Throughout the month of August, we’re taking a close look at 23 verses of the New Testament. They comprise Ephesians chapter one, which paints one of the Bible’s most comprehensive pictures of what it means for ordinary people to be “in Christ.”
A man named David Rice Atchison was President of the United States for one day.
And he didn’t even know it.
According to the U.S. Constitution in the 19th century, if neither the President nor the Vice President was officially sworn in to the role of chief executive, the president pro tem of the Senate moved to the Oval Office. On March 4, 1849, President James Knox Polk’s term had lapsed and the newly elected President, Zachary Taylor, couldn’t yet be sworn in because it was Sunday.
Thus, for one day David Rice Atchison was technically President of the United States – something he didn’t realize until he got to thinking about things a few months later.
When followers of Jesus get to thinking about things, it gradually dawns on them that they have been granted a status that utterly exceeds any earthly title or honor. But as Christians we may not even know that – until we take a close look at the teaching of Scripture.
What have we learned during our extended look at the first chapter of the book of Ephesians? If you have surrendered yourself, as best you can, to Jesus of Nazareth, then you can know that the following 16 things are true:
You are a saint, one of God’s holy ones (v. 1) – even if your spiritual track record is anything but stellar.
You are blessed by God (v. 3) – and there is no power in heaven or earth that can take that away.
You were chosen before the creation of the world (v. 4) – which means you’ve already won the ultimate lottery.
You are loved by God (v. 4) – all of his actions are grounded in his deep commitment to secure your life in this world and the next.
You are predestined (v. 5) – which means God has always known that you were coming.
You are adopted into God’s family (v. 5) – as his treasured child, you will never be abandoned.
You have been redeemed (v. 7) – a reminder that he paid the price to make sure you will always belong to him.
You are forgiven (v. 7) – you never need to be afraid to look him in the eye.
You are for the praise of his glory (v. 12) – he’s not ashamed to be called your Father.
You are included (v. 13) – in a world that divides and separates, he has welcomed you into his forever family.
You are “in Christ” (v. 13) – you don’t just live in a house, in a state, or in a country, but in the privileged condition of enjoying everything Jesus accomplished.
You are sealed with the Spirit (v. 13) – God’s own “proof of purchase” of your life.
You have received a down payment (v. 14) – the Spirit is his assurance that you’ll ultimately receive the totality of your spiritual inheritance.
You are God’s possession (v. 14) – and no one can pluck you out of his hand (John 10:28).
You have access to God’s power (v. 19) – which means you’re not stuck in the rut of your own resources.
You are a member of Christ’s Body (v. 23) – the assurance that you have gifts to help extend God’s reign, right here and right now.
One of my friends grew up in a proud, traditional family. He recalls that sometimes, as he was about to bolt out of the house, his mother would say, “Have a great time!” Then she would add, “And remember who you are.”
Our call is to remember who we are.
By God’s grace, that will make all the difference in the world.