Friday, June 5, 2015

In Christ

I love the first chapter of Ephesians and Paul's obvious effusion as he attempts to describe the glories of grace and the blessings of salvation. It seems to me he struggles to pile words and phrases, superlative after superlative, one over another, to describe what is, finally, gloriously, indescribable.

Paul also employs repetition as he reminds his readers that each blessing of salvation is found in Christ. We are blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing, he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, and in love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ. In him we have redemption through his blood and the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace. This is according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ, to unite all things in him.

In Ephesians 2, this theme continues as Paul emphasizes that even though we were dead in our trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ and raise us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. God the Father has done this so that he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.

The Gospel Transformation Bible offers the following commentary on this glorious gospel truth of our union with Christ:

Paul uses the language of "in Christ" or "in him" or "in the Lord Jesus" roughly 40 times in Ephesians. The whole of our salvation can be summed up with reference to this reality. Union with Christ is not a single specific blessing we receive in our salvation. Rather it is the best phrase to describe all the blessings of salvation... 
Our entire blessedness--our victory, our happiness, our hope--is bound up in our being bound to Christ. How foolish, and ultimately disappointed, are those who stoop to drink from any other fountain. 

My life is hidden with Christ in God! What victory! What happiness! What hope! So often we are tempted to think of the blessings of salvation apart from our being found in Christ. "Come, find relief from the burden of your sin," we say, a wonderful and amazing gospel invitation, but the truth of our union with Christ is that we are forgiven in Christ and as new creatures, saved and redeemed, we live in him.

Last week as part of my devotions I read the following prayer from Prone to Wander: Prayers of Confession and Celebration by Barbara Duguid and Wayne Houk.

Holy Spirit, produce in us growing faith that we may live in Christ. May all our desires rest in him constantly. Make Jesus our greatest hope and all our glory. May we enter him as our refuge, build on him as our foundation, walk in him, follow him, conform to him, rely on him, and obey him. Let us never be ashamed of him or his words. May his death comfort us, for we have been loved with unfathomable love. May his resurrection assure us that his obedience was perfect, his sacrifice accepted, and his work finished. Help us to hold fast to the gospel we have believed, to cherish it in our weakness and to profess its power when we stand strong. Deepen our faith and guard our hearts and minds with the helmet of Christ's salvation, the breastplate of his righteousness, the shield of his faith, the sandals of his peace, and the sword of his truth. In his strong name we pray, amen.
Yes and amen.

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