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 1:2-10
Perhaps you’ve seen the movie Captain Philips. It stars Tom Hanks who plays Philips, the captain of a large ocean-going ship that is hijacked by Somalian pirates off the coast of east Africa. He and the pirates ultimately leave the ship by means of an orange lifeboat/escape pod. These escape pods provide safety and distance from danger. As long as you’re in the pod, you’re safe.
I think of that as I think of being “in Christ.” If I’m in him, I’m safe. I’m taken away from danger. I’m saved. To be in Christ is to believe in him. It is to trust in him. It is to acknowledge that he is Lord. It is to look to him for hope, life, forgiveness, and salvation. It is a very good place to be.
Paul uses the term “in Christ” here in these verses in a similar but different way, having to do with our election as God’s beloved and chosen people. Election is for many a troubling idea. Am I truly “chosen?” Am I one of the elect? Has God predestined me? Am I on the short list? The guest list? Do I have a seat at the heavenly banquet feast of the Lamb of God?
If we try to fathom this from the viewpoint of God we will get lost. We cannot possibly discern election from God’s perspective.
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
35 “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. – Romans 11:33-36
We can rejoice in the unfathomable mind of God because we can see our place in his heart and kingdom through the cross of Jesus. We need not try to figure out if we’re chosen or not. Look to the cross! Did Jesus die for you? Did he suffer in your place? Is his righteousness your righteousness? Did he die for the sins of the world? If so, he died for your sins. He chose to die for you.
Believing that is what it means to be “in Christ” and that’s a good place to be.