As I was reading through the first chapter of Ephesians, the Holy Spirit instilled certain intriguing revelations and deeper understanding of the kingdom secrets, which I’d like to share from my personal experience…
Ephesians 1:4 – He hath chosen us in Him, before the foundation of the world; that we should be holy and without blame, before Him in love
This is a beautiful verse that expounds how He handpicked us and “choses” us out of His good pleasure. The God of heaven and earth, the almighty one who is the creator of the universe, desires for us to be His very own. Wow What a wonderful thought! And what was in the heart of God as a purpose for why He chose us? The verse goes on to explain, For us to be holy and blameless before Him “in love”.
Are you in His flock?
There are quite a few references in the scripture where we, His people; are often compared to sheep and He as our Holy shepherd. The heart of God desires for a flock for Himself to call “His very own“. He desired for us to be His sheep, eager to hear and willing to obey the voice of the good shepherd who is constantly leading us..
As we toured along the beautiful country side of Scotland, We got to closely observe how shepherds rear their flock of well fed, white and fluffy sheep on the lush green mountainous grasslands. Often times, we saw flocks of sheep grazing around with brightly coloured stripes of paint on their white wool. It made me wonder about why they had done that. Later we came to understand that the shepherds differentiate their own sheep from the rest of the sheep with a unique identity mark of coloured blotches of paint. No matter how far these sheep go while grazing, they can always be identified with their owner. Similarly, Jesus our Holy Shepherd, He gives us the free will to chose to stick around with the shepherd, rather than straying away to strange places where we do not belong. This free will is given to us because He desires for us to choose Him “out of love”. When I was meditating on this interesting thought, I was drawn to a beautiful verse where Jesus also marks us with the seals of His Holy Spirit to identify us His very own! This means, no matter where we go; people around us should be able to see and identify us to belong to Jesus by the very seal and the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, meekness and self control…
How was it like before you got into the flock?
Ephesians 2:1-3 In the past, we walked according to the course of the world, according to the prince of the power of the air; it is a spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.
Isn’t it an undefinable, yet a truth that’s often times difficult for us to accept that before we entered into the fold of Jesus, we were actually walking according to the ways of the evil one who’s mentioned as the prince of this world. This verse clearly points out that before we entered into the flock of Jesus, we were walking in the paths of disobedience and wickedness. We were sadly in the likeliness of our enemy; the one who comes to steal, deceive and destroy our souls. Some of you reading may think, No way! It sounds too extreme to accept that we were once walking in the ways of the devil. But let us introspect and carefully read Ephesians 2:3 and Galations 5 to analyse and weigh our own lives. Is there anyone among you, who has no sin in you?? Some of you may say, oh I am far from commuting adultery, fornication, uncleanliness, and lasciviousness.. but how about hatred? Idolatory? Slandered about someone? Wrath? Strife among you? Envying? Drinking and revelling? Or How about acting out of pride, or having a lying tongue, bearing false witness/ false gossip against someone? Cheated someone? Broken someone’s trust? Has your heart ever imagined wicked imaginations? Willfully wounded someone because of your own selfishness? Or has your feet been swift to commit mischief and sowing discord among other people? Addictions to lustful content? Selfish ambitions? Or could it even be unforgiveness? Honestly speaking, Even this list may actually be limited in defining all possible sins that we may have committed, but each one of us are well aware of the things that we do that pricks our conscience and yet continue to live in a manner that is far from God’s ways. All of these are abominations to God, the Holy one! We all have sinned and have fallen short of His glory and His holiness. Our sins may be different and of different degrees; but I was there too..
How do we then have access into His flock?
Sin separates us from our Holy God. It creates a dividing veil between us and our Heavenly Father. Our Sin leaves a doorway for Satan to stand against us, before the throne of God and accuse us to be unworthy and defiled ones. There is no forgiveness for sin unless there is shedding of blood. But what amount of blood shed can do away with all the sins of the every person in this world put together?
This is the core of the gospel of Jesus. This is exactly why God sacrificed and sent us His only son to be born in human form on earth. Jesus is our sinless lamb and our good shepherd laid His life for us, on our behalf and put His life in line to redeem and save us with His blood. Jesus, the darling of heaven, truly bore our punishment and took our place in all the condemnation that we ideally deserve for our sins. What unparalleled love it is to know that you were on Jesus’s heart when He was nailed and crucified on that Cross. When you carefully read the first chapter of the book of Ephesians from the 4th to the 14th verse, we have been purchased and redeemed in exchange for the precious blood of Jesus. In faith, We have forgives of all sins, redemption from curses, deliverance and healing from all infirmities through the powerful sinless blood of Jesus!
Ephesians 2:18 : For through Him, we have access to the Heavenly Father. Ephesians 1:13 says, In whom you also trusted after you “heard the word of truth”, the gospel of salvation; You also believed.
So the simple answer to how we have access to be a part of Jesus’s flock starts with hearing the word of God. That sets you free from the old ways of thinking, convicts you of your sins and wrong walks of life. It instills a new “trust”, and a deeply rooted “Faith”. This is why the Bible says that “By Grace you are saved by Faith”. Salvation is a free gift from God that has to be received with a child like heart in complete faith. Once you believe that you have been purchased through His blood and that you are His very own, then you are sealed with the Holy Spirit; one in His flock!
Now that we are in the flock, where is our shepherd leading us; as we walk with Him?
The shepherd usually walks ahead of his herd of sheep who follow him together in oneness as they hear the voice of the shepherd directing them. Think for yourselves; are we as sheep, sensitive to the voice of our shepherd?
What did Jesus mean when He said, I am the way, the truth and the life! The shepherd of our soul is leading our way. He is THE ONLY WAY to an eternal inheritance in heaven. The price that He paid to give us an inheritance in heaven was His precious blood. Because I have been washed in the blood of Jesus and purchased in the blood of Jesus, I am His very own. My sins and my old sinful past doesn’t define who I am, for I am a new creation in Jesus Christ; redeemed and purchased by His blood. In faith, We become one in Him and he becomes one in us. The veil of sin between God the Father and us, is torn apart so that we have access to His Holy presence.
Salvation is a free gift of love to save you and me from landing in hell and going through the punishment that we ideally deserve for all our sinful ways.
Christ Jesus himself, the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy church in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Jesus is referred as corner stone on which the church is built . The word church mentioned in this verse is not indicative of a building; rather, “a dwelling place for God” and that we all as believers together, form the church where God the Father dwells in us through Jesus.
Plainly put, Jesus’s sacrifice has made a way for God Almighty to come and live inside you and me in all His Holiness. Our shepherd is our way maker.
Just the thought of all powerful supreme God, the maker of heaven and earth; desiring to live inside me gives me goose bumps and it is indeed the most humbling experience ever!
Now that we have received this priceless gift of grace to have God live inside us, should not our lives and bodies be dedicated in holiness for God to continue to dwell in us?
But now that we know that we are in His flock, How often do we continue to stray away?
Despite tasting the true sacrificial love of Jesus, Some of us tend to slip and fall away from Godly living. The fight against our flesh and walking in our sinful desires is constant. Some of you may be going through a brief phase where you feel far from God. It might be a phase where you feel utterly unworthy and undeserving of the love of God. It’s probably a dark phase in your life marked with inner suffering, where sin has led you astray from our very own identity, as a sheep in His flock; with a seal of the Holy spirit on you that differentiates you from the rest. I have been in exactly the same place of overbearing shame, guilt and a feeling of having failed my saviour. A feeling that I have let Him down and that I’m too far from His love and grace that I probably took for granted. But it’s beautiful how He turns beauty from ashes and brings forth testimonies from trials. Being someone who has experienced the relentlessly persevering reckless love of God, I can assure you that you are never too far from His love. When your sin is great; His love is greater!
Psalm 37:24 – Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with His hand
If there was a shepherd with 100 sheep in his herd and one of them was a little lamb who strayed away and went missing from the rest of the flock. The little lamb slipped and fell into a valley with thorns, unable to save itself. Even if he has 99 other sheep,won’t the shepherd go out of the way to look out for the one lost sheep?
This was the time in my life when a song spoke to my soul…
A beautiful narrative from one of my favourite songs “Reckless Love” goes like this,
why is it called “Reckless Love”? The word “Reckless” does not refer to God Himself, the God we are serving is not reckless. However, it refers to the way God loves us. If you try to consider what He did on the cross, He is utterly not concerned with the consequences of His actions in regards to His safety, comfort and well being. He is so in love with you and me, that He came to earth to show how much He is willing to sacrifice just to have you back in His arms. His love isn’t selfish and He is never been self-serving. He would offer His life to give us the freedom that we don’t deserve. His love leaves the ninety-nine just to find the one who went astray.
If the words of this blog post has in anyway touched you; I lovingly urge you with all my heart to take a few minutes and listen to this life changing song- “Reckless love”
So dearly beloved, be drawn by the true love of Jesus to keep yourselves as a holy dwelling place for God to come and live inside of you. The Bible says that If we love Jesus, we will also obey his commandments. Nevertheless, we also have the wonderful assurance that His blood is constantly interceding for us every single day and promising us forgiveness until we stand justified and until we are made perfect when we stand before God’s throne to receive the crown of life. Never forget your true identity in christ as His very own purchased possession!
And because Jesus has done this for us; We can confidently enter into our eternal inheritance as His possession; And no tongue in heaven or earth can ever bid us to depart!
Warm hugs and prayers,