gracious gift of God.

Secondly, Paul thanked God for their 'love for all the saints.'

Why thank God for something they are doing? Because these actions also, this love for all the saints, is the result of the powerful and persistent working of God in their lives.

We do not have it in us to love one another; left to ourselves, as the Scriptures indicate, nothing good dwells in us, we bite and devour each other, hatred and criticism come far easier than love and forgiveness. In our perceived need to defend and preserve ourselves we accuse and destroy others - our loved ones, our friends, our acquaintences.

Love is a fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit, the evidence that God is at work in us, transforming us more and more into his image, enabling us to forgo our own good for the good of the other, submitting to and caring for the other in the same way that Christ cared for the church and gave himself up for her.

If we observe Christians loving one another, let us thank God for this also, for it is clear evidence that God is at work in their lives, and a validation of their claim to be his children.


Scriptures: Ephesians 1:15,16; 2:8; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6; Matthew 11:25-27; John 6:44; 15:5b; Romans 5:6; Romans 7:17,18; Galatians 5:14-15, 22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 5:18-33.


Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2006,2010