It's not about you.
It's not about me. Salvation and universal history are about God and His purposes. They are designed for His glory to achieve His will. Welcome to the Truth Pulpit with Don Green, founding pastor of Truth Community Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hi, I'm Bill Wright, and as Don continues to teach God's people God's Word, we're continuing our series, Secure in Christ Forever, with part 2 of a message titled 202 Words of Unbroken Praise. Last time, Don began an overview of Ephesians 1 verses 3 through 14. It's a magnificent passage in Scripture that we'll be unpacking for a few weeks. Don focused on the triune nature of salvation in which all three members of the Godhead participate in our redemption.
Today, our teacher will look at two other important points, the transcendent nature of salvation and its triumphant nature. So have your Bible again open to Ephesians chapter 1, and let's join Don Green now in the Truth Pulpit. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, look at verse 13. In Him you also, now brings us into the realm of time, your own exposure to the Gospel. In Him you also, after listening to the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, having also believed you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise. The Holy Spirit brought salvation home to you. The Holy Spirit secured your soul by name, personally. The Spirit did that and sealed you so that you would never be lost.
You were sealed to be God's permanent possession. And now, verse 14, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance. God has given us the indwelling Holy Spirit. And beloved, there is a significance about that that Paul is particularly highlighting here. The Holy Spirit is God's down payment in your life that He will complete the salvation that He has started in you. It is the pledge of God's future intentions. The Holy Spirit is.
He is. The Holy Spirit is. The pledge of God's future intentions. Look at verse 14 again, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession to the praise of His glory. We'll talk about this more in days to come, but God the Father chose you and predestined you to adoption in Christ.
Adoption into His family. Christ redeemed you by His blood with a literal pouring of His blood in a literal time and space historical event at Golgotha 2,000 years ago, when the earth split open and the heavens went dark and the temple curtain was split from top to bottom. In that great magnificent moment, Christ died for you.
And then, in the realm of your own life, the Holy Spirit took the Gospel and brought it home with power and brought you to repentance and faith. Beloved, step back and try to somehow measure the vastness of this, the infinite worth, the incalculable glory of what we're discussing. The uncreated God, who exists in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. One God, one essence, three persons. That God, who is beyond our comprehension, who is great beyond our ability to perceive. That God, who had no need for you and me. He was perfect. There was no lack in His own being. In the perfection of everything that He was, set His mind, set His purpose, and directed the intentions of the universe, in part, so that you would be brought into the realm of His unspeakable glory.
His unspeakable blessedness. There is a triune nature to salvation that calls forth our praise. That staggers us.
That humbles us. That brings us to the point where we say, with those who spoke in Scripture, not to us, oh God, not to us, no, not to us, oh God, but unto thy name alone be glory. Now secondly, it's not just the triune nature of salvation that we see here. Secondly, it's the transcendent nature of salvation that we see here. And I'm using transcendent in this sense, in that it utterly transcends the realm of time. Grace, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, have secured us from eternity past through the realm of time and extending into eternity future. And all of that is expressed here in what Paul says in his praise, as he expresses praise to God. Let's look at eternity past, and we're going to kind of repeat some of the things that we've said, but I always find the timelines, the chronology, to have that in my mind is always helpful to me in almost any discussion that I have.
And this is not artificially imposed on the passage, it's right there on the surface. The transcendent nature, it is beyond time and yet it was accomplished in time. First of all, eternity past. Our salvation originated in God's free choice before time began.
Look at verse 4 with me. He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world. When only God existed in his triune perfection, he purposed to create us for salvation in Christ. Before the first second ticked on the world clock, if I can put it that way.
Before the arrow of time ticked one degree clockwise. Before that happened, God had done this in eternity past. The universe was created, but before that happened, God had determined to choose us in Christ.
But here's what I want you to think about. As a Christian, you cannot explain your life by beginning at your human birth. The origin of your life, the significance of your life, the purpose of your life far predates the beginning of your physical existence. We can only explain our purpose properly in Christ if we go all the way back before the beginning of time and say God the Father chose me for salvation and that is the starting point of understanding everything else.
If you don't have that right, you don't have anything else in proper perspective. This gives us a sense of our roots, you know. People are interested in ancestry and all that stuff, that's fine, but unless you trace it all the way back until you get before time, you can't begin to understand it properly.
If you miss the beginning, everything else is off whack. You must start before time to understand your salvation. There's a sense in which our sense of pride and our own personal significance in a way just kind of shrivels in light of this and realize that the explanation of my existence, the explanation of my present salvation is rooted in something that occurred in the council of the Godhead before time began and I wasn't there to influence the discussion.
They determined this on their own. God did this for his own glory and for his own purposes. God's purpose for us in Christ was established before you or I had done anything good or bad.
Beloved, we are where we're at today as Christians because of a loving choice, a gracious decision that God made before time, not because of something that we did to prompt a favorable reaction from him. Eternity past is the realm where salvation began. Now, as you go through this passage in Ephesians 1, you enter into the realm of time. You enter into the realm of time. Eternity past, now we're in the realm of time. In the realm of time, 2,000 years ago, Christ died for sinners, died for us who believe in him. Look at verse 7. We've already looked at it.
We're deliberately repeating ourselves to bring out different aspects. Verse 7, in him we have redemption through his blood. His blood? When was that blood shed? It was shed in the realm of time. It was shed two millennia ago.
It was shed at the cross. In the realm of time, something happened to advance the purposes of our salvation. And so, eternity past where the choice was made, we step through the veil of that, out of the mist of that, and into the realm of time which we can somewhat more closely relate to, and we find in the realm of time that Christ died for us. But Christ was carrying out a plan that was eternally established when he did that. This wasn't an afterthought. Christ's coming wasn't Plan B because Adam and Eve sinned in the garden.
This was the plan from the beginning. He's the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, but he's the Lamb who was slain in the realm of time. And then, also in the realm of time, bringing it up into your own lifetime. Somewhere in the realm of time, if you are a Christian, somewhere you heard the Gospel proclaimed. A preacher, a friend, a book. Somewhere, somehow, to some degree, explained to you the basics of the Gospel. You're a sinner.
You have violated a holy God. Christ is the only Savior. You must repent and believe in order to be saved. Somewhere in time, that happened, and that is expressed here as Paul continues his praise.
Look at verse 13. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise. And so, in the realm of time, in your own personal past, during your earthly life, somehow the Gospel was brought to you, the Holy Spirit did a work in your heart, and you believed in Christ. You thought at the time, you thought at the time, I'm making a decision for Christ. You were not aware at the time, at that moment, that an eternal plan was being brought to fruition in that moment when you humbled your heart before Christ.
We're not conscious of all of that. Then we get into the Word as Christians and we start to read and we start to say, oh my, this was far greater than I had any idea. That moment, when you literally or figuratively got on your knees and confessed your sin and asked Christ to receive you, it happened in time, but it was a slice of a far greater plan, of a far more transcendent nature than anything that you could have understood at the time, at that moment. So in the realm of time, Christ died for us. In the realm of time, we believed in furtherance of a plan from eternity past that God the Father formed together in the council of the Godhead. We step out of time and encounter God the Father and His plan. We step into time, we see Christ, we see our belief. And now, now, here we are in this, possessing this great salvation and we look forward onto the outside of time yet to come, we look forward to eternity future and we see that that too is included in this passage. Look at verse 14 where it says, the Holy Spirit is given as a pledge of our inheritance, a pledge for something that we haven't yet received. It's a promise, a down payment, a guarantee that more is to come and that guarantee, the more to come is our inheritance when we are in heaven with Christ and the fullness of salvation is culminated around the throne.
Sin has been banished. Those who would not bow the knee are removed from the presence and just the glory of the triune God and His redeemed people are there with the holy angels to execute His plan for all of eternity. In timeless wonder, timeless worship, timeless glory, we will be in together at the throne. We will enjoy the full inheritance of our salvation after time ends. It's our inheritance, it's what we will certainly receive. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, eternity past, the realm of time, eternity future. While God has graciously included us in this realm of salvation and He has been gracious and loving and merciful to us and we are secure for all of eternity, there was no possibility that any one of us could have ever been lost because it was God's purpose before time began to secure our salvation for all of eternity.
But now we have to leave ourselves behind. Now I want you to understand that what we're about to see in this triumphant nature of salvation, it's not about us. It's not about you.
It's not about me. Salvation and universal history are about God and His purposes. They are designed for His glory to achieve His will. So we set ourselves aside, we lay all of our baggage, we leave everything behind, and we just enter into onto the periphery of the circle of glory and we look in.
We are on the outside as it were now looking into the ultimate purpose of God in the universe, in salvation, and in history. And we see that it's about Him and His purposes. It's about His will, not ours. Look at verse 5 with me, for example.
Paul repeats this three times. He says, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, look at it, according to the kind intention of His will. It's about His will, His kindness, what He generously determined to do. Verse 9, He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention, which He purposed in Him. Three times in that one verse, God's will, God's intention, God's purpose.
It's about Him, it's not about us. That's why Paul is praising God. It's because God is the focus of this whole passage. Verse 11, also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose, who works all things after the counsel of His will. It's about God and His purposes, His intention, what He wanted to do. God has ordained this triumphant, transcendent, triune salvation because it pleased Him to do so, and it is what He wanted to do. And it is not the place, it is not the prerogative of man to stop and blasphemously say, but God, why did you do it that way?
We do not have standing to ask a question like that. This is about God and His purposes, what God wanted. It tells us, incidentally, that our inheritance cannot possibly fail. Those of you that come from Nazarene or Arminian backgrounds, here's a word that should cause you to rejoice.
Your salvation cannot possibly fail because God has willed it to come to pass and He determined that before time began. He alone will bring it to conclusion, and He alone will receive the praise for it. You see, it has to be that way because it's not about us. This is about what God wants to do, and it pleased Him to do so.
It pleases Him to display His wisdom and power and love and grace and mercy by directing all of the universe and all of human history to culminate in the glory of Christ, and it pleases Him as part of those overarching purposes to include you and me in the realm of salvation as another aspect of that multifaceted diamond of illimitable character that displays the glory of God in so many different ways. That's why we praise God. And if there was somehow any way that we could forfeit that or lose it, our praise would be diminished. We couldn't really praise here.
It would all be conditional. God, I hope I make it, and if I do, then I'll... No, that's not the tone of this passage at all. This is unrestrained worship for the purpose and the goodness and the character and the intrinsic greatness of God that we see on display here. It's triumphant because it's His will, and it's triumphant because God alone, God alone, God alone, only God will receive the praise for it. We will not be boasting in heaven about what we have done. Why this 202-word unit of praise?
Why is all of this being said? Verse 6, it's to the praise of the glory of His grace. Verse 12, to the praise of His glory. Verse 14, the concluding note to the praise of His glory. As I said before, the scope of this passage is so great that you have to read it multiple times to begin to read it once.
Indeed, you could never exhaust the wonder of what is revealed in Scripture here in Ephesians 1. Let's step back and, Christian, God has included you in a triune, transcendent, triumphant work of grace that you did not ask for, that you did not earn, that He has guaranteed will come to completion in a realm of glory that is far greater than tongue can describe. We are in a highly exalted, noble position as Christians. And yet, our present experience of it, while it is so far greater than anything that we knew as an unbeliever, the glory of our present position is going to be dwarfed by what is still yet to come.
We have barely begun to taste the glories of this realm to which we now belong. You and I, once lost in sin, now we're lost, but we're lost in a totally different way. Now we're lost in wonder, in love, and praise to this unspeakably great God who has done an unspeakably great thing by including us in His unspeakably great salvation plan that will result in unspeakably great glory, redounding to Him, and we will be the eyewitnesses of in heaven throughout all of the unfolding ages of eternity.
202 words taught us that, and after 202 words, you should see that we have no words that are adequate to return thanks and gratitude to God for what He has done. Your heart should just be humbled and bowed low to worship Him. And if you're not a Christian, don't miss out on this, Christ is calling you to come to Him and His shed blood for redemption. Christ would extend this manner of grace to you as well. Believe in Christ and be saved, and join this great Hallelujah chorus whose voice of praise will never end. God's blessing of salvation began in eternity past, includes physical time, and then extends into eternity.
It is truly transcendent and a great triumph of the Lord. Pastor Don Green will continue our series Secure in Christ Forever next time here on the Truth Pulpit, and we hope you'll join us then. Right now, though, here again is Don with some closing words. Well, as we close today's broadcast, I just want to express my gratitude for the many friends whose generosity make this program possible. You know, if you would like to join with those who are supporting us, you can do so at our website. Here's Bill to tell you how. Just visit us at thetruthpulpit.com, and while you're there, you can learn more about how to get free downloads or CDs of Don's teaching so you can share them with family and friends. That's all at thetruthpulpit.com. Now for Don Green, this is Bill Wright inviting you to join us again next time when Don teaches God's people God's Word again from the Truth Pulpit.
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