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The saint in black

Though many in the church of Ephesus would have been drunks, gossips, or just downright mean people, Paul didn’t choose to identify them that way.

Johnny Cash is a monument of the music industry. He is considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Though he was a successful musician, Cash wrecked his first marriage and struggled at points in his life with drugs and alcohol. In spite of his sins, Johnny Cash was a saint. Why? Because he was in Christ.

When reading the different letters of the New Testament, we tend to either read the greetings at the beginning quickly or just skip over them altogether, as if they’re not important. If we treated Paul’s greeting in Ephesians this way, we would miss something really important. Paul referred to everyone in the church as “saints . . . in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1).

Though many in the church of Ephesus would have been drunks, gossips, or just downright mean people, Paul didn’t choose to identify them that way. He knew that if we’re “in Christ Jesus,” then we’re saints. This is why he chose to greet the church in this way.


Romans 7:13–25

  • Why did Paul not understand his own actions? (He found that he did the very things he hated, and he didn’t always have the power to do what was right.)
  • To whom did Paul look for help in not sinning? (He looked to Jesus Christ to set him free from his prison of sin.)
  • In Christ, Paul was a saint. Yet in Christ, Paul struggled with sin and doing what was right. In Christ, Johnny Cash was a saint. And yet, in Christ, Johnny Cash also struggled with sin and doing what was right. What can you learn from their experience? (In Christ we can still struggle with sin, but Jesus Christ—not “being good”—will deliver us from its punishment and power.)


Thank Jesus Christ that he redeemed you from the penalty and power of sin.

This devotion is excerpted from the Who Do You Think You Are? Study Guides with Daily Devotions resource.

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