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. (Ephesians 1:13–14)
Happy New Year!
The first chapter of Ephesians provides a healthy juxtaposition to the American fascination with making New Year’s Resolutions. If you’re considering making resolutions this Scripture passage could help you place them in a Biblical context.
In Ephesians 1:12 the Apostles Paul refers to those who were first brought to faith in Jesus. He then transitions to speaking of when the Ephesian Christians were brought to faith in verses 13 and 14. These words apply to us as well.
We have heard the same word of truth. We have received the same gospel. God has gifted us with the same faith. Our shared faith was sealed by the same Holy Spirit. If this were not enough, we also have received the same guarantee of our eternal inheritance, all through Christ.
Notice: Everything described is the work of God. I think that’s the key for a Christian making New Year’s resolutions. Any such commitment should not be geared to please or appease God. Instead, it should flow from God’s grace. Out of gratitude toward God we align our behavior with His will. In this way we are relying on God to make such goals sustainable.
(This devotion was written for the congregations of the Ohio District – LCMS.)