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, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 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,14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. – Ephesians 1:11-23
Are there special people in your life who bring joy to your heart? Is it a grandchild? Your husband? Wife? A best friend? A work partner, classmate, or favorite teacher? When you see him you smile. When she walks in the room your heart enlarges. Are you that kind of person to someone else?
Actually you are. If you are a person of faith in Jesus, you are that person…to God’s servants, and to God himself. Paul begins this letters to the various churches (Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians for example) expressing thanks to God for the people to whom he is writing. “I thank God for you…” he says. Get that? He is thankful for people who have faith in Jesus Christ.
And it’s not just a flash in the pan eruption of praise that fades into the silence of forgotten happiness. This is a “I do not cease to give thanks” expression of lasting joy…for the people to whom he was writing.
Ephesians is generally thought to be a letter that was circulated among several churches in the area. Although it mentions Ephesus in the salutation, many scholars consider it to be a letter read in a number of different churches. The theological teaching is general, but profound. The application is generic, but vital.
So just as the truths apply to you about being chosen before the foundation of the world, for the praise of God’s grace, and sealed for salvation by the Holy Spirit, so too does Paul’s expression of thanks for those who have come to faith. God’s servants are thankful for people who put their faith in Jesus.
Think of the person for whom you give thanks, who enlarges your heart, and brings you joy. Now imagine God having those same attitudes toward you. Thanks be to God for you, dear reader. God delights in you, and so do I.