I have had the question asked to me before, “Which book of the Bible is your favorite?” It really is a hard question to answer seeing that every book of the Bible is an integral and important part of the whole. Nevertheless there are some books that do stand out in my mind as books that offer me special comfort or encouragement in my day to day life.
One of those books for me is the book (or more accurately the letter) of Ephesians. It is probably one of the most concise pieces of Paul’s writings that lay forth the meaning of the gospel and its affect on those who live by it.
One of my favorite passages in Ephesians comes from chapter 2:1-10.
1 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Here is a summary of the amazing contrast that exists between who we once were verses who we are now in Christ.
WE WERE: Dead in transgressions and sins (v. 1, 5), Followers of the world and Satan (v. 2), Disobedient to God (v. 2), Gratifiers of our sinful lusts (v. 3), Followers of our every desire and thought (v. 3), and Objects of God’s wrath (v. 3)
WE ARE: Loved by God (v. 4), Recipients of God’s mercy (v. 4), Alive with Christ (v. 5), Saved by grace (v. 5, 8), Raised up with Christ (v. 6), Seated with Christ in heaven (v. 6), Recipients of God’s grace and kindness in Christ (v. 7), Saved through faith in Christ (not from ourselves, it is a gift of God, and not by our works) (v. 8, 9), God’s workmanship (v. 10), Created (this means re-created) in Christ Jesus to do good works pre-prepared for us (v. 10)
Isn’t it amazing to remember, not who we once were, but who we are now in Christ? The key to living the abundant life (John 10:10) is learning how to live by faith through the Holy Spirit and choose the Truth of who we are in Christ. May we all do so this week as we seek to serve Him with our whole heart.
How does this truth, of knowing who you are in Christ, impact your life? Comment below.