In Christ – The main point of Ephesians
“3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he[b] predestined us for adoption to sonship[c] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he[d] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11 In him we were also chosen,[e] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:3-14 NIV
A great lesson about reading the Bible that I learned from Bible College is that if the Bible says something once, pay attention. It is important. If it says something repeatedly, really pay close attention… it is very important.
The authors of Bible texts couldn’t put boldface fonts nor could they put a special verse in italics. They couldn’t highlight the text, so they would repeat themselves to emphasize importance.
If you are a parent, you understand this principle. When you tell your kids, “Wash the dishes after dinner. It’s really important that you wash the dishes after dinner.” A few minutes later, you might say, “Remember to wash the dishes after dinner.” When you see them sitting on the couch, you might remind them again, “Just in case you forgot, it’s important to wash the dishes after dinner.”
We notice this especially in chapters 1-3 of Ephesians. If you want to sound smart in front of your friends, this style of writing is called pleonastic – which means it is marked by repetition and redundancies.
We find the term in Christ, (along with in Him, in the One) more than 30 times in the book of Ephesians alone. Because of this, commentators agree that the book of Ephesians is primarily about our identity in Christ.
This is important know because Paul sometimes wrote his letters from a prison. If he found his identity in his reputation, position, comfort, or wealth, he would be utterly discouraged and destroyed. Paul could continue on though, because his identity was instead found in Christ. In Christ, Paul encourages us that we can be faithful. In Christ we can persevere. In Christ, we can live consistent lives. In Christ, we can be found blameless before God. In Christ, we are redeemed before God. In Christ we are sealed. In Christ, we are given an inheritance.
What does it mean to find our identity in Christ?
Whatever Paul says first is most important. Get it out there. It’s important to recognize that verses 3-14 is one sentence!
The following was taken from the Macarthur Bible Commentary –
In Christ I am…
- – Blessed (v. 3)
- – Chosen (v. 4)
- – Predestined (v. 5)
- – Adopted (v. 5
- – Accepted (v.6
- – Redeemed (v.7)
- – Forgiven (v. 7)
- – Enlightened (v. 8-9)
- – Given an Inheritance (v.11)
- – Sealed (v. 13)
- – Assured (v. 14)
Do you find your identity in Christ? Do you find your worth in Christ? Do you find your strength in Christ?
It is in Christ I place my hope, my strength, my past, my present, and my future. It is in Christ I am able to endure. It is in Christ I am made whole. It is in Christ, I follow. It is in Christ I live, love, breathe, and serve. It is in Christ, I pray, amen.