Olives. For those who missed it, and because I didn’t say it as clearly as I might have. “Sometimes our toughest hardship leads to our greatest purpose”……Leviticus 24:1-2 the Lord said to Moses command the Israelite’s to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so the lamps may be kept burning continually.
The olives had to be pressed, crushed in order to release the oil needed for the lamps for continual light.
When we hit hardship, our pressing and crushing can be used to His glory and my good.
How do you crush olives? You use an Olive Press. What is the Hebrew word for an olive press? ……Gethsemane.
In the garden of ‘the Olive Press’ on the Mount of Olives Jesus was ‘crushed’ by the weight of the sin of humanity, not just those he knew but all of us through history who would call on the name of the Lord. He had to be ‘crushed for our iniquities’ Isaiah 53:10 in order to become the continual light of the world.
And we can become God’s lamp-stand indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and under the pressing and crushing of trials it is possible to produce pure oil, holy oil in order to shine the light of Christ.
“For suffering produces endurance, endurance character and character hope.” Romans 5:3-5.
Hurt to hope
Trials to triumph.
These spiritual blessings include “redemption through His blood,the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace”.
Redemption has the sense of ransom, purchase, the paying of a price, buying us out of captivity.
Our trespasses, sins are forgiven! The barrier on our side is removed. But we did not remove it. God did, through Christ, for “in Him we have redemption……. “.
Salvation is the great work of God…. It seems that we only supply the sin which needs to be forgiven.
Paul continues his introduction to this letter (a letter which is probably a circular and general letter to the churches in Asia):
“In love He predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ,according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved,”
So: you were predestined IN LOVE, adopted (an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ),with the security that it is all according to His will and resounding to God’s praise.
Ephesians is unmistakably telling us that salvation is of God……and not of ourselves.
This spiritual blessing in Christ comes from God choosing us, for the purpose of being “holy and blameless before Him”. Christ’s work is a mighty one for previously we were neither holy nor blameless. Far from it!
“He (The Father) chose us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world….” Does that not give our lives tremendous significance and identity? Those are two of the very things lost to modern society. In Christ we have them. God chose us.!
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians has been called “The Mount Everest of Paul’s theology”. He certainly takes us high-into the heavenlies – and he has developed earlier ideas, including speaking of “heavenly places” 5 times,starting in 1:3:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places…..”
If we are “in Christ” we live then, in a different sphere…. the heavenlies. Jesus came to where we were (Hebrews 2:14-18) in order to take us where He is (John 14:3)…… and Paul amplifies that that is now, not just when we die. Good News!
There is no tribunal so magnificent, no throne so stately, no show of triumph so distinguished, no chariot so elevated, as is the gibbet on which Christ has subdued death and the devil.
“Death stung himself to death when He stung Christ.”