What Have We Become?

Even after salvation, our fallen memories try to drag us down. We must remember what Christ has changed us into.

Sermon Introduction:

Christ has called us to be humble, yet He has made us to be great. This balance is seen in a quote from CS Lewis’s Prince Caspian. To the young prince, we read, “You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,” said Aslan. “And that is both honour enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.”

Be content. That is so hard for us. Societies swing like a pendulum in their attitudes. There have been Christians who see themselves with arrogance as the greatest possible. At other times, Christians take the call to humilty to such an extreme they see themselves as nothing. Both sides are wrong. We are to walk in that middle ground with the careful balance between realizing who God made us to be and who we used to be.

Remember the old is past and the new is come. Many Christians see themselves as scum because of their past. They refuse to let go of what they did and become what God has called them to be. Some of this is the Enemy of our souls. He puts a bug in our ears that what we did may have been forgiven but it can never go away. He ues this to pull us lower and lower. While his actions cannot endanger our salvation, our response can hinder our growth in God. If we continue to let that past define us, we will never be what God calls us to be.

Scripture Introduction:

St. Paul wrote the letter to the Ephesians, moved by the Holy Spirit of God to give a message that was timely when given and timeless, teaching us even today. This man, who once persecuted the church of Jesus, had his life turned upside down and was put back on the right way. He was a man who moved in the upper circles of Jewish life. He tells us he was the star pupil of the head of the Pharisees.

He grew up in a Greek city, born a man of two nations. Jewish by ethnicity and a Roman citizen at birth. He loved both but, when push came to shove, he was first and foremost a Jew. Paul saw the Jews who turned to Christ as traitors and Christianity was an abomination in his eyes. The Messiah could not have come yet, because the kingdom had not been restored to Israel!

But he was wrong. Even as he went out looking for Christians to arrest, God changed him from the inside out. The passage this morning speaks of how much he changed on the road, what he became in Christ, and what we have been made into.


Ephesians 1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: 2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him 11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,


The first thing we see is that we have been transformed into saints! Now, lest someone argue this only applies to Ephesus and that they were holier somehow than we, that church had its share of problems. Not as many as some other churches did, like Corinth, but problems enough for Paul to address. I believe one issue he felt the need to address was that the Christians were looking down on themselves for their past. In the first two chapters, he takes great care to emphasize over and over that they are new creations in Christ. He does not call them sinners but saints. This shows a problem that we have in the church today. We will call ourselves saved-sinners before using the biblical term of saint. I believe this comes as a rebellion against Catholicism and their registry of saints. But we go further. We refuse to call many of those who have gone on in the faith saints, even if they lived great lives. Most protestants I know will not call anyone outside the Twelve Apostles or a biblical author “saint.” We do a disservice to ourselves to not use the biblical term.

Biblically, what is a saint? Paul tells us here that a saint is faithful in Christ Jesus. Saints are blessed with every spiritual blessing. Saints are chosen from before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in Him. Let’s stop there. Saints aren’t perfect, but we are called to be holy. It’s a tall order, one that in our flesh we cannot attain. However, these at Ephesus had problems and were still called saints. We must continually turn to Christ to strengthen us in our pursuit of a holy life, blameless before him.


Paul also reminds us that we are predestined to adoption as sons. This will happen through Jesus Christ and to Himself. This was done by God’s intention and not our own. We cannot save ourselves. Paul will speak much more on this fact in other books and indeed in the next chapter of this book. We are called to holiness and good works but cannot save ourselves by them. Not before and not after. Salvation comes by faith and God’s grace. After salvation, we are expected to do good works, not because it saves us but because Christ living in us must be shown through works. We are radically changed away from our old way of life and to a new walk with Him. When I was baptized, the pastor said, “Buried with Christ, and raised to new life with Him.” I am no longer my own. I have been bought with a price. You are in the same situation, bought with the blood and must walk with him.

You absolutely must remember when reading the Bible to understand the terms the same way the Apostles did. When Paul uses predestined, he does not use it in the way our day so often understands it of God selecting people for salvation with their choice in the matter being meaningless. The Bible also teaches us that we have choices regarding God and how, even if, we will serve Him. The two, God’s ordaining of the future and our choices, combine in a way beyond our understanding. It is a holy mystery, and we must be satisfied with not knowing all the particulars. That the Bible shows both predestination and man’s free will, we accept. Even in this passage, the beautiful mysteries of God are spoken of.


I encourage you to really sit down and read this passage. The numerous ways that Paul describes the saints of God will help you remember that you are God’s creation, saved and changed. You are no longer a sinner. You are redeemed by the blood of the lamb. Our trespasses are forgiven! The wrongs you have done are wiped away as if they never happened.

Upon the redeemed, He has lavished riches. You are not poor in Christ. Every one of us has been blessed beyond measure.

Let us examine the word redeemed. When we hear it, we think of the religious aspect, God washing away our sins. The word came from the physical realm. A kinsman redeemed someone who had been wronged. If an Israelite were taken prisoner, the kinsman redeemer would try to rescue them or pay the ransom. If an Israelite were slain, the kinsman redeemer would seek out the murdered and make sure he never murdered again.

This is what God has done for us. For the race of man, mired in our sins, taken hostage by the Enemy of our souls, He became one of us. Taking on the flesh of men, He turned away from every temptation offered Him. He did what we could not so that He could rescue those who had been taken prisoner. He became sin for us. He redeemed us from our sins. He paid our ransom. He saved us.

We are sinners no more. We are saints who have obtained an inheritance, predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things to His will.


This is how we have been changed. God works wonders in us and in our lives. We must embrace that change and who we are in Christ. If you have been operating under false humility or torn down by the Devil, take this balance. Our false humility gains nothing for the Kingdom. Neither does our downplaying what God has done for us. When your are tempted to say, “I am just a poor sinner,” remember God inspired the Bible to say, “You are a saint, called to good works.” You are redeemed, forgiven, lavished with grace. Yet, I say again, do not let that puff you up. It is all because of Him and His grace that you are this way.

You are changed because God wanted you and you accepted that offer. You came broken, you can leave made whole.

For some of you, you never have made that choice. You are still broken, searching for answers. Take this opportunity to grab hold of the offer of salvation. You can, right where you are, make God Lord and change from sinner to saint.


About frankluke

Professionally: pastor, programmer, writer. Personally: husband, father.
This entry was posted in Bible, New Testament, sermon and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What Have We Become?

  1. Pingback: The Foundation of Wisdom – Postcards from the Age of Reason

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