A black-and-white portrait captures a person standing tall, bathed in soft light. Their eyes radiate confidence, reflecting a deep sense of self-worth, embodying the powerful identity that God declares in the book of Ephesians.

Ephesians: Who God Says I Am

In a world filled with confusion about identity and self-worth, the book of Ephesians in the Bible reminds Christians of who God says they are. This ancient letter speaks powerfully into our lives today, anchoring our identity firmly in Christ.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: According to Ephesians, God says Christians are saints, saved by grace, created to do good works, unified in Christ, and empowered by God’s strength.

Saints, Holy and Blameless Before God

Chosen and Adopted Children of God

In Ephesians 1:4-6, Paul emphasizes that God chose believers in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him. As adopted children of God, believers are predestined for adoption through Jesus Christ according to the purpose of God’s will (Eph 1:5).

This adoption speaks to an intimate familial relationship with rights, privileges, and an inheritance from God. What an awesome privilege to be called the children of God!

Redeemed and Forgiven

Not only are believers God’s adopted children, but they are also redeemed and forgiven. Ephesians 1:7 states that “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Redemption refers to being bought back or rescued from bondage.

Through Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross, He redeemed believers from slavery to sin. God’s grace is so rich that He provides forgiveness of sins through the blood of Christ. What an amazing demonstration of God’s love and mercy!

Set Apart for God’s Purpose

As adopted children who have been redeemed and forgiven, believers are also set apart by God for His purposes. Ephesians 1:4 declares that God chose believers to be holy and blameless before Him. To be holy means to be set apart and dedicated to God.

As His children, believers are called to be distinct from the world by living lives that bring glory and honor to God. This includes pursuing purity, obedience, and faithful service to God. What an awesome calling to be set apart for His purposes and to bring praise to our glorious Father!

Saved By Grace Through Faith in Christ

Dead in Sin, Made Alive in Christ

The Bible teaches that before trusting in Christ, all people are “dead in their transgressions and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). We were living in disobedience to God, unable to save ourselves or make ourselves righteous before Him.

But “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5). When we put our faith in Jesus, believing that He died for our sins and rose again, God imputes His righteousness to us and gives us new spiritual life in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).

As a result, we are no longer dead in sin but alive to God. This radical change is solely by God’s grace, not because of anything we have done.

Raised Up and Seated With Christ

Not only does God make us spiritually alive in Christ, but He also “raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). Because we are united with Christ in His death and resurrection, God sees us as positionally “seated” with Jesus in the heavenly realms.

Of course, we are still physically on earth. But our spiritual position has changed dramatically. We are now citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20), enjoying the blessing and authority that comes with being joined together with Christ.

This exalted position as God’s dearly loved children is not based on our good works but rather on the saving work of Jesus on the cross (Titus 3:4-7).

Saved by Grace, Not Works

The clear testimony of Scripture is that “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). We cannot earn or deserve salvation.

The only thing we contribute to our salvation is our sin, which makes it necessary! God saves us on the basis of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, not because of any good deeds or religious efforts on our part.

In fact, the Bible clearly teaches that “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” before a holy God (Isaiah 64:6). Thankfully, “God saved you by his grace when you believed” (Ephesians 2:8, NLT). Salvation is His gracious gift to all who believe in Jesus.

Created to Do Good Works

God Prepared Good Works for Us

In Ephesians 2:10, Paul reminds us that we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works that God prepared in advance for us to do. This means that before we were even formed in our mother’s womb, God had a purpose and plan for our lives (Jeremiah 1:5).

He called us and saved us not just for our own benefit, but so that we can fulfill the good works He foreordained for us. What an amazing privilege! God has crafted each of us with unique gifts and talents to be used for His glory in building His kingdom (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).

As His workmanship, we are to walk in the good works He has set before us.

Equipped to Bear Fruit

Not only has God prepared good works for us to walk in, He has also equipped us to carry them out. Ephesians 2:10 says it is “in Christ Jesus” that we are created to do good works. We have no power of our own, but through our union with Christ, we have everything we need to bear fruit for the kingdom.

Jesus said that apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). But by abiding in Him, we are given supernatural strength and divine resources to accomplish God’s will. Believers have been given spiritual gifts and empowered by the Holy Spirit to build up the body of Christ and make disciples of all nations (Ephesians 4:11-13, Matthew 28:19-20).

We can live out our calling because He who began a good work in us will carry it on to completion (Philippians 1:6).

Walk in Love, Light and Wisdom

What exactly are the good works God has planned for us? Scripture does not give an exhaustive list, since God uniquely leads each of His children. But we are given some clear direction. We are called to walk in love (Ephesians 5:2), shine as lights in the world (Philippians 2:15), and live wisely by making the most of every opportunity (Ephesians 5:15-16).

God has prepared an array of good works tailored to how He has gifted us. These include serving in the church (1 Peter 4:10), generosity (2 Corinthians 9:8), hospitality (1 Peter 4:9), evangelism (Matthew 28:19-20), encouraging the disheartened (1 Thessalonians 5:14), and using our skills for the benefit of others (Colossians 3:23-24).

As redeemed saints, we now have the joyful privilege of walking in step with the good works God prepared for us!

One Body, One Spirit in Christ

Unity Among Diversity

The church described in Ephesians consists of diverse people unified by faith in Christ (Ephesians 4:4-6). Though from varying backgrounds, Christ followers become one body and one spirit, sharing one hope, one Lord, one faith, and one baptism.

This beautiful picture of unity amidst diversity was radical in the 1st century Greco-Roman world marked by division and hierarchy.

Today, the church still struggles with disunity along lines of ethnicity, class, politics, theology, etc. However, Ephesians reminds believers that worldly divisions must give way to spiritual unity in Christ.

As one body knit together by one spirit, believers are called to “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).

Equal Members of God’s Household

Another radical Ephesians theme is that all believers become equal members of God’s family, regardless background. Ephesians 2:19 says Gentiles and Jews together become “fellow citizens” in God’s household.

Ephesians 3:6 astonishingly claims Gentiles are now “heirs together with Israel, members together of one body” with equal access to God by faith.

In the ancient world of strict ethnic and social divides, this egalitarian vision was revolutionary. However, it is the grand reality for all united in Christ. As modern readers, we must check our hearts for lingering hints of prejudice and insider mentalities that deny the full dignity and belonging of those unlike us who follow Jesus.

Growing Into a Holy Temple

The ultimate destiny of the church is glimpse in Ephesians 2:21-22 – to be built up into “a holy temple in the Lord…a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” Though incomplete now, God is constructing the worldwide community of believers into a magnificent, holy dwelling place reflecting His glory.

As “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5), believers contribute to this cosmic construction project through spiritual growth into maturity and Christlikeness (Ephesians 4:12-16). With Jesus as the cornerstone, the whole structure “rises to become a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21), displaying God’s manifold wisdom to the universe (Ephesians 3:10).

Let’s fulfill our destiny in this growing, holy habitation! “In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21).

Empowered by God’s Mighty Strength

Strengthened by God’s Spirit

As children of God, we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit who dwells within us (Ephesians 3:16). By God’s power and might, we are empowered to live fully and serve wholeheartedly. The Spirit renews our inner being, helping us put off the old self and put on the new self in Christ (Ephesians 4:22-24).

We no longer walk in darkness and futility, but are filled with spiritual wisdom, understanding God’s will for our lives.

The Spirit also equips us for works of service, using our diverse gifts to build up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13). As Ephesians 6 reminds us, we wage spiritual warfare not by our own strength, but by being strengthened in the Lord and putting on His full armor.

By walking in step with the Spirit each day, we gain victory over the enemy and enjoy new life in Christ.

Filled With the Fullness of God

One key aspect of our identity in Christ is that God invites us to be filled with His fullness through the indwelling Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:19). This means every believer can experience the richness of God’s presence on a daily basis.

As we yield more of ourselves to Him, relinquishing our self-sufficiency, He fills us with His love, joy, peace and supernatural power for ministry.

Being filled with God’s fullness also enables us to grasp the incredible blessings we have in Christ as His children (Ephesians 1:3-14). Even when we were dead in sin, God in His mercy and love made us alive together with Christ!

As redeemed saints, we can now live seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:4-7) and experience His resurrection power in our lives.

More Than Conquerors in Christ

Because we are in Christ, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:37). By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome any obstacle or enemy that we face. We need not fear hardship, persecution or lack, because He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

In a 2021 survey, over 80% of Christians said relying on God’s strength helped them endure trials. Indeed, we can joyfully persevere through trials, being rooted and established in His matchless love (Ephesians 3:17-19).

He promises never to leave or forsake us, giving us overwhelming victory in Christ (Deuteronomy 31:6). By faith, let us boldly count ourselves as conquerors, defeating fears, worry and unbelief through His Spirit who makes us strong.


The book of Ephesians gives Christians deep truths about their identity in Christ. In a confused and divided world, these ancient words remind believers of the riches they have in their Savior. Through Christ, Christians are saints, saved by grace, created for good, unified as one body, and empowered by Almighty God.

May the message of Ephesians renew our sense of who God says we are.

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