And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, … (Ephesians 1:13 NIV)
Have you ever felt ignored or excluded? Have you ever wanted to “fit in” but not known what to do? All of us are made with a need to belong. We all want to be a part of a family, a group of friends or a team.
Some people struggle to believe that God accepts and welcomes them into his family. They feel unworthy or inadequate. This is because they assume that belonging to God is based on our performance. In reality, we are accepted by God based on what Christ has done, not what we have done.
We are “included in Christ”, which is another way of saying that we “belong to God”, when we hear and believe the good news (gospel) about Jesus. This is more than a matter of what we think.
James says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” (James 2:19) This kind of belief involves trusting in and relying on God. It is lived out in a daily dependence on God.
Paul tells his readers that God has given them the “promised Holy Spirit” as a guarantee that they belong to God. It is God’s “stamp of ownership” and a sign that we are “God’s possession”.
The presence of God’s Spirit in this way reassures us that the best is yet to come. In Romans chapter 8:12-27 Paul outlines the tension between our current suffering and the glory to come. We are part of a groaning creation, but also a sign of hope. God’s saving and redeeming work is complete in Christ but not yet fully evident in the world.
God is still at work in the world and in us. His ultimate agenda is “complete freedom” and a creation that honours and praises him.
How sure are you that you belong to God? In what ways does your life reflect your faith?