All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.

God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. 11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.

12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God. 13 And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. 14 The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.

We are united with Christ . . . for he chose us.- Ephesians 1:11

In the 1981 film Chariots of Fire (recounting the 1924 Olympics competition between two British athletes, Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams), Liddell explains why he runs: “When I run,I feel God’s pleasure.” Abrahams (who faced lifelong ridicule as a Jewish immigrant) gives a very different reason. Running, he admitted, provided “ten lonely seconds to justify my whole existence.” Abrahams felt he had to run, to succeed in competition, to prove the value of his life.

Scripture tells us that we have value because God has made us His children, not because of anything we offer or accomplish. “God… has blessed us with every spiritual blessing” without any thought to what we might extend in return (Ephesians 1:3). God set His eyes on us simply because it “gave him great pleasure” to make us His own (V. 5). We don’t earn God’s generosity by cleaning ourselves up, doing good works, or by honing our morality. No, “God loved us” and has sovereignly invited us to be part of His family (VV. 4–5). He “purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave our sins” (V. 7). Our value comes not because of anything we do for God but because of what He’s already made possible for us by His death and resurrection.

God’s unbounded love is good news in a world always judging our value. His love is a gift; our job is to receive it. This Easter, may we reflect on the wonder of His love for us.

                                                                                                                   –  WINN COLLIER

When have you felt the need to earn acceptance or prove your value? How does knowing that God loved you before you were born contradict this?

Dear God, I’m exhausted trying to earn my place in this world. Thank You for proving how much You really love me by going to the cross for me.