Be imitators of God, as beloved children. Indeed, walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us. (Ephesians 5:1–2)
We are amazed and encouraged as we consider how much you have loved us, O God. From before you established the earth you graciously chose us to be your children, to become like your Son, Jesus our Lord. You loved us with an everlasting love, drawing us to yourself by acts of extraordinary kindness, generosity above and beyond anything we could have imagined. Because of your joy in all that you are, you acted so that we will be able to rejoice in your glory also. We rejoice especially because when we were dead to you because of our sin, your love moved you to extend your hand in mercy to us. You sent Jesus and gave him the authority to lay down his life for us so you could forgive us so that we will be able to stand blameless and holy in your sight. And because we are your children, because you have changed our hearts, we can live lovingly and graciously, giving our lives in service to those around us. Even though we have not seen him, we love him; and even though we do not now see him we rejoice with an indescribably and glorious joy as we follow him in the obedience of faith. Now because of your great love and amazing grace we eagerly await his return. Then we will receive immortal bodies and begin to experience the unfathomable riches of your grace in a community of righteousness and kindness forever. Hallelujah! Amen.