Last year, on Sundays, I shared an excerpt from the devotional Faith Alone, which contained writings from Martin Luther. This year, I decided to use something from a contemporary theologian, John MacArthur.
This past fall, as I taught Titus, I listened to some sermons by MacArthur, and I was reminded how much I love his preaching. I was blessed to hear him preach in person a few years ago when I visited California. I remember sitting on the edge of my seat, taking it all in. It was wonderful. This devotional, Drawing Near, is going to be really good.
There are 365 entries, but he covers an entire passage of Scripture each month, so there is more continuity than one might find in a daily devotional. At the end of each passage, there are suggestions about how to pray in light of the passage, and then suggestions for further reading. The devotional began with Ephesians. I have really been enjoying it so far.
Here is today's, reflecting on the Ephesians 1:3, especially the phrase in Christ, is called "Identifying With Christ:"
Christianity isn't simply a belief system - it's a whole new identity.
Many people mistakenly believe that one's religious preference is irrelevant because all religions eventually lead to the same spiritual destination.
Such thinking is sheer folly, however, because Scripture declares that no one comes to God apart from Jesus (John 14:6). He is the only source of salvation (Acts 4:12) and the only One powerful enough to redeem us and hold us secure forever (John 10:28).
Every Christian shares a common supernatural union with Christ. Paul said, "The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him" (I Cor. 6:17). We are in Him, and He is in us. His life flows through us by His Spirit, who indwells us (Rom. 8:9).
As a non-Christian, you were brought in bondage to evil (Rom. 3:10-12), enslaved to the will of Satan (I John 5:19), under divine wrath (Rom. 1:18), spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1, 4:17-18), and without hope (Eph 2:12). But at the moment of your salvation a dramatic change took place. You became a new creation and a recipient of divine grace (Eph. 2:8). When you came to Christ, you were "delivered ... from the domain of darkness, and transferred ... to the kingdom of [God's] beloved Son" (Col. 1:13). You now possess His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21) and share in His eternal inheritance (Rom. 8:16-17).
All those blessings - and many more - are yours because you are in Christ. What a staggering reality! In a sense, what He is, you are. What He has, you have. Where He is, you are.
When the Father sees you, He sees you in Christ and blesses you accordingly. When others see you, do they see Christ in you? "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 5:16).