The Glory of My Position: Ephesians 2:11-22
The final truths that Paul will mentions in this section on the believer’s blessings in Christ are related to their position in Christ. My years of high school baseball come to mind. My position as a high school player could have been accurately described in at least four different ways. Each way indicated a different aspect of my position in that sport. I was a Warrior, because that was the name of our team. I was a starter, because I had won the starting position on the team. I was a pitcher, because that was the position in which I specialized, and lastly I was a team captain as a senior. All four positions accurately describe my position, and together they paint a good picture of my position as a high school player.
In verse 19, Paul mentions three different ways of describing a believer’s position in Christ. Our position is obviously not limited to these three positions, but together, they give us a well rounded understanding of just how blessed we are in Christ. First, he says that we are citizens of God’s Kingdom. The more carefully I read the scriptures, the more I realize how much God emphasizes His Kingdom. God’s rule as Sovereign of the universe and the administration of this rule is an amazing concept, though out of the scope of our immediate study. Every Jew as God’s chosen people expected to be a member of the Kingdom, by virtue of their pedigree, yet we know this is not true. A man must be righteous before God in order to experience the blessings and privileges of the Kingdom, and who is righteous by virtue of his own action? Romans 3:20 says that “There is none righteous, no not one.” This was Christ’s point to Nicodemus in John 3. “Unless you are born again,” you cannot experience or see the Kingdom of God. This probably shocked Nicodemus, but it reminds us once again. We are not members of the Kingdom by virtue of our righteousness, but rather by the imputed righteousness of Christ received by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone when we are converted.
Secondly, in verse 19, Paul describes believers as saints. The word saint means holy one, and to me, this is the most interesting of the three descriptions used by Paul of believers. If you read through Paul’s two epistles to the church of Corinth, arguably the most rebuked church in the New Testament, he refers to the members of that church and their sister churches as saints 11 times. That should be shocking to us especially when we consider the problems in the church of Corinth. They were a divided church, who separated themselves into factions elevating “big men” in the congregation. They were called carnal and abused the grace gifts granted by the Sprit to the church for the edification of the body, for proud, self-edification. They had disagreements about their relationship to the idolatry around them at Corinth, tolerated open immorality in the church, and made a mockery of the Lord’s Table. So how could Paul call them saints, holy ones? They were saints by virtue of their position in Christ, and not their performance. When God called them saints, He was viewing the righteousness of Christ and not their own lack of righteousness. Paul is not undercutting the absolute essential of the fruit of righteousness in all believers when he calls them saints. He is not undercutting the presence of chastening in all backsliding saints. He addresses all these things in other places, but what he is saying is that being a saint is not about an elevated position in the church or in church history. Being a saint is about receiving the righteousness of Christ by virtue of substitution in the new birth.
Lastly, in verse 19, Paul says that we are members of the household of God. Being a member of God’s household implies responsibilities to the keeper of the household. It also implies the benefits of being a member of God’s household, but what I think is the most important truth related to being a member of God’s household is privileged intimacy with God. God created us to glorify Himself through faithful labor in our delegated sphere of responsibility, under His authority, and rightly related to Him. God desired for us to walk in fellowship with Him, and this is a major aspect of His purpose in our existence. John 17:3 says that eternal life is a growing intimate knowledge of God. God wants us to know Him, love, Him and walk with Him. Think about what was lost in fall, and what was gained in the cross. May God help us never to undermine or forget the beauty of Gospel: God’s grace extended through the cross! The last thing we will consider is an application to these wonderful benefits in light of the Gospel.