One of the biggest problems we have in our society today are people who steal identities. It’s almost like they wipe away everything that you are, as far as the government is concerned. In one moment, they can destroy the fact that you exist.
We are blessed to have better security and most of the institutions we use nowadays. But identity theft is still on the rise. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to not exist as far as the government and everything that I do business with. But no one can steal our identity in Christ.
Who doesn’t want to be blessed beyond measure? As we look at our identity in Christ, we find that he blesses us with every spiritual blessing, makes us the Temple of his Spirit, his own body on earth, and we inherit a place to dwell with him forever.
This will be the last part of the identity in Christ that we talk about. I will finish this series with a conclusion that wraps up everything we have seen about ourselves through the eyes of Christ. Let’s dive into these last parts of our identity in Christ.
In the opening of Ephesians, Paul goes into great detail about what Jesus has given us the moment of our salvation in him. He starts out by telling us that we received every spiritual blessing from Jesus (Ephesians 1:3). He isn’t stingy and he doesn’t hold back.
First, God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). Some people make this a theological debate, but some of this language is too incredible for me to fathom, let alone argue about. I prefer to understand it as being on God’s mind way before I was born.
Paul continues to say that God sovereignly chose us and predestined us to be adopted to him (Ephesians 1:5). At the beginning of this phrase are the words, “in love.” Paul stresses the foundation of love his actions were built upon for us.
In the Roman Empire, when a person was adopted, it wasn’t just a legal agreement. That person became a full-fledged member of the home and family. It was almost as if they were born to the ones who adopt them.
This is an incredible image of what God does for each of us. At salvation, we become children of God. But not just in name or legally. We received the hole in Harrington’s through this adoption. What an incredible blessing and experience for each of us.
God did this according to the purpose of his will, so we could be his people and he could be our God. This is one of the great emphases God makes throughout Scripture concerning us.
The next blessing Paul describes is redemption (Ephesians 1:7). “Redeemed” means that we are bought back. In this case, this economic term refers to as being brought back from the power of the evil forces of this world. We are bought back from sin and shame.
He further explains redemption as “through his blood.” This refers to how Jesus bought us back from sin. On the cross, he put himself on the line as the sacrificial Passover Lamb for anyone who believes in him.
At great cost to himself, Jesus gave everything he had for you and me. Through his sacrifice, he made it possible for us to know God. Redemption is one of the most powerful blessings in all of Scripture. And it is ours for free when we are saved.
The next blessing Paul explains to us is part of redemption. It’s almost a further description, but it shows how we are redeemed. We have forgiveness of our trespasses (Ephesians 1:3). A trespass is when we violate God’s law by overstepping the lines it creates.
This separates us from God and keeps us from his forgiveness. Until God forgives us as part of our salvation, we are under his wrath. He forgives us for all of our sins against him. Forgiveness brings peace with God and a new relationship for us.
The only reason Jesus does this for us is the riches of his grace. Jesus has grace for us, not treating us as we deserve. But our salvation is only part of the larger picture of Jesus’ lordship over all his creation (Ephesians 1:8-10).
I love that Paul uses the word “lavished” here to describe Jesus’ grace upon us, his wisdom and insight to go to the cross for us. He did all of this knowing that it would set all these things in motion for our salvation to happen.
But Jesus isn’t done. The next lesson he gives us is an inheritance. The way Paul talks about it, it’s almost that Jesus inherit us instead of us inheriting things from him. We’ve already talked about our inheritance in Christ.
The last spiritual blessing Jesus pours out upon us is the seal of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). This seal is like the seal a king puts on one of his documents. It shows that we belong to God and that we have is authority over us.
The Holy Spirit is a “down payment,” or a foretaste of heaven. We know that were going to heaven because we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us he saves us. All of these blessings are too great for us to fully comprehend. But he gives them to us freely when we trust him.
Temples for God
The New Testament describes our identity in Christ as being God’s temple. Clearly in 2 Corinthians 3:16 he tells us we are the temples of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in us.
But more than that, we as individual Christians are being built into the church, and the church becomes a building for God, his holy house or Temple, his building (1 Corinthians 3:9; Ephesians 2:20-22; 1 Peter 2:4-8; Revelation 21:14).
As individual Christians Peter tells us that we are living stones (1 Peter 2:5). But the Bible describes Jesus Christ as the cornerstone that begins the building, the apostles and prophets as the foundation, and us as parts of the building (Ephesians 2:20-22).
God builds us together in unity with one another and Christ. The Bible calls us God’s workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). We are part of his Temple to offer him spiritual sacrifices that please him and honor him.
The Body of Christ
One of the frequent images of identity in Christ is being part of his corporate body, the church (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-17; Ephesians 4:15-16). As the body of Christ, we join together in him.
We are his body, his hands and feet to this world. We carry on the ministry of Jesus to those around us. We have a privilege unlike any other. And Jesus blesses us every time we fulfill his mission on this earth. He promised to always be with us until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20).
A New Inheritance
In my last post I talked about our inheritance as citizens of heaven. But I want to be a little more precise as I talk about our new inheritance. We are part of God’s people, his family. And because we are God’s children, we have a great inheritance.
The book of Revelation refines what it will be like to be with God for eternity. Throughout the book, we see images of a great sea of people worshiping God, a multitude no one can count in Revelation 4-5.
And at the end of the book, John talks about his vision of the new heavens and new earth. The last two chapters describe this place God will create at the end of time. Scholars debate whether it will be a brand-new thing, or if he will renew the earth and the heavens after the final judgment.
Suffice it to say, it’s going to be an amazing place. We will live in the New Jerusalem with God and his people (Revelation 21:2-7). John describes the New Jerusalem with precious metals and stones. It’s a transparent place, letting God’s light shine through us and the city.
But not only that, this city describes believers themselves. Yes, I believe there will be a physical city. John describes the city as both a structure, and God’s people as the great building for his presence to dwell forever. It shows we are precious to God.
I have heard mathematicians calculate that all the numbers here literally allow the city to house up to 15 trillion people (Revelation 21:15-21)! There’s plenty of room for you and me. It’s going to be a beautiful place. We will dwell with God forever (Revelation 21:22-27). There is no temple because God’s presence is with us. God himself will be the light that we need.
Revelation 22 shows that the river of life will flow from God’s throne through the city. This resembles the river Ezekiel spoke of (Revelation 22:1-5). And the best part for us, Jesus declares he is coming soon! This is our inheritance in God.
God thinks an awful lot of us. He has an end-goal in mind for us. Holiness isn’t just about reaching a perfection that makes us happy and pleases God. It is much deeper than that. He wants to make us his holy dwelling place.
God works in us to produce a holy temple that he can dwell in. But he is not only going to dwell in us, but around us and through us for eternity. Our inheritance is sure. The seal of the Holy Spirit gives us evidence that God’s promises will be completed.
In the final post, I will wrap up everything that we have talked about with our identity in Christ. Even with six posts in this series, I am only scratching the surface of everything that Jesus has done for us and the identity he has made for us.
Leave a comment and tell me what you think about all that he has done, the blessings he has poured out for us who trust in him to enjoy.