Understanding Our Call: A Call to a Life of Hope
Read Ephesians 1:15-23
"I pray…that you will know what is the hope his calling."
People today are looking for hope in a hopeless world. When people lose hope, life becomes unbearable, and the smallest adversity becomes overwhelming. People feel frustrated that our world is eroding around us, and there is the feeling that our life's security is threatened. One of the reasons we see so much division in the country is that people are looking for answers to life and hope in a darkened world, so they are looking for politicians to provide solutions. Each side claims that their political and moral ideology is the answer to rectify the crisis. But in reality, both sides of the political fence dividing our country are embracing "The Emperor's new clothes."
The letter to the church at Ephesus provides us with some of the most important theological truths found in scripture. In chapters 1-3, Paul lays out the infinite grace and redemptive work of Christ and the implications it has for our salvation. IN chapters 4-6, Paul then moves to the practical application of how we live in response to what Christ has accomplished. In the first part of chapter 1, we find the profound (and perplexing) truth that God chose us before the foundations of the world. While theologians have struggled to understand the nature of God's sovereign work concerning our salvation, we cannot miss the point that Paul is making. God determined before the foundations of the world that we would not only be recipients of his salvation but that we would be adopted as children. God not only bestowed his grace upon us, but he did so lavishly (vs. 8). This redemptive truth motivates and undergirds Paul's prayer for believers that we find recorded in vs. 15-23. Paul prays that we would fully realize what is given to us in Christ. This begins with the knowledge of God, which is the foundation of wisdom and understanding the mysteries of God's plan (vs. 17).
Paul prays that we would have the eyes of our hearts enlightened, so we should know the hope of His calling. Sin and unbelief darken our understanding (4:18). It clouds our perspective of God and distorts our moral knowledge. The result is that we are hopeless, living life without a vital relationship with God (2:12). Instead of moral and spiritual clarity, we have moral and spiritual confusion. This is why he prays that our heart (the moral and spiritual center of our being) would be illuminated with the knowledge of God so that we might realize the hope that Christ has made available to us through his saving purpose. This hope has grounded the assurance that we will share in the glory revealed when Christ returns. It lifts us up from the present trials and gives us a vision of what is in store for us.
This brings us back to the heart of the gospel. When our focus is upon the present and the political division in our country, there is no hope, for there is ultimately no answer. The endgame remains clouded and uncertain. When our focus is upon the redemptive work of Christ, then it becomes clear. This is the message that we need to convey to the world; instead of getting caught up in the division and hostility of politics, focus on the message of Christ's salvation. This brings hope not only to the believer but provides an answer to a divided culture. We no longer need to get caught up in the political fray because we have a more effective solution and higher calling in the gospel message.