11 We have also received an inheritance in Christ. We were destined by the plan of God, who accomplishes everything according to his design. 12 We are called to be an honor to God’s glory because we were the first to hope in Christ. 13 You too heard the word of truth in Christ, which is the good news of your salvation. You were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit because you believed in Christ. 14 The Holy Spirit is the down payment on our inheritance, which is applied toward our redemption as God’s own people, resulting in the honor of God’s glory.
In previous devotionals, you may have heard us mention the three main categories that Methodism’s founder, John Wesley, used to describe grace: prevenient, justifying and sanctifying. Prevenient grace is the grace given to us by God in creation. We have it without doing anything or even recognizing the name of Christ. Justifying grace is us realizing that the gift of grace has been given to us from God and sanctifying grace is us living out a life that reflects our recognition of that gift.
In today’s text from Ephesians, Paul speaks to the responsibility we have once we realize God’s presence and gifts in our lives. It’s not a responsibility to earn grace, we already have that, but with such an important recognition as to where the source of that grace is birthed from, comes great responsibility. We’re going to make mistakes and learn and grow along the way, but God believes in us. God has asked us to be good stewards of the earth, to love our neighbor, to serve those marginalized in our communities. These are not small, inconsequential tasks – these are big asks that our recognition of God’s blessings inspires us to do.
One we know of God’s abundant presence, there’s no turning back. We can’t unsee God’s artistic hand in the sunsets or delicate music in a child’s laughter. It’s just not possible. We’re forever changed and to live with that is to live with the responsibility that comes with it: to be “called to be an honor to God’s glory”. The Holy Spirit has paid our down payment, what we do with that is up to us.
by Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
Think about a moment when you were truly humbled by God’s presence. Where was your spiritual life at that moment? What did your relationship with God look like? What has that sparked within you?
Prayer: Holy God, thank you for the gifts you offer us even before we are born. May we treat them with the honor they deserve through our words and actions. Amen.