From the Heart, Chapter 4

By JANA HENRY|CONTRIBUTOR

Four weeks into our study and we have begun to lay down foundational principles drawn from Paul’s Pastoral Letters that will give us our biblical framework for organizing and structuring women’s ministry in the local church. On Tuesday, we discussed the importance of having the gospel as our core foundational principle and building upon that, truth, sound doctrine, discipleship and covenant. We explored the importance of covenant a bit more in depth because as Susan Hunt wrote “The covenant of grace is the unifying theme of these letters and, indeed, of all Scripture.” [1]

Sisters, my desire for this week’s blog was to share with you the riches of God’s saving covenant  love that are bouncing around in my heart like rabbits chasing down each new trail that is discovered. After three days of struggling with this, I have come to the realization that I cannot do this. The riches are vast and the implications for life are enormous. How can I summarize the beauty of God’s sovereign love for you and me, and the implications that it brings to bear on our lives, in a short article? I can’t. But, my prayer for you and for me is that together we will commit to spend the rest of our lives discovering and understanding these riches more deeply, so that they may transform our thinking and thus our doing to reflect the character of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

For you see, sisters, God’s sovereign covenant love is rooted in eternity past and provides the purpose for why you and I exist. We were created, and we were saved, and we are being sanctified to conform to the character of Christ so that one day we may be united to Him face-to-face, in perfect bliss and harmony for all eternity. Knowing and understanding this gives us the motivation and the perseverance we need to mortify sin. It brings us enormous comfort to face the trials and tribulations of living, no matter how small or how great, when we know their ultimate purpose/goal is to unite us to Christ for all eternity. God’s sovereign covenant love provides the reason for the command to love others, forgive others, and to serve and grow together with others in the local church. God’s sovereign covenant love gives us the context to understand the function of women’s ministry in the church, and this is why we have gathered together for this book study—to understand what that is.

In the weeks ahead as we continue to study, I pray that I will be able to focus on one of those beautiful trails and share with you one of the many facets of God’s covenant love. For from this flows my passion for women’s ministry, and I pray it will be your passion too. Until then, I leave you with a beautiful passage from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians where he expands on the Trinitarian covenant of redemption made in eternity past, which provides the foundation for God’s covenant saving love. May your heart be moved to praise God for all the spiritual blessings that are ours in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Ephesians 1: 3 – 14

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, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons 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. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight, making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. 

[1] J. Ligon Duncan and Susan Hunt, Women’s Ministry in the Local Church, (Wheaton, Il: Crossway, 2006), 61