All posts by Matthew J. Cochran

Matt Cochran's passion is seeing people's lives transformed by a relationship with Jesus Christ. Having served in the Marine Corps in locations all over the world, Matt easily connects with people. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Christian Studies and a Master's Degree in Discipleship Ministries. Above all else, Matt loves being a dad to Colin, Hank and Amelie.

His immeasurable greatness

Ephesians 1:19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might

What does God’s power mean for you and me as His followers? Does it mean that we should be afraid of Him because He has the power to strike us down? That we should revere Him because He has the power to command even the wind and seas? That we should ask for seemingly impossible things because He is capable of doing them?

The immeasurable greatness of God’s power has many implications for those of us who believe. His endless power guarantees our protection from anything that could possible come against us (Romans 8:31-39). It changes us, from the inside out. It means there is no more death to condemn us because sin and death were conquered by Christ’s work on the cross.

It also means that you and I are capable of far more than we would be on our own, for the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in us through the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:20-21). We will never be able to fathom the depth of the power of God in this lifetime. He is so incredibly powerful and able that we should simply trust Him with all things. Why do we ever even try to do things on our own when our Father is so powerful?

In the knowledge of Him

Ephesians 1:17-18 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,

We’d all like to know God a little better; wouldn’t we? Who can say that they’d prefer to be in the dark about who the Father is and what He has in store? No, most of us would like to hear from Him and know what He has to say to us. We expect it even, because God does speak.

We can only truly know Him as He reveals himself to us. He makes himself known as we grow closer to Him, helping us to better understand His character, His nature, His love, and His Fatherhood over us. The more intimately we become acquainted with the Lord, the more He allows us to know Him. Kind of like in our human relationships.

The difference, of course, is that the Father knows perfectly well what exactly to reveal to us at any given time. What we’re not ready for, we don’t know yet. The knowledge we’ve been entrusted with testifies to our growing relationships with Him.

Contrary to popular opinion, God wants to be known. He wants to show us who He is, He wants us to grow closer to Him. He wants His children to be enlightened. Seek Him and you will find Him.

The guarantee of our inheritance

Ephesians 1:13-14 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

The gifts of God are irrevocable (Romans 11:29). His promises can be trusted and He’ll never break a single one. This is true of every prophesy and every promise given in the Old Testament and every truth spoken in the New Testament as well.

For those of us who are a bit more on the skeptical side, God did not leave us without a guarantee of our inheritance. When we first put our trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and He rescued us and redeemed us, we also received the promised Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8). He’s now living in us and through us and He’s the guarantee we have for all the blessings that will come.

Never do we have to wonder if we’ll be blessed by God in the ways that He’s promised. Never do we have to speculate. He will come through, always. We may not see everything revealed right now, but in time it will all be made clear.

 

We have obtained an inheritance

Ephesians 1:11-12 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

God’s promises are going to be fulfilled.  There’s no chance, none whatsoever, that He’ll go back on anything He’s promised.  You and I have been granted an inheritance, and just like an inheritance would be from an earthly family member, it’s documented.

From eternity, before there was such a thing as time, the Father had a plan for those whom He would love and call to be His own. To the adopted sons of God, there is an inheritance that includes everything that a true son would be entitled to.

The Son of God obtained for us this right to be called sons of God (John 1:12) ourselves. Now we’re coheirs with Him (Romans 8:17), sharing in every blessing. This hope we have that we’ll receive this inheritance brings glory to the Lord. Those blessings that we cannot see today, we’ll see later, when we can better understand and better enjoy. He’ll see to it. He’ll fulfill every promise.

 

The mystery of His will

Ephesians 1:9-10 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

The one really liberating thing about following God is knowing that He can be trusted.  He’s had this master plan from before time even began and He’s working it out.  He set things in motion and to this day the stage we find ourselves on in life is still part of the story.

Along the way, God will reveal to us the mysteries of His will, but never too much and never at the wrong time.  We’re often so quick to question Him and demand to know what’s going on, but to be honest if we really knew it all we wouldn’t be able to handle it.  His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8).

When it all plays out, this grand plan of His, all things will come together as they must. The timing will be perfect and the outcome will be just as it should.  The momentary afflictions we face in this life will seem like nothing in comparison to the glory that will be revealed at that time (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Take heart, trust in the Father to bring things to completion. And remember, He loves you.

Lavished upon us

Ephesians 1:8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight

Out of the abundance of all that He has (which is everything), God lavishes upon us His blessings.  He’s a loving Father who cares for His children and wants to bless them.  And He does it in all wisdom and insight.

That means that even though the all-knowing God who lives outside of time and knows everything before it happens has knowledge of our sins and disobedience, He chooses to bless us anyway. A better word than “chooses” is “chose,” because before He even created the world He had already chosen how to bless you.

He knew the choices you’d make and the sins you’d commit against Him, and still He chose to love you and bless you, to redeem you and forgive you.  If that’s not grace, then what is?  If that’s not worth your thanks, then what is?

According to the riches of His grace

Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

The thing about the gifts of God is that they’re free.  Completely and totally free.  Our Father wants us to know that there’s nothing we could ever do to earn His redemption, His forgiveness, His deliverance, or His love.  They’re free — for us.

There was a price for all of these blessings and we’d do well to remember that because it causes us to give thanks constantly. When we remember that our redemption was purchased by the blood of Christ, shed on the cross in our place, we can’t help but thank God for His grace.  It’s a natural response to being given so much.

The cost of our freedom was expensive for the Son of God. He had to suffer and even die in order for us to be reconciled back to God. But the beautiful thing about it all is that He wasn’t forced to do it. He willingly gave His life for all of us and He’d do it all over again if He had to. But he doesn’t.  It is finished, once and for all.  It’d done. Paid for in full.

We mustn’t pass over the phrase “according to the riches of His grace” as though ti was not an important part of this passage. It may seem like just an ending to the statement, but in this lies one of the most important things we can understand about God.  He’s not limited in how much He has to give.  He has all things under His control. He has every blessing to give. He has everything we could ever need.  And He offers to us from that abundance.  We can trust in Him to deliver on His promises because He lacks nothing.

What do you need right now that you’re trusting God for?  He’s able to deliver.

His glorious grace

Ephesians 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

You know what’s best about the blessings of God? We don’t have to earn them. In fact, we can’t earn them. We can be rewarded for good deeds, sure. But the spiritual blessings of God, with which He was blessed us through Jesus Christ, cannot be obtained by anything we do.

That’s good news!  That’s better than good news!  The truth is,we’re all sinners, regardless of how much good we’ve done in this life here on earth. To compare anything we’re capable of doing for the good of mankind to what God has done and will do yet, is like saying we’ve learned all there is to learn after reading one children’s book.  It’s absurd!

Our Father’s grace is so wonderful, so glorious, that we can’t even comprehend just how amazing it is. We ought to be thanking Him every moment of every day.  We ought to be thinking about all He’s done for us in Christ. Take a moment. Start by writing just one spiritual blessing you’ve received from God and focus on that today. Tomorrow, think about another. At the end of a week, look back on all of the blessings you’ve recorded and rejoice.

Adopted for a purpose

Ephesians 1:5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

What’s the foremost priority on God’s agenda? Honestly, you and I will probably never know the answer to that question, but consider the fact that before He created anything and brought a single thing into being, He predestined us to be adopted into His family.  That’s pretty big.

In fact, that’s unfathomable.  The Creator took you and me into consideration and decided that He’d like to adopt us before He even made time.  Does that seem a little bit amazing to you?  Now, people focus on the whole argument surrounding predestination, but I think they’re missing the real point.  God wanted you in His family.  He wanted me. He created a rescue plan for us and sent His Rescuer to redeem us and ransom us from this lost world so that we might be part of His kingdom.

Somehow, your adoption into God’s family as His own fits into His grand plan. It says so right in this letter to the Ephesians that God inspired Paul to write.  “According to the purpose of His will,” you have been grafted in as one of God’s people.  How does that change the way you live your life?

Chosen in Him

Ephesians 1:4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

There are few doctrines within Christianity that are more controversial than that of predestination, which Paul speaks on a lot in his letter to the Ephesians. Many Christians shy away from talking about the subject, but we need not fear discussion about something that God spoke about in His Word. As John Calvin is quoted as saying, “No doctrine is more useful, as long as it is handled properly.”

As Christ followers, there are certain things we need to know about our identity. I’ve mentioned the importance of knowing that we’ve been adopted into the family of God as a result of Jesus Christ’s completed work on the cross, but there’s more to it.  You did not just choose to follow Christ, you were chosen in Him.  That phrase “in Him” sometimes slips by us as we ready, but it’s vital to our understanding of who we are as God’s children.

Adoption, in earthly terms, implies that a family has chosen a child that will become one of them and take on their identity. The child does not choose the parents, the parents rather choose the child.  God has revealed in His Word that we have not chosen Him, He has chosen us. He chose us “in Christ,” which means we were only capable of ever being adopted because of Christ. Does this mean we didn’t have a choice in the matter?

Well, we have plenty of time to get into that as we study the rest of Ephesians, but here’s a quote to get you thinking more:

“Those who do not believe are responsible for the fact that they do not believe and will perish as a result. But those who believe, believe by the grace and mercy of God and walk in the fear of God, living holy and blameless in Christ by love.”

– Heinrich Bullinger