Our scripture this week is Ephesians 1:3-14, taken today from the English Standard Version (ESV).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 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, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Paul tells us that God reaches out to us through Jesus “making known to us the mystery of his will” (v. 9). God has given us instruction from the very beginning, telling us “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth” (Genesis 1:28). God gave us all of creation and called us to use it wisely.

However, God has rules for us regarding how we treat what He has given us and each other. We are to respect His creation and our brothers and sisters as we respect Him. We haven’t always been obedient in any of these, using people and things for our own pleasure and gain.

Paul reminds us how richly we have been blessed and the responsibility that comes through our relationship with God. We are called to be part of His work, ensuring that everyone knows of His love for us and our obligation to respond. Those who follow Christ must demonstrate the life He taught us to live, caring for each other and giving praise and thanks to our Heavenly Father.

Gracious God, we come to You in repentance, sorry for our failings. Help us to be strong in our faith, loving You and others as You first loved us. Amen.

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