Called to Hope (23-03-22)
Bible Reading: Ephesians 1:15-19
Ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God's people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
Spelling is not my strong point and so, like many, I find spellcheck a real bonus. I struggle most remembering whether it is an ‘s’ or a ‘c’ in words like ‘licence’ and ‘license’. I know there is a rule here, a verb (to license) has an ‘s’ and a noun (a licence) has a ‘c’, but that doesn’t help with words like ‘source’ or ‘course’ which are both nouns. Don’t you just love the English language!
And then you get a word like ‘hope’. We generally use it as a verb; ‘I hope that it will be sunny tomorrow’, but it can also be used as a noun; ‘My hope is that it will be sunny tomorrow’. Thankfully the spelling is the same for both.
You might ask ‘Why the English lesson?’ The reason is that in the bible, ‘hope’ is generally used as a noun, as in these words from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians ‘I pray… that you may know the hope to which he has called you’. As Christians we have a hope for this life and for the life to come, and this hope is secured for us in the death and resurrection of Jesus. By faith in his death for our sins we are right with God and by faith in his resurrection we too will rise from the dead.
It seems that the church in Ephesus hadn’t quite sorted this out, and it comes down to the great trilogy, faith, hope and love, or in this case faith, love and hope.
Paul commends the Ephesian Christians for their faith in the Lord Jesus; they had clearly understood the truth that salvation is by faith in Jesus. He also commends them for their love for all God’s people; their faith was being demonstrated by their love and support of their fellow believers. But in his prayers for them Paul is asking that, ‘The eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you’. Paul seems to be suggesting that they haven’t yet understood the hope to which he has called them, the riches of their glorious inheritance in heaven. A he says elsewhere, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him."
So, let us not say ‘I hope I have eternal life’ as if it was something that is in doubt. Instead let us ask God to open the eyes of our heart so that we might know the hope to which he has called us, the riches of our glorious inheritance with all God’s people.
Lord God, open the eyes of my heart that I might know the hope to which you have called me, the riches of my glorious inheritance in your holy people. Amen
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord