“This is strong medicine for us to swallow.”

41QbzSxPf5LFrom Let’s Study Ephesians by Sinclair B. Ferguson:

Ephesians 1:11 may be the strongest and most comprehensive statement about God’s absolute sovereignty in the whole of the bible. He is the One who works all things according to the counsel of his will. This is not a user-friendly universe for all and sundry. But Paul is stressing that, whatever the native tendencies of people and things, God works with and through all that happens. The events of history and even of our individual lives are never outside his will and purpose. There are no exceptions.

This is strong medicine for us to swallow. Some Christians find the first taste of it seems bitter. For swallowing it also means swallowing the pride that says: ‘I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul’ (W.E. Henley). But once pride is dissolved by the absolute Lordship and sovereignty of One who can be trusted absolutely, the effects are wonderfully therapeutic. We begin to recover from the sin-sickness that gripped Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; at last we allow God to be God; and we discover that his sovereign purposes — even in the experiences that cause us pain — are for our good (Rom. 8:28).

In some ways what Paul goes on to say is a yet more remarkable and liberating discovery: God does all this to the praise of his glory (1:12, 14). But his glory is not the enemy of our good. In fact he pursues his own glory in such a way that he simultaneously brings his people most blessing! His pleasure and our blessing are marriage partners! That is a commitment from which he will never withdraw.


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