Ephesians Series - Part Three

by Pastor Kent Munsey

August 18, 2019

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. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 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, 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

Throughout the New Testament, we see the language "In Christ" and "In the Lord," many times, while there are only three references to "Christian." In essence, being a Christian is about receiving what’s already been done. When we are in Christ we are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). 

The lie that Eve believed was that her identity could be achieved. Sin and destruction entered the earth through Adam and Eve believing the lie that they could become more than what they were through something that they did. Through Paul’s letter, we learn that our identity is either in Adam or in Christ--it is either achieved or received.

Paul tells us that in Christ, we are blessed with spiritual blessings. Paul was talking about spiritual blessings, not material. God wants us to be blessed and to live an abundant life. The abundant life that Christ has for us is rooted in spiritual blessing. It can only be received by faith. From the apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, we continue to learn about our identity in Christ:

  1. In Christ, I am adopted. We are all chosen and adopted by God. When Jesus’ disciples asked him how to pray, he offered us the Lord's Prayer, which starts with “Our Father.” The Gospel records Jesus using the informal Aramaic word for Father, “Abba,” for God over 49 times. Father is the Christian name for God. We are adopted as sons and daughters in Christ Jesus. We are God's children. Since we are His children, we are co-heirs with Christ. 

  2. In Christ, I have redemption. Redemption simply means to be bought with a price. Paul was using the word redemption because in order to buy someone back from slavery, you had to be a rich person, and to set them free was almost unheard of. In Exodus, the children of Israel were bought back from Egypt. If you are in Christ, there has been a price that has been paid for judgement to pass over you. 

    In today’s world, you either have a debtor’s mindset or a worker’s mindset. A debtor’s ethic is if you receive anything, you have to pay it back with interest. A worker’s ethic is you get what you deserve. In Christ, you don't have to pay anything back, and you don't get what you deserve, because you have been redeemed, meaning what is ruling you, Jesus has paid the price to have the authority over that entity ruling your life. When we say that we are redeemed, it doesn’t mean that we automatically walk in freedom but we can see freedom if we are willing to receive it. 

    Jesus wants to give you freedom, give you authority so that you don’t have to live as a slave to sin in your life. You have victory over sin in Christ. 

  3. In Christ, I am forgiven. Jesus doesn’t just redeem us, but he forgives us. To forgive means to send away. Jesus sends away your sin. Because Jesus died for our sins, we are forgiven. That’s why it’s so important for us to forgive others. Psalms 103 says that as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed your transgressions from us. Our identity is not that we are sinners. It’s our awareness of our sin that points us to our need for a savior. 

In Christ, we are adopted, we are redeemed, and we are forgiven. Your fall cannot determine or define who you are because your walk hasn’t determined or defined who you are. Who you are is not achieved; it’s received by faith. Your identity is received. John 10 says my sheep know my voice. He says no one will be able to snatch them out of my hand. 

When Jesus has you, sin can't have you. You have been gripped by grace. Paul tells us that in Christ, you are blessed, you are chosen, you are adopted, you are redeemed, and you are forgiven. So many of us believe today that we have to earn our way, but our identity is received not achieved in Christ. Like Paul, we should celebrate the fact that we’ve been redeemed. 

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. Do we think of God as our heavenly father?

  2. What does it mean to receive the redemption that we have in Christ?

  3. In what areas of our lives do we need to receive the forgiveness available to us through Jesus?

  4. How does what we learn from Paul in this passage change the way we think about our identity?