Who Are You?
Knowing ourselves — our strengths — is important in almost every area of our lives. Whether we have ability in the kitchen, the board room or climbing a mountain, it’s what gives us the confidence we need to step out and turn a talent into an expertise. It’s what those tests we took our senior year in high school were supposed to show — a direction based on our talents and abilities.
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus. Eph. 1:1
Paul calls the Ephesians faithful saints. The Greek word for faithful is pistos and means steady, trusted, reliable.1
The Greek word for saint is hagios and is also translated holy. It means sacred, perfect, without blemish.2
Paul could have tagged The Ephesians with Reliable Perfection, and if you are “in Christ,” (another thing Paul said of the Ephesians) you have that name, too.
Let’s take a brief detour and read Hebrews 10:5-18 to find out how we became “saints.”
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am — it is written about me in the scroll — I have come to do your will, O God.’”
First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will,” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time he waits for his enemies to be made his footstool, because by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”
Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”
And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.
Pause and rejoice in the perfection that Christ bought for you, O Saints!
Our Identity “in Christ”
How did the Church become the Church?
They heard the word of truth and believed. Eph. 1:13
They heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth. Eph. 4:20-21
Is this true of you? Did you hear the word of truth and believe? If you answered “yes,” then you are “in Christ” — a member of His Body — one of His very own.
What evidence does the Church have that they are truly “in Christ”?
[They were] marked with the Holy Spirit. Eph. 1:13
Have you sometimes wondered if the Holy Spirit is really in you? This verse says that if you believed, you were “marked” with the Holy Spirit. Don’t doubt it.
The first thing Paul says about us “in Christ” is that we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. What does that mean?
The Greek word for blessing, eulogēo, has the root word of logos, which means the message, expression of thought or a reasoned speech.3 So we see that a blessing is a special kind of speech — a good word4; one that commends or speaks of a benefit. It is the message of coming reward or bounty.
In the Old Testament a blessing was a serious matter, because it wasn’t just well-wishing. When God blesses, he actually creates. God’s spoken words bring things to pass.
Let’s look at a few Old Testament blessings to get an idea of their importance.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:28
The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people, and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” Gen. 12:1-3
“I will bless her [Sarah] and will surely give you [Abraham] a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
Abraham fell face down; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing?”
Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers, He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation.” Gen. 17:16-20
When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.”
“Here I am, ” he answered.
Isaac said, “ I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. Now then, get our weapons –your quiver and bow – and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.” Gen. 27:1-4
Rebekah overheard and coerced Jacob to pretend to be Esau in order to get his blessing. This elaborate plan not only involved fixing just the right food, but covering Jacob’s smooth hands and chest with sheepskin so the nearly blind Isaac would think he was the much hairier Esau.
Jacob did as his mother instructed and Isaac was fooled and gave the blessing reserved for the first born to him. As a person of the modern world, we would tend to think, “What’s the big deal? He can just bless Esau, too.” But that’s not what Isaac says when Esau asks:
“Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”
Isaac answered Esau, “I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possible do for you, my son?” Gen. 27:1-37
We can see from the story of Jacob and Esau how seriously they took a blessing. These are just a few of the many Biblical blessings, but I think it is enough to grasp the importance of blessings both to God and to the ones on which the blessings are bestowed.
What does this mean to you to know that God has blessed you with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places? (Eph. 1:3) That’s EVERY blessing that heaven holds!
Paul then goes on to list them:
Chosen to be holy and blameless (1:4)
Predestined for adoption as sons (1:5)
Wisdom and insight to know the mystery of His will (1:8)
An inheritance (1:11)
Sealed with the Holy Spirit (1:13)
Raised with him (2:6)
Seated with him in the heavenly places (2:6)
Brought near (2:13)
Access to the Father (2:18)
Fellow citizens with the saints (2:19)
Members of the household of God (2:19)
Being built into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (2:22)
Pause a moment and reflect on all that God said is yours. Do you feel a song of praise coming on?
Paul knew that if the Church was going to be effective in carrying out God’s purpose, it was imperative that they understood these truths about themselves. They had to understand and believe in the favor and strength that God had bestowed on them or they would never have the courage to do what they were called to do.
To that end, in the next chapter, we will look more closely at these blessings until we know that we know that we know who we really are and how God intended for us to use these blessings to defeat the enemy.
What People Are Saying:
“This little book is full of power and does a great job of looking at Paul’s teaching in Ephesians with a studious eye and explanations that caused me to think and seek deeper understanding. I have read it once, but plan to re-read and study again. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in studying the Bible and drawing closer to God.”
“Such a clear and timely message for American Christians. This would make a great Bible study.”