By Russ Ramsey
Remember playing hide-and-seek as a kid? My friends and I tried so hard to not be found, but have you ever had the experience of hiding too well? Have you ever hidden so well that you never “got found,” only to have a strange and lonely sorrow come over you when reality set in: you’d hidden so well that the seekers had given up and stopped looking for you?
Over the course of a lifetime, we can become expert hiders; we find hiding places so good that the people closest to us don’t even know we’ve been hiding in plain sight. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians draws us out of the darkness of hiding and into the light of truth, and it opens in verse 3 with a command: “Blessed be (or “give praise to”) the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Why should we praise Him? That question is what the rest of the letter lays out, but Paul summarizes the answer in the second half of that same verse: because he “has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ.”
When we look at what Paul says in these opening verses, what do we see? God chose His people before the foundation of the world (vv.4, 1–12), according to His mercy and grace and not by any work of our own (vv.7–10), in order that we might know Him as our Father and know ourselves as His beloved children (vv.5, 13–14). This, Paul says, should draw from us a response of praise. Why? Let’s focus on two reasons.
First, a great darkness has been pushed back. The breathtaking beauty of God choosing us in Him before the foundation of the world to be His adopted children is that, had He not, ours would only be a story of perishing in the wreckage of our sin. We would forever remain hidden and alone. But praise be to God, He has intervened. Because of Christ, we rejoice in the light that has pushed back so great a darkness, but even more, we delight in the God who has done it.
Second, our God has come looking for us. God doesn’t just rescue us to give us a second chance. He saves us from spiritual death and then gives us a new identity: adopted sons. God has taken our game of hide-and-seek and turned it into a game of sardines. When Paul says we’re adopted through Jesus Christ, he’s telling us Jesus didn’t just find us; He came to where we were hiding and hid with us in such a way that you and I would never be found alone again. To find us now would be to find us together with our big brother.
If this is all true, what else is there to do but praise Him? Praise God for the sake of the means by which He has done all of this. He has given us His Son, that our lives might be hidden in His.
Written by Russ Ramsey