Ephesians 1:3 (NIV) 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. Read more here
I one time was reading a book and it had an interesting “letter” to the church which went like this:
You make me sick.
How do you feel about this letter? How do you think God feels about the church?
For many of us when we hear the word “church” what comes to our minds? We may start thinking of buildings or the size of the congregation—small church, medium-sized church, mega-church; some may even have images of denominations—Presbyterian, Baptist, Pentecostals, Catholic, Episcopal, Methodist; we may even think in terms of demographics, Korean church, Chinese church, English church, children’s church, youth church.
As we think through our modern descriptions of “church” we can’t help to think that God might indeed be saying: “you make me sick.”
However popular these descriptions of church are, they are all faulty because they focus on the church as a mere organization. But the church is primarily an organism before it is an organization. Studying the book of Ephesians will help us demystify “church” and so to speak, liberate her from the misconceptions of our cultures and history.
Ephesians 1:3-14 gives us at least three descriptions of the church. The church is a community of those who have been chosen, saved and sealed. Let’s elaborate on that:
- The church is a community of those who have been chosen in Christ (v. 3-6). For some people, blessing simply means material blessings of health and wealth, but God’s blessings are more than that. The Bible says we have been blessed with “every spiritual blessing in Christ.” What does this mean? The greatest blessing for the church is that he chose us. We belong to him. A church is a body of believers that have been called-out to belong to and live for God.
- The church is a community of those who are saved through the blood of Jesus (v. 7-10). How is God’s plan of salvation accomplished? It is through redemption and forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ. We have been bought back (redeemed) from the bondage of sin and forgiven of all our sins (loosed from whatever bound us) through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christian faith and life have their center in Jesus Christ. All this is demonstration of God’s grace – his unprompted and undeserved favor. We are recipients of divine favor.
Our salvation is personal but has never been intended to be private. We have been saved not just to go to heaven but to belong to God and to participate in His cosmic redemptive plan. Our salvation has implications on every aspect of life whether it is religion, family, economics or ecology.
- The church is a community of those sealed by the Holy Spirit (vv. 13-14). The Holy Spirit has been given to every child of God as a seal. The presence of the Holy Spirit in us is evidence that we belong to God. Our salvation is guaranteed.
The greatest blessing for Christian believers is that God has chosen, saved and sealed us with the Holy Spirit to be His own.
You are the church you’ve been looking for!