I watched a wonderful Christian movie called “Overcomer” the other day. In one scene of the movie, a woman leads a teenage girl to faith in Jesus Christ. After the girl accepted Jesus as her savior, the woman who led the girl to Christ made a wonderful suggestion. She asked the girl to read the book of Ephesians and write down everything she saw in regards to who we are as believers in Jesus Christ.
In the opening verse of the epistle to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul made it clear that he was addressing the Christians at Ephesus, who are faithful in Christ Jesus. In other words, Paul’s letter applies only to born again believers in Jesus.
This inspired me to do the exercise, myself. Here’s what I found in just the first chapter of Ephesians.
We are blessed (Ephesians 1:3)
I find it interesting that, even though Paul wrote this epistle or letter from inside a Roman prison, he could still consider himself blessed. This is most likely because Paul understood that God not only provides His children with physical and material blessings, but He provides us with spiritual blessings as well. In other words, regardless of the blessings we may receive in this life, which include the gifts of the Holy Spirit, we will also receive future heavenly blessings.
We are chosen (Ephesians 1:4)
We are chosen out of the world to be set apart with Christ. God took the initiative to bring us to faith in Jesus, even while we were still sinners. But of course, even though God chose to give us the free gift of salvation, we had the responsibility to accept that free gift by believing in Jesus.
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.We are adopted as sons of God (Ephesians 1:5)
As believers, we’re adopted into God’s family with all the rights and privileges of a son of God. Counter to the false teaching of Universalism, which teaches that everyone, even unbelievers, will be saved and go to heaven, the Bible teaches that only born again believers in Jesus are sons and daughters of God. We also see this truth in the book of Romans.
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”We are accepted (Ephesians 1:6)
It is by God lavishly pouring out His grace on us that makes it possible for sinners like you and me to be accepted by God through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross who paid the penalty for our sins once and for all time.
We are redeemed and forgiven (Ephesians 1:7)
Redemption means that we have been purchased for a price and that price was Christ’s blood that was shed on the cross. Jesus paid the price that we could never pay and He paid that price in full. Scripture teaches that the wages of sin is death. Only the death of the perfect, spotless, sinless lamb of God, which is Jesus Christ, could redeem us from an eternal death sentence and make the way for us to be forgiven of all the sins we have ever committed or will commit in the future.
We are guaranteed an inheritance (Ephesians 1:11)
Indeed, as the Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:4, as a born again believer, you have an “inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you”.
We are sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13)
In many cultures, couples who become engaged, seal their commitment to be married with an engagement ring. God seals His commitment to a born again believer with the Holy Spirit. Unlike engagements between couples, God will never break His commitment to us. He gives us the Holy Spirit as a guarantee of His promise. God will preserve the bride of Christ (that’s all born again believers) until we are with the Lord. I find that so very comforting, don’t you?
The Life Application Study Bible describes it well:
God gives the Holy Spirit to us as a guarantee confirming that we belong to Him and that He will do what He has promised. The presence of the Holy Spirit is like a down payment, a deposit, a validating signature on God’s contract. The Holy Spirit working in us demonstrates the genuineness of our faith, proves that we are God’s children, and secures eternal life for us.God has given us the greatest gift I can imagine by making a way for our salvation through Jesus Christ. As we go through the struggles and sorrows of this life, we can find comfort in all that God has promised His children because God always keeps His promises.
Video: Amir Tsarfari and Barry Stagner: Universalism and the Christian Church