A common question is “Why am I here?” For the answer we go back to a time in eternity past in Heaven. There was a time in Heaven when no evil existed. However, due to arrogance, evil was introduced. Lucifer was the highest-ranking angel in Heaven and the most beautiful creature to ever come from the hand of God. Lucifer became full of pride and due to arrogance (a mental attitude sin) he rebelled against God and persuaded one third of the angels to join him in this rebellion. As a result, the name Lucifer, which means son of the morning, was changed to Satan, which means adversary or accuser. Satan and his followers were cast out of Heaven and sentenced to the Lake of Fire for all eternity. Satan apparently appealed his sentence saying “How can a loving God send His creatures to the Lake of Fire?” Man was created in order to resolve this appeal from Satan. (Mark 5; 8:38; I Timothy 5:2; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:15; Revelation 12:4, 20:10; Matthew 25:41)
Man was created lower in order than angels, yet he was created in the image (with the invisible essence of the soul) and likeness (with a unique personality) of God. (Genesis 1:27) There was, however, one characteristic that was common to both man and angels – volition – the free will to choose for or against God. Satan and his followers (now designated as fallen angels or demons) had rejected God’s grace plan of salvation. Man was created to demonstrate to Satan that God’s sentence was fair. Even though God loved the angels, He could not violate His justice and righteousness by changing His character to accommodate them. When some of them rejected God’s plan of salvation they were fairly sentenced to the Lake of Fire. As we know, man (Adam) deliberately sinned against God and as a result died spiritually. Unlike Satan and the fallen angels, Adam (and Eve) accepted God’s plan of salvation. By accepting God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, it is demonstrated to Satan how God can save a creature and still be consistent with His justice and righteousness. (Genesis 2:17) If just one person accepted God’s plan of salvation, it is enough to prove that He is fair and just. Now perhaps you can understand why Satan and his demons are doing everything in their power to keep people from trusting Christ as Savior and to distract believers from their spiritual lives.
Since we, as believers in Christ, are here to resolve the conflict between God and Satan, it is important for us to be credible witnesses for the prosecution, God. This means that it is our job to demonstrate God’s grace to the angelic host at salvation and in the Christian Way of Life.
One way in which we can demonstrate God’s grace in our lives is through a Personal Sense of Destiny. This means that we must learn exactly who we are in Christ and what we have as a result. The Book of Ephesians is the “In Christ” book of the Bible. It is, therefore, logical to study a number of passages from Ephesians to learn the answer.
In the first chapter of Ephesians we are given a clear picture of what it means to be “In Christ.” In verse 3 we are told that we have been blessed with ALL spiritual blessings in the “heavenlies” in Christ. This is a reference to our position in Christ. Verse 4 begins the list of blessings with the doctrine of Election, which means “chosen” or “called.” Remember that it is in Him that we are elected. Jesus Christ was elected by God the Father, therefore, we are elected (chosen). (I Peter 2:6) God has chosen those who believe to be holy (set apart) and without blame. (II Timothy 1:9, Colossians 3:12-17)
Holy (set apart) has to do with the doctrine of sanctification:
A. Positionally - we are in union with Christ by the baptism of the Holy Spirit - I Corinthians 12:13, II Corinthians 5:21
B. Experientially - the believer in time produces the character of Jesus Christ under the control of the Holy Spirit - Galatians 5:16-24
C. Ultimately - we will receive our glorified body in eternity - Philippians 3:20-21
In verses 5 and 6 we see that part of God’s predetermined plan for the believer is to become a child of God and to be accepted into the family of God. Adoption means, “to be placed as children.” We can only have a family relationship with God by faith in Jesus Christ. This relationship guarantees us an inheritance beyond our imaginations. (Ephesians 1:11,14; Galatians 4:4-7) Predestination means predetermined or predesigned. God’s predesigned plan for the believer in time is to execute the Christian Way of Life. (Ephesians 2:10) God’s pre-designed plan for the believer in eternity is for him to possess a glorified body. (Philippians 3:20-21; Revelation 21)
In verse 7 we see that we have received redemption and forgiveness. Redemption means that the believer has been purchased from the slave market of sin. Born with a sin nature, we are separated from God. Jesus Christ became our Kinsman Redeemer, an Old Testament practice whereby a close relative could buy the freedom of a slave. The Bible says that we were slaves to sin. Christ met the requirements for being our Kinsman Redeemer; He was able to redeem as a near kinsman (His humanity) and He met the purchase price (spiritual death). He was also willing to redeem (He was obedient to the Father’s plan). (John 1:1-3,14; Hebrews 2:9-11; I Corinthians 6:20; II Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:5-8; Romans 5:19; Luke 23:46)
Forgiveness means that the believer has been pardoned from the penalty of his sin, as in a court case. We were found guilty of sin before God, but Christ secured our pardon by paying the penalty for all of our personal sins, past, present and future. This means that God’s justice is satisfied with the payment for sin, Christ’s death. All our pre-salvation sins were forgiven at the point of faith in Christ. Our post-salvation sins are forgiven when we name or admit them to God according to I John 1:9. God is always justified in forgiving our sins when we follow His procedure because of Christ’s salvation work on the Cross. (I John 1:7-10; I John 2:2)
Verses 11, 14 and 18 tell us that we have obtained an inheritance in Christ. Because the believer is in union with Christ, he is a joint-heir of an inheritance that belongs to Christ. We are simply shareholders in something that belongs to our Savior. This inheritance is something that is above and beyond what we humans are able to comprehend. We are also told that this inheritance is reserved in Heaven with our name on it. (Colossians 1:12; 3:24; Hebrews 9:15; I Peter 1:4)
Verses 13 and 14 tell us that our inheritance has been PERMANENTLY secured by the Holy Spirit. We call this the Doctrine of Eternal Security, which means that the believer is secure forever in Christ. Once a person believes in Christ for eternal life, the Holy Spirit seals his decision for all eternity. Salvation can never be lost. The reason salvation cannot be lost is that it depends on God’s faithfulness NOT OURS. In verse 14 the word “earnest” means “guarantee.” It is similar to an earnest money contract when buying property. The earnest money guarantees or secures the property for you. In the same manner, the sealing of God the Holy Spirit secures our eternal life for us. (John 10:28-29; I John 5:13)
I believe we can all see from these few verses the magnitude of God’s grace toward the believer. These few things do not scratch the surface of all that God has given us as His children. A personal sense of destiny solves the panic problem for the child of God. Regardless of what life brings our way, if we have a personal sense of destiny, we know that God is at work behind the scene working things to our benefit. (I Corinthians 2:9; Romans 8:28)
A personal sense of destiny gives the believer capacity for life by producing spiritual self-esteem. Spiritual self-esteem means that you have discovered who you are in Christ. God never gives us more blessing than we have the capacity to receive. (James 4:1-8, Isaiah 30:18) God also never gives us more testing than we are able to endure. (I Corinthians 10:12-13; Romans 14:10-13)
Capacity for life replaces the temporary pleasures of the world with the eternal happiness of God. (Galatians 6:6-10) Capacity is increased by spending a maximum amount of time in fellowship with God, consistent intake and application of Bible doctrine and using Divine Viewpoint Thinking.
A personal sense of destiny should change the way we think and talk:
1) To self - when we know who we are in Christ we begin to replace negative self-talk with positive spiritual self-esteem talk. Thinking and talking about what God has done and is doing for us. (Ephesians 5:19, Philippians 4:8)
2) To others - when we get our thinking right we begin to talk differently to and about others. Our talk becomes less about “me” and more about “you.” We think of others the way God thinks and we begin to look for opportunities to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. (II Corinthians 5:18-20)
3) To God - when we have a personal sense of destiny we stop trying to coerce God into a course of action. We become thankful for what God has given us and we learn how to pray effectively for others and ourselves. This brings the peace of God into our lives. (Philippians 4:6-7)
A personal sense of destiny takes you from spiritual babyhood to the beginning stages of spiritual adulthood. You begin to grow up in Christ and realize all the wonderful things that God has done for you, is doing for you and is going to do for you. You begin to see His work in your past, your present and your future. This causes you to put aside anything in your life that is a distraction to your spiritual life. And it causes you to keep looking to Jesus as your only real hope (confidence) for lasting peace and happiness. Finally, a personal sense of destiny will cause you to live your life in light of eternity. (Hebrews 12:1-2)