Text: Ephesians 1:1-14
“He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” —Ephesians 1:4
We live in a world where it is all too easy to lose sight of our target. The whirlwind can be disorienting—the mad rush, the unexpected trials, the political upheaval, the moral decay, the culture wars. It’s overwhelming and fatiguing at times. Consequently, spiritual disorientation is something that affects many a Christian in this hour. Sometimes we just have to stop and remind ourselves who we are, even when where we are spells chaos.
A Navy instructor taught his soldiers,
“If you ever lose sight of the target, just remember your position.”
I like that and it reminds me of Paul’s encouragement to believers in Ephesus. In a day when many were staggering back and forth at the subtlety of false doctrines and worldly pressure, the apostle urged Christ followers to mature in their understanding of who God declared them to be.
His words remind us that we have been chosen before the foundation of the world, to live holy and blameless lives before God (Ephesians 1:4). There is nothing random or capricious about your existence—you were predestined to be “adopted” into God’s family (v.5). In Christ you have “redemption through his blood,” the forgiveness of trespasses. Oh and by the way, your future looks pretty bright—obtaining an eternal “inheritance” (v.11) with a retirement plan that is out of this world!
This all because of redemption, which always implies a price being paid for the freedom that is purchased. The passage uses the ancient Greek word lootruo, which means, “to liberate on the receipt of a ransom.” The ransom price is His blood. God chose you for a purpose, and then He did all that was required for your justification, to position you to accomplish that purpose. We aren’t adopted because we’re good enough, we’re adopted because Jesus’ blood was enough! It is Jesus’ blood and God’s grace alone that makes us acceptable to God.
So that we don’t lose our way in this present chaos, He has “sealed” us with the promised Holy Spirit (v.13). The term used here means “to mark” with a seal or a stamp. When we surrender our lives to Christ, God stamps us with the Holy Spirit, who is our “guarantee,” or down payment, for what is to come. God branded us as His own, and that seal, or mark, is the promise (down payment) of our inheritance that is to come when He finally completes His redemption of the purchased possession that is in us.
God has already positioned us in Christ, and the Holy Spirit inside of us is not just a perpetual reminder that there is more to this life than what is temporal, it’s the very presence of God Himself, granting us the power to overcome the madness of this age. That power is the same measure used to raise Jesus from the dead.
Disorientation doesn’t have to paralyze me. I don’t need to understand everything that I am presently going through as much as I need to be reminded who I am in Christ. When I lose sight of the target, I can remember my position.
Heavenly Father, thank you for thinking about me before the foundations of this world ever existed. Your plan for redemption is both humbling and marvelous. Holy Spirit, help me to live in the reality of your presence this week, ever conscious of my adoption in Christ and my glorious inheritance in the kingdom of God—to the praise of His glory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Questions for Reflection and/or Family Discussion:
- How would you describe the target of your life? When have you felt like you were hitting the mark? Missing the mark?
- Why do you think so many people are confused about their identity today? What cultural undercurrents can keep us from finding our true identity in God’s family?
- What is the purpose of God’s spiritual adoption in your life? (Ephesians 1:4) What is the goal of that adoption? (v.6)
- What is God’s plan for “the fullness of time”? (v.10) How should that affect how we live today?
- In what ways can being reminded of your position (adoption and inheritance) sustain you when trials have disoriented you?
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