‘Tis the season… for depression and struggles, at least that’s what it seems like. I have found here in recent weeks an upswing in counseling and people struggling with sin. This seems odd given what we take this time of year to celebrate—the joy of the coming of our great Savior-King.
Through the birth, life, perfect sacrifice, and resurrection of Jesus we have hope. By the grace of God through faith in Christ we have perfect salvation. We who are born into this world in a state of sin, guilty and cursed, with no righteousness of our own, are given as a free gift the righteousness of Jesus—perfect in every way.
To help with counseling, I like to have people read Ephesians 1:3-14 as a reminder of our identity and what we have in Christ (a phrase Paul uses several times in the passage).
And as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus as well as the coming of a new year, I think it is a good holiday reminder for all of us of the awesome gift of salvation in Christ and what that means for our lives as his followers.
Ephesians 1:3-14 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined usfor adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, 8 which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making knownto us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guaranteeof our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,to the praise of his glory.
Seven things this passage reminds us about concerning our identity in Christ:
1) We are blessed with every spiritual blessing.
2) We are holy and blameless.
3) We are adopted as God’s children.
4) We are redeemed from and forgiven of our sins.
5) We are lavished with God’s grace.
6) We are recipients of a great inheritance.
7) We are possessors of the Holy Spirit.