Ephesians 1

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs.

Ephesians 1

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise for spiritual blessings in Christ
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment – to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.

Thanksgiving and prayer
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.


This is one my go-to passages of scripture. I regularly come back to it when feeling disoriented, challenged or alone. It’s a masterpiece by the Apostle Paul, the expert theologian, who is trying to explain the implications of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The first three chapters of Ephesians is basically a theology of Christian identity. Paul, is laying out to the Christians in Ephesus what is true of them now they are in Christ.
You may have noticed that that exact phrase, in Christ, is used several times in this short passage. It’s a phrase used well over 150 times in the New Testament, almost entirely by Paul, it is his favourite way to speak about your identity. Simply put, when you are baptised into the Father, the son and the Spirit, drenched in the reality of God, and you become a follower of Jesus you are incorporated into union with Christ. Which means everything that is true about Christ is true about you.
Through Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection, his victory over hell itself has now become our victory. His freedom has become our freedom. His kingdom - we now have full access to. When God see’s you he see’s union with Christ. He see’s that as your identity. When God looks at you he see’s Jesus.

So what does that mean?

It means we have been blessed every spiritual blessing - in other words, we have Jesus and Jesus is everything (1).
It means we have been chosen, and picked before the creation of the world, and made holy (4).
It means we have been adopted into the family of God (5).
It means our sins have been forgiven. Nothing we have done, won’t be forgiven. But more than that we have been redeemed. Nothing we have done can’t be made good (7).
It means God has lavished us with grace (8).
It means we have been let in on God’s plan to make all things new (9).
It means the Holy Spirit, God’s very presence lives in us and we belong to him. (13).

I need to speak these truths of my identity over myself again and again. For Paul, even though we don’t always feel holy, or feel forgiven, or feel part of the family. He’s convinced this is our new reality and wants us to know it!

Let’s read this again from The Message (with a couple of edits) as a prayer over ourselves.

3-6 How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had me in mind, had settled on me as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt me into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted me to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.
7-10 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, I am a free person—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all my misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything I could possibly need, letting me in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before me in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.
11-12 It’s in Christ that I find out who I am and what I am living for. Long before I first heard of Christ and got my hopes up, he had his eye on me, had designs on me for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.
13-14 It’s in Christ that I, once I heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found myself home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This down payment from God is the first instalment on what’s coming, a reminder that I’ll get everything God has planned for me, a praising and glorious life.


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