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Our Forever Home

July 6, 2021

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.” (Ephesians 1:3-4 NIV). 

Public and private animal shelters advertise that the animals in their temporary care are looking for “forever homes.”  They seek to place the dogs and cats in their care in a home where they will be taken care of for the rest of their lives.  They want to place every animal in a home where it will be welcomed and cherished throughout its life–a forever home.  In such a home, the animal will be loved and blessed by the family and will bless the family for years to come.  But the dog or cat can’t choose the person who will adopt it.  The person who adopts the dog or cat chooses it.  The dog or cat cannot do anything to make the adoption happen. The animal must be chosen. 

In the same way that a person chooses to adopt a stray dog or cat, Paul emphasizes that God “chose us;” we have done nothing to deserve the gift of salvation.  It is all God.  It is God who welcomes us into our forever home.   And like a person who makes plans in advance to adopt an animal, God planned out his adoption for us in advance: “Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!)”(Ephesians 1: 5, The Message). 

Paul wrote his epistle to the church at Ephesus in modern day Turkey around 60 AD.  This center of trade on the Aegean Sea had been the headquarters of his ministry for about three years.  In what seems like an endless paragraph in the first chapter (verses 3-14), Paul lists God’s blessings on his people over the ages.[1]  These blessings include our adoption into the family of God and continue through eternity—our forever home.  In fact, Paul tells us that God blessed his people before he created the world: “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” (Ephesians 1:3-4 NIV).  In these verses Paul points out that God’s plan for our salvation was in place even before he created the world and that it will continue for eternity (“in the heavenly realms” v. 3). 

And in case we missed it, he reminds us that Jesus Christ redeemed us and forgives us “through his blood” (verse 7).  Referring to “Jesus’ blood” was first-century shorthand for the fact that Christ died for our sins.  As dogs and cats are redeemed from death by a person who adopts them, so we were redeemed by Christ.  His death on the cross was the price he paid to redeem us—to obtain our freedom from sin.  Paul tells us that Jesus did these things for us because of “God’s grace that he lavished on us” (verses 7-8).  It is by God’s grace–not through our own efforts–that God gave us the gift of salvation.  

But that’s not all.  There are more blessings.  God offers salvation to everyone.  The Holy Spirit is the down payment on our eternal salvation: “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance . . . ” (verses 13b-14a).  The blessings that we receive now are merely a foretaste of the blessings we will enjoy forever in God’s presence.  

In his Confessions, St. Augustine wrote, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”  We are strays without a home, wandering from place to place until we find our rest in Christ.  Christ offers us a forever home.  When you become a member of the family of God, you are inducted into an eternal family of endless blessings.  The psalmist declares: “I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants . . . Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other . . . The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest” (Excerpts Psalm 85: 8-12).  

Our God is a God of endless blessings.  He is a God who chose us to be adopted into his family before we were born.  We were given a forever home.  It is a home that we can enjoy during our time on earth and beyond.   

Turn to Christ today to admit your wrongs and your total inability to find rest and peace without him. When you turn to him, he will open his arms and bring you into the family of God—your forever home.  When you find your rest in Christ, you will begin to receive a stream of endless blessings that will last forever.

Prayer:  Redeemer God, we praise and thank you for sending your Son to redeem us from death, and by whose blood we were adopted into your family.  Gracious Lord, we praise and thank you for the Spirit who leads, counsels, comforts, and blesses us in so many ways throughout our lives.  We thank and praise you for leading us to your family and to our forever home.  Amen 

Diane Cieslikowski Reagan

[1] The Scripture texts for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost are Amos 7:7-15; Psalm 85: 1-13; Ephesians 1: 3-14; Mark 6:14-29. Another version of this blog was published in July 2018.

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