If every Christian truly understood their identity and position in Christ, Christianity would be a force to be reckoned with in the world.
It would change the way we preach, the way we worship and the way we relate to one another as the collective body of Christ.
Ephesians is a call for spiritual maturity.
But even more than that. In the book of Ephesians, Paul takes you by the hand and says, "It's time to mature, and this is how you can do it. I'll take you step-by-step so that maturity and mature Christian behavior is clear to you."
And that's what I love about Paul.
He doesn't just tell you, he shows you.
Ephesians is probably one of the most important books of the New Testament, because if we never realize who we are in Christ and what our position is with Christ in the heavenlies, we are powerless against Satan and his evil strategy.
Sadly, I think we're see that play out today. A powerless church against the cunning strategy of the enemy. And why is the church powerless? Because many have never come to maturity.
7 Things Every Christian Needs to Know
1. You are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ
Nowhere in the book of Ephesians does it say these blessings are contingent upon your behavior. It just says that you are blessed with every spiritual blessing. Period.
But please notice something with me...
It does not say that you are blessed with every million-dollar home, every luxury vehicle or every Christian Louboutin shoe.
It says "spiritual blessings," not earthly blessings.
I think it is very easy for us to make quick assessments of our earthly situations and circumstances. If they are to our liking, they are blessings. If they are not, they are punishments, curses or somehow the work of the enemy.
I think we need to be very careful about this, because sometimes God ordains undesirable circumstances to bring about His will. He sees the end from the beginning. We don't.
Sometimes that pleasant situation ends up bringing our demise, and yet that unpleasant situation turns out for our good.
These blessings aren't just waiting for you in heaven until you get there; they are available now. And this verse says every spiritual blessing!
How do we access those spiritual blessings? But understanding our position in Christ!
2. He chose us.
God chose you. You were not an accident. Maybe your parents didn't plan you, but God did and we see that in these verses.
When did God choose you? Before the world was created. Before Adam and Eve were created, before anything we can see, smell, taste, touch or hear was created, God had already chosen you.
Why? Why would God choose you? He chose you so He could love you, so you would be holy and perfect before Him. And He chose to prove that love for you by sending Christ to die for you so that you could be perfect and holy before Him.
He chose you for a purpose, and then He did all that was needed to be done to accomplish that purpose.
3. He predestined us to adoption as sons.
Here is where some Christians get into theological weeds. What exactly is predestination?
Truthfully? It's not as complicated as some choose to make it. The word "destined" means that something has a purpose. And the prefix "pre" means ahead of time.
God purposed ahead of time that He would adopt us as sons. That doesn't mean that some have that purpose and others don't. Scripture clearly debunks that argument with this verse, "The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some count slowness. But He is patient with us, because He does not want any to perish, but all to come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9).
Why would God create anyone whom He had already predestined to eternal destruction? The answer is simple: He wouldn't. That image of God doesn't align at all with the image of God we see in the rest of Scripture.
And this is possible only by the blood of Jesus and the grace of God. We aren't adopted because we're good enough, we're adopted because Jesus' blood was enough!
It is Jesus' blood and God's grace alone that made us acceptable to God.
4. He redeemed us.
This act of redemption is the greatest act in human history.
In my dad's book, Charis—The Power of Grace, he shows us that there are three Greek words for "redeemed":
a) agorazoo – to go to the slave market and purchase something to own
b) exagorazoo – to buy back to freedom, in ancient Greek literature used for the purchase of slaves.
c) apolytrosis – to pay the full ransom, to liberate and make free, never to be sold into slavery again.
In Ephesians 1:7, Paul uses the Greek word apolytrosis. Christ has ransomed us from the slave market, He has liberated us, and with that purchase, we can never be sold back into slavery again! We are 100 percent free!
And the currency He used was His blood, the blood He used to forgive us our sins, the blood that offers us grace.
In fact, it says "the riches of His grace". How many riches does God have? Endless grace. There is no end to the riches of His grace, and then it goes on to say that He has chosen to give us blank-check access to His bank account of grace!
5. He has revealed a mystery to us.
We'll find out what that mystery is in chapter 3, but he begins to lay the groundwork for that now.
Here is another part of Ephesians 1 where many get into theological weeds, when in fact Scripture is clear about what it means.
By "mystery" here, Paul doesn't mean that God has some haunting secret that nobody knows. The word actually means that God is divinely uncovering a hidden spiritual truth.
The foundation for this mystery (or "hidden truth that is being uncovered" is: "as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Christ, which are in heaven and on earth" (Eph. 1:10).
Let's break this down:
- Dispensation: to dispense with something, to delegate stewardship of something
- Fullness of time: not linear time, as we often think, but fragments of times and ages
The foundation for this mystery means: "When all of the fragments of times and ages in history have been dispensed and delegated, God will gather them all up together in Christ—who is the fulfillment of them all.
All of human history is just a revelation of God's plan for mankind: Jesus Christ.
6. He has an inheritance for us.
God's adoption of us enables us to come into the inheritance He has purposed for us and that inheritance is in Christ; the inheritance that He purchased for us on the cross: eternity with Him in heaven.
7. He has sealed us.
"Sealed" here in the Greek, means marked with a seal or a stamp.
When we received Christ, God stamped us with the Holy Spirit, who is our "guarantee."
"Guarantee" in the Greek means "down payment."
What Paul is saying here is that upon our salvation, God took the stamp of the Holy Spirit and marked us to ensure His down payment, or promise, of our inheritance that is to come when He finally redeems (apolytrosis) the purchased possession—that is us.
When you received Christ, the Holy Spirit came to live inside of you as a constant reminder that this life isn't all there is. God has promised to fully redeem us, to take us to heaven to live with Him. In the meantime, the Holy Spirit is here granting us power to live victoriously in this life—power is the very same measure used to raise Jesus from the dead.
We can live victoriously because we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise.
Let's wrap this all up:
There is something here that the enemy doesn't want us to understand about Ephesians 1, something that would make us a powerful force in plundering hell to populate heaven if we completely comprehended it.
We have at our disposal all spiritual blessings in Christ because He has chosen us to be the physical manifestation of Christ here on earth, putting at our disposal all blessings and the very power that raised Jesus from the dead, because of the Holy Spirit that lives within us.
He has redeemed us. We are free, we cannot be sold back into slavery, because we have been stamped, marked, by the Holy Spirit, who is the down payment, a promise that God will complete the transaction at the time that He has ordained, that He has delegated when all of the fragments of the ages have been fulfilled and He has gathered them up in Christ. At that point, the transaction will be completed and we will come into our inheritance.
Now we understand the foundation for our identity and position in Christ.
I cannot wait to move forward into a greater understanding of this vitally important message for the church!
Rosilind Jukic, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her hero. Together they live in the country with their two active boys, where she enjoys fruity candles and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. She holds an associate's of practical theology and is passionate about discipling and encouraging women. Her passion for writing led her to author a number of books. She is the author of A Little R & R where she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. She can also be found at these other places on a regular basis. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.
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