A Word for Today | Ephesians 1:11
One of the Bible’s most striking descriptions of God is that of the potter with his clay. Jeremiah was shown a potter shaping the clay on his wheel, working it as “seemed good to [him] to do” (Jer. 18:4). God explained, “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done?… Like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand” (Jer. 18:6). The potter speaks of God’s sovereign authority over men and nations, as well as his interest and involvement with what he is making. Like a skilled potted, God works with power and purpose in all of history and in our lives.
In Ephesians 1:11, Paul confirms this truth that God’s hands are shaping our lives. Having glorified the Father for choosing His people in eternity past, Paul now confirms God’s continued sovereignty in the present. He writes that in Christ “we have… been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11). Here we have the Potter, the vessels He is shaping, and also a plan by which He works all things so that His artistry is gloriously revealed. We also have God’s present activity, since he “works” now according to His plan. Our destiny is not determined by our sinful unworthiness, nor are we at the mercy of our poor decisions or the malice of others: it is “according to the counsel of his will.” A more comprehensive expression of God’s absolute sovereignty would be hard to imagine.
It is a great comforting truth of Scripture that God is working according to a sovereign plan and that everything happens “according to the counsel of his will.” It was this message that the Lord sent to the Jews in captivity in Babylon, without any other hope than in His sovereign mercy: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ” (Jer. 29:11). Christians rightly apply this verse to our own lives: God has a plan for His people and is working for our good. Through faith, we will arrive in a blessed place that God has planned and to which He is leading us, so that our trials, however great, are but the turns of the potter’s wheel as God fashions our character for His glory. Far from discouraging us to pray – since God’s plan was ordained in eternity past – we see the power of our prayers as working within His plan for blessing and salvation. God has planned for us to pray! And He has planned that His answers would not only work our salvation but would also provide a display of His wonderful grace “to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:12).
In Christ’s Love,