In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will…
Ephesians 1:11 NIV
Before we can work God’s plan in our lives, we have to know who we are in Him. Chapter 1 of Ephesians is written with that in mind. Paul explains that being a follower of Christ means that we are chosen by God, blameless, full of grace, and redeemed and forgiven.
God brought each one of us into existence so that He could bestow upon us “inexhaustible riches” (Rom 11:33) that were gifted to us by Grace. There is no limit to how much value and quantity God brings into our lives. These riches, according to Paul, are forgiveness of sins, redemption through the blood of Christ, the knowledge of His will, the message of Christ’s will, and the sealing of the Holy Spirit. Here, Paul also says that we have a guarantee of an inheritance.
The flashing truth of this is that being connected to God gives us the privilege of being able to really know ourselves. If we don’t know who we are in Him, we will never think that we are included in Christ. We will spend our time chasing an identity that God wishes to bestow freely in our lives. We will live frustrated with forgiveness. We will live knotted up in the mystery of God’s will. We will waste our inheritance and misapply spiritual truths.
It is amazing that we can live for such a long time and still not know who we are. When that happens, many of us disqualify ourselves from things that God intends because we did not feed our identity with our connection to Him. It is glaringly obvious that many of us have not accepted our identity as formed by Christ. Instead, we have accepted an identity that has been formed by cultural values, life experiences, and the perceptions of those around us.
But none of this reflects who we really are in Jesus. It is of paramount importance in this fast, labelling culture that we live in that we know who we are. We cannot be Christians and keep identifying ourselves with labels that identify what Jesus has delivered us from. Either Jesus sets us free completely or He doesn’t set us free at all. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation (2 Cor 5:17), and that includes old labels and old ways of seeing ourselves.
If the Lord has set us free, then we are free to describe our history, but we can’t describe that history as a part of our identity.