May 19, 2022

Spiritual Blessings in Christ 02-01-2022

2nd January 2022 (Second Sunday after Christmas)

Title: Spiritual Blessings in Christ

(Scripture Reading: Isaiah 60:1-3 & Ephesians 1:3 -14)

                                                                                   By Heeyoung Lim

Happy New Year! Today is the second Sunday after Christmas, and 6th January is Epiphany. It is more than celebrating the wise ones’ visit to the child Jesus. The light of God’s glory invites each one of us on a pilgrimage road. How was the journey of the wise ones a pilgrimage? How might we plan a day-long or a year-long pilgrimage? May we plan and travel a day-long or a year-long pilgrimage on our faith journey, either alone or in community, as wise men traveled a great distance to discover what the “star sign” might reveal and to meet a newborn king, Jesus. The wise men understood the newborn child as a divine gift to be worshiped and honoured. The special star light led the wise ones to discover the birth of a new hope, a gift to the world, and the light of the world.

Isaiah 60: 1-3 invites us to the light of God’s glory and God’s restoration. God’s people had returned to their city and had tried to rebuild it and the temple, but something was missing. Their hopes and dreams had not been brought to reality, and despair and frustration were deepened. The prophet’s words reassured his people and called them to attention. God was going to act for them. The darkness of despair and defeat would cover the earth, but God would shine his glory upon them, so that the light of his glory would attract the nations to Jerusalem.

God will glorify his people by bringing them back to His house of worship. That light described in Isaiah 60 will attract people from far and near, and God will restore His people to righteous living and glorious worship. God no longer shows anger but compassion to his people and lets Jerusalem to receive foreign delegations who have come to worship Him. God shows that He is their Saviour and Redeemer. Righteousness and peace will replace violence and destruction. God wants to bring peace to His people so that all sorrow will vanish. He wants His people to be a light to all peoples of the world. God maintains sovereign control over all the nations of the earth. His people will in the light of God’s glory and be filled with rejoicing and praising in accordance with God’s word. 

Today’s text at the start of this New Year begins with a blessing “Blessed be God.” In Ephesians 1: 3-14, God the Father is to be praised because God is God, and He has given us every spiritual blessing in Christ. We have been chosen and adopted by God to be His spiritual children. God’s love and word make us holy and blameless in his sight. His decision to do salvation for us grew out of God’s grace which he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. God the Son redeemed us, forgave us of our sins, enlightened us to know His will, and has given us an eternal inheritance. Because we have believed in and received Jesus as our Saviour, all our sins are forgiven in Him. It means our sin is paid for by the death of Christ. In addition, God the Spirit sealed us, made us secure in Christ, and led to our redemption. Because of all God has done for us, we can see ourselves as someone very significant. God graciously bestows grace on us so that we would praise God’s grace-filled glory. May we appreciate the fact that we belong to the family of God and praise God’s glorious grace.  

In the Bible, God predestines or chooses us in Christ, but He does not choose those who will not be saved. That is, the door of salvation is open for everyone, and God waits for everyone’s salvation. The promises God made were already extended to a larger population and are still opened to those who are not believers. Some verses seem to tell us about human freedom and responsibility, and we can see many kinds of refusals against faith or salvation. 

However, we have received the blessing of being chosen by God, adopted by Him as his spiritual children, claimed as God’s possession, and marked by the Holy Spirit. May we be grateful that God has forgiven our sin and given us spiritual blessings. As Christians and Jesus’ disciples, we can pray for people who are believers or not believers because God hears us and waits for them. We do not know what will be happening this year, but may we live and rest in God’s love, which is expressed in His offer of salvation. May we humbly ready to be used by God, allowing Him to accomplish His will through us as the wise men responded to the king with great joy and devotion.

In 2022, I hope we can tell someone else the experience we had when God became our personal Saviour and Redeemer. May we seize opportunities to share our faith and love in Christ with others, exercising wisdom in reaching out toward those who are not believers.

God wants us to arise and shine in our family, communities, and the world. He wants His people to be a light to all people of the world. May we share the light of Christ in the world. I believe our light will be shined in Christ more and more in 2022. People everywhere seek illumination or a light to see, but may we be the necessary light that can lead towards Jesus, and our light shine forth in the world so that more people can be the children of God. 

I hope we can allow God’s glory to shine in our lives and others will come to God’s house. God assures His people of a safe and peaceful journey, protects them from harm in unexpected ways, and restores them from their suffering and darkness. What are the roads God is encouraging you to travel this year? What is our star on our pilgrimage road that indicates Jesus? It can be all different, but may our path be filled with spiritual blessings in Christ, and our faith growth will be added on the promise of salvation.

We are still in uncertainty and some kinds of darkness, but I pray our heart shall be filled with joy, our vision shall be clear in Christ, and our whole being will be shining. May we place our trust in God’s love and care and serve the Lord with joy, even during the dark and difficult hours. However, the light is not for us, it is for our Lord. Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of all God’s promises to us. In 2022, may we lift our eyes and look up to Jesus more and more and appreciate our spiritual blessings in Christ. 

Thanks be to God! Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)