I posted the first two chapters of Ephesians last time in order to give Paul’s detailed account of the good news that brings great joy. The reason this account is so important is because it not only tells us what Christ did for us on the cross but also what that means to us…today, tomorrow, and forever. I will spend some time now expounding on some of my own thoughts about this.
Traditionally, we’ve tended to think of the cross as a transaction. Christ died for me, and as me, thus, wiping out my sins so that I can go to heaven when I die. While this is certainly true, it’s a very superficial understanding and misses the more stunning reality.
What we miss is the very source of this great joy. So, let’s look at Ephesians again, in bite-size chunks, in order to see if we can discover something most wonderful here.
Here’s the passage I want to look at today:
5–6 For it was always in his perfect plan to adopt us as his delightful children, through our union with Jesus, the Anointed One, so that his tremendous love that cascades over us would glorify his grace—for the same love he has for his Beloved One, Jesus, he has for us. And this unfolding plan brings him great pleasure! (Eph.1:5-6 TPT *)
The first thing we need to see is that it was always God’s intent to make us His delightful children. This is our identity. The word “delightful” means we bring Him great pleasure.
Did you get that? You bring God great pleasure. He delights in you.
The second thing about this astounding reality is that God did this by joining us to His Son. What you need to understand about this is that you cannot be un-joined. You didn’t do the joining, so you cannot do the un-joining. The only thing you can do is receive this mysterious reality by faith.
From this sense of belonging and delightful union, a strong relationship is formed and a positive identity emerges that produces real life change.
Here’s the math: belonging + identity = transformation.
By showing His tremendous love for us this way, God demonstrates just how radical His grace is toward us!
So, here’s my question. What do you honestly believe God’s response will be to you anytime you turn your heart toward Him? Think about that for a moment…
If your answer is anything other than delight and joy, you’re believing a lie. In fact, it’s probably the biggest lie ever believed by humankind from the beginning of time.
The real damage this lie does is separate us from God in our mind. You see, we won’t run into the arms of someone we think is not glad to see us, which is why so many people keep their distance from God.
And because of this lie, we hide behind a lot of things…like religion, trying to appease some god of our own imagination.
Don’t believe this is how God responds to you? Okay, work through this logically with me for a moment.
First, we know that in the presence of the Lord is overflowing joy and pleasure forevermore….
11 You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. (Psalm 16:11 NASB)
Second, God loves you and me exactly the same as He loves Jesus. And He wants you to know this other-centered love so you will experience His joy.
…so that his tremendous love that cascades over us would glorify his grace—for the same love he has for his Beloved One, Jesus, he has for us. (Eph.1:6 TPT *)
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. …11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:9, 11 NKJV *)
Therefore, presence equals infinite love, joy, and pleasure.
This is how you know you’re experiencing God’s presence.
Here’s another question. If you turn your heart toward God and sense disappointment or any other form of rejection, whose emotion is this?
Here’s a hint…it’s not God’s!
Here is another tragic flaw that comes from believing this lie. As human beings, we always seek that which creates the most joy and pleasure in our lives. We were created to find these in our relationship with God and with others.
But if we don’t find joy and pleasure at their Source, we will seek out weak counterfeits that never deliver on their promises and often lead to all kinds of pain, regret, and bondage.
Beloved, please hear this. When you come to God it’s because He’s already set you up, by His grace, to be delighted in. He wants you to walk in His overflowing love and joy and pleasure and give it away to others.
The point here is, He’s always glad to see you.
This is probably the single most transforming aspect of our relationship with the Great “I Am.” His overwhelming, cascading love floods our hearts with great joy, which heals us from all of the “I am not’s” that have poisoned our souls.
This is true no matter who you are, because His love is unconditional, which means it has no conditions.
And that’s the good news that brings great joy!