Since the morning back in February of 1972 at Georges Vanier Secondary School in Toronto when I received Christ as my Savior and Lord, I began hearing so many new words and concepts. One of the most foundational ones was about our position in Christ. I wondered, “What does this mean?” It took some time to find the answers.
I discovered that our position in Christ, simply put, is our legal standing with God. And after all these years, I believe more than ever that nothing is more crucial than for a believer, new or mature, to understand what this position really means—today and forever!
A Brief History
The Church of Ephesus was founded during Paul’s first missionary journey to that city, as recorded in Acts 18:19-21. The work the apostle started was then carried forward by Apollos, Aquila, and Priscilla. On his second visit early in the following year, he remained at Ephesus for several years, and from this crucial gateway to Asia Minor, the Gospel was spread abroad “almost throughout all Asia” (Acts 19:26). This success came despite the opposition and persecution he encountered.
On his last journey to Jerusalem, Paul landed at Miletus, where he summoned the elders of the church from Ephesus and delivered to them a heartfelt farewell message (Acts 20:18-35), expecting to see them no more.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians sometime in AD 61–63, while sitting in a prison in Rome (Ephesians 3:1; 4:1). Around the same time, he also wrote Colossians and Philemon, and he sent all three letters out at the same time (Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7-9; Philemon 1:10-12).
It was during this time that Paul sat in Rome undergoing his first Roman imprisonment (Ephesians 3:1; 4:1), making Ephesians one of the four epistles commonly known as the Prison Epistles. The others are Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon.
From the Pages of the Past
Why, you may ask, are these writings, specifically from the book of Ephesians, so important for today’s Christians?
The lessons from Ephesians deal with topics at the very core of what it means to be a Christian—both in faith and in practice.
Near the beginning of the letter, Paul wrote:
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power. (Ephesians 1:15-19 NKJV)
Upon that powerful foundation, Paul then speaks to three distinctive areas:
1. Chapters 1-3 describe a believer’s position in Christ.
2. Chapters 4-5 reveal what it means to live a Christian life.
3. Chapter 6 emphasizes the need to be ready for spiritual warfare.
Let’s focus on each of those areas, for, as believers, we must ask the Lord, “Reveal Yourself to me, reveal who I am in You, and reveal Your power in my life.” These requests are connected, for when you know God, you’ll understand your position in Him. When you know your position, you will know your calling and inheritance as a believer—you’ll understand your walk with Him. And when you known your calling and inheritance, then you will know the mighty power available to you in spiritual warfare.
Your Position in Christ
After Paul prayed his prayer in Ephesians 1:15-19, he immediately began talking about the power of God that was displayed in the resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:20), then in Ephesians 2, he begins speaking about our position because of that resurrection, declaring:
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:1-6)
Notice that Christianity does not begin with a position of standing, walking, or running. It begins with sitting.
When you were still spiritually dead in sin, God assigned your position in His Son—to be seated in heavenly places with Christ—even before you knew Him! What you did at the new birth was accept your rightful position in Christ.
On the cross, Jesus declared, “It is finished” (John 19:30), and when He ascended to the Father’s right hand, He sat down. Your rightful position is to be seated with Him in heavenly places, and when you sit, you are simply resting in Him. He has “blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).
Your salvation, and all the blessings it entails—your healing, your sanctification, your deliverance—is a gift from God, as we are told:
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
The Christian life, from start to finish, is based upon utter dependence on the Lord!
We are seated together with Christ in heavenly places and enter into His rest by faith:
We who have believed do enter that rest… There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. (Hebrews 4:3-11)
God created the world in six days, and on the seventh day He rested. Adam, who was created on the sixth day, began his life with God on the day of rest. And my dear friend, God wants you and me to live our Christian life by resting in Him.
Yes, we must work diligently for Him, but our position is resting in Him, seeking Him for help and nurturing!
Most Christians make the mistake of trying to walk in order to be able to sit, but that is a reversal of the correct order. Our humanness says, “If we do not walk, how can we ever reach the goal?”
It’s not about DOING. It begins with what Christ has already DONE.
Our Christian life begins with the discovery of what God has provided. If we try to do everything, we miss everything. That’s why we are invited at the beginning to sit down and by nurtured by what God has done for us, not immediately trying to attain everything by ourselves!
Your Life in Christ
After describing a believer’s position in Christ throughout Ephesians 1-3, the apostle Paul then addresses one’s life in Christ (Ephesians 4-5).
He declares: “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Ephesians 4:1).
Walking does not mean struggling or striving. Walking means displaying before the world who you are in Christ. And the key to walking worthily in your life is the power of your position in Christ!
When we get saved, many believers seek to walk in a way that impresses God and others. We strive to attain status through our own efforts.
Oh, that we could simply yield and surrender to the way He wants to work through us: “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
God is working in you as you simply rest in His work and cooperate in His process!
Your Readiness for Spiritual Warfare
Using the word pictures from Ephesians, Paul shows that we move from a seated position (chapters 1-3) to a walking position that displays the Christ-like life before the world (chapters 4-5), and then to a standing position (chapter 6).
We are commanded: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:10-11).
The word “stand” means to hold your ground, not letting the enemy forces take territory that rightfully belongs to you. Paul didn’t say to invade, but to simply stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:14-18)
God’s Word declares, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
A conqueror, by definition, has already won! And you as a believer, one who understands your position and life in Christ, is more than a conqueror!
That is my prayer for you today!
Unprecedented Victories Just Ahead
These are the days of great victories and open doors, and I believe we are moving into an even more powerful time of unfathomable anointing of the Holy Spirit, where we will see visible demonstrations of God’s power and glory.
We have much to do, for millions, even billions, of souls are still waiting to hear the Gospel. Vast multitudes have never once heard that the Lord Jesus loves them and died for them. Many have never even heard His name mentioned and do not know that He came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10 KJV).
More than ever, we must do everything possible to tell people about Jesus Christ, for “how then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).
The time is short: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).
This is the hour to answer God’s call to reach the lost. The time has never been shorter than today, nor has the need been more urgent! What we do, we must do now!
Be part of this great work of faith. Remember the promise the Lord Jesus gave to you:
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Luke 6:38)
May God bless you richly for everything you do in planting your seed into the fertile soil of this ministry. Together, we will continue reaching the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ!
We live in a dangerous world, and it’s time for God’s people to rise up in faith, knowing His glory is all around us as we prepare for the battles ahead!
In warmest Christian love,