Jesus Christ is first in our lives. He is our life (Phil. 1:21; Col. 3:4). No conversation can be sweet or satisfying without him having chief place. No relationship can be healthy unless he is prominent. No endeavor is worth doing unless it can be dedicated to him. Christ is our all.
The opening sentence of Ephesians 1 emphasizes Christ’s preeminence in three ways. First, it is constantly repeated that “God works all things according to the counsel of his own will” (vv. 5,9,11). God’s sovereignty is not a doctrine to trip us up but a truth that grounds us in Christ. The Father chose us in Christ (vv. 4-5). Our identity is not decided in this life but in God’s counsels, in Christ. God’s eternal purpose is to magnify his Son as our Head and Savior. Therefore, Jesus Christ will be exalted. “Every knee will bow.” Martyrs, weary mothers, and beaten prisoners have been sustained by this one thought – I am joined to Jesus Christ, and my Father is working out all his purposes to exalt his Son in my death, in these sufferings, in these trials. I am gladly part of this plan he is working out. I will magnify Jesus Christ as the Son of God and trust him.
Second, God’s grace in Christ is central. “To the praise of the glory of his grace” (v. 6); “according to the riches of his grace” (v. 7). God’s grace is his character and saving purpose to treat sinners with undeserved kindness. His plan of salvation in his Son brings this out. Why lay upon his Beloved Son the crimes of his enemies? His grace. Why choose children of the devil to be his children? His grace. Why extract from the blood and soul of his Son the ransom price of our redemption? His grace. All God does toward us is to magnify his grace in his Son. It is not to make our lives easier, give us heaven on earth, or answer all our questions. It is to reorder our lives around the truth of his grace, the fountain of grace in Jesus Christ, and our union with him in grace.
Third, God’s purpose is to gather all things in heaven and earth in Christ (vv. 9-10). The Father dotes upon his Son, loves his Son, always hears his Son. What else can we conclude when we are permitted to hear the Son call so trustingly upon his Father and the Father to declare his purposes respecting his Son? “The Father loves the Son and has committed all things into his hands” (John 5:20). Why are we permitted to hear the Son’s prayer that we may be brought into the circle of the love shared by the Father and the Son (John 17:21-26), that we may behold the Son’s glory?
So that we will give ourselves to praising, serving, and speaking for Jesus Christ! With all you are and have, worship and praise Jesus Christ daily and throughout the day. His is all. Family worship is important not because the family is the central feature of God’s work in history, but because Jesus Christ is. We worship as families because it is in a loving home under tender parents that we learn the wonders of God’s grace and love in Christ. It is here boys and girls learn that they are to be devoted to praising and serving their Redeemer. They hear his praises and learn their highest calling is to boast in Christ’s cross. We cannot praise unless we understand, so Ephesians 1 calls upon us to understand God’s purposes in his Son and to live praising him. This will soften us, strengthen us, inspire us, direct us, and clarify all else we do as a family. Praise and adore the glorious name of Jesus Christ. This is God’s singular, unified plan he is working out hour by hour. It is the destiny of history and of everyone who ever lives.
Would we recover purpose in our lives? Embrace Christ our all. Would we see him heal our relationships? “He must increase, but we must decrease.” Nothing but lowliness in our own eyes, like Jesus Christ, can impale our selfishness upon the cross of humility. Would we work more faithfully, serve with less complaining, and live more hopefully? Serve Jesus Christ. Praise and live for him. His presence is our strength, his promises our food, his love our joy and peace, his friendship our comfort and delight. Life without him is like trying to breathe without oxygen. It cannot be done. He is all in all.