Reflection: Take time to read the passage. Circle or take note of words, concepts, or truths that stand out to you.
Ephesians is addressed to people who are “faithful in Christ Jesus.” The phrase “in Christ Jesus,” (often shortened to “in Christ,” or “in Him”) is key to understanding Ephesians in particular, and Paul’s theology in general. Some theologians argue that the phrase connotes a “mystical” relationship/communion between and among the resurrected Christ and the members of his body, the church. Other theologians argue that the phrase refers to our present participation in the blessings of the already- inaugurated- but- not -yet -consummated “kingdom of the beloved Son” (Col. 1:13) and the “new creation.” (2 Cor. 5:17) Ephesians confirms that these theologians should find something else to argue about, because they are both right!
Ephesians 1:3-14 could literally be translated from the Greek as one long, mind-blowing, breathless sentence about the manifold blessings we find “in Christ.” Paul caps off the recitation of blessings with Ephesians 1:13-14: “In Him you also, having heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and having believed in Him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, culminating in the praise of His glory.”
Note the progression: we hear the gospel; we believe in Christ; the Holy Spirit marks us as God’s people; we inherit the ultimate treasure; we praise His glory. In context, the ultimate treasure is a Who, not a what. Our inheritance is eternal, unbroken communion, fully knowing and loving Christ, as we are fully known and loved. But, we don’t have to wait for the consummation of history to get started on our calling to praise God’s glory. The Holy Spirit offers a foretaste of eternal communion here and now, in Christ.
Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a taste of your inheritance today.
- Jack Wisdom
*What does it mean to seal something? What is the purpose of sealing things (like letters, doors, food, etc.)? Why is it amazing that people who hear the good news of Jesus and believe are sealed with the Holy Spirit? What does it mean to you to know that you have been or could be marked and sealed as Christ’s own forever? Is there anyone on your heart that you would like to pray for to experience this same sealing?
**Holy Spirit, you overwhelm us with your care. How is it that we can become one with Jesus and saved for eternity? Only through you can we experience the promised fulfillment of the good news that Jesus is our Savior, our King, and our Brother. May we never lose the wonder of it all. Amen.