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The Confidence of Belonging

Ephesians 1:13-14
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession – to the praise of his glory. (NIVUK)

A recurring issue for some believers is, "Am I good enough to be a Christian?" The answer is that none of us, through our behaviour, can claim any merit with God. We are all sinners who fall way short of the glorious standard of God's holiness (Romans 3:23). Our salvation is solely through His grace, and our faith in what Christ has done for us on the cross (Ephesians 2:8-9). How did we know of His love in Christ? Through the gospel – the message of salvation. It tells us all we need to know to put our trust in Jesus. In our human logic there is a time gap between first hearing the gospel and receiving Christ: but in God's thinking once we have grasped the gospel, the effect of its irresistible power is conclusive (Romans 1:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:5) – we are included in Christ.

Any right-minded Christian should gratefully glow at the thought of being 'included in Christ'. Not just a worker in an important company or a partner in a growing international business, but brought right into the core of God's family, with the full rights of an adopted child (Ephesians 1:5). This passage pivots on the idea of being marked with a seal. A seal is a sign of being owned, a mark of authenticity, a mark of security and 'not to be opened' except by God (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). This seal is the Holy Spirit who is the resident evidence that the believer belongs to Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit's presence not only witnesses to the Godhead that we belong to heaven, but also to the powers of darkness that we don't belong to hell. To us, the Spirit is a personal guarantee that we really do belong and that our place in God's eternity is assured (Romans 8:16), and that all Christ has invested in us will be seen, when we are given a new body in His undiluted presence. It will be a great day when all that Christ has worked for in us will be seen in perfection! The Holy Spirit within us is also the daily monitor of our lifestyle motivations, and is grieved by our wrong desires and choices (Ephesians 4:30): so, it is important that we keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).

Being sealed by the Holy Spirit is so precious. So don't let the noisy din of a screaming world drag you away from the confidence of belonging that God wants you to have each day. The truth is: that, having trusted in Jesus - you really do belong to God; you are safe for every day and through all eternity; you are not your own (or alone) because you have been bought by Jesus (1 Corinthians 6:19-20); and your treasure is being stored up in heaven (Colossians 1:5). So, relax and then stand up straight! Whatever anybody else says, Christian, you belong to Jesus! The Holy Spirit is in you to affirm that truth, so that you may live this day to Christ's glory. Your colleagues may not say much, but your fresh confidence in the Lord will inevitably affect the workplace too ... when they ask you can tell them how!

Dear Lord. I know that I do not deserve the privilege You have given me - that I might belong to You. But I am so glad that I do! Please forgive me for my worry and my wanderings when I forget that I belong to You, and live as though I am the only person who can control my destiny. Throughout this day, whatever happens, please assure me by Your Spirit, that I am safe now and my future is assured every day until forever. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams