[The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ] has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will. (Ephesians 1:9-11)
The first chapter of Ephesians is an ecstatic meditation on the wonder of God’s improbably marvelous plan “from the foundation of the world” to retrieve, “in the fullness of time,” all things that have been scattered. This is something which gives God great pleasure to do, and God brings us into the plan: we can fully expect to see that God’s plans for ourselves and the universe will be accomplished.
I suspect that the earliest Anabaptists took great joy and comfort in these words, but I suspect that many Anabaptists thinkers have shied away from talk about God’s choice–and that scary word, “predestined” which is used in this chapter twice, although you’d be hard put to notice this in the version chosen for today’s passage.
From the Southern Baptists who first prompted me to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I learned that I had to choose to follow Jesus, and that Jesus would save me.
From Christians in the Reformed tradition, I learned that God was sovereign, and something of the ecstasy of delight in this deepest of truths.
From the Mennonites, I have been learning again (and again, and again) to choose to follow Jesus as teacher, role model and Lord both personally, and in the company of fellow disciples. And I hope in doing so, I do not forget these facts: Jesus will save me, and God is sovereign.