January 15

The fact that most professing Christians are essentially ignorant of their spiritual heritage troubled me for years. Was this an awareness that we were supposed to slowly understand as we grew in Christ? That seemed to be my experience, but a thorough search of Scripture would suggest otherwise. The Apostle Paul stresses that our identity and position in Christ is the basis for our growth and maturity in Christ. Our new life in Christ is the foundation from which everything grows. One has to be spiritually alive in order to grow spiritually!

The Apostle Paul shares our lofty position in Christ when he wrote, “To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1). Put your name in the following:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed (name) in Christ with every spiritual blessings in the heavenly places, even as He chose (name) in Him before the foundation of the world, that (name) should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined (name) for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed (name) in the Beloved. In Him (name) has redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon (name) . . . In Him (name) has obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will . . . In Him (name) also, when (name) heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of (name) inheritance until (name) acquires possession of it (Eph. 1:3-14).

Christians don’t know who they are in Christ, if they have never been taught the truth, which can’t set them free if they don’t know it. Some churches have even emphasized that their people are all just a bunch of sinners saved by grace. In other words, you are the same person you were before, only now you are forgiven, which they will probably never feel the assurance of with only a third of the gospel presented to them. Are we forgiven sinners, or redeemed saints (I’ll discuss that later)? Lack of repentance is another reason we lack the assurance of our salvation. When I have helped Christians resolve their personal and spiritual conflicts, they experience their freedom in Christ, and an awareness of who they are.

Finally, with God’s foreknowledge He inspired the Apostle Paul to teach us about our rich inheritance, and then write a prayer for our enlightenment: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:17,18).

Dr. Neil

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