Roman emperor Caesar Augustus understood the value of political propaganda. In addition to his military victories that ended a civil war and his extensive public works campaigns, he also commissioned poets to sing his praises. Virgil, who wrote the Aeneid in honor of Augustus, also penned these lines: “He shall have the gift of divine life, shall see heroes mingled with gods, and shall himself be seen by them, and shall rule the world to which his father’s prowess brought peace.”
Despite the lofty attributes ascribed to him by poets, Augustus did not in fact have divine life. But as we see in our passage today, there is One who is truly worthy of such lavish praise. The apostle Paul wrote a magnificent hymn of praise to Jesus, every word of which is true. This text also describes how our identity as blessed in Christ flows from His unique being and nature.
We’ll focus on two parts of our identity mentioned in this passage. First, we have been rescued and redeemed from the power of sin (vv. 13–14). We had no claim based on our own merit or qualifications to enter the kingdom of God, but we have been given this privilege based on the work of salvation that Jesus accomplished for us (v. 12).
Second, we are reconciled to God. We are often tempted to minimize the effects of sin and the curse, going all the way back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (see Genesis 3). Sin has driven a wedge between God and His creation, including humanity. But through Jesus’ shed blood on the cross, which paid the penalty of death for sin, we are able to be reconciled to God, reversing the curse (vv. 18–22). Truly, we are blessed, and He is a Savior worthy of praise.
Apply the Word
This marvelous text merits deeper study. When you have time, read through this chapter again and make a list of every statement about Jesus, especially in verses 15 through 23. Then review the passage and highlight each time the phrase “in Him” occurs. What does this tell us about the person and work of Jesus? How does this make a difference in your life?