Identity Crisis

In one of the men’s Bible study groups, I once attended we were studying the book of Ephesians. On our first day of the study, we only got as far as the introduction to the book. Which it is imperative to get one’s groundwork stable before delving into the text of Scripture. If we fail to study a book of the Bible without first gaining insight into its relevance to the entire 66 books of the Bible, then there is no bearing on which to stand. All the books of the Bible are intertwined as one book in the New Testament is backed up by another or two in the Old Testament and visa-versa.

Our study sets the basis for Paul’s epistle to the Ephesian church. Although it was meant to be a “circular letter” read by neighboring churches, it was primarily addressed to the church at Ephesus. But how did the church at Ephesus come to be? Did Paul march into Ephesus on one of his missionary journeys and stake a claim for Christianity by gathering the few elect? Not so fast buckaroo. Paul didn’t actually set foot on Ephesian soil until after Priscilla and Aquila, see Acts 18:18-21, had set the groundwork. See… even Paul knew about establishing a basis for one’s ministry. Next you see Apollos winging through Ephesus on his preaching tour being trained correctly on salvation by said Priscilla and Aquilla in verses 24-26. It’s not until you get to Acts 19 that Paul even visits Ephesus and there you read that Priscilla and Aquilla have been faithful in establishing a group of disciples.

We should be thankful for the ministering work of Priscilla and Aquilla, who by the way ended up in Ephesus because of fleeing the persecution in Rome. Without them God could have used another couple, but they chose to obey Christ in helping Paul turn the hearts of the Gentiles towards our Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, the phrase “in Christ” is used some 30 times in the epistle (based on whichever version of scripture you use I challenge you to find them). This book shows us our identity as Christians is found in our Savior, not ourselves. We gave that up in Galatians 2:20. The great thing about losing one’s identity to Christ is the blessing he bestows upon us. The mercy shown to us without merit is found in Ephesians 1:3-4, “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, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”

So, if you are experiencing an identity crisis, I encourage you to read the book of Ephesians. Realize that although this book was written 30 generations ago it is quite relevant for life’s experiences today. Consider and accept your place in Christ as a child of God. Fully forgiven of every sin, and fully loved by a Heavenly Father that has your best interest in mind. Remember that this Holy Week is to remind us of our position in Christ and how it came to be. His grace bestowed to bring all glory to our Lord.

Grace and peace, James

*Scripture from ESV, Crossway Publishing, 2001

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