THOUGHTS FROM EPHESIANS

14 ASSURANCE OF SALVATION

A meditation on Ephesians 1:13,14

Ephesians 1:13,14 assures believers of the certainty of their salvation.

Paul teaches that when a person really hears and believes the word of truth, the gospel of salvation, he/she is 'included in Christ'. 

What does this 'included in Christ' mean? It means that from that moment of genuine biblical response to the word of truth all that Christ obtained for those who believe in him is credited and applied to them - the whole incredible salvation package, the totality of spiritual blessings, everything achieved by Christ on our behalf by means of his incarnation, life, death and resurrection - all of it becomes ours. This spiritual blessedness is all 'in Christ' and that is precisely where the genuine believer stands: in Christ. We do not stand alone and isolated before God. We stand before God where God himself has placed us: always, ever and only 'in Christ' - a place, a position, of perfect and permanent peace and pardon.

Paul also teaches us that from the point of genuine faith onwards we are 'marked in him with a seal'. Not only are we 'included in Christ', but we are also marked in Christ. From this moment on God's mark of ownership is upon us, confirming, testifying that he himself has placed us in Christ.

This mark is God's own Spirit, described here as 'a deposit', a down payment, the promise of all that God has for us. This seal, this deposit, guarantees that the believer will inherit all that God has promised. By this guarantee we are both banned and liberated from the erroneous mindset that fears that our present sin can undo the work of Christ for us and salvation can be lost.

Our life in this in-between state, between our coming to faith in Christ, and our final entry into the presence of God, is an imperfect life.

It sometimes doesn't feel like we are saved at all. We suffer. We are tempted. We are surrounded by sin and its horrific impacts. We ourselves sin. Sometimes all we have is the word of Christ, for everything else seems so wrong, so contrary. As Paul states in Romans 8, both we and the whole of creation groan as we wait for that final day, the day of our ultimate redemption, our ultimate liberation from sin and suffering.

So Paul says here in Ephesians that until that day, until that ultimate redemption, while everything around us shouts at us that our faith is a futile fantasy, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God guarantees that that day will come, and that when it does, we will receive in full measure all that God has promised us in Jesus Christ.

Paul also teaches us here that we are 'God's possession'. We now belong to God. He has made us his own. He has put his mark of ownership upon us. The world does not know that. Just as it didn't know Jesus Christ. He was just an ordinary human. We are just ordinary humans. There is nothing obvious about us, nothing that makes us obviously different from anybody else. Nothing observable that shouts to the world that God has made us his own, marked us with his seal and included us in Christ. But on that day, when Christ returns and summons all the world to himself, the true identity of the believer, and the eternal inheritance of the believer will be revealed [1 John 3:1-3].

Paul, then, seeks to instill this confidence in us: that God has made us his own. Not because of any merit on our part, but because of his good purpose which he implemented in and through Jesus Christ.

In this we rest. In this we rejoice. In this we trust.

 

Copyright Rosemary Bardsley 2006,2010.