Ephesians 1:1a

A thought that has stuck with me from God’s Ultimate Purpose by D. Martin Lloyd Jones on the First chapter of the book of Ephesians is this: when I approach God, think about God, or attempt to serve God whom do I think of first? Do I start with myself and move upwards to heaven and seek God or do I start with my eyes toward heaven and descend upon myself?
What’s the difference?
The difference is also the main theme of the Epistle; it is the majesty and glory of God. It is seeing God as sovereign.
Ephesians 1:1a ESV

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

Paul has barely begun to write and he is acknowledging that he is writing not of his own will but “by the will of God.
Lloyd-Jones’ God’s Ultimate Purpose was copyrighted back in 1978 and what he had to say about the importance of how one comes to the reading of God’s Word is just as significant today. He says,

The Bible is God’s book, it is a revelation of God, and our thinking must always start with God. Much of the trouble in the Church today is due to the fact that we are so subjective, so interested in ourselves, so egocentric (Lloyd-Jones 13).

And further on he says,

We must not start with ourselves and then ascend to God; we must start with the sovereignty of God, God over all, and then come down to ourselves (Lloyd-Jones 14 {emphasis mine}).

Seeing God as sovereign means that I also accept that there is a mystery to the ways of God. In verse 9, Paul spells out that Jews and Gentiles being united under the redemptive work of Christ was a mystery to them for ages. Even though it was revealed to the prophets and apostles by the Spirit, Paul was now at liberty to proclaim that this mystery was now known!
So why is this mystery important in how I view God?
Again, it is because I must view God as majestic and sovereign. God’s ways are still a mystery to me, and I must start with my eyes on Him and His greatness. I must recognize that He alone is God over all and I should not dare to think that with my finite, sinful mind I could ever fully understand the will and ways of God.

But take heart and be comforted with me as I unpack this, that starting with a view of God and His sovereignty is a fertile ground for faith and trust to grow…and soon we read {verse 7} of the “riches of his grace.”

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