Text: Ephesians 1:3-14
Being a Protestant and being a Lutheran Protestant basically means I’m a follower of Christ with Pauline eyes. Most Lutheran ministers would probably point at Romans as there “go to” text. When I collapse back to basics, I go to Ephesians. (I know, all you higher critics laughing about the pseudo-Pauline Pauline. And you friends laughing about when did he ever get past the basics or who let him out of confirmation class.)
Paul is logical, but really that is secondary. Paul is primarily a mystic. Those great chapters in Romans 7 – 11 are similar, but I think we often let the logic roll over the mystic. Paul tells us we have all the spiritual blessings in heaven, and he tells us what those are: 1) standing spotless and 2) adoption into God’s family. But then we press for surety of this, because let’s be blunt, right now we don’t see our spotless garment nor does any government recognize our adoption certificate. And Paul’s surety – we have the spirit. Logically, its a circular argument. Its a mystical argument. In baptism you have the Spirit. God has promised. God keeps his promises.
Also Paul wonders into predestination like those Roman’s chapters, but the predestination here to me is clearer. We are predestined in Christ. We receive our eternal status because we are joined to the eternal one. And this is because all things are moving toward unity in Him. We are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. You don’t get more mystical than that.
And that causes trouble with the logical world. You either get it, or you don’t. It also causes all kinds of trouble in the church. Because we are all being conformed at different rates and paces and on different paths. Just when the church wants to say this is the path, the Spirit seems to blow in a different way. Mystics and dogmatics don’t get along well. Dogma is often the worn path of the mystic. To be a Pauline Christian, to be a Lutheran, is to maintain that tension between the dogmatic better way and the Spirit led path. All the time resting secure in our adoption. Knowing that God’s grace has us covered with all the spiritual gifts of heaven that matter – primarily forgiveness for those “Spirit paths” that are actually detours.