Echoes. Reflections of sound, off of the hard surface of my soul. Never expect originality from an echo. These reverberations of encouragement originate from outside my life. I am only the interface. The source of the original acoustic is the spoken Word of The Word.
Hello, how are you?
I have been asked this question thousands of times and thousands of times the automatically bland response was… “good”. But “good” isn’t good enough when a forgiven heart is overflowing with thankfulness for the saving work of a loving Lord. “Good” isn’t a testimony, “good” is a programmed reply, a nonchalant insincerity. So I wondered how do I give a more thoughtful and thankful answer; and does it really matter? I found encouragement, right here in Ephesians.
Although we have just begun this letter, and Paul is still writing introductions, something exciting is already going on. Notice this…Paul does not inquire as to how the readers are doing. He writes one incredibly long sentence (verse 3 through verse 14 is one sentence), filled with rich adjectives to tell them how they are doing.
Imagine this. You are greeted by a precious Bible teacher-evangelist-prophet-preacher-scholar, who introduces himself and then, keeping control of the conversation, tells you in great detail that you are blessed in heavenly ways; you are chosen in Jesus from the beginning of time; you are recognized as an adopted child of the most High God; you are redeemed in Him; you are forgiven in the same proportion of God’s riches of grace; you are gifted with wisdom and understanding; you are chosen; you are a praise song to God’s glory; you are tattooed with the very Spirit of God; you are considered an inheritance, and you are God’s own possession. Imagine!!
Have you ever responded to “how are you” this way? Have you ever even thought of yourself this way??
The secret to this description is in the prepositional phrase, “in Christ”. A preposition is a linking word, a word that shows the relationship between its object and the rest of the sentence. Paul writes over, and over, and over, that the relationship between us and the benefits he is ascribing to us, is “in” Christ Jesus. In Christ the saints of Christ have whatever Christ has. Scholars explain that Paul writes this in the aorist tense, a tense that speaks of an effective action that was completed in the past. Greek grammar is Greek to me…but it means that these are not descriptions that I am working towards fulfilling …but descriptions of who I already am. How? In Christ.
How? “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:3. It is an old, old illustration, but I love to use it because I love the picture. Take a pen and place it in your Bible. If you put your Bible on the table, where is your pen? If you put your Bible in a backpack, where is your pen? If you put your Bible on the bookshelf, where is your pen? Where ever that beautiful Bible goes, so goes the pen. What words of encouragement. If I am “in Christ”, then wherever He is, I am there hidden in Him. I have what He has. And He is in heavenly places with all spiritual blessings. Yet there is more. For I am not only hidden in Christ, I am also in God. That pen that is hidden in a Bible, is held tightly by Someone who will never loose His grasp on it. With Christ…and…in God.
So, how are you?
I hope you can visit with me again when I look specifically at each of our blessings in Christ. Echoes of mercy. Whispers of love.