I’ve always admired the brilliant minds that work at ad agencies. I’m amazed at all of the creative things they come up with to market a product. Logos, slogans and commercials are all effective ways to grab the public’s attention. One such campaign was run by the credit card company American Express from 1987-1996. Their slogan “Membership has its privileges” was widely recognized by people as the way to live an elite lifestyle during the 80’s and 90’s. That very slogan was effective, I’m sure, at helping contribute to the debt of those who enjoy living above their means.
There is one instance where membership really does have its privileges and that is when one becomes a member of Christ’s church. You can’t purchase this membership with money. Your net worth has no effect on your acceptance. No, this membership is granted freely when we are obedient to the gospel as described in the Bible (1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 6:1-10). Christ adds us to his church and we are joined together with the saints from all of time.
But what about those privileges? Let’s look at the book of Ephesians and see what amazing promises have been made for those who belong to Christ.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”
In this beautiful passage, we see we are adopted as children of God (vs. 5); we are given forgiveness of sins (vs. 7); we gain wisdom and understanding of God’s will (vs. 8-9); we are sealed by the Holy Spirit (vs. 13); and we are promised an inheritance (vs. 14). These are wonderful privileges afforded to us but they only come if we give ourselves to Christ. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for (Christ) will find it” (Matthew 16:25).