November 1, 2023
One of the great themes running through the book of Ephesians is our new identity “in Christ.” It is repeated at least 13 times.
There are many ways in which we find identity: our humanity, our gender, our nationality, our employment, to name a few. But none are as important and impactful as our new identity in Christ.
Christian writer Neil T. Anderson once wrote, “The more you reaffirm who you are in Christ, the more your behavior will begin to reflect your true identity.”
In each of the six chapters of this book, we will consider one aspect of our new identity in Christ.
In Chapter one, Paul opens with a mind-boggling statement that should cause all of our hearts to worship. He said, “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” (Ephesians 1:3-4).
Every believer has been chosen in Christ!
In Chapter two, Paul tells us that we were once dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1-3). We were outside all of His covenant blessings with no hope (Ephesians 2:12). We were at a great distance from God (Ephesians 2:13). This was our sad condition before salvation. In Adam, we carried the identity of our sinfulness.
Now in Christ, we are alive with Him and share in His identity. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-7).
Alive in Christ to enjoy God’s greatness. Alive in Christ to have victory over the power of sin. Alive in Him to sit and fellowship with Him. Alive in Christ to have the confident hope that we will experience His grace forever!
In Chapter three, Paul reminds us of God’s great plan for the ages. He speaks about the good news being the great mystery of Jew and Gentile believers being brought together into one entity called the church.
Throughout the various periods of history, God has worked, and now in this time of grace, He has been building His church to reveal the wonder of His wisdom. “The plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:9-11).
It is not surprising to learn that all the eternal plans of God are centered in Christ. What is surprising is that we are included in His purposes. We are His church. We are His body, and we have the privilege of reflecting His wisdom to the universe, both visible and invisible.
In light of this, our identity in Christ is something we should grasp fully!
In Chapter four, Paul gets intensely practical and emphasizes the importance of unity in Christ. “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3).
If we are the body of Christ, then it goes without saying how necessary unity is for the body to function properly. As mentioned in verse two, it takes true character to develop unity. Our default is to divide over every little thing, while God’s desire is for us to work at the unity created by the Holy Spirit in making every believer one in Christ.
The rest of the chapter reveals how we can become mature persons in Christ. It is a lifelong process. Crucial to the process of maturity is first putting off our old self, second being renewed in our minds, and third putting on the new self.
In Chapter five, Paul instructs us further in the path of holiness and righteousness. We are chosen in Christ. We are alive in Christ. We find our purpose in Christ. We are united in Christ, and now we continue to live in Christ.
We live differently than the world around us. As we read the chapter, we learn that we live with sexual purity. We live as lights in a dark world. We live bearing the fruits of the Spirit. We live with carefulness, sharing the good news whenever possible. We live as worshippers of the one true God. We live with love and respect in our marriages.
This is the beauty of living our lives with our identity firmly established in Christ.
In Chapter six, Paul brings to our attention the great battle between good and evil. We are soldiers, who are equipped by God to do battle with the forces of evil.
Thankfully, the resources for victory come from God and not from ourselves. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might” (Ephesians 6:10). In fact, God has prepared us with spiritual armor that will enable us to defeat the powers of darkness.
We have the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of deliverance, and the sword of the Spirit. All perfectly fitted and designed for us to contend in the power of Christ.
May God help each of us to embrace our identity in Christ as we face each new day and circumstance. Thank you for praying today for our prodigals and for revival among us.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel