Dr Tow's Letter 20 May 2018
My dear readers,
(Extracts from RPG Workbook Vol II No. 7 June 12 – July 9 1983, edited by Dr SH Tow)
1. GOD’S PLAN OF THE AGES (Eph 1-3; Ps 18:30, 32)
Welcome to the study of Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians. This is such a glorious book! From Eternity Past, God had a plan. God’s Eternal Plan was“purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph 3:11) to “gather together in one all things in Christ” (Eph 1:10).
God’s Plan was to call for His children to be“holy and without blame” (Eph 1:4),“created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph 2:10) so that“in the ages to come” (Eph 2:7), they should be to the “praise of his (God’s) glory” (Eph 1:12), to whom He had shown “the exceeding riches of his grace” (Eph 2:7).
And where could God get such holy and blameless children? No alternative! Except from amongst those who once were “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph 2:1). To these God showed His “mercy (and) great love” (Eph 2:4), made them “nigh by the blood of Christ” (Eph 2:13) and “hath broken down the middle wall of partition” between man and his fellowmen (Eph 2:15-16), so that Jew and Gentile (non-Jew) could have similar access through our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father (Eph 2:18) and be built up into the same household of faith (Eph 2:19).
Isn’t it exciting to know that God has a plan and He has worked it out in you and me?
THOUGHT: Am I aware of God’s Plan? Have I entered into God’s Plan? Or am I still outside of His Plan? Planning my own life? Is God in my plan? Or am I in God’s Plan?
PRAYER: O Father, let me not miss any part of Thy perfect plan for my life.
What sort of assets do you go chasing after in life? Is it the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Is it popularity, power, position, possessions, pedigree, pleasure, pomp, or padding for comfort? Have you thought through what you really want in life? Paul blessed (lit. eulogized) God because God has blessed us with “all spiritual blessings” (Eph 1:3).
What a precious thought! God’s blessings are spiritual. Spiritual blessings are always available and never depleted. “All” or every spiritual blessing flows from “heavenly places” (Eph 1:3), planned by God in the heavenlies. And these blessings are in or through our blessed Lord Jesus Christ. No other way. God Himself is a Spirit (John 4:24), and men who “walk in the Spirit” (Gal 5:16) are pleasing to Him. The true worth in life are the spiritual, the eternal, the unseen (2 Cor 4:18). These refer to God, the soul, heaven and qualities such as faith (Heb 11:1, 6), hope and charity/love (1 Cor 13:13).
God promised the Jews spiritual and material blessings if they obeyed Him (Deut 28:1-14). Egs: children, agricultural produce, increase in livestock (Deut 28:4), safety in travel (Deut 28:6), victory over their enemies (Deut 28:7), etc. This was the nature of a national witness for Christ in Old Testament times. But this is no longer the case in New Testament times. The New Testament church does not require a piece of land to be a witness for Christ. The people in the church are the witnesses for Christ. Praise the Lord for material responsibilities if they come our way. But let us be reminded: God’s blessings are only spiritual. May we be reminded also of Luke 12:15: “Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” And 1 Timothy 6:6: “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” Use these material responsibilities wisely for spiritual purposes like our own spiritual growth and well-being or the preaching of God’s Word or the work of God or else they can become a curse to hinder for we have allowed these material things to lure us away from God and toward the direction of the world.
THOUGHT: Pray for wisdom to use material responsibilities wisely for God’s glory. Is the spiritual reflected in my prayers and aspirations?
Do you ever wonder why you are on earth? Do you ever get discouraged with life? Do you see your life as a mess and a problem?
Paul was so thrilled when he wrote of the wonderful truth that God has“blessed us” (Eph 1:3), “chosen us” (Eph 1:4), and “predestinated us” (Eph 1:5) that he wrote verses 3 to 14 as one long, long sentence. And should we not likewise get excited when we realise our existence on earth is not by chance, some fluke shot or some freak accident? Our being a child of God is planned of God!
We were chosen, elected or selected by God Himself, for Himself, to be His children. Not by chance, but by choice: God’s prior choice. Not by blind fate, but according to the pleasure of an all-wise Heavenly Father (Eph 1:3, 5). Not a spur-of-the-moment decision on an ad-hoc basis, but by God’s foreknowledge and predestination. To be predestinated by God is to have God setting the limits ahead of time, to mark out beforehand our entire future into eternity. When the right time came, we believed. Isn’t it amazing? Not that we chose God, but that He chose us first. Read also Romans 8:28-30.
God’s Plan was:
made in heavenly places (Eph 1:3), in Christ (Eph 1:3),
Isn’t that humbling to know that we have been chosen by God Himself?
THOUGHT: (Read Romans 11:33.)
PRAYER: Help me, Father, not only to accept but also to rejoice in the fact that I have been chosen by Thee.
God bless you dear readers.
Yours faithfully in the Saviour’s Service,
Dr SH Tow