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In Him

A Lenten Reflection for Friday, March 8th by Rev. Ruby A. Varghese


Readings for 3/8/24: Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22; Daniel 12:5-13; Ephesians 1:7-14

Selected passage: Ephesians 1:7-14


Read

Ephesians 1:7-14 NIV

 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.


11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.


Reflect

I remember as a little girl we made a big move as a family, my dad said “everything must go”! We began collecting all the items in the house to sell for our garage sale. Unfortunately in the hustle my prized teddy bear got added to the pile and was sold. I received money from the sale I had earned and I got to spend it on whatever I wanted. That day had slipped by, until I felt that flutter in my heart that something was terribly wrong. My teddy was gone and the money I received was spent. How was I going to get my precious bear back? I brainstormed all the ways yet I didn’t have enough of what it would take to get my bear back in time. So I went to my father and he had enough to buy back my bear from my neighbor, my bear was redeemed. This precious bear was free from someone else’s possession and returned back into my care! Whether it’s someone/something that has possession of you, where are you in need of God's redemption?


Paul is in prison writing a letter to Ephesus about Jesus. He begins reminding them of all the things they have “In Him”.  Like Ephesus we need these reminders too! As we reach our halfway mark leading up to Lent, remember it is Jesus who comes as the sacrificial Lamb.  Jesus who was sold in an act of betrayal is the One whose death frees us from the bondage of sin. This sacrifice makes the impossible possible, only  in Him!  This act we can’t do for ourselves yet so often we think we have to come up with the solutions on our own or have found enough to bail ourselves out. But Paul proclaims it is the Redeemer who comes in His blood on the cross and displays the power of God to deliver us from sin. This grace is not something we deserve, that can be measured, or ever runs out but something that can only be given through the Father.


We know the story does not end here in death but continues in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It’s hard to conceive this radical news with all that we hold in our personal lives and all that is taking hold in our world. But In Him we know God has a masterplan, he has more than enough to bring hope, freedom, and redemption to his people. This act was necessary in order for us to be reconciled to God. This lavish grace was done  for us. Despite knowing who and what we were, He loves us enough to extend the richness of God’s grace over us. God sees us, hears us, and responds for our redemption.


This letter is Paul reminding Christians in Ephesus that Christ has come to dwell among them. This Lent remember the Holy Spirit is a seal upon our hearts for  we are chosen, given an inheritance beyond our understanding, and as a redeemed people called to spread the Good News to others.


Respond

Where is God inviting you, as you have heard the Good News, to repent and put your trust and faith in Him? This Lent where is our focus on ourselves or on Jesus? It is the work of the Holy Spirit that you have been signed, sealed, and delivered. In whom will you put your trust, and in whom will you give your thanks?


Rest

Redeemer, it is because of the cross that I am forgiven.  Your abundant grace was more than enough for me. Thank you for choosing me and for including me in your Kingdom. It’s only through you that I can find strength, hope, and the ability to live a life that brings you glory. May I rest in this truth and believe  today and always. AMEN.


About the Author

Ruby Varghese  currently resides in Seattle, WA. She has served as Associate Pastor of Family, Youth, and Young Adults for over 24 years. She holds a Masters in Spiritual Formation, a soon- to-be completed certification in Spiritual Direction, and is embarking on a Masters in Marriage & Family Therapy at Fuller in CA this fall. As a second-generation, Indian-American she sees it as a great privilege and gift to serve the church. Also she can’t wait for some more sunshine! Instagram: @rubyav Facebook: Ruby Varghese Website: newportcov.church

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