The concept of Superman was born out of humans’ common desire to be loved and recognized as significant.
In one interview in “Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics” (2010), Superman’s co-creator Jerry Siegel talked about his inspiration for the hero. Siegel said, “I was quite meek and I was quite mild. And I thought, gee, wouldn’t it be great if I was a mighty person, and these girls didn’t know that this clod here is really somebody special.”
Christian geeks can really appreciate the originally intended concept for Clark Kent. We know what it feels like to be misunderstood or underestimated.
But we must remember that we have immense significance, value, and purpose, even if people around us can’t see it. Superman and Clark Kent may have popularized the “secret identity,” but Christians have lived with one for thousands of years.
The first three chapters of Ephesians strike me as I think about the “secret identity” of those who put their faith in Jesus. It’s easy to blow through these verses without stopping to consider the immensity of what we have and who we are because of Jesus. Here are just a few of the amazing truths we can learn from these chapters.
First—we have been chosen to be holy and blameless (Eph. 1:4).
This Greek word for “blameless” means “unblemished” and “faultless.” It’s used to describe Christ himself (Heb. 9:14, 1 Peter 1:19) and the future, perfected collection of believers (Eph. 5:27).
Right now we are still broken and sinful people. But God is not looking at us in condemnation (Romans 8:1). We have been legally pardoned in full, and will one day become completely sinless, as Christ is (1 John 3:2).
Second—God has adopted us as his children (Eph. 1:5) and given us an inheritance (Eph. 1: 11–14, 18).
Yes, Paul is writing about valuable familial love. But if we focus on this, we might miss something hugely significant.
In the letter’s historical context, an adopted son gained the same status and privileges of a biological son. Think about that for a second. We have gained all the rights of sonship that Jesus has. We are cosmic royalty, princes and princesses whose father is the ruler of all reality! Immortal, otherworldly creatures look on us with wonder (Luke 15:10, 1 Cor. 4:9, 1 Peter 1:12). One day, we’ll even stand in judgment over them (1 Cor. 6:3)!
Third—God’s immeasurable power is active in and through us (Eph. 1: 19–23) and we are partners with him in his work (Eph. 2:10).
Jesus has been made head over the church (that’s us). But Jesus has also been given for the church. And the power he makes available to us as we serve him is the same power that made his dead corpse alive and forever immortal. That doesn’t mean we will be unstoppable in our endeavors. It means that God will be unstoppable in his, and we have been invited to be a part of carrying out that work.
We may feel like our careers are fruitless. We might even watch as our ministries fail. But we can always rest assured that, when serving as Christ’s body, our efforts contribute to God’s unstoppable plans, even when they appear to result in failure.
And that’s just what we can see with a quick look at two chapters in Ephesians! If we jump around a little bit, we can start constructing a truly amazing picture of who we are and what we will become. For instance:
- In some hidden way, God has made you into an entirely new creature. You are now a cosmic ambassador from a world we can’t yet imagine, helping to bring the vital message that God has made reconciliation possible and free to all (2 Cor. 5: 17–21).
- Your weak or unhealthy body will eventually be upgraded to the kind of physical, yet incredibly powerful, body that Jesus gained with his resurrection (Phil. 3:20–21)!
- You are, and will forever be, a living monument to the universe, reminding all of creation about God’s unfathomably rich and undeserved kindness (Eph. 2: 4–7).
Our significance is immeasurable. We cannot add to it or subtract from it.
People will look at us and not see any of that reality, as they did with Jesus. But like Jesus, we can know for certain who we really are. And that knowledge will shrink so many of our difficulties in relationships. Instead of taking offense at the words of cruel or arrogant people, we can feel compassion for them.
What we have been given right now and promised in the future, because of Christ, can and should have a very tangible effect on our daily lives. Our circumstances may not change, but how we feel about our circumstances can dramatically change.
We only need to unbind our perspective from the here-and-now, and continually remind ourselves to fixate on what Jesus has done for us already and will do for us in eternity. No matter what life may look like for us this week, we have an amazing identity and purpose that can’t be revoked and a future that won’t be thwarted.