Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ephesians 1:1-14 -Who I Am In Christ

I have completed my first week together with a group of 15 other ladies in the book of Ephesians. If I ever again doubt who I am in Christ, I have only to turn to this first chapter to regain full confidence of my state before Him! I praise God for using Paul to write this letter to the Ephesians and to us.
Go here for a quick Introduction to the book of Ephesians.

Ephesians 1:1-14
Paul is an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to God’s will, not the will of any man. Paul was formerly a murderer of Christians, yet God willed him to be a changed man, an apostle, a delegated messenger sent forth with orders. If God can turn a murderer into a messenger of life, what can He do with you and me?
He writes to the saints, those already saved, you and me, and he begins with the words grace and peace. Paul was a zealous man of God. Can you imagine receiving a letter from him? I wonder if the Ephesians’ chests became tight with thoughts of ‘oh dear, what’s he going to say? What have we done wrong?’  Then the letter is read and they hear those words: grace and peace. What a release! What a huge weight lifted off the shoulders of these believers! What a vital message for me as mom, wife, friend. Paul didn’t immediately zero in on the issues of wives submitting to husbands, children honoring parents, or slaves obeying masters (or keeping a clean house, having dinner on the table by 5:00). I want to offer my children grace and peace BEFORE I press them about hanging up their coats, putting their shoes away, or getting their homework finished. How much more willingly they will do these things if grace and peace are in the forefront!
Paul doesn’t attempt to understand, rationalize, or explain every spiritual blessing or what exactly it means that He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. Predestination? Isn’t that a can of worms we all want to jump right into? Paul simply rejoices that it is so. He praises God for our blessings and takes comfort in his salvation. Do I think it was easy for Paul to look back and realize that while he was slaying God’s people, God looked upon him and said, “He’s mine. I already chose him.” I doubt Paul could wrap his mind around that! However, he chose to accept it, praise God for it, and walk in it. Because of that, he was able to see himself in the eyes of his Lord as holy and without blame and was able to offer this same confidence to other believers as well. This is a high calling for me as a wife and mom. It is by accepting and walking in my identity in Christ as chosen in Him before the foundation of the world and holy and without blame that peace and grace will flow from me to others.
There’s that controversial issue again- predestined. Only, Paul takes it further and reminds us that we are adopted children. The fact that I’m not a Jew should disqualify me, but no, He adopted me and made me His. Most adopted children don’t resemble their adopted parents, but I resemble my adopted Father, bearing His Spirit, His attributes, being created in His image. Not only are we adopted but we are accepted! I have not adopted children, nor was I adopted by my parents, but I have had foster children in my home, and I know they struggled to feel accepted. They also desperately wanted to be with their unsafe, unhealthy parents because that was the situation they knew and were comfortable in. I was adopted by my heavenly Father almost 14 years ago, yet there are times I still feel unaccepted by my new family. I feel like I don’t quite fit in, yet I don’t fit in with the world anymore either. Adoption can be a tough road, but we ARE accepted in the Beloved. My adoption is final and it brings praise of the glory of His grace.
It is only in Jesus Christ that we have redemption from our sins. This redemption is a releasing, a deliverance, a freedom from the price required for my sin, and that price is death. Christ died in my place and I am free! This grace, this receiving what I don’t deserve, is found in His forgiveness and it abounds toward me!  I am to live as one who has received COMPLETE freedom and deliverance. Rather bear the countless horrible things I’ve done, said, or thought on my shoulders, I want to walk in COMPLETE forgiveness (letting the sin go as if it had never been committed) because this is what Christ has done for me! And this forgiveness He made to ABOUND toward me. I like what the online strong’s says about this word ABOUND- “Abounding is used of a flower going from a bud to full bloom.”

I feel like that bud, not allowing myself to fully bloom, not receiving the abundance of God’s forgiveness.  The word says He made known to me (confided in me- you only confide in those you trust) His forgiveness through the blood of Jesus. I want to walk in that. If I can only receive this forgiveness toward myself, wouldn’t I be able to freely offer it to others! I sit as if chained in shackles when those shackles have been released! I stay as a caged bird while the door is wide open and freedom one step away. Lord, help me choose to walk in freedom rather than sit in a bondage I’ve been released from.

This word inheritance is different than the one used in verse 14 and is the only time this word is used in the bible. It refers to casting/determining by lots; receiving and inheritance; a private possession we’ve already obtained. Because I am adopted, I am an heir of Christ and a receiver of the inheritance. As the people of Ephesus were growing rich making and selling idols of the goddess Diana, Paul reminds the Christians that they have real, true riches. How easily I’m deceived into coveting this world’s riches rather than embracing the heavenly riches of my inheritance. Yes, oftentimes the ungodly prosper and seem to have it all, but I must trust God’s will for my life. This trusting in Him brings praise because this kind of trust makes no worldly sense and brings all the glory of my life to Him alone. I must not just believe IN Him, but believe Him.

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17). I heard, I trusted, I believed, I was SEALED by the Holy Spirit. This word ‘sealed’ is the same word used in Matt 27:66 when the stone was sealed over Jesus’ tomb, in John6:27 God set a seal on Jesus, in Rev 7:3-8 the tribes and believers are sealed, and my favorite Rev 20:3- God shuts up Satan in the bottomless pit and seals him there. This is a mighty seal! The seal of the Holy Spirit I have CANNOT be broken by Satan and it is secure until the time of REDEMPTION- A releasing affected by payments of ransom. I am already redeemed, but there’s more to come in my REDEMPTION! My redemption will be complete when I am brought into perfection.

I am the PURCHASED POSSESSION! I was purchased by Him and I belong to Him. This word means- a preserving; a preservation. I am reminded of sealed canning jars. Don’t you just love that ‘pop’ of those jars as they seal up one at a time? Such satisfaction! What a picture of His satisfaction when we receive the Holy Spirit and are SEALED- preserved, until the day that we are released from this tent and brought into completed perfect redemption. The Holy Spirit guarantees this! It’s like dumping that jar of pie filling into the crust. Completed! Perfected! Finished!
And the result of ALL OF THIS- to the praise of His glory! May He be praised and glorified through the work He does in this chosen, holy, blameless, predestined, adopted, accepted, redeemed, forgiven, saved, sealed, purchased possession of His! Wow! No, I will not try to fully understand it all, but to fully believe it and walk in it J
'Forgiven' Sanctus Real You Tube
Like my Facebook page for regular updates.


  1. I love this Stephanie! I am feeling much the same way, taking these little bites of Scripture has been amazing in that I really get to soak it up and let it penetrate as I meditate all day because I can actually remember what I read. I too am leading a group, am a former homeschool mom, (my boys are now in college and beyond,) and write a blog about what I get out of my daily quiet times. I would love to have you check me out at Oh, and I forgot to mention I am an Oregon girl at heart- the Lord may have transplanted me to Texas, but I miss the coast, the mountains, sometimes even the rain.

    Be blessed!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Deb! Praise God you are taking that step and leading a group. I'm not so much as leading, but I am really enjoying the blessings and encouragement I get from the ladies doing this study with me. God is good, and this unworthy daughter of His is overjoyed by Him and His people. I checked out your blog! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Thanks for sharing this, Stephanie! I'm so glad the Lord has spoken to you so clearly of this subject. It's funny how Rachel wrote something similar in her last post, and I wrote something similar in mine. =) Seems like He's reminding us all of these powerful, fundamental truths of the Bible. As always, so encouraged by your post!

    1. :) I love when God works this way. Only He can. And yes, how fundamental this concept of WHO WE ARE is! Thanks for stopping by, Joy!

  3. Great, great post! Love that song, btw! :) and as Joy mentioned, this seems to be a reoccurring theme among us three at the moment! ;)

    1. Yes, it is, Rachel, which just reinforces how strongly He is speaking to me about the issue. Goodness, if I could just GET IT already! :)Honestly, I am LOVING the book of Ephesians. I used to back away from it, thinking it was hard to understand and full of difficult concepts and words. Sometimes it still feels that way, but when you get down to it, this book is so fundamental, I don't know if I can ever leave it! :) Thanks for stopping by, Rachel!


Will you leave some of yourself here? Converse with a community of readers and writers and lovers of Jesus.