Faithful in Christ

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Introduction

In the last post in this series, I demonstrated how scripture reveals you are CHOSEN and PREDESTINED in Christ. Now, let’s look at how you are made a SAINT in Christ Jesus. Now lets find out how we are made faithful in Christ Jesus and can have peace and His grace.

Sing with me!

Faithful

For this post, we need to travel back to the beginning of Ephesians 1:1-2, which reads: Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:1–2 introduces Paul’s letter to the believers of the church at Ephesus. This includes Paul’s claim to the title of apostle. The greeting features many of Paul’s common expressions, including ”Christ Jesus,” and ”grace to you.” While the letter is clearly directed to the Ephesian Christians, Paul intended it to be read among the other churches in the area and believers of the future – us.

They knew him well and required little introduction. Instead, he simply noted himself as an apostle “of Christ Jesus by the will of God.” Both the specific name “Christ Jesus” and God’s will are important themes throughout the letter. “Christ Jesus” is used eleven times in this book. Paul heavily favored this title for Jesus, with the title being used only once outside of Paul’s writings, by Luke (Acts 24:24), a close associate of Paul.

This makes those believers and believers of today “faithful in Christ Jesus.” Paul starts his letter with an affirming, positive note.

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Not only does Paul call those who belong to Christ saints, but says that those who belong to Christ are also faithful.

What the Apostle has in mind here in this verse by the term faithful are those who are currently exercising faith. These believers are full of faith and their faith is being exercised. They were Christians because they were currently believing. If you want to know how you can have assurance of your salvation, ask yourself, Am I currently exercising faith in the work or Christ alone on my behalf? In other words, are you currently believing? Assurance doesn’t come from an event that you were a part of. It doesn’t come from walking an aisle or being baptized or from praying a certain prayer. Assurance can be real if you are believing and exercising belief through obedience to the Word of God. If that’s you then you can have assurance.

Another meaning Paul had in mind when using this word was that these believers were consistent in their Christian walk. They were not here today and gone tomorrow. As believers must persist and be reliable for the long haul.

With these two ideas in mind, where do you think you stand? Are you currently exercising faith and is your faith consistent? If trouble came to one of our church members, can people count on you to help? Is your faith a working faith and are you trustworthy to exercise that faith?

Then Paul uses another very important phrase to describe the Christians in Ephesus, in Christ Jesus.

Simply put, a Christian is not just someone who believes in Jesus Christ, but he is one who is in a real sense, in Christ. Paul means as true Christians, we are forever as with Jesus, he belongs to us and is joined to Him.

Ephesians 4:15-16

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,  [16] from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Jesus is the head of the Church and we are the body. To be in Christ means that we are a part within the body called the Church. If that’s true of you, then being in Christ also means that when God looks at you He sees Jesus’ righteousness. So, to be in Christ means that whatever benefits God has for Jesus, he has for you as well. That’s why we can also call God…Father. Our eternal union with Jesus we will be forever love by God and treated as His adopted children.

Because of all this, the Church truly has Reason to Rejoice…but that’s not all!

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Grace to you and peace

[2] Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the ancient world of the early church when two people met they would greet each other with the word chairein, which meant greetings. Paul took the normal greeting of the day and placed a Christian twist on it. His greeting wasn’t chairein but charis, which means grace.

Remember, Paul’s purpose for writing is to show how Jewish and Gentile people can be brought together to form a new people called the Church. So, he Christianizes the common Gentile greeting and then couples it with the common Jewish greeting of the day which was shalom or peace to you. The Church is make up is Gentiles and Jews, Paul greets both together in his opening words. What a privilege we have as believers, the greatest apostle of all time wishing us grace and peace as fellow heirs with Christ. The reality is even more amazing. Paul is not really speaking for Paul here in this text. Who is he speaking for as an apostle? He is speaking for God. From God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  

God desires to extend to His children grace and peace.

By grace the Lord means unmerited favor, favor you do not deserve, favor you receive but to which you have no right to in any way. By grace the Lord means that He desires the Church to receive favor to which they are completely unworthy to receive.

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Grace

I love the Doctrines of Grace. Most folks want to try to somehow earn God’s love. The bottom line is you cannot earn it. In understanding how desperate out situation is and understanding that there is no way we can ever do anything that will make God like us, we place ourselves at His mercy. Grace is not grace if you try to add works to it.

God also desires to give His Church peace. God’s peace is not simply an ending of hostility but a showing of love toward His former enemies in Christ.

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Jesus is the answer

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