“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…” Ephesians 1:7-8a
One of the many things I have learned over the years that I’ve walked with Christ is that the enemy is a liar. He is a master deceiver and delights in stealing anything he can get from God’s children. The closer you and I get to Jesus, the more determined he becomes to steal us back. He’s very eager to remind us of our shame-filled pasts in hopes of discouraging us enough to return to them. Anyone else ever experienced this? I know I’m not alone. We used to be in his deadly grip because of our sin, and now that we are alive in Christ with a new nature and a new identity, he is jealous and angry and willing to do whatever it takes to get us back. In Christ, you and I have become twice the foe of Hell we ever could have been before, and in Christ we have become a target for the enemy’s lies and schemes. If we don’t understand and embrace our new identities in Christ, we will fall far too easily for the enemy’s old tricks.
For the past few months, I have been studying the life and writings of the apostle Paul, primarily through the book of Ephesians. I have read this short epistle countless times before, but it amazes me that I seemed to have missed the main point of it for years until now. In Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus, he prays for them, encourages them in their faith, and reminds them of WHO they are. In short, this tiny little book in the middle of our New Testament teaches us all about our identity in Christ. In fact, that short phrase “in Christ” is repeated numerous times throughout the book perhaps as a timely reminder to the Ephesians and to us today.
If we are “in Christ”, we are no longer who we used to be. Satan loves nothing more than to condemn us based on our past sins and failures, and he wins that battle every time we let him defeat us with guilt and shame. “In Christ” means that we are a new creation. The old has gone. The new has come. We used to be clothed in rags of unrighteousness because of our rebellion and sin, and now we are clothed in white with the righteousness of God because of the sinless sacrifice of Jesus. Do you get it? If you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ, you are not who you once were. Neither am I! You better believe that the enemy of your soul, Satan, will never stop trying to convince you that you haven’t changed, but every time he does, you and I must stand on the truth of God’s Word and claim our new identity in Christ. The enemy works through condemnation, which results in guilt and shame. The Holy Spirit brings conviction, which results in repentance that leads to salvation. See the difference?
My prayer for us today is that we would understand WHO we are in Christ and choose to live accordingly. If we know WHO we are, we will then know what to do. If we are confident that we are God’s children, loved, and forgiven by Him, we will gladly choose lives of obedience to His Word. In Him, you have been redeemed and forgiven. I’m praying for you today that you live as one who has been redeemed and forgiven by God’s grace. You are loved.