It seems radical to edit Paul, but if I were his editor I might advise him to begin with “The Lord is at hand” and then carry on with his first truth that connects “rejoice in the Lord” to reasonableness. Then I’d suggest he connect “Let your reasonableness be known to everyone” directly to “by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving.” Right there, after “thanksgiving” I’d ask him to place a big “.” [a full stop]. There’s something holy about connecting rejoicing to our “reasonableness”…reasonableness to our “prayer and supplication with thanksgiving”…and “prayer and supplication with thanksgiving” to our belief. Those are the connections of holy truth that verify we do believe “the Lord IS at hand” in our life for his purpose .
Did you notice how personal everything Paul writes is, even without my editing? It’s about your rejoicing, your reasonableness, your prayer, your supplication and your thanksgiving. Today if you dare to believe that, use my “full stop” and take a moment to rejoice over the Godly reality that sometimes His truth really is about you! Then read on. Paul is going to make your rejoicing even more personal with God’s promise to “guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus“.”
That’s very personal for God too! “Again I will say, rejoice!” Take my dare! “Rejoice” over what He is making known to, and about, you. Rejoicing is reasonable evidence that you’re practicing “what you have learned and received and heard and seen” in your personal relationship with Him“.” He’ll love it!
Ephesians 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. [NIV]
[b] in his sight in love. 5 He
A period [.], called a full stop in British English, is one of the first punctuation marks we learn about when we begin reading and writing. It’s a [point] used at the end of a statement. Very rarely when we read are they of any notice because they’re so common. In this case it was the repositioning of that period that caused me to do a “full stop” and ask myself this question; whose love? His or ours?
The answer of course is both. The relationship between the Sovereign God and us is certainly meant to be one of love and that is the [point] of this footnote [b]. The first iteration was God’s choice: “in his sight[.] In love 5 he” makes it clear God was operating toward us in love. What intrigued me was reading that same sentence with the footnote in place; “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless “in his sight in love[.] 5 He”
There are two clear truths in this short passage: He chose us in love to be holy and blameless[.] AND He chose us to be holy and blameless in his sight in love[.] The human authors and editors of the Bible have been inspired to use that footnote to preserve the fullness of God’s absolute truth. Our heart’s response is to stand “in his sight in love” only because “In love” He has chosen us “to be holy and blameless in his sight[.] Full Stop