Ephesians 1:7-14 (English Standard Version)
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight
9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ
10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will,
12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Sometimes people wonder just what they have to gain by believing in Christ. On one level they are, of course, being self-serving, trying to figure out what’s in it for them, how it is that Christ will help them get ahead. But on another level, sincere folks just want to know what Christ represents, who He is and what it is they can expect when they come to Him. Accepting Christ goes beyond knowing that Jesus loves us, it means accepting what He has done FOR us and TO us, and knowing that IN HIM we have become sons and daughters of God. Look at what Paul is telling the Ephesians.
1) “IN HIM we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace…” (v.7) In Christ we see the demonstration of God’s will and God’s love, because God desires all things, both in heaven and on earth, to be reconciled to Him. God wants us back, and He proved His love for us “in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) In other words, God didn’t wait for us to put off sinfulness, He sent His Son to wash away that sinfulness and make us fit to be with Him.
2) “IN HIM we have obtained an inheritance…” (v.11) Christ’s redeeming sacrifice not only cleaned the slate of our sins, it also made us co-heirs of something we could never have attained on our own: the glory of God. By trusting and hoping and having faith in Christ, we have been given a front-row spot in the chorus that praises God. Read Revelation 5:11-14 if you want an idea of what that is like, praising God around His throne.
3) “IN HIM you also…were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit…” (v.13) When we have heard the gospel, repented of our sins, and believe in Christ, then we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. That is the signet, the true and unmistakable sign of Christ’s brothers and sisters. Of course, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is more than just a seal to mark us for God’s kingdom: the Holy Spirit is also what enables us to be more Christ-like in our earthly lifetimes. The Spirit helps us and guides us to give up living according to the flesh, and to focus instead on the things of God. And for the rest of the world, the mark we bear is the outward behavior we call “the fruit of the Spirit.” (See Galatians 5:22-23)
So, IN CHRIST, we have been forgiven for our sins, given the inheritance of the glory of God, and been sealed for His purposes with the Holy Spirit. IN HIM we have God’s grace, and we have become acceptable to God. Now the question becomes: Are we ready to believe IN HIM and live our lives IN HIM and demonstrate God’s grace in our own lives so that others will come and be redeemed IN HIM?
Gracious Heavenly Father, thank You for the wonders of Your grace, for Your boundless love, and for Your unending mercy. I praise You for the precious blood of our Lord Jesus, by which You have taken me from the miry pit and reserved a place for me at Your side. May I live my life in a way that reflects the glory of Your grace. Amen.