Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,
To the saints who are in Ephesus, and 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 in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed 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 upon us, in all wisdom and insight 9 making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. – Ephesians 1:1-10
If you saw the movie Captain Phillips, you might remember the bright orange lifeboat/escape pod in which Phillips and the pirates had taken refuge. The pirates had staged an attack on Maersk Alabama cargo ship and Phillips had offered himself as a hostage in a standoff with the US Navy. Inspired by a true story, the movie accurately portrayed the very sad end of the pirates. Navy snipers took them out and Phillips was saved.
These escape pods are found also on oil rigs. In case of emergency rig workers may scramble into the escape pod, push a release button and be safely expelled into the sea. They are saved from the inferno by being in the escape pod.
Paul uses the phrase “in Christ,” or “in him,” or “in love,” and “through Jesus Christ” no less than six (6) times in these opening verses of his letter. The promises of God are centered in Christ. Only in him do we have a solid hope and certain promise. The phrase “in Jesus Christ” means in connection with Jesus, tied to Jesus, held safe by faith in Jesus, and surrounded by Jesus’ love, promises, faithfulness, grace, and goodness.
If we are in Christ, it is much like being in an escape pod fleeing from a burning inferno of destruction on an offshore oil rig. The metaphor is not perfect but it is instructive. We are in danger of eternal destruction and terrible doom. If we are in Jesus we are able to escape the flames and destruction. This isn’t a popular way to speak of our life apart from Christ, but it is biblical (1 Corinthians 3:15). The reference there is not to hell, but the Bible does describe hell as a burning lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). We escape such terrible fate if we are in Christ.
Not only that, however, we experience delightful blessings in our fellowship with Jesus Christ. We are confident of God’s love in Christ. We are assured of answered prayers in Christ. We have grace and peace in Christ. Being in Christ is a very good place to be.
Escape pods have been known to fail, and those who have sought safety have sometimes experienced trauma and even death when they malfunction. But in Jesus Christ we have perfect protection. Any trauma we may experience in connection with him is calmed by his grace and peace – if we but stay in him.
This is easier said than done. There are temptations at every turn in our life with Christ. But God’s choice is in Christ that we experience grace, peace, salvation, forgiveness, hope, and every spiritual blessing…all for the praise of his glorious grace.
Captain Phillips is a 2013 American biographical drama-thriller film directed by Paul Greengrass and starring Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi. The film is inspired by the true story of the 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking, an incident during which merchant mariner Captain Richard Phillips was taken hostage by pirates in the Guardafui Channel led by Abduwali Muse. (Wikipedia)